- Family and Parenting
Let's explore why children have scary dreams and imaginary friends.
Many years ago, I remember my mom and I driving to somewhere, when I announced that my friend Cindy, imaginary friend, was moving to Hawaii. And then we never mentioned her again. Heavens, I donât remember when Cindy first showed up. But here I was teary eyed telling my mom that she was moving far away.
However, there was a price to be paid when she left. Now I had monsters chasing me in my dreams. Now this dream was a reoccurring one that I had when things were difficult for me to understand. Okay, I need to give you a little more description of this monster. How many of you remember the song about the one eyed, one horned purple people eater? Now you have an idea of my monster. Yes, I really do remember this I was terrified of this monster until I heard the song on the radio. Then I found out he ate guitars and cars, HA HA. For those who are old enough to remember this you probably can hear the song playing right now.
Now to answer the question, children do not process things the same as adults. No wonder children invent these friends, when they donât know how to deal with the anger or sadness or just the everyday anxieties of growing up. Stress of losing a family member or a pet, these are all things that could cause a child to create their friends. But not to worry, they do grow out of it.
If you want to help your child with imaginary friends - Check some of these books out.
University of Oregon and Washington have done studies on this. They have found that 65% of all children have had an imaginary friend by the time they are age 7 to 9. They also state that these children are very intelligent and creative.
So from friend to foe, we go to monsters chasing us and it becomes a reoccurring dream as we try to deal with whatever seems to be troubling us as a child. When monsters attack us in our sleep it is simply our sub-conscious mind busy sorting things out, and trying to make sense of everything we are trying to process
This can go on for years like it did for me. I remember waking up crying in my sleep, and my mom trying to calm me down. Why? I don't remember the dream anymore, but for years it was very real for me. All the way up to my teen years.
How strange this is, here recently I had that dream again. Whoa! Hey, this is not supposed to be happening to me now, I am an adult now. Well, it is true I have had that dream again and this time my boyfriend was waking me up. He said to me, are you okay honey? You were crying in your sleep. The stranger thing is that I heard myself whimpering, and when I woke up, I had tears streaming down my face. And of course then there are the times I will break out in a full gut grabbing laugh in the middle of my sleep. Okay, who's cracking the jokes, and don't you know I am trying to sleep? As if that matters, our minds are such a magnificent machine, and very powerful.
Did you know that you can talk yourself into being sick, and visa versa. Cool, huh? That brings me to the dream section of my article. As a child I was very close to my aunt and uncle. Going to see my cousins were the best weekends I remember as a child.
How Children Deal With Things.
...Such as DEATH. The sudden loss of a family member is a horrific stress for a child to deal with.
Children Do Not Deal With Things
In The Same Manner As An Adult
During the years of 1975 - 1977, my family had tragedy strike. Up until this time my Auntie Terry and Uncle Vern's home was like my second home. My Aunt had not been feeling well, and she had gone into the doctors after many tests. Not only to receive the dreadful news of having cancer but also to receive a surprising news that she was pregnant on top of everything.
I don't remember much of all the visits she had to make to the Doctors. But I do remember a few specific incidents that has left an impression on me. My Aunt, whom I swore was "Cher" from Sonny and Cher, had given birth to a beautiful baby girl. My youngest cousin, Janie. Then she had to undergo two surgeries. Removing both of her breasts, and the awful side effects from the chemotherapy.
This one day, I was in my cousins room and we were playing. My Aunt had called my cousin and I into her room. She had always been a very spiritual woman, so for her to talk about God was nothing unusual until she asked for her cigarettes. And I said, "But Auntie Terry, you don't smoke," she looked at me very seriously and said, " Yes I do, I have for years." I looked at my cousin and had no idea what to think. I went into the kitchen where my grandmother was feeding the baby.
I said to my grandmother that something was wrong with my Auntie. And she looked up at me over her glasses and said okay sweetheart now go sit down and I will get you lunch. What I did not know then is that her medication she was taking was very powerful and made her imagine things that were not true. I don't remember when my mom got there, but all of a sudden I saw my mom with my aunt. My Aunt was very week by this time, and I can't even begin to imagine the pain she was going through.
My Aunt had gotten up to use the restroom, next thing I heard was every grown up running towards the thud I just heard hit the floor. My mom and my uncle were trying to open the bathroom door, unable to move herself, my aunt was jarred behind the door. I remember hearing my aunt groan as they pushed on the door to get in. Everyone was concerned about my aunt. My cousin and I were crying as we did not know what to do, and to hear my aunt cry out in pain rang through my head.
Once the door was open enough for my mom or uncle to slide into the bathroom, they managed to get my aunt back to bed. My uncle was a truck driver and it was obviously taking a toll on him . I crawled up on my aunts bed with tears still in my eyes and asked her if she was alright. She told me not to cry, and that she was okay. I can't remember when or how she had gotten to the hospital, but she was there and we were hoping to take her home in the morning.
Then There Was The Dream
How I Dealt With The Grieving Process
That night when I went to bed and fell asleep I had the most beautiful dream. Vivid colors of white and the sun shining. In my dream we were at the cemetery. I hear my Aunt call me. And it was like magic that these stairs appeared next to the site where she was to be buried. But I was not afraid, I was very happy and calm. I walked down these stairs to see my Aunt in a beautiful white gown. She had no marks of any surgery and she was as happy as could be.
She bent down to me, and said see honey, " I told you I would be okay." At the time i had no idea what this all meant. I heard my cousins running in the back ground, when this beautiful Angel with all of his glory had held my hand and told me it was time to say good bye to my Aunt now, as it was time for him to take her home. I was a little puzzled at the time I stood there hugging my Aunt and smelling all the flowers and I could even smell the earth. I asked my Aunt if she would forget about us, and she said no honey I will not forget any of you. I said good, cause I will never forget you either.
Then, I woke up. I looked around and realized I was in my room and in my bed. My mom was in the kitchen making breakfast and I had something I wanted to tell her. But the phone rang at that very moment and it was my grandmother on the other end. I was bouncy even over the phone and my grandmother had asked for my mom. I asked my grandmother what was wrong, she told me it was nothing and that she needed to talk to my mom. As I handed the phone to my mom I said to her that my Auntie Terry was gone. I had no idea if my mom was listening to what I had just said, so I ran to my room.
She talked to my grandmother, and when she hung up the phone she tried to be strong and not let me see that she was upset. But all I could think to myself is that my Aunt was all better and as beautiful as ever. My mom was kinda surprised at my reaction. What I never said to anyone was that my friend Cindy had also been in my dream, and we had been racing to the staircase to say our final good byes to my Aunt but the angel was there and said she was with her father now and we would all be together some day. So Cindy and I skipped off frolicking threw the grass..
At the time I had no idea what had happened that night while I slept. Believing that my Aunt was .once again whole was what I needed to know in order to deal with Death. And that my aunt did not want us to be sad anymore. She was in a much better place, with the rest of our family.
My aunts birthday was in May and I still think she could be a dead ringer for "Cher"..Well at least in the mind of my younger self she was the famous singer. I know now as an adult that she was not the famous singer.
- Picture of Catherine Frias, James, Krystal taken by Sears Photography 1985
- Picture of girl pulling up blanket linked to article "How to Stop Nightmares from destroying you"
- Angel by the grave. provided by: www.bibleplus.org.
- Empty Hospital Bed courtesy of Healthcare Network
After chatting with my mom today, I found out that this is the second time now that my imaginary friend has come up. Is it a coincidence? Would love to read your stories about your friends or foes.