Our 5-year-old daughter has been scared stiff of wolves for months. She even asks us to stop them from coming into her bedroom every night. — How can we reassure her?
Caroline Khanafer, psychologist. An animal at once fascinating and frightening, the wolf is part of the collective imagination. That he suddenly appears and that your daughter is going through a period of night-time fears is normal. She needs them in order to develop her personality and cope with aggressive impulses. Allow yourselves time to listen and observe before reacting. If you sweep away her fear before she’s been able to confront it, then it’ll simply go somewhere else. Listen to her, play a game with her to chase the wolf out of her room, put a night light at her bedside, but avoid letting her come into your bed. That would only confirm that there was a danger. She will eventually construct a reassuring theory for herself. If she repeatedly has nightmares and mentions being scared at other times than bedtime, then ask her about her feelings. Something upsetting may have happened in her day-to-day life.