Ask Dr. Deborah: Monsters in the Room


For parents, even simple tasks like putting your child to bed can become a challenge. One common issue that parents may have to face is how to deal with a child who fears imagined problems such as monsters. One mom recently sought advice for her 3 year old who was so terrified of monsters that he couldn’t sleep, or would wake up frightened several times during the night. There are many ways to help calm your child, and your method might need to be tailored to them specifically. But whatever method you use, make sure that your child sees you as a safe-haven and fortress that is there to protect them.

Dr. Deborah offers this advice to help communicate that you will always be a guardian to your child:

There are some things in this world – things like mean people, loud noises, big machines – that may scare you. And you can tell me stories about all the things that scare you if you like, but no matter what, we are here to protect you from all of that stuff so you can rest easy at night. Monsters are made up creatures that can even be fun to think about, but not at bedtime when you need to have calm, happy thoughts. But, if there were scary monsters out there, we’d protect you from them anyway.                                                                                                          – Deborah Groening-Rother, PsyD                                                                                                          Ask Dr. Deborah

We also recommend reading these monster themed books to help tackle this issue and to strengthen the parent-child bond through special reading time:


Book Recommendations

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak                              peek-a-boo Monsters by Charles Reasoner                                      Go Away Big Green Monsters by Ed Emberley

Do you have any parenting questions of your own? Connect with Dr. Deborah at the Mama Tent at Well Baby Center private Facebook Group and make sure to bookmark for when the parenting website and parenting advice chat room becomes available (this free service is currently in progress but coming soon).

Deborah Groening, MA , LMFT, PsyD                         Clinical Director, Well Baby Center 
Napa Infant-Parent Mental Health Training Fellow
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Supervisor
Certified Mindful Parenting Group Facilitator
Certified Reflective Parenting Group Facilitator