ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Common Nightmare Themes in Children

Updated on April 18, 2008
Photo: sknaBnoIA,Flickr
Photo: sknaBnoIA,Flickr
 

Understanding what's behind the themes or characters in your child's nightmares can help you address your child's fears about them. Here are some of the most common childhood dreams and nightmares according to dream expert Jane Teresa Anderson. Although all dreams will point to different circumstances in an individual life, the meanings behind these common themes are generally the same. You also may want to learn how to help your child create alternate endings to bad dreams.

Being Chased - This is supposedly the most common childhood nightmare. Kids are often chased by monsters, animals, or mean people. Even a force of nature or inanimate object may be after the child. In a chasing dream, the one being chased runs away or hides but cannot escape the chasing. Something chasing the child represents a fear that needs to be faced. The chaser cannot be escaped until it is faced. You need to figure out what the chaser represents in the child's life. Ask lots of questions about the character of the chaser and be open to notice similarities to waking life situations or people.

Drowning or Big Waves - A common nightmare involves a child at the beach (or anywhere) and is suddenly faced with a huge tidal wave or tsunami. As it approaches, she tries to run (and usually wakes). A variation is being out in deep water with the sense she could drown. Water in dreams can represent emotions and feelings. Big water equals big emotions. The water is an issue that has gotten too big for the dreamer. You can only suppress emotions for so long before they threaten to overwhelm you. Like the chaser in the dream above, the water needs to be faced head on. Look for a current troubling issue, but also help your child develop the language to describe complicated emotions so that they don't pile up on her.

Loss -It's common for kids to have nightmares about losing something, possibly including trying to find the object and failing. This dream is almost literal. The child has lost something. The trick is to figure out what the thing represents. If a child dreams of losing her stuffed animal that she needs in order to fall asleep, she's probably feeling insecure about something. Dreams about losing something she treasures like a sports trophy may point to a loss of self-value.

Abstract Dreams - I don't know about you, but for me the scariest dreams are sometimes those that don't seem to make any sense at all. It's the same for kids. Some nightmares don't have a story line. Common abstract dreams are a feeling of being crushed or suffocated picture in an enclosed space, a picture of swirling colors and a feeling of being unsteady or unstable. Again, you'll need to ask lots of questions about the content of the dream to try to tease out what it represents.

Read Help Children Recover From Nightmares to help your child create alternate endings to bad dreams.

Comments

Submit a Comment

  • Lela Davidson profile imageAUTHOR

    Lela Davidson 

    10 years ago from Bentonville, Arkansas

    It's interesting to learn the meaning behind the themes. I guess because kids have less life experience, their symbols are more literal.

    ElizabethW - I wonder that too, if some kids are just afraid of what might come after they fall asleep without remembering any dreams at all.

  • donnaleemason profile image

    donnaleemason 

    10 years ago from North Dakota, USA

    Good advice.

    Donna

  • profile image

    ElizabethW 

    10 years ago

    Great Hub- Good tips. My daughter doesn't remember having nightmares. She is often afraid to go to sleep at night. I think that she has scary dreams and anticipates the fear before she even falls asleep. I will ask her more questions now at bed time.

  • profile image

    Graceful Guardian 

    10 years ago

    Thank you for this hub,I know children have lots of nightmares and this is very helpful.

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)