1. It could be that he really has “decided” to be scared for whatever reason he has made up. Still, to him, the fear is real. The best you can do is comfort him briefly; validate his feelings, “I can see that you are very scared of this;” and then have faith in him to deal with his fear. He will learn that his fear will pass. It is very empowering for children to learn that they can deal with the ups and downs of life. When parents rescue and pamper, children don’t have the opportunity to develop resilience and a sense of their own capability. If you pay too much attention to his fears (give them too much energy) that could lead to the next guess.
2. It could be that he has learned that being scared is a good way to get lots of “undue attention” from you. If this is the case, I would still give the same recommendations as above. You might add problem-solving by asking him for his ideas on how to deal with his fears.
Help your children find ways to handle situations when they are afraid. Help them explore several possibilities so they feel they have some choices. You might ask, “What would help you the most right now--a flashlight, a teddy bear, or a nightlight?” Telling them not to be afraid isn’t helpful; looking for solutions is.
Sometimes children’s fears are irrational and they can’t explain them. They may need your support and reassurance until the fear goes away.
Lisa’s mother made her a bowl of popcorn, and her father helped her carry in her stuffed animals and special quilt. He turned on all the lights at Lisa’s request and left the room as the movie began.