Day 363: How Do Kids Learn to Be Scared?

Today the little guy and I went to Disneyland again, which is always a fun experience. We had a great time with the people we went with, and enjoyed the shows and sites.

During his nap I went to check out a potential ride to take him on, to see if it might be too scary.  The ride was based on a haunted house, where a character and his monkey collected things from around the world and they come alive during the ride.  There are all sorts of effects and the ride is really fun – but I determined it might be a push to bring him on the ride.

It made me think, how do kids learn what to be scared of?  Like how would he know it is a “scary ride” if I don’t teach him that?  We were at the Lion King show today and one of kids with us was freaking out during it, apparently he was scared – but why?

I guess some of it is instinct, and the rest of it is learned.  He will also then have to overcome some fears that develop.  Like the first time the little guy gets bit by a dog, he will be scared of dogs until he overcomes that fear.  As parents we work so hard to show our kids the world and help them keep their “unblemished” view on things, but it is hard to keep that up.

So I guess we just go about things as normal.  I think it is best not to try to teach the little guy to be fear-free, but instead to teach him how to handle his fears without letting them control him.  This seems like the kind of lifelong gift a parent should strive to give their child.

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