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Kids and nightmares.

 
 
DrewDad
 
Reply Sun 15 Nov, 2009 03:19 pm
Recently, Keetah (4) has been having nightmares.

The interesting thing to me, is that these nightmares aren't really "scary". No monsters. Nothing an adult would consider traumatic.

One nightmare she related is that she and Yaya are playing... but Yaya won't share.

Another is that she planted a garden, and a bird comes along and eats all of the seeds.

Are nightmares just age appropriate?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 4 • Views: 1,451 • Replies: 9
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rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Nov, 2009 04:04 pm
@DrewDad,
Dreams (and nightmares) are an expression of emotional thought constructed with the elements of daytime reality. So I do think they are age appropriate, or more specifically, experience limited. I wouldn't be surprised if children exposed to war attrocities would use those experiences to construct their nightmares.
shewolfnm
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Nov, 2009 04:14 pm
Age appropriate. I would agree.

She has only had 4 years of life to pull 'nightmares' from. So if her bad dream centers around a bird, it is only because there is not enough life experience for that scary thing to become something else.

One thing I learned from listening to Jillian talk about her dreams is that , at least for HER, they are not really... scary.. but amazing in how vivid they were and she was scared ( for lack of a better word) of how intense she remembered the dream and how strong her emotions were during the dream.

She says " I am not scared of a silly shirt. But i woke up because i was scared of it. Thats silly huh "
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DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Nov, 2009 05:30 pm
@rosborne979,
Dreams and nightmares are definitely limited by experience.

Yaya had nightmares after seeing Bolt. (The scene where the villain tries to give the heroine a shot. Not because the shot is poison, but because she'd recently been traumatized by getting four shots.)

I felt guilty for exposing her to that. Now I wonder if she would just have had nightmares about something else.
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Nov, 2009 06:15 pm
@DrewDad,
DrewDad wrote:
I felt guilty for exposing her to that. Now I wonder if she would just have had nightmares about something else.

I think if it weren't for the scene in Bolt, it would have been something else. The expression of fear in dreaming would take whatever form it had to work with. Take SheWolfnm's daughter's experience for example. It's odd that a shirt would be used to exemplify the expression of fear, but Jillian's mind obviously tagged it that way. It's possible that some other experience associated with the shirt was what her mind remembered and the shirt was just the associated image.

I've noticed that even when awake, events and thoughts are associated with each other automatically. For example, when watching a scene in a movie recently (a movie which I've seen many times), I was suddenly reminded of a time when I was walking down a street in San Francisco (many years ago). I can't say for certain, but there's a good chance that for whatever reason, I was thinking about that same movie scene as I walked down that street, and the common though linked the memory. It's like smells bringing back memories, except that it's not as visceral of a memory, just a cursory linkage that flashes an otherwise unrelated memory back in mind.

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Green Witch
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Nov, 2009 06:27 pm
@DrewDad,
You think that's bad? In the summer of 1968 my oldest brother was instructed to babysit little seven year old me one afternoon and he told me he would take me to the movies if I promised not to tell my parents. I pinky swore I would never tell thinking I was off to see Disney's Cinderella or something equally girly. Instead he took me to see The Plant of the Apes. For the next 3 years I would wake up screaming there were apes in my room, and because I pinky swore I could never tell my mother what prompted my nightmares.
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JPB
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Nov, 2009 07:41 pm
@DrewDad,
DrewDad wrote:

Are nightmares just age appropriate?


Very much so.

They usually begin in the late 3s and continue into 5. Some 4s get night terrors where they wake up screaming night after night.
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Nov, 2009 08:00 pm
@JPB,
Not the link I was looking for but it makes the point and includes a lengthy discussion.

Quote:
Both nightmares and night terrors are most common in children, beginning around the age of 4 years. They can be extremely frightening for a child, but are not usually a serious problem.


link
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Nov, 2009 10:01 am
@DrewDad,
I felt exactly the same way about letting sozlet watch "Walking with Dinosaurs" at a friend's house when she was 3 or so. She loved dinos and nature documentaries and stuff and her friend (same age) had watched it a million-bazillion times and loved it. I thought it would be more showing dinos and explaining them, less scary blood and death. She had "dinosaur dreams" (nightmares) for a couple of years (years) after that. Sigh.

But JPB's link seems to indicate that's a prime time for nightmares no matter what.

I do think there's a balance between not causing problems with age-inappropriate viewing (like Planet of the Apes -- poor little Green Witch!) (a friend of mine has a similar story about "Jaws" -- eek) and just accepting that there will be nightmares and we can't completely avoid that (like the shirt story -- cute).
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Nov, 2009 10:07 am
@sozobe,
I went to an outdoor showing of the original Psycho in Grant Park last summer. There were many kids there around the age of 3-5. There were many parents leaving with these kids in the middle of the movie. Others stayed. There's no way in hell I'd bring a 4 year old to watch Psycho or any other thriller/horror movie. I couldn't imagine what they were thinking.
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