When do monsters become scary?

The other night, Grace called my wife into her bedroom. She said that there was a “…scary dinosaur” outside of her window. She was soothed easily enough, and went to back to sleep readily.

This had me thinking about the inevitable emergence of “scary monsters” in a child’s imagination. Must it be inevitable? I’m interested in trying to curtail the whole thing.

If I think about it, I realize that Grace has “known” many monsters for years now. Elmo, Grover, Telley Monster, Zöe, Cookie Monster, Oscar and so on are all monsters, and characters she loves. She hasn’t complained about scary monsters yet, but if she does, I wonder if I’ll be able to get away with that comparison.

Dadventure is working on the problem as well, and he lists some of the tactics he’s been using. A couple of the more amusing items on his list include: “That’s why we painted your bedroom pink. Monsters hate pink” and “Monsters don’t want to eat us. We taste awful.”

Pretty cute and clever, but there’s still a tacit implicaiton that, yes, scary monsters do exist. I don’t know about you, but when I read the 2nd explanation, I immediately generate an image in my mind of a monster actually consuming me. I know that wasn’t the message, but the image is unavoidable. It’s like saying, “Don’t think of a giraffe.”

It’s not my intention to criticize Mr. Dadventure. I’m just hoping (naievly, perhaps) that I can nip this whole thing in the bud by convincing her that monsters don’t exist outside of Sesame Stret. Wish me luck.

5 Responses to “When do monsters become scary?”

  1. 1 Rengirl January 16, 2007 at 6:30 pm

    I find it strange how kids develop fears in the first place. I have this yoga ball that Booger is terrified of. She’s never had an injury or accident involving any yoga ball so I’m not sure what’s going through her head. But whenever I bring the yoga ball out, she runs to the opposite end of the room and if I come near her with it, she starts freaking out and crying.

  2. 2 Patti @ Strollerderby January 17, 2007 at 5:26 pm

    I’ve noticed that “I’m scared” or “That’s scary” tend to function as attention-getting phrases for my 2.5 year old, in the same way that she’ll whine about being hungry when her mouth is actually full. Somehow she has gotten the idea that expressing fear is a pretty good bet for getting the focus onto herself.

  3. 3 jen January 21, 2007 at 12:33 am

    time to revisit “monsters inc”?

  4. 4 jen January 21, 2007 at 12:35 am

    Actually thinking about it, I think it might have something to do with the mind starting to grow and expand (actually having memories and all now) during REM sleep.

    I’m sure someone has done a study on it…

  1. 1 dadventure.ca - » Monsters - The Sequel Trackback on January 17, 2007 at 12:31 am

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