When the sun goes down and the darkness spreads across – this is the time when the demons come out of their burrows, caves and shelters; and find pleasure in satisfying their senses by scaring the wits out of little children. Isn’t this precisely what we tell our children to keep them away from dangerous places or to get them to sleep? Sadly, this has a few negative aspects to it, which we do not realize. Why are the kids so afraid of the dark? Let us find out.
It is a very normal thing for us humans to get afraid of the dark, especially in case of children. Children start sensing fear when they reach an age mature enough to imagine things but not enough to distinguish between what is real and what is ‘just the mind playing its games’. At night time, the distractions that keep the kids’ minds occupied are not many and hence the mind creates its own arena of imagination and fantasies where it is not that difficult to create figures from shadows and voices out of noises. Basically, it’s the imagination running wild!
Where these imaginations come from is the important question. Well, the simplest answer is stories and watching TV. Cartoon characters may inspire the creation of unreal things as well. For example, the mind can create fictitious things like a three-headed beast as well as an amalgamation of a fish and a snowman. The stories we narrate to them including that of a witch, or a boogeyman who will get them if they don’t do what’s being asked of them, create mental images of such things that can instill fear.
And, what can we do to help them overcome the fears? First of all, the most important thing is, do not induce fear causing thinking in children. Never allow them to get traumatized over non-existent things. If the kids develop fear towards the dark or unknown imaginary monsters, don’t taunt them for getting frightened and never brush them off as being silly. Lend an ear to what they have to say. That will create an establishment of trust and help them face their fears. Tell them that it is really natural to be afraid of the dark and it is easy to get over it as well. Keep reassuring if you have to, don’t get frustrated just because you know what they are afraid of doesn’t exist. Look through your child’s eyes. Remember what used to scare you as a kid and how you overcame the fear. Use that experience to help them. Give them stuffed toys and tell them they are there to protect them. Use a dim light not directly falling over their eyes but just lighting up the room dimly.
Fear of the dark is a common thing; but it is not a thing to be ignored or allowed to persist. Make sure your child gets to learn to take safety measures and learn methods to get rid of the fear that the night brings with its darkness, before it is too late.