It can be fun—and enlightening—to look back at the things we feared as children. Some of our fears seem laughable. Others give us insight into our adult angst and proclivities.
Personally, I was afraid of the Abominable Snowman and kudzu. I’m still kudzu-phobic. If you’re not familiar with kudzu, it’s the vine that has taken over the southeast.
Writing about Childhood Fears of Fictional Monsters
When I was too afraid to go to bed for fear that the Abominable Snowman would break into my grandparents’ house, I was too young to distinguish fantasy from reality. My dad and grandpa convinced me that he couldn’t get through window screens. Even though I felt personally safe, I was alarmed for kids without such super-protection.
When writing about childhood fears, think back. Did you fear monsters from TV and movies? Did you watch horror shows? Were you easily scared? Did you see the scary shows with your family or did you sneak to watch them?
Most, if not all of us, were afraid of the dark, afraid of being abandoned, and afraid of death. Many children are afraid of heights, spiders, cramped spaces, and snakes. For some of us, those fears resonated far more than for others. Did you have a fear that lingered?
When writing about childhood fears, include your understanding of why these fears griped you. Did you ever come to understand their origin? Do you see that same fear in your children?
Writing about Childhood Fears of New Challenges
Were you a perfectionist child that loathed taking on new challenges unless you were sure you would excel at it? Did you have a fall or a bee sting that made you think twice before you leapt?
Childhood Fears of Real Monsters
Luckily, I never came across any human monsters during my childhood. That wasn’t the case for many of my current neighbors who grew up here in Oakland County, Michigan. Though their lives weren’t personally touched by the Oakland County Child Killer, they say he stole their innocence. They had a very real fear of going out to play in the backyard. They learned at a very young age that life could change—or end—in an instant.
Were there any instances of violence in your area that affected your childhood? How? What changed?
Miscellaneous Childhood Fears
Sometimes the odd fears we had make entertaining stories. Though I can’t explain my fear of kudzu, I can spin an entertaining yarn about my sister’s fear of sock monkeys.