I'm hoping for some tips oh wise mumsnetters. Back story is my Mum is disabled and lives down the same road as me.
Between Christmas and NYE, my Mum was burgled while she was sleeping. She is ok and the local police/support team have been very helpful.
My 9 year old daughter knows that my Mum was burgled. She knows that her Nanny was asleep when it happened and three nights ago she had a nightmare which she wouldn't talk to me about (other than tell me she had a really scary dream)
Walking home from school today, she went very quiet and asked me how to forget a bad dream. I told that maybe the first thing to do would be to share the bad dream so we could then talk it out. She started sobbing and told me that she dreamt that my Mum came to our house and as my daughter went to close the door, a man's hand appeared and then forced his way in and killed my daughter.
She then went on to tell me that that's why she has been sleeping in her sister's bed since (twin sister-and they often climb in to each other's bed so I hadn't clocked this behaviour) She also said that that's why she feels scared when there is a knock at the door and she is worried when Nanny is here with us and not her Dad.
I've reassured her that she is safe; we lock our doors, we have a dog etc but is there anything else I can do to help her get past this or is it just a matter of time?
I think maybe time. Its still very raw for her.
In all honesty I think if my Mum/Nana was burgled in the night I would have nightmares about it. So I sympathise with your daughter.
Talking about it will help. Don't dismiss what she is saying. Saying "but look, you are safe because we do x, y and z" is not going to help her if she doesn't feel safe.
How is your Mum coping? If she's a solid and together as you seem to be then maybe get your Mum to talk to DD about ways that she feels safe - what the police have done to keep her safe, what changes she has made to feel safe, in what ways they make her feel safe.
Don't have the chat with your Mum is she is still nervy though, it could make your DD worse.
Talk to your daughter about things she/you could do that would help her to feel safe. Empower her to tell you, rather than you telling her. Make suggestions, but have it as a two-way conversation.
Talk about the way the mind works aswell. That horrible thoughts are called intrusive and that rather than get rid of them, most people try to block them out by distraction. Teach her some distraction techniques. Give her a million different things she could think about if these thoughts enter her mind (name foods beginning with C, how many different colours can you name, recite your times tables, think about the time when X, Y, Z happened)
- Acknowledge her fears as real
- Empathise and be sympathetic that she is scared.
- Help her verbalise and be reminded in what ways she is safe
- Tell her that the thoughts can just be ignored. Blanked out.
- Teach her how to distract herself
Then, just give her some time.
Thank you FATE Your reponse is exactly what I'd spent hours hunting around the t'internet for. The intrusive thoughts & techniques to distract will be particularly helpful I think.
Just to note, I'm really not that solid & together about it all-I was trying not to waffle on in my OP!
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