Fear Of Monsters: Types, Causes, Treatments

The fear of monsters or terafobia , is extremely common in preschoolers. It generally decreases during the early elementary school years and is very rare when a child reaches middle school. In teens and adults, fear of monsters is a rare but potentially life-limiting phobia.


There are different types:

Small children

The fears are a normal and healthy part of child development. They help children learn to understand the world around them and develop coping skills that will last a lifetime. For this reason, phobias are generally not diagnosed in children under the age of 18, unless they last longer than six months.

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In children, the fear of monsters often takes a nonspecific form. Instead of fearing Frankenstein, Dracula or Godzilla, the child is afraid that “a monster” lives under his bed or in his closet.

However, asking the child to draw a picture of the monster can give clues to an environmental trigger. Some pictures resemble a television cartoon character, a kidnapper who appeared on the evening news, or even a neighbor that neighborhood children call “creepy.” In these cases, limiting the child’s exposure can help reduce fear.

Treatment in children

Some parents use “monster spray” to help their children fight this fear. Consider using a spray bottle – empty, partially filled with colored water or an aromatherapy spray – in a nightly ritual.

Spray the closet, under the bed, and anywhere else your child thinks the monster may be hiding. Make sure not to use anything that could be harmful to the child or that damages fabrics or paint.

Encourage calming bedtime routines to calm your child’s nerves. A hot bath, a glass of water, and a bedtime story promote relaxation and a soothing sleep environment.

If the child is afraid of the dark, consider providing a night light. Sleeping with the family pet can also provide a sense of protection.

Reward “brave” behavior. Some children thrive on the attention their fears draw, so refocus your attention. Provide a short “monster check” (and a sprinkling ritual, if you like) and then leave the room.

Use stickers or other markers to record the nights the child stays in bed all night without calling you into your room. When a week’s worth of stickers has been collected, allow the child to exchange them for a favorite treat, such as a trip to the park or a batch of cookies.

Never laugh at the child’s fear, use fear as a threat to deter misbehavior or belittle him for being afraid. Show respect and sensitivity for her feelings while assuring her that everything will be okay.

Adolescents and Adults

In older children and adults, the fear of monsters tends to take a more specific form. Horror movies are responsible for many short-lived fears, especially if they are seen right before bed. These fears generally persist for only a few nights and are often alleviated by sleeping with a light on and pursuing mild distractions, such as watching the light, comic television. If the fear lasts for more than a few nights, it may be a sign of a true phobia.

A more persistent phobia of monsters may be rooted in religious or cultural fears. Fear can be generalized or it can be of a specific type of creature, such as vampires, zombies, or ghosts.

The fear of witchcraft is sometimes related to the fear of monsters. These phobias are often based on a mix of superstitions, urban legends, and religious teachings.

For many people, knowledge is power. Studying ancient and modern myths about dreaded monsters, particularly the science behind the legends, is often enough to curb the slightest fears. For more intense phobias, professional assistance may be required.

An untreated monster phobia can get worse over time. Social isolation is a possibility, particularly for teens, whose friends may view fear as childish or ridiculous.

Many teenagers thrive on legendary journeys, in which they go out in groups to confront nearby urban legends; Horror movie marathons are a staple of teen nightlife. Children who are afraid to participate run the risk of being teased and rejected.

Treatment for adults and adolescents

Fortunately, like all phobias, monster phobia responds well to a variety of treatments. Because they are often based on other fears, it is important to decide what your main goals of therapy are. Do you think you can be hurt by a monster? Are you worried about evil entities? Do you just want to be able to enjoy horror movies and Halloween events with your friends? Are you worried that your child may pick up on your fears?

The answers to these and other questions will help guide your choice of treatment. For example, if your fear of monsters is rooted in your religious or spiritual beliefs, your therapist might suggest spiritual counseling with your religious leader instead of, or in addition to, traditional therapeutic techniques.

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Hello, how are you? My name is Georgia Tarrant, and I am a clinical psychologist. In everyday life, professional obligations seem to predominate over our personal life. It's as if work takes up more and more of the time we'd love to devote to our love life, our family, or even a moment of leisure.