25 Things That Terrified Us As Kids

Posted by , Updated on August 2, 2017

Everyone has fears. Fear is, to a point, good. It’s a natural instinct that keeps us safe, particularly when we’re smaller and much more helpless. While what scares tends to vary from culture to culture, there are some common fears that most children have at some point. What are these typical childhood fears? Check out these 25 Things That Terrified Us As Kids.


Fear of Having a Window Watcher

whoswatchingSource: https://www.anxioustoddlers.com

The fear that someone is watching us through the window at night is actually a really common fear for people between the ages of 12 and 18.



monstersSource: http://www.parents.com

Do you remember how active your imagination was as a child? Maybe it still is. It doesn’t take much to nudge it in a “There’s something under my bed that’s going to eat me, and I will be helpless” direction. We don’t always grow out of this fear as we grow up; we just transfer it to more realistic monsters we’re helpless against…like the IRS.


Going to the Doctors and/or Getting Shots

doctorSource: http://www.webmd.com

It’s not fun, and we weren’t old enough to process “This dude is poking on you and giving you painful injections to keep you healthy!” Some kids don’t mind the doctor, but for others it was absolutely terrifying.


Being Separated from Mom and Dad

Sad-Girl-Expression-Crying-Child-Little-FaceSource: http://www.livestrong.com

You might not be able to remember this, but separation anxiety is real. It happens to pretty much all of us at some age before 5. It’s a real and documented part of childhood development.



Bloody Mary

Drink-Bloody-Bloody-MarySource: https://www.anxioustoddlers.com

Or rather that she would really appear in the mirror if you were ever brave enough to say her name three times. As adults we believe in much better Bloody Marys…the kind with vodka.


Someone Sneaking into our Home While We Were Asleep

At-Night-Crowbar-Burglar-Window-Glove-FlashlightSource: http://cpancf.com

…and taking our favorite toy and cutting off that foot we left hanging out of the covers…if the monsters hadn’t gotten it first.


Fear of Various Animals

rottieSource: http://cpancf.com

A lot of us had animal fears as children. Dogs, cows, tigers, snakes, sharks in the swimming pool. Dogs in particular make sense. Imagine how you’d feel if someone had a Rottweiler as big as you.



carSource: https://www.mamapedia.com

Most tiny children are terrified of and/or very angry at cars. Just being in them. There’s so much screaming until they pass out exhausted. If they pass out. It’s also not uncommon for children between the ages of 3 and 6 to be afraid of cars in general.


Your Parents Liking Your Sibling More Than You

brothers-family-siblings-boysSource: http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2010/mar/29/playing-favorites/

Unfortunately, this isn’t an unfounded fear. Some parents do favor one child over the other, and it can really mess people up as adults. Thanks guys.


Fear of Failure

fail-f-failureSource: https://www.anxioustoddlers.com

Fear of failure, like several other fears on this list, can follow us into adulthood. Who didn’t stay awake at night worrying about a test, a sporting event, or a presentation in class? Or worse…disappointing your parents.


Whatever Was Living in the Basement When the Lights Went Out

EA_Poe_basement_PhillySource: http://www.focusonthefamily.com

If you had a basement, you know that you ran up the stairs like your life depended on it when the lights when out.



Insect-Worm-Bug-ArmadilloSource: http://diply.com/

Specifically bugs crawling in an ear or biting into us and laying eggs. It probably didn’t help that most of us had that one older cousin who made up horror stories to torment us.


That There Was Someone Evil Behind the Shower Curtain

showercurtainSource: http://www.blumhouse.com/

Don’t lie, you looked. Could there be a murderer or other nefarious person lurking behind the shower curtain? Someone waiting to catch us at our most vulnerable?


A Snake (or something) Crawling up out of the Toilet Bowl

Toilet_seat_upSource: http://www.thethings.com

Here is another one that’s not entirely unfounded. (Check out our list on 25 Common Myths That Are Actually True for more info!) However, this fear usually extended to believing that this would happen WHILE we were sitting on the toilet.


If You Ate the Seeds of a Watermelon (or any thing else), They Would Grow in Your Stomach

Red-WatermelonSource: https://familyshare.com

This one, thankfully, goes away with adulthood or basic knowledge of how germination works.


