Thursday, July 29, 2010

Fear of the Dark

My son is not afraid of the dark. In fact, one of his favorite activities is to go into a dark room and shut the door behind him. He laughs when he's alone in the dark with the door closed.

My husband finds this odd. ALL children are afraid of the dark, he says. It's genetic, he says. We agreed to disagree, because it's very obvious that Zane isn't scared, at least, of the darkness. If genes do play a role, then Zane gets his fearlessness from me. But I don't believe that specific fears are genetic; I think that they are learned. Things happen to us as children that make us fear the dark.

I'm not afraid of the dark, either. It's what might be IN the darkness that scares me. Always has, but Zane doesn't know about any of that yet. He doesn't know the rules about closet doors always being closed and not ever looking under the bed at night. I don't even know that he will ever need to know those rules, either.

There are things in the world that are much scarier than darkness, and I don't have to tell any adult that because they already know. That line about looking into the abyss? Too many of us have already seen what's in there and we are scared. We don't want our children to know about that place, but they usually find it even with our best intentions.

Soon enough, Zane will be afraid of of something in this world, since fear is a hardwired survival response. He hasn't even been exposed to clowns, for example. *shudder*

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