Just this past week we've been introduced to a new emotion to George. Fear. Multiple times, we've seen him run away from dark parts of our house shouting "monkeys, monkeys!" Of course it's cute and we kind of laugh, but it's also kind of sad to think that his imagination has developed to the point where he can be afraid of something that his brain created. The only other time I've really seen George scared was when I was making different "funny" faces at him, and I made one where I pull my eyes down, nose up, and the corners of my mouth out. I remember learning this face from my friend Jeff in 2nd grade. It's been a stunner ever since.
George was not a fan. He showed visible signs of distress and started to cry. Not sure It was the face, I did it again and BINGO - we have a scary face. Other than that - I really haven't seen George that scared of things. Not that he won't be, I just don't think the fear instinct has really matured in his little brain yet.
This experience also is in the line with a snippet I caught on Neatorama today. The article describes a practice of Japanese parents using a traditional monster to startle their children into obedience. It sounds totally horrifying - but of course as a parent I can relate to the sentiment of being willing to do almost anything to get your kid to listen to you. We (Americans) don't really have a traditional folk monster like the Namahage - so maybe I'd have to dress up like Jason or Freddy. I can't imagine doing that when I put it in that context.
All this talk of fear reminds me a lot of the book I've been reading (thanks Dawn!), Free Range Kids, which goes into great depths to discuss the culture of fear we're living in, and that is pushed on us so we'll consume, or feel guilt for not/doing a, b, or c. I haven't finished it yet, but I plan on talking about it at length later.
Which brings me to you - reader. What are your experiences with your child's fear? When did you first notice that they were becoming afraid of things? What were they? Do you think there are positive aspects of fear that you can teach your children with out causing them to be too timid?