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Dealing with nightmares - my mothers way versus my way

(18 Posts)
Piffle Fri 23-Feb-07 16:20:50

Dd is 4 and ahs always been an excellent sleeper and easy to resettle if she awakes for any reasons.
About 2 mths ago she had a nightmare, she woke up in a strange house
So we reassured her that when in her bed she was always safe and popped a glo light in her plug so she could recognise familiar things if she woke in the night.
No repeat of that. DD happy and content]

Last night
Woke up screaming about a spider in her bed
Now this has resonance for me as I had spider nightmares as a child. yes on CBeebies
I know dd saw a large spider on Our planet - magnified to show it's eyes etc
Dd handles spiders (unlike me total phobic but have not let her know)
So I reassure her that spiders cannot hurt you and that there was no spider in ehr bed and stroked her back to sleep.
Today she is ok and we've looked at all the spiders in the garden and she concurs they are not able to hurt her.

Now when I was 5 and I had this recurrent nightmare (I still get it btw) my mother stormed into my room and told me not to be so bloody stupid and shut the door again.

I think if she had handled it differently and reassured me, I may not be phobic

Whaddya reckon, she says for me to tough dd up
I think I dealt with it properly?

Piffle Fri 23-Feb-07 16:21:31

our planet - on cbeebies
scuse mad typing

harpsichordcarrier Fri 23-Feb-07 16:21:45

eeerrrrrr, your way obviously

saadia Fri 23-Feb-07 16:22:37

no contest, your way will give dd greater understanding. Telling a child to toughen up is utter nonsense.

Carmenere Fri 23-Feb-07 16:22:44

You did the right thing, defintely. If your dd was older and taking the piss maybe you could be a bit tougher but not at 4.

Piffle Fri 23-Feb-07 16:34:58

are some kids more prone to nightmares? is this an age where they start?
Ds never had any as a young boy he gets the odd bad dream now (he is big tough lad at 13 NOT) but nothing as hysterical as dd gets.

adath Sat 24-Feb-07 11:10:45

Nightmares often appear in children from about 3 onwards as the are develpoing vivid imaginations now.
Your way is the way to do it no contest there. You are going to her letting her know she is safe and that you are close by and that there is nothing to be afraid of.

nearlythree Sat 24-Feb-07 11:35:04

Of course your way is right.

I pary with dd1 for her angels to come and bring her good dreams, we expalin to them that she's frightened of the bad ones and would like them taken away. realsie this might not be your bag, but have also explained to dd1 (who is just five) that bad dreams are her brain trying to make sense of things whilst she is asleep. So now when she has a bad dream she says, 'it's just my brain mummy!' (but still needs the angel thing too!)

nearlythree Sat 24-Feb-07 11:35:33

That should be realise.

mummymagic Sat 24-Feb-07 12:01:44

I think its good to empower kids to DO something (eg turn on nightlight etc)/think something when they encounter scary things. So I definitely agree with your way!

I remember aged about 7 watching some Dr Who thing about scary cats and deciding that you could get rid of them by looking them in the eye and saying 'leave right now'. I knew I was making it up but it still calmed me. The brain is a marvellous thing, eh?

DeputyMacDawg Sat 24-Feb-07 12:04:52

Your way seems to be a really sensible way of dealing with it.
I had nightmares as a child (and still do sometimes), and I really wish my parents had dealt with them like you.
They were more in your mother's way of doing things, not very helpful

Justaboutmanaging Sun 25-Feb-07 12:45:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BandofMothers Sun 25-Feb-07 12:54:16

My dd1 is 3. She has a very overactive imagination and has nightmares quite often.
When she wakes up crying for me, I do what you did. Go in and stroke her hair tell her there are no spiders/bats in her room. She knows she can turn her lamp on if she wants.
I also used to tell her to go and have a picnic with Fifi and Bumble, orCatch butterflies with Charlie and Lola.
I figured it put a nice thought in her head just before she fell back asleep.
Always seemed to work well until last night, when I was told,"I can't go and see Fifi and Bumble, I have to stay in my bedroom and go back to sleep. I'm really tired."

mumof5boys Sun 25-Feb-07 15:25:53

Bit of a long shot, but my 14yr old son had really bad nightmare every night (when a lot younger) until one day we visited a place called groombridge, whilst there he made himself a dream catcher in a tipee tent, he never had another nightmare. When he reached 12 he wanted to remove the dream catcher, and he has been fine. I am convinced that because he beleived so strongly that it actually would catch his nightmares, he stopped having them. A case of mind over matter with him maybe

chel86 Mon 26-Feb-07 13:24:19

Your way is definitely the best - of course!

My DSD used to get nightmares all the time and wake screaming, which is horrible for them but also tiring for you!

My 3 yr old has just started having nightmares as well and this method has worked on my children plus 3 others of friends, but it might not suit you and your DD.

When they woke crying because they had a nightmare, I would go in, comfort and reassure them and then we would hit the pillow to get rid of the nightmares. Then they would soundly go back to sleep. After one night they would do it themselves and then they just fizzled out. Now, whenever they have a nightmare they will happily bash them out of their pillow and go back to sleep!

Tortington Mon 26-Feb-07 13:33:47

i think you handled it properly.

i also think that i could have been your mother - depending on the day, the stress, the child.

YohoAhoy Mon 26-Feb-07 14:14:44

I have to say this has really struck a chord with me, but for opposite reasons if you see what I mean.

I used to get terrible nightmares and was afraid of the dark as a child. my mum was lovely, and the times I ended up in bed with her - with dad going into my bed - are too numerous to count.In fact I was still going into her bed in my teens!

Now as a parent, I realise her way is not my ideal! I tend to forge a sort of middle way (!) with lots of cuddles and comfort, but am very strict on not joining them in their bed, or having them come into ours. Seems to have worked with ds who's now 7, and sleeps like a dream, and I'm just going through it with dd, who's 5.

I do get pangs of guilt sometimes, as I do remember it being lovely cuddling up to mum in bed, but ultimately I have to say it didn't do me any favours as I am still a nervous sleeper, still afraid of the dark, and still get bad nightmares!

I think the idea of talking things through and giving them reassurance and 'power' against the dream is the best thing.

Sorry, bit of a ramble really, but it's very fresh for me!

Piffle Mon 26-Feb-07 16:14:25

fiar enough custy but...
My mum was/is like that every day

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