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Dad 'scolds monsters' under scared daughter’s bed, FIL says it's bad parenting.

Dad 'scolds monsters' under scared daughter’s bed, FIL says it's bad parenting.


Having your parenting questioned is pretty infuriating.

Family can be the worst offenders when in comes to judging how children are to be raised. One dad had found a cute way to comfort his daughter over her nighttime terrors. While he couldn't find a way to convince her there were no monsters under her bed, he did find a way to comfort her by showing that he could protect her.

This had been a successful technique for a while, until his in-law's came to stay. Now, he and his father-in-law are fighting over his strategy for helping his 4-year-old daughter have a full night of sweet dreams.

'AITA for scolding the monster under my daughter’s bed?'


My wife (54F) and I (40M) are the proud parents of “Mary” (4F).

Like most little kids, Mary is a little scared of the dark and believes there might be a monster under her bed. Whenever Mary has a nightmare, she makes her way from her room to ours, quietly wakes either me or my wife, and says the monster gave her bad dreams.

I then walk Mary back to her room, tuck her in again, and reassure her that the monster can’t hurt her. Just to prove it, I’ll lean down to peek under her bed and “scold” the monster for scaring her. My wife thinks it’s sweet and Mary feels safer.

Last weekend, my in-laws were in town and staying with us in the guest room (next to Mary’s). Mary had a nightmare and we did our typical pattern described above. Apparently my FIL (75M) heard me “scolding” the monster and stopped me in the hall as I was heading back to bed.

He told me Mary needs to learn “monsters aren’t real” and “it’s time Mary learned how to fight her own bad dreams.” I was so angry I marched past my FIL and told my wife what he’d said.

The next morning, before Mary got up, I told my FIL he had no right to tell me how to raise my daughter and my wife backed me up, saying MIL had done the same for her as a kid. FIL thinks we’re over-reacting, but I disagree. AITA?

Here is what parents had to say after reading the story:


NTA. Any parent knows that you enter into a child's fantasies if you want to get anywhere with them.

There's a wonderful line in a book about how a particular nanny used to beat the under-bed monsters with the fireplace poker. 'She could not convince the children not to believe in the monsters. The monsters were there. She could, however, get them to believe in the poker.'

When my kids were little, I collected every scary-looking stuffed animal I could find, from tigers and lobsters to Cthulhu. They were the Stuffy Army, and their job was to protect my kids from the monsters as soon as they got old enough to start worrying about monsters.

We set them out about the room before bedtime so they'd be on watch. Worked a treat -- no monsters ever bothered my kids at night.

You're a parent, and it sounds like you're a good one. You know what's best for your kid. Don't let your FIL talk you out of it.


NTA. Mary is four! She's allowed to ask her parents for protection against monsters and her parents are allowed to come up with sweet ways to make her feel safe. FIL had no reason to say anything.

BTW, how you're dealing with the monsters sounds really sweet (I might steal this idea when my little one gets to that age).


We used a combination of anti-monster spray (one of those scented sleep sprays with lavender, etc) and telling them that our cats hunt and eat monsters during the night. This was helped by the cats having night time zoomies and sleeping outside the kids rooms as if lying in wait for monsters.


It works I've done it with both my tiny spawn. They tend to not believe you if you say monsters don't exist. Made mine watch a few episodes of Doctor who and told them that they don't need to be scared of monsters because the doctor stops them.


NTA. You're being a awesome parent. Also: “it’s time Mary learned how to fight her own bad dreams.”

She's FOUR. We're expecting four year olds to be emotionally mature enough to figure out that nightmares are a natural thing? NO! Coddle the kid and make her feel safe in her own damn bedroom

What would you tell this dad? Any parents have creative tips for how to comfort their kid's nighttime fears?

Sources: Reddit
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