how parents can help make scary movie watching easier on their kids

An article on MSNBC says that a new study suggests that parents who watch scary movies or TV shows with their children actually make the experience more frightening for their kids than if the children watched alone. Here are a list of suggestions from the author on how to ease your kids' fears:

  • Remain calm yourself and try to understand exactly what has made your child feel frightened and vulnerable. Try to figure out what they want from you.
  • Help them to focus on reminders that they are safe. If you can, determine the source of their fear. If it’s a story told by friends or a TV show, for example, you can tell them it’s not real and that someone is just trying to scare them. If the fear is the result of a real event, try to help the child past their fears: for example, if someone close has died and the child now fears being alone, explain that while it’s hard to lose someone but that the death doesn’t make the child more vulnerable himself.
  • Often a switch of focus can distract young children from what has frightened them. You can tell them a story or ask them questions about their day or remind them of other things that they find pleasurable such as their favorite song or a fun family vacation.
  • Tell them stories about when you have been brave and of children who have been brave.
  • Remember that fears are very real for children and they don’t have our ability to step back and evaluate. They depend on us to limit their exposure, to reassure them of their safety, even if what’s scared them seems silly to us and to help them calm down.
  • Remember, it may take only a few minutes and a few occasions to help your child get over fear.
Interestlingly, the easiest solution has been left off the list. Don't let your kids watch scary movies. Or you can try my method of making the experience so haunting that they never want to watch another scary movie again. Whenever I see they're sneaking some scary book or show, I hide in the bathtub and scream for help. They burst in only to find me gurgling up fake blood and whimpering, "the mirror ghost grabbed me. Don't look in the mirrors!" After that they cry in their rooms, too afraid to ever come out again. . . or watch a scary movie.

Posted via email from Chase Roper's posterous

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