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- Violence in Media
My kid is terrified of a certain book in our home. What should I do?
Young children can develop strong emotional connections to characters. They also have very active imaginations.
Different things scare different kids; it's not always possible to predict what will frighten a particular kid. Remedies can vary, too. She may only need reassurance that she's safe, plus a hug and a favorite toy. Other kids may enjoy using their powers of imagination (with your participation) to conquer their fears (for example, your kid might conjure a big monster to come and take the scary book away forever). Or she may want you to read the book while she hides safely under the covers.
Also, your kid might be getting more exposure to scary media in general. Violence may start to be harder to ignore at this age, especially if kids watch cartoons or are in the room when the news is on. Since kids this age soak up everything they see and hear, they may be reacting to scary media by focusing on a scary book.
Try these tips:
Avoid potentially scary programming (including shows with emotional intensity, the separation of parents and kids, and parents and kids in peril), especially right before bedtime.
Avoid shows and movies in which characters use violence to resolve conflict -- but, if it comes up, talk about alternative ways characters could have solved a problem.
When kids do see something that scares them, they may miss a safe resolution because they're caught up in their fear. If that's the case, go back and highlight the positives.
As for that book, maybe hide it for a while. Out of sight, out of mind, right?