Roller Coasters and Amusement Park Rides

Park-Ride-Roller-Coaster-AmusementSource: https://www.anxioustoddlers.com

These fears all return when you grow up and see how carnivals are put together. There’s a sweet spot in your teens where carnival rides are fun; otherwise it’s all “DANGER.”


Whatever was under the Bed

itsamonsterSource: http://diply.com

You knew (and part of you still knows) that if you hang a foot off the edge, whatever’s down there will grab you, and you’ll never be seen again.



QuicksandwarningSource: http://www.dumpaday.com

Maybe it’s due to cartoons or too much Indiana Jones, but we all thought it would be a much bigger deal than it has been thus far.


Fear of Illness and Injury

broken armSource: https://www.anxioustoddlers.com

…and of whatever that is that hurts now. It isn’t just adults that are afraid of these things; kids are too. And unlike adults who have some general medical knowledge, kids are basically Web MD inside: IT MUST BE CANCER. Some of us never grow out of that.



Storm-Lightning-Storm-Lightning-Energy-ThunderSource: http://www.webmd.com

Storms are terrifying when you’re a child. Or a dog. Sometimes when you’re an adult because you fully understand what a natural disaster can do. Even from birth, most of us recognize on a primal level that if Mother Nature wants to stir stuff up, we’re completely at her mercy. And that’s beautiful and terrifying.


The Dark

DarknessSource: http://www.parents.com

Most children, and some adults, are afraid of the dark. It’s very common, and it boils down to a fear of the unknown. While for some people it may be associated with trauma in the past, it isn’t necessarily, it’s just…you can’t see what’s going on. Who’s there? What is that noise? It’s unnerving. Thankfully, there are some really neat night lights available.


Fear of Throwing Up

throwing upSource: https://www.anxioustoddlers.com

…specifically at school. Because feeling awful isn’t bad enough, throwing up at school is a million times worse. What if you don’t make it to the bathroom? What if you throw up in class? What if someone in the bathroom hears you?



waterSource: https://www.turnaroundanxiety.com/

Some children take to water like fish; others are terrified of it. Usually this can be addressed by working through it – talking, or easing them into it. The problem is that there’s always bigger water. Get a kid happy and safe in the pool, then take them to the beach, and it could start all over. And THEN they learn about sharks and stinging jellyfish and giant squid in school, solidifying the fear that there are actual monsters in the deep. To a point, we should all be afraid of really deep water…



stop drop and rollSource: https://www.turnaroundanxiety.com

We spend a lot of time talking to children about fire prevention. “Stop, drop, and roll” was presented to us like it was something we’d need in every day life. So kids being afraid of fire makes sense.



ClownforlaragiddingsSource: https://kallikids.com

The fear of clowns is actually really common in children; it sometimes follows into adulthood. Contrary to what many would believe, it did NOT start with Stephan King’s “It.” Coulrophobia (the fear of clowns and mimes) has more to do with the exaggerated face painting than any killer clowns in sewers.

Photo Credits: Feature Image: Jonathan Zegarra via flickr, CC BY 2.0 (photo cropped and black border added by editor), 25-23. publicdomainpictures.net (public domain), 22. max pixel (public domain), 21. max pixel (public domain), 20. max pixel (public domain), 19. pexels (public domain), 18. publicdomainpictures.net (public domain), 17. pexels (public domain), 16. publicdomainpictures.net (public domain), 15. wikimedia commons (public domain), 14. max pixel (public domain), 13. TJStamps via flickr, CC BY 2.0, 12. StilfehlerToilet seat upCC BY-SA 3.0, 11. max pixel (public domain), 10. max pixel (public domain), 9. Dennis Yang via flickrCC BY 2.0, 8. HughesdarrenQuicksandwarningCC BY-SA 4.0, 7. James Lee via flickrCC BY 2.0, 6. max pixel (public domain), 5. wikimedia commons (public domain), 4. Sunny Ripert via flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, 3. pixabay (public domain), 2. jber.jb.mil (public domain), 1. LaragiddingsofficialClownforlaragiddingsCC BY-SA 4.0

SEE ALSO: 25 Terrifying Dating App Stories That Are Actually True »


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