One topic that often doesn’t get discussed when talking about raising kids is how to deal with our children and their dreams. What does it mean when your child dreams about going on a wild adventure with his friends or has a nightmare about the world coming to an end?
Most parents rarely discuss the topic of dreams with their kids because it is something that we simply don’t know too much about. We already know that everyone dreams, but do those dreams have any meaning or are they simply thoughts in our heads?
When it comes to interpreting and understanding the dreams, most researchers are split on how to interpret dreams. Some people believe that dreams are a collection of our unconscious thoughts, feelings, desires, fears and emotions that are being reflected in the dream.
By interpreting specific symbols inside the dream, you can discover underlying clues to fears, anxieties, hopes, urges or aspirations that are within the dreamer.
Other psychologists believe that dreams are simply a matter of brain activity and have no meaning what at all. While it would be easy to brush our dreams off as simply a matter of brain activity when we sleep, most people can attest to having some pretty powerful dreams at some point in their lives.
When it comes to understanding what do dreams mean, unfortunately there is no universal handbook that you can read that will uncover the meaning of your dream. Dream interpretation, is by it’s nature, more of an art than a science and interpretations can vary wildly depending on who you talk to.
While there are dream dictionaries available online and many dream books that have been written, these dreams provide general interpretations, but cannot take into account the context of your life in determining the meaning of the dream.
If you believe that our dreams are a collection of our unconscious thoughts, feelings, desires, fears and emotions, then it would be logical to point out that most dreams that your child has are simply a reflection of their state of mind before bed.
Circumstances That Can Affect Your Child’s Dream
Most parents don’t realize that a child’s dream can often reflect circumstances in their lives. Since children do not have any control over things that have a big impact of their lives, their dreams will often reflect that lack of control.
1. Going through a Bitter Divorce
A child who is dealing with their family going through a bitter divorce is more likely to have troubled dreams than a child who is in a stable environment. Don’t be surprised if your child has a difficult time sleeping if there is a lot of trouble brewing in the home.
This is why it is important as a parent to protect your child from any arguments that you have with their father. No matter how much you may not like the father of your children, you should always try and avoid conflict when your children are involved.
2. Being Bullied at School
Sometimes a child’s dream may provide clues to things the root cause of the dream. If your child is being bullied or tormented in school, these things could have a big impact on their psychology and wellbeing. If your child is having a difficult time sleeping because of bad dreams, it is important to ask the right questions and try to find the root of the problem.
You should also realize that bad dreams are common among children, so you should never just assume something bad is happening to your child if they have a bad dream. These dreams happen to everyone.
3. Watching Scary Movies
Our children have huge imaginations that can often run wild if you give them a chance. This is why kids are afraid of the dark and worried about monsters that may be hidden inside of the closet. Because of these large imaginations, it is important that you shield your child from watching things that can cause problems when they sleep.
If you allow you child to watch a scary movie, there is a very good chance that they will end up having a nightmare about that movie.
While it is easy to get caught up in your own problems, it is important that you pay attention to what your child is watching. Is the stuff on TV good for their education and development or is it simply for entertainment?
Scary movies and cartoons are one of the biggest reasons why children have bad dreams at night. Filtering the content of what your child watches is something that every parent should do.
4. Bad News on TV
Another thing that could have an impact on your child’s dream is a natural disaster or terrorist events that occur. Because these events are covered all over the media, it is easy for a child to start fearing things that they see on the news.
While you are far more likely to get hit crossing the street by a car, then being killed in a terrorist attack, fear is a powerful emotion that can cause people to worry about things they have no control over.
If you are worried and anxious about something, there is a good chance that your child will pick up on that fear and start to worry also. Remember that you should lead by example. Whenever a bad event happens on the news you need to explain to your child that everything is fine and that bad things happen from time to time.
5. Other Reasons
These are just a few things that may affect your child’s dream, but the reality is that everything they do in their lives will have an impact on their dreams. Don’t get caught up trying to play the role of psychologist with your child. If you think there are some underlying issues that your child is experiencing that may be causing the dreams, take your child to a psychologist or doctor for professional advice.
Childrens’ Nightmares and Bad Dreams
Have you ever been woken up in the middle of the night because your child just had a nightmare? Nightmares and bad dreams are very common in children as they are growing and developing their minds.
Children who have big imaginations can often have nightmares that involve bad characters from movies, or TV shows that they watch. If your child is afraid of the dark and believes there is something hiding under the bed or the closet, that fear can be realized into their dreams.
What Should You Do When Your Child Has a Nightmare?
Whenever your child has a bad dream or a nightmare the first thing you should do is give them a big hug and kiss. Comforting them and tell them that dreams are a part of growing up. We all dream good things and bad things, whether we want to or not.
After you have calmed down your child, ask them to explain the content of their dream. Often talking about a bad dream and explaining to your child why it could never come true can remove some of the fear about the dream.
