Most children love cartoons and movies about scary creatures: witches, ghosts, werewolves, but even more they love to share scary stories with each other. Every parent remembers the days of his childhood, when children’s folklore about a coffin on wheels, a red glove, a black-black city was popular. Why are horror stories so popular among preschoolers and schoolchildren?
Where do scarecrows come from
All stories about a coffin on wheels and a black sheet were born from ancient Russian fairy tales and legends about Baba Yaga, Koshchei the Immortal and the Serpent Gorynych. In addition to these characters, in ancient tales there were often separate cycles of stories about the risen dead, devils, sorcerers and other demonic forces.
Gradually, the stories were modernized. In the days of the USSR, horror stories for children were told in pioneer camps, in dachas, in sanatoriums. The stories absorbed the spirit of the era, so they constantly mentioned the realities of their time: policemen instead of soldiers, children’s camps instead of churches or a terrible forest, cars instead of carts, robots, radios. Even the latest gadgets are mentioned in modern horror stories: players, smartphones, TVs, laptops.
Why are children attracted to scary stories?
Psychologists say that horror stories are a special kind of oral folklore, thanks to which the child comes face to face with real problems and fears. No wonder ordinary children become the main characters of horror stories.
The plots of horror stories are easy to remember, which helps them to quickly pass from one child to another. The plot is based on a simple structure: the creation of a ban or warning – violation of the ban – punishment. Scary stories are an original way to show children that they need to obey in order to avoid problems.
Why are children attracted to such stories?
Interest in horror stories is associated with:
- biochemical processes in the child’s body, when dopamine, norepinephrine and endorphins are produced – the hormones of “courage”, pleasure and endurance;
- the desire to overcome their fears;
- desire to increase self-esteem (as a storyteller or as a daredevil who did not show fear of a terrible story);
- the desire for friendly unity, provoked by a common fear;
- desire for emotional release.
What are the benefits of scary stories?
Despite the fears of parents, experts believe that horror stories do not carry any danger. The popularity of this kind of folklore is due to the fact that creepy stories have a positive effect on the formation and development of the child’s psyche.
There are many useful features of horror stories:
- Scary stories teach children to obey their parents and not violate serious prohibitions (an analogy with the rules of the type do not turn on the radio, do not buy a black piano, do not wear red gloves). In horror stories, if a warning is not followed, punishment always follows.
- Creepy stories allow children to express their own imagination. The child develops creatively. He can invent horror stories on his own or tell them emotionally, imitating the actors.
- With the help of scary stories, the child learns to overcome, work out his fears, including the fear of death, loneliness, darkness.
- A good storyteller of horror stories is respected in the children’s team and this gives many children the opportunity to prove themselves.
How to introduce children to horror stories
The child encounters the first scary stories at the age of 4-5 years. However, everyone perceives them differently. Someone listens with interest, and someone is afraid, noticeably worried, closes his ears.
There are several important rules for how to correctly introduce children to horror stories and how to minimize the consequences if the child is very impressionable.
- assess the emotional state of the child, interrupting the story at particularly traumatic places;
- help to cope with fear: draw characters, discuss characters and their actions, compose your own horror stories, come up with alternative happy endings;
- allow the child to choose the stories he wants to hear, for example, with the help of E. Uspensky’s book “Red Hand, Black Sheet, Green Fingers” or G. Naumenko “Long Finger”;
- encourage and support the child if he is very afraid.
Scary stories are a great way to take a break from boring days at kindergarten or school. The horror story genre is popular with children of all ages. The task of moms and dads is to teach children to overcome fears, and terrible stories will help to do this. The main thing is to provide children with support and explain what is the difference between reality and a fictional situation.