My 3 year-old son started talking about a monster in his closet every night before bed. I’d say the mindless thing that parents say, “There’s no such thing as monsters. Go to bed.”
Then my son started sleeping in my daughter’s room with her. One night my husband and I were putting them to bed. My son mentioned the monster in his closet. My husband jumps up, “What? There’s a monster in your closet?” Then he grabbed a foam bat and ran in my son’s room. From the safety of my dauther’s room, we heard my husband say, “What are you doing in here? Get out! Skiddaddle!” Then we hear a few swats of the foam bat. “Now GO! GO….” And we then hear him yell like he’s calling after him, “…and don’t you ever come back!”
I was doubled over laughing. My son’s eyes were the size of saucers, and my wide-eyed daughter was nervously laughing. My husband walks back in, “He won’t be back. I saw him run way past the last house. He’s off to bother someone else.”
Later my husband says, “You can’t tell kids that there’s no such thing as monsters. To them they are real.”
There was no mention of monsters for a couple of weeks. Then apparently tonight my daughter asked, “Remember when you scared away that monster?” Then she proceeded to ask him a bunch of questions about what the monster looked like, and my husband proceeded to fabricate a bunch of answers. Then next thing I know, the kids are taking turns going in their closets with the foam bat to beat away monsters.
I asked my husband what he was doing and he said, “empowering our kids.”
I guess it is true, the first step to fixing a problem is admitting there is a problem. So although there weren’t monsters in my children’s closets, there were monsters in my children’s imaginations that had to be chased away.