Guest Author - Theresa Espinoza
The question to rather or not children should be allowed to read horror stories is one that has been asked by many parents. There is no simple yes or no answer as all children are different. The age and impressionability of the child should be taken into consideration in determining if that child is ready to read horror stories.
Some horror stories are quite intense and can be frightening to a child that is not mature enough to realize that what happens in the story is just fiction. Too early of an introduction to horror stories could easily account for a child’s fear of having monsters under the bed or in the closet. Then you have some children, regardless of age, that are so impressionable that they have a hard time defining fact from fiction.
The book, Monster Under the Bed, has been around for a long time. While a great many children have enjoyed this book for years, some children spent many nights fighting going to bed because they were sure that there really were monsters under the bed. Children are all different and what scares one might not scare a dozen more. The type of stories that read either to or by children should be based on each individual child.
If a child is afraid of the dark, it is a pretty safe bet that horror stories are not a good choice for them to read. After all, look how many things happen to people in the dark in the stories. There are many different types of books to choose from and a child should never be forced to hear or read something that would frighten them.
Other children will revel in the stories of vampires, werewolves and other supernatural beings. The Goosebumps series is an excellent set of books for most pre-teens and teens. Other series such as the Harry Potter series and the Animorphs are entertaining without being overly scary. Most children are familiar with ghosts, Frankenstein, vampires, and werewolves because of Halloween.
These are good characters to choose for first time stories for children. Since children already are familiar with the fact that these characters are pretend, they will know that the stories they are hearing or reading are also pretend. Any book that is given or read to a child should always be age-appropriate. Always read the book beforehand so that you know exactly what is in the book.
There are some things to watch out for in the books children read, for example, demon possession or black magic would not good choices. Suggestive or explicit behavior should never be in a book given to children. A good way to introduce children to horror stories to find some with a great deal of humor in them. If the child is not frightened by these books, then it would be alright to let them read more serious horror.
The most important thing to remember is that reading should be fun. There are many different genres of books available to suit all different kinds of readers. A child should never be forced to read horror stories just because others enjoy them. Make reading an enjoyable past time for you and your children.