Nightmares and What to Do about Them
Guide to Nightmares
With the escalation of recent events in the Middle East, families are inevitably affected by the war, whether directly or indirectly. Our children are no exception. Even young kids, with their natural antennaes tuned to detect the slightest variation in their routine, are alerted by the climate they sense around them, and the serious tone of family discussions. The fact that much of the news may be beyond their grasp or understanding can be instrumental in creating a climate of fear and insecurity. This can surface in the form of nightmares or night terrors, particularly if your child has loved ones on the front lines.
Here is a set of guidelines for emergency use following a nightmare. To make it easy to use, I repeat some material in each section. Now would be a good time to read the first section on general principles for dealing with nightmares to get an overview. When your child has (or you have) a nightmare, turn to the section dealing with the nightmare in question for immediate help. Each section is independent so you don’t have to continually refer to the beginning.
If your child’s nightmare is not specifically described, locate the nearest equivalent. If nothing seems to fit, read the section on chase or attack dreams. (If you had the nightmare, think of the comments as referring to the child-in-you.)
Here are specific nightmares that are discussed individually:
- Chase or attack
- House on fire
- Vehicle out of control
- Injury or death
- Being paralyzed or stuck
- Great water: tidal wave, flood, drowning
- Being lost
Note: When a child awakens during the night, parents must first of all determine whether the situation is a night terror or a nightmare. Read about the differences now to be better prepared when the time comes.
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