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Kids And Monsters Under The Bed

rp_3363953427_ba6fe42f32_m.jpgMost parents and other people too have heard about little kids and seeing monsters under their beds or in their closets.  It seems like a baseless fear, doesn’t it?  It is not a baseless fear.  Recently I have noticed in my dimly lit bedroom that things are not necessarily what they seem to be especially when I wake up in the middle of the night.   I am also half asleep and easily confused. The things that I see (which I find out after I get my wits about me) are not what I thought they were.  After reviewing the area on sensation and perception in my general  psychology textbook for the course I was teaching, I found that the rods and cones in the retina that create the image that you will see.  Rods are more on the edges of your eye and they see less clearly and the image that they  produce is black and white..  They are very handy to have in dim light; but the sometimes blurry image they create in semidarkness doesn’t compare with the images we see in broad daylight when the cones are working and produce detailed and colorful images.

rp_300px-Anger_Controlls_Him.jpgNo wonder children are scared of the dark.  It can be a spooky place when you wake up in the middle of the night.  A nightlight only produces a little light or having the bedroom door open a crack does the same.  This is when mostly the rods are working and what a child sees is  black and white with vague contours.  This could be easily interpreted by a young child as a boogie man or a monster.  Yes,  you could use this misconception to make a child stay in bed.  It seems important that a parent should acknowledge that things look different at night just because it is dark.  We often ‘do not see familiar things the way they look when there is more light.

I have been studying mindfulness and pay more attention to what I see and hear before deciding what itembarassingquestions means to me.  It is difficult to slow down the brain’s processing of visual stimuli as we do this fairly quickly because there might be something dangerous out there which needs a quick response.  Is it no wonder children see monsters.  Also it is usually at night and little sounds we ignore during the day because their is so much stimulation become louder and often we don’t recognize them and know what is making them.  One of these things that I usually ignore is the sound of the ice maker working in my refrigerator  unless it is otherwise very quiet.  Could these noises be the sound of the monster moving around and getting into things.  Add to this. a  cat who doesn’t stay still and is wandering around getting into things.  Your child has a right to be fearful, to be offered an explanation, and to have some how to deal develop some plan to deal with these confusing sensations with your child.  Making fun of him or her will make it worse because now they think that they can tell nobody about but it still happens.  Also children who have been abused often consider the perpetrator to be a “monster”.  Someone they would have recognized in daylight that they don’t instantly recognize in the dark.   What they did to them scared them and possibly even hurt them so it could only have been done by a “monster.”

For example when I wake up in the middle of the night, I don’t always initially recognize the lumps and bumps that are made by my husband sleeping besides me.  Just think what this might cause people to do with post-traumatic stress syndrome who remain paranoid after being in dangerous situations especially where people might have died or been captured by gangs or enemy forces.and it could have been them.  Also a child might not recognize the relative or family guest who abuses them in the night for the same reasons.  They may get hurt, be scared, and know they are in danger but may be told by an adult that they were just seeing something that wasn’t there or had a nightmare.

rp_300px-Sweet-dreams-dreaming-of-snow-white-and-the-seven-dwarves.jpgOn a lighter note the night before last I thought that a Christmas tree skirt and a white artificial “snow blanket were laying on top of my covers.  I thought when I saw it that maybe I had left it out on top of the bed when I was cleaning the bedroom closet.  I tugged and tugged but it wouldn’t cooperate and I couldn’t pull them off and and put  them somewhere.  It was actually the corner of the king size comforter covering my bed.  I did eventually realize this and stopped trying to get it off my bed.  Was it partially because I still was in a dream state that caused me to create this story about a tree skirt when it was actually just the edge of my comforter.

Also people (and I assume children) can talk and move about or even thrash in their sleep.  Usually if woken up they don’t rp_300px-Mary_Cassatt_Young_Mother_Sewing.jpgknow what they were doing and also often their speech is not understandable.  Children and adults need a safe place to sleep so that they can get their needed 7 to 8 hours for adults and even more for children.  Don’t let it be a scarey place.  I was afraid to sleep in the dark as a kid and used to sleep with a light on and a pillow over my head.  I don’t feel that I would have needed to do these things if something had not happened to me to make me afraid of the dark..  I also usually did not have this problem if I was sleeping with someone in the same bed or in the same room.  Also children who have been abused often consider the perpetrator to be a “monster”.  Someone they would have recognized in daylight that they don’t instantly recognize in the dark and what they did to them scared them so it could only have been done by a “monster” not by somebody familiar.

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