January 4, 2012

For Kids: How to Have Power Over Scary Movies

How to have power over scary movies?
Our neighbors do not monitor what their children watch on TV.  Our 6-year-old son was playing at their house one time when they watched a monster movie.  He came home crying, and ever since he’s been scared about monsters in his room at bedtime.  He recently found out that the same movie is going to be shown every week for the next month, and he wants to see it again.   It frightened him so much the first time, and I think that would be a mistake.   Why would he even want to put himself through those fears again?

When children repeatedly view something that is scary, they make themselves less sensitive to it.  Your son probably wants to conquer his fear of this movie monster.  Some children recreate scary movies by talking out the frightening episodes over and over again.  This verbal repetition helps them feel in control of their fears.

It isn’t advisable to expose children to movies that will scare them.  They’ll have enough fears to conquer during childhood.  However, your child has already watched the movie, so it is already in his mind.  Because he wants to see it again, arrange to watch it with him.  During intermission or after the movie, talk about ways you might have saved yourselves from the monster.  Children enjoy imagining themselves slaying the feared monster and safely escaping.

Some children insist on checking their rooms for lurking monster before they feel safe enough to get into bed.  If your son requests this kind of search, help him and reassure him that he is safe.  He might want to ring a loud bell in his room to chase away potential monsters.  This represents another way to take charge of the environment.

No matter how absurd your son’s fears might seem to you, refrain from ridicule or laughing.  He needs to express his fears in order to control them.  If he feels ashamed of his fears, he might keep them secret.  Consequently, the fears could become more intense.  Help him discuss with you his fears and figure out ways to help him cope with what he’s afraid of.

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How to Have Power over Scary Movies   is  a post on  Modern Parenting Tips: Styles & Approach to Train & Discipline Children

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