Clowns have mixed connotations for people in that they can represent fun and cheer, such as a circus clown, or frightful images like those in Stephen King’s "It." Currently, there is a national trend of people dressing as scary clowns and then participating in unsettling acts such as lurking near the edge of woods, roaming around glaring at people and even chasing children. Mostly these have been individuals trying to get a rise out of people, but some "clowns" have been covered in the media doing more distressing things such as luring children with gifts and physically assaulting others. These distressing acts have ignited a frenzy of youth becoming fearful of "creepy clowns."
Here are a few tips to help your children with these fears:
- Tip #1. Talk with kids about their feelings. Your children may feel anxious, confused or angry about negative clown images, and encouraging them to discuss their feelings and concerns can help them resolve their fears. If they are worried about potentially seeing a clown, reassure them that they are safe and that local authorities are committed to keeping their communities safe. Sometimes, younger children will worry that something will happen to them or to the people they care about, so it is important that they understand that adults are working hard to keep kids safe.
- Tip #2: Model a positive response. Kids often take their cues on how to respond to situations from the important adults in their life. If they sense your distress or fears, they can feel overwhelmed and anxious. Role model calmness and project security in order to help kids feel safe. Also, help them dispel any rumors they may be hearing about clowns at school or among their friends.
- Tip #3. Limit exposure to media. Monitoring or limiting exposure to the media coverage of these clowns can help kids manage their worry and anxiety. One way to monitor exposure is to watch the news with children so you can hear their thoughts and answer any of their questions. For older kids and teens, social media may play a larger role in how they interpret things, so teaching them how to limit their own exposure to the clown trend is important.
Make sure your children know that any time they do not feel safe they should immediately report to an adult in charge such as their teacher, and that they also need to tell you.