ByKarly Rayner, writer at
Movie Pilot's celebrity savant
Karly Rayner

Something that unites nearly every one of us is a set of childhood fears that are eerily identical.

These primitive fears that are buried deep within us all were once key to our survival as a species, but are now mainly exploited by horror movie directors who want to push our tender, terrified buttons.

The familiar tropes that had us quivering under the bed sheets as tiny children are the same one's that are used to get us shrieking and showing our neighbors with popcorn at the cinema, but just why are we scared of them?

Lets look at how kids express the terror that eats away at them in the dark and find out.

1. The Dark

Image: Health Guidance

Children often develop a fear of the dark at pre-school age and it can seize them throughout their childhoods.

Kids are still learning how to distinguish fantasy from reality so the idea of the terrifying cartoon villain they saw on the TV this morning crouched in wait in the corner is all to real for them.

This is also why adults who have just been subjected to a terrifying horror flick might get a sudden and uncharacteristic burst of the heebie-jeebies when they have to walk through a dark room.

2. Monsters In the Closet

Image: Visual News

Monsters in the closet and fear of the dark go hand-in-hand when it come to childhood terrors. The black of night is where the overactive imagination of a child can run unhindered.

Kid's fear of unknown monsters is partly to do with the folktales and stories that children watch and learn at a young age to help teach them moral values. Just look at the terrifying villains in every Disney movie to see what I mean!

It is also simply due to their age, children are beginning to learn the concept that things in the world can harm them and this provokes an assortment of fears.

3. Parents Are Angry or Unhappy

Image: The Hoopla

Children are empathetic creatures and the thought of making their parents angry or upset at them is a deep seated fear for many kids.

Anyone who has dealt with a brood of unruly kids for a day and finally broken down into tears will be familiar with the shock and upset in their charges when they realize they have genuinely upset you.

4. Ghosts

Image: Viral Scape

Ghosts basically come under the same category as monsters, but with the added fear of knowing a lot of adults are scared of them too. Yay!

And yes, I realize the story above is sadly not genuine but the drawing is too good to miss out!

5. Family Break Ups

Image: Oddee

While divorce is often the best thing for the parents, and the child in the long run, the the break up of the family unit is a huge source of fear for children.

The concept that one parent has actively chosen to leave the secure unit is something that young children can neither make head nor tail of.

As they are unable to understand the nuances of an adult romantic relationship, children often end up blaming themselves for elements of the break up and this activates fears of inadequacy.

6. Animals Such as Dogs or Cats

Image: Heavy

Children who develop a fear of cats or dogs have not necessarily had a bad experience with them and most kids will grow out of these phobias.

Unfamiliarity and ignorance of animal behavior is generally the trigger. After all, how is a child meant to know an over enthusiastic dog that tries to lick his face isn't trying to devour him whole is he hasn't been taught?

7. Being Left Alone

Image: The Daily Mail

Children are not able to look after themselves independently so the fear of being left alone is very strong in almost every child who has had a stable upbringing.

8. Storms and Extreme Weather

Image: City Room

Unexplained loud noises are a huge trigger of fear in children, and extreme weather provides plenty of those to tremble over!

The fact that storms can actually be authentically dangerous and that the fear is sometimes enforced by the parents (if the kids lives in an area prone to hurricanes for example) doesn't help.

9. Serious Illness

Image: Transformation

Just like adults, as soon as children learn about serious illness through family members being affected, books or TV programs they become worried about how it could strike those who they love.

10. Snakes and Spiders

Image: Developing Minds

While snakes and spiders can be authentically dangerous in a lot of places around the world, most fear of these creepy crawlies is passed down from parents screaming blue murder at spiders in the bath.

When your mom who isn't even afraid of the monster under the bed is howling at a tiny creepy crawly, that thing has to be really scary, right?

11. Death

Image: Vice

Children are people too, after all.


Do you think adults and children share the same fears?


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