Once you learn about the dream you can see if there is a dream scenario that you can identify the dream to. For example, did your child dream about being chased (chase dream) or was there a natural disaster that happened? The subject of dream interpretation is not concrete, but there are common themes you can pick out from a dream.
An example of this would be if your child had a nightmare about being abandoned by you, it could indicate an internal fear that is unrealistic. By showing your child that this dream could never come true, that can help ease some of the tension that they experience.
Common Nightmares that Kids Have
There are some of the more common nightmares your kids might have.
1. Dangerous Animal Dreams
Dreaming about being attacked by a shark, snake, crocodile or bear is a common dream that many children have. Children can often use these animals to represent an internal fear of a bad person or situation that may happen in the future.
2. Abandonment Dreams
Dreaming about being abandoned is a common dream that many children experience at some point in their lives. These dreams are a reflection of an internal fear of being left alone or abandoned by the family. While these dreams are never based in a merit, that doesn’t stop the unconscious mind of a child from imagining the worst case scenario.
3. Monster Dreams
Given the wild imagination of a child, it is not surprising that children dream about monsters. Monster dreams are very common, especially for children who are afraid of the dark and fear the unknown. Sometimes monsters in a dream can represent bad feelings or emotions in the mind of the child that are being projected into the dream.
A child being bullied may dream about a monster that they cannot escape from, no matter how hard they try. Conversely, monster dreams could be a result from watching too many bad movies or reading scary books.
4. Getting Lost Dreams
Another common dream that children have is getting lost somewhere. Whether the child is in a store, park, building or city, the dream always ends up with them being lost and unable to find their family.
Sometimes these dreams reflect the child’s inner fear of being abandoned or lost in the real world, while others times the dreams could indicate a child that is
5. Kidnap Dreams
Dreaming about being taken or kidnapped is another nightmare that children will commonly have. These dreams may reflect a feeling of helplessness that the child feels in the waking circumstances. Perhaps the family is going through a bitter divorce or there is a lot of arguing and fighting in the home.
Conversely, maybe the child is starting a new environment and they are afraid of what may happen in the environment. Other times these are just inner fears that have no basis in reality.
6. Toys Coming to Live Dreams
Dreaming about a doll or toy that comes to life is another dream that is common among children. This was a particular nightmare that I had when I was a child after I watched the move “Chucky.” I can still remember dreaming about every doll wanting to kill me after seeing that movie.
Watching a movie or seeing cartoons with toys that are alive can often make the child dream of bizarre things like toys and dolls that are coming to life. These dreams aren’t necessarily always nightmares, but they certainly can turn into them.
7. Paralyzed Dreams
Nothing is more frightening than being stuck in a situation or environment and being unable to move out from it. You could imagine how your child must feel if they get stuck in quicksand or in a situation when they are unable to move.
8. Chase Dreams
One of the most common nightmares that children experience is being chased in a dream. Often the thing chasing the child is something that is either a monster or a bad person. If your child ever dreams about being chased, they will wake up in a panic and will need you to help calm them down.
These dreams are not only fearful for children, but they are also terrifying for adults. Being chased in a dream can indicate a number of things depending on the context of the dream.
How to Interpret Dreams Your Kid Has
When it comes to interpreting dreams it is important to understand that this field is extremely subjective. As I mentioned before, most people agree that dreams are a collection of our thoughts, feelings, emotions, and past experiences that are being projected. However, trying to find the meaning of a particular dream is a difficult task because it requires you to look at the individual circumstance of the dreamer.
There are many websites that offer dream interpretations and dream dictionaries that allow you to look up particular symbols in the dream and see what possible meanings these dream could be. However, when it comes to interpreting a child’s dream, you shouldn’t try to play the role of psychologist.
It is important to explain to your child that dreams are a natural part of life and that we all have good dreams and bad ones from time to time. Comfort your child and let them know how much you love them. As long as they feel safe and protected, that is the most important thing you can do if your child has an impactful dream.
As a parent it is important to understand that your children are experiencing dreams just like you do. Don’t be afraid to ask your child about their dreams and see what kind of topics they are dreaming about.
Did they dream about acing a test in school, being a professional basketball player, or even inventing something new? Dreams can often indicate how your child views himself in the world.
You may be able to learn something about your child by talking to them about their dreams. Dreaming is something that makes us humans so don’t be afraid to embrace it.
Please note* This is not professional advice. If your child has trouble sleeping or suffers from emotional issues, make sure you take them to a doctor or psychologist who can help you. I am not a professional and this dream is only an opinion.
- Check out DreamStop.com — one of the web’s more comprehensive dream website. Dreamstop.com has a huge dream dictionary you can check out which offers some DIY dream interpretation based on symbols in your dreams.
- Psychology Today has an article about how dreams can help you solve problems.
- Wikipedia’s Informative Article About Dream Interpretation
- Carl Jung (famous psychologist) take on Dreaming and Interpretation.