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Adult Fear

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"[When] you get past the age where you're capable of believing there's something carnivorous and hairy under the bed, you don't then lose your capacity for fear. The monsters go, and in their place, lucky you, you get to start imagining real calamities: losing your parents in a car wreck, becoming destitute, having someone you love turn on you, or doing something so shocking that the community ostracizes you."

Adult Fears are about the things mature, well-adjusted adults generally are concerned about, as opposed to supernatural, petty, or far-fetched fears: The safety of their children, the safety of their neighborhood, the fidelity of their spouse, the loyalty of their friends and coworkers, the health of themselves and their family, being able to pay their bills, etc. This list comprises tropes related to such fears.

  • Anger Born of Worry: Someone being relieved that someone is safe while also being angry that they put themselves in danger.
  • Axes at School: A student brings a weapon into a school, often with the intention of using it to hurt people.
  • Baby Be Mine: Kidnapping someone else's kid because something bad happened to your own.
  • Children Forced to Kill: Circumstances force a child into committing fatal violence.
  • Death of a Child: Stories dealing with child death.
  • Forced Miscarriage: Someone conspires to deliberately cause someone else to miscarry a pregnancy.
  • Growing Up Sucks: Becoming an adult means having to deal with the struggles and worries of adulthood.
  • Harmful to Minors: Children experience or witness potentially traumatic events.
  • I Have Your Wife: A villain kidnaps a character's loved one to coerce them.
  • Imperiled in Pregnancy: A pregnant woman is placed in some sort of danger; there will likely be some emphasis on the expectant mother fearing for her unborn child's wellbeing. Depending upon how far along she is, she may also be incapable of defending herself or escaping easily.
  • Invasion of the Baby Snatchers: Non-human villains whose schtick is abducting children.
  • Jobless Parent Drama: A parent loses their job and worries about how they'll provide for their child(ren).
  • Kid Amid the Chaos: A child trapped in the middle of some massive, chaotic event, common in disaster films.
  • Maternity Crisis: A woman goes into labor while some kind of calamity is taking place, potentially endangering her and her child.
  • Minor Living Alone: A child or underage teen is fending for themselves for some reason.
  • Missing Child: A child goes missing, with the possibility something horrible happened to them.
  • Mundanger: A mundane source of peril in a setting with notably supernatural elements.
  • Never a Runaway: A supposed "runaway" did not, in fact, run away, and therefore may be in a horrific situation.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: A parent must deal with their child predeceasing them.
  • Panicky Expectant Father: The father of an unborn baby starts freaking out during the birth; this is usually Played for Laughs, but can be presented more seriously, especially if there's legitimate reasons for the father to be worried about his partner and/or their child.
  • Paranoia Fuel: Something that makes adult audiences worry about if what happened in the work were to happen to them or those they care for.
  • Pregnant Hostage: A pregnant woman is taken as a hostage.
  • Realism-Induced Horror: An Audience Reaction where viewers find something especially horrifying because it can happen in Real Life.
  • The Runaway: A minor runs away from home, potentially causing worry for their parents; they may also have run away because of a bad home life.
  • Struggling Single Mother: A mother who struggles to provide for her child(ren) without support from the child(ren)'s father (who is either unwilling or unable to help).
  • Straying Baby: Watch out, unsupervised baby on the loose!
  • Tragic Stillbirth: An unborn child dies in the womb, causing distress for the family.
  • Troubled Child: A child has behavioral or psychological issues, often due to abuse, neglect or other trauma.
  • Troubled Teen: A teenager has behavioral or psychological issues, often due to abuse, neglect or other trauma.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: A child engages in behavior considered abnormal for their age.
  • Would Hurt a Child: An adult or teenager — usually a villain — who is prepared to harm a child.