Leaning Towards Fear


Lately, Ben has been wanting to be scared, and scary. This morning, I stumbled onto Neil Gaiman’s Official Website for Young Readers, called MouseCircus.com. There are a couple of stories there that I think Ben may be interested in reading, and getting himself all freaked out about in the process.

I am not one to enjoy being afraid. If I see a scary movie, I tend to think of all the ways the scary stuff could potentially happen to me. This morning I looked up “Why We Love to be Scared,” on the LiveScience website, and learned something about the brain and fear.

If the brain knows there is no risk of really being harmed, it experiences this adrenaline rush as enjoyable, Rudd explained. The key to enjoying such thrills lies in knowing how to properly gauge the risk of harm.

“Young children may overestimate the risk of harm and experience true ‘fear.’ When that happens you see the child cling to a parent and cry, convinced there’s a very real chance of harm,” Rudd told LiveScience. On the other hand, “adults may well scream but quickly follow it with a laugh since they readily recognize there’s no chance for real harm.”

It may just be that I have a very childlike response to scary stories. The article went on to talk about the brain’s ability to categorize events as threatening or not, and the part of the brain that is seeking a thrill, or something out of the ordinary, within limits.

As Ben is edging on his Tween years, I’m thinking that this might just be a very normal part of development. I don’t want to be left behind because I’m a scaredy-cat or a woos. I can handle suspense, and thrill, and who-done-it, or mystery. I can even handle the Harry Potter series, with evil sorcerers lurking around every corner. I want to be nerve-wracked, a little bit. I just don’t want to leap out of my skin.

So, anyway, I’m thinking that I ought to give Ben the chance to read something that is age appropriate, and just frightening enough to get his blood pumping. And if he can handle that without trying to turn on his little brother and me and fill our heads with scary stuff, we’ll see about letting him test his limits. I think that’s what it’s about mostly – a desire to see if he’s man enough to handle being afraid. Like a self-imposed Coming of Age deal. He’s almost ten. I’m going to see how many Neil Gaiman books I can find at the Library.

Do you have a favorite scary story? Is there one that you remember with a thrill? I just don’t want to have nightmares. I’m such a baby.

3 thoughts on “Leaning Towards Fear

  1. My son is 12 now, but has always handled books that I would consider too scary (Lord of the Rings comes to mind) much better than I would or his sisters do. They have no wish to read ‘gory’ books but he loves them and is not affected in the slightest by them. We’re all so different, aren’t we?!

    1. I tend to be a bit of a worrier. Ben also goes blazing off bike jumps that I would never consider. So – he’s a lot more daring than I am.

      Thanks for stopping by!

Leave a Reply