Saturday, June 25, 2022

The stay-at-home dad: The children live in fear

by TYLER WILSON/Coeur Voice contributor
| October 27, 2021 1:00 AM

Fear should be fun on Halloween. By the time Oct. 31 rolls around, however, I’m always burned out on dealing with the various fears of my children, most of which have nothing to do with ghouls and monsters.

My 4-year-old likes to talk about “scary” things as if they don’t really bother him, but at bedtime all those things become real threats.

The end result: Dad lays on the floor every night until he falls asleep. At least he lets me use his comfy Hot Wheels pillow.

My 4-year-old’s current fears:

• The dark (The big one. A night light never shines bright enough).

• His Ninja Turtle toys (loves them during the day; wants them locked in a closet by night).

• His Buzz Lightyear and Woody stuffies (Beloved toys again during the day, but remember the song… “When the road looks rough ahead, and you’re miles and miles from your nice warm bed. You just remember what your old pal said: I’m going to murder you in your sleep.” Or something like that).

• Super Grover “2.0” doll (It’s loud, I get it).

• Pictures on the wall drawn by his big brother (“Creepy eyes”).

• Pictures on the wall drawn by himself (“Super creepy eyes”).

• Dinosaurs (OK, so maybe he was too young to watch the “Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous” series on Netflix. In my defense, all the people get eaten offscreen).

Most of these have been issues for the past year or so, and it’s very possible we’re just in a phase that happens to many preschool-age kids. He’s my first kid out of four with a genuine fear of the dark though, so I don’t have much experience on the matter.

Meanwhile, my other kids have been remarkably consistent in their fears, with most of the following established at an early age and very little headway made going forward.

My 10-year-old daughter’s fears:

• Shots. She really doesn’t like them. I’ve got stories, and surely her file at the doctor’s office reads like that of Elaine Benes (“Difficult”).

• Seeing kids getting in trouble in movies and television shows (“It’s so awkward!”).

• Monsters, ghosts, zombies in movies, TV, books… all the things her 8-year-old brother enjoys and devilishly tells her about at every opportunity.

• Going to bed. Different from “the dark.” She just wants to be awake all day and night.

• Taking showers. Not really a fear. She just likes to be stinky, I guess. Puberty should be fun.

My 6-year-old daughter’s fears:

• Dogs, cats or really any animal in real life that comes within 10 feet. Her grandparents have animals, our neighbors have animals, etc. She. Doesn’t. Want. Them. Near. Her. Ironically, she’s the only one in the house without some kind of animal hair allergy.

• Not being heard. Classic middle child fear. She thinks she’s going to be ignored, so much so that she starts every sentence with “And also” as a way to convince people they are already supposed to be listening.

• Responsibility. Nothing is her fault, and how dare you suggest otherwise.

And finally, my 8-year-old son’s fears:


As his dad, I can’t think of anything more terrifying.

• • •

Tyler Wilson is a freelance writer and stay-at-home dad to four kids, ages 4-10. He is tired. He can be reached at

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