For all the mirth and merriment they’re known to bring to children of all ages, not every kid loves clowns. In fact, some children are downright terrified of them. So why is it that some kids go ga-ga over Bozo, and some don’t? We’re here to tackle the big issues in life, so fear not. Here are ten reasons kids might be afraid of clowns:
- Coulrophobia (you know it’s serious when it has its own phobia) is a fear of clowns or mimes, and can stem from the radically different appearance of clowns from those familiar faces that children draw comfort from. The unfamiliar is often frightening, especially to young children.
- Negative imagery associated with clowns in film and literature (Killer Klowns From Outer Space, or Pennywise from It by Stephen King, for instance) creates a genuine fear of all clowns.
- Obscuring of facial features is regarded as mysterious and menacing, and triggers a defense mechanism in many children. Much like masks, face painting can make children fearful.
- Clown makeup looks the same as a mask, which strikes fear in some children due to their inability to identify the person, to determine their intentions or emotional state. That is, they can’t tell whether the clown is friendly, mean, or otherwise.
- Similarly, exaggerated face paintings elicit extreme responses in kind, which will in many cases come in the form of fear or revulsion. Sad clowns and very happy clowns can both create feelings of intense anxiety.
- The slapstick comedy associated with clowns can frighten children, such as the physical nature of slapstick, like seltzer bottles, or the loud noises such as bicycle horns, etc. It is startling instead of surprising.
- Even real-life portrayals of clown are linked to evil deeds, ie John Wayne Gacy, who masqueraded as Pogo the Clown when he wasn’t working his main gig – as a serial killer. Hmm, life imitating art? Or vice versa?
- Jack-in-the-boxes are toys that are designed to startle a child (albeit with a musical accompaniment), by having a clown pop out of a box and into their terrified little faces. So how mysterious is this phobia, really?
- Children are taught to be afraid of strangers. So clowns, with their obscured facial features, are inherently strange to children, and so are looked upon with suspicion and fear.
- Some clowns, when in character, don’t speak. This can be disconcerting for a child, who would find that unusual, and make it more difficult for them to ascertain the clown’s intentions or actions.
Not all children fear clowns, but many do. Avoid situations that force children to remain around clowns and try to assure them that they are just people underneath all that makeup. Sometimes an explanation is more comforting than reassurance alone.Taken From Nanny Jobs