How do you teach a child the difference between imagination and reality? In particular, a child who has an overactive imagination that can be frightening for them?
Are there any good resources to share with the child, such as books, workbooks, etc. to help work through the fear and to help them realize when something is part of their imagination vs. something that is real.
As you may know I do not have children, but am very fascinated with the topic of good atheist parenting.
John D. Wow that's very fascinating. I like the idea of her knowing she always had protection and it's great she grew out of it.
You made a very interesting point in your last paragraph that even though she knew the difference it was a matter of controlling it. I wonder how we learn how to control our imagination, if we do it consciously such as recognizing "Oh this is my imagination", or if the emotional aspect of us finally listens to the logical side after repetition, or if it's a completely subconscious procress that has to do with growing up. I wonder if there's something that happens differently in the minds of people who have a hard time controlling their imagination vs. people who have an easier time of it, and perhaps that could provide the key to learning that skill.
You bring up a good point that films also play into it, and I totally agree with that. So many childrens' films can scare the crap out of children, especially ones from the 70's & 80's.
I hear you on the choice not to show Disney. Most of them have scary images. I remember being scared watching Fantasia at 4 years old.
Unfortunately, a lot of the children's stories today that have been made to not have scary elements tend to also be lacking in good storytelling. The films I watched as a kid were emotionally compelling and you really feel for the lead character(s). I would love to see a writer skilled enough to make very interesting plots for films without the scary images and scary concepts. It would need a hero/ine whom kids could look up to, feel emotionally attached to, and be rooting for them to overcome their obstacles.
I think it's so awesome that your plan worked and your children are not scared of monsters!
Every kid is different and what scares them is different. My son loves Godzilla and didn't used to be afraid of much. However, he went thru a phase last year where he was scared of neanderthals he thought were in my bedroom. He wouldn't walk past our bedroom door on his own without a huge fuss. We couldn't convince him there was nothing to worry about. So, Godzilla was fine. Army of Darkness was fine. A book about human evolution it turned out wasn't fine. He's never been scared of monsters under the bed. Neanderthals in my bedroom are still sometimes a problem. He's a little afraid of the dark, but he doesn't seem to have anything specific he thinks is going to happen. He was a bit concerned about Frankenstein (again from a book called Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich). And we told him that if Frankenstein ever shows up, to give him a cookie or ask me to make him a sandwich. That works sometimes too. I think they just need to be scared of some things and learn how to deal with that emotion. It's developmental. We don't want to scar them, but we also need them to learn how to deal with and control their emotions. Dealing with fear of monsters is a very safe way to learn that skill.