April 19, 2012

when did the word "scary" become scary?

There comes a time in every parent's life when you can no longer say the word "scary" without your two-year-old son climbing into your lap, telling you he's scared.

Nah, I'm just kidding! I don't know what I'm talking about. :D While I doubt this happens to every parent, what I don't doubt is that my son becomes slightly afraid when I say something like, "I'm afraid I'll forget to turn in our library books," or "I'm scared I'll forget to do...". Just fill in the blanks with whatever the average person might forget. And since my examples both involve forgetfulness, you can bet I'm a very forgetful person!

My son just recently began saying he's scared or afraid when these two words are used in any context, and he doesn't do this with just me. He does this with all of our family and friends. If someone laughs loudly and suddenly, he claims to be startled by saying, "That scared me." I'm hoping this is a phase he'll grow out of since I don't want him to be afraid of everything, especially the word itself!

He is also now "killing the monsters" that purportedly live in his room. He grabs whatever "weapon" is available, whether it's his lightsaber, sword, various toy guns, etc., and proceeds to attack them--very noisily I might add. I read somewhere that if your child is afraid of monsters, rather than trying to convince your child there are no such things as monsters and that there's nothing to be afraid of, you should ask your child to describe what the monsters look like and then "attack" them with your child. I believe the author advised this strategy to conquer the fear instead of "discounting" it. If your child has this fear or any fear, rationalizing with them probably won't work. Fears aren't usually all that rational. Many times fearful thoughts are worse than what's actually coming up ahead.

I'll try to find the article and post a link for anyone who's interested!

It's interesting my son is already doing this himself. I must admit, I did tell him there are no monsters at first because it was my instinct to do so. We've talked about them many times, and I ask him questions to see if he will describe what they look like to him or not. Or I'll describe them myself and pretend I'm having a conversation with one, assuring my son they're friendly. This seems to be working, since he is now attacking them to keep himself and mommy safe! :D


  1. First of all, CUTE! With that said, I've lived in fear all my life. I kind of wish someone did something like fighting off monsters with me. Maybe I'd have more courage these days. Words can hold a lot of power even if print seems to be going out of style in some places. It's amazing what they can do.

    1. I know what you mean. I wish my parents had fought off monsters with me, too. My thought is our parents' generation probably didn't think of solutions like that. They were more apt to focus on what's real and what isn't. And print will never go out of style for me, even if it makes people call me outdated, lol! :D

  2. What a beautiful post, Jennifer. It's so good to know that you are so observant of what you child does and how he reacts. Perhaps he picked up the 'I'm scared' habit from your casual words. Not to fret though, since you are taking it so well.

    I too remember reading/ hearing something on the same lines regarding monster-handling. :p

    1. Thank you, Pragya! I think he did pick up the habit from what I said, but things are already getting better. :D One of the nice things about kids is that they go through phases that don't last forever, and I think this was one of those phases. Although, when my son was going through his "I feel the need to throw everything" when he was around 18 months old, that phase felt like it lasted forever! :)

      And now I've gotten the idea from Anthony's comment above that even we as adults could use something similar to monster fighting when dealing with our own fears. I think I'll try visualization to fight my fears with a lightsaber instead of actually using one, though, lol! :D


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