bad dreams and irrational fears

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from lemonmelon. Show lemonmelon's posts

    bad dreams and irrational fears

    For the past 2 nights, my daughter has woken up screaming in the middle of the night because she dreamed there was a hermit crab in her bed. These are real nightmares, not just bids for attention -- she was drenched in sweat and her little heart was hammering. And she's become fearful of the wall next to her bed. At one point we were reading a library book and the light from her lamp reflected onto the wall and totally freaked her out, so now she doesn't like that book, reflected light, or the wall. She sleeps as far to the edge of her bed as she can to get away from the wall. There are other weird fears that I can't recall at the moment, but my previously independent and adventurous kid has suddenly turned clingy and fearful. I assume it's just a normal part of the transition from baby to kid, but how does one deal with it? I try to strike a balance between acknowledging her fears and not encouraging them, but I'm not sure if it's working because she's still afraid of random stuff. Not scary stuff either. Weird stuff. There's no way to tell what will seem scary to her.
     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: bad dreams and irrational fears

    Gosh, that's too bad, lemon.  Have you asked her to specifically describe what is scary about the common objects?  If she can verbalize what is scary about the wall it might give you more ideas as to how to diffuse it...not sure.
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from lemonmelon. Show lemonmelon's posts

    Re: bad dreams and irrational fears

    She's got a pretty good vocabulary for her age, but she's not really at the point where she can get into complex or subtle explanations. I think she hears and understands us, but can't voice things herself. So if we ask her what bothers her about the wall, for instance, she usually just gets more worked up and says, "I no like it! I scared. No reflection. Cmere. Cmere." and crawls into our arms. It's pitiful.
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from poppy609. Show poppy609's posts

    Re: bad dreams and irrational fears

    How sad!  :(  Poor baby Lemon.  I hope she outgrows it soon. 

    I actually *clearly* remember when I was about 3 I used to have nightmares that there were venus flytraps all over my bedroom floor, and I'd scream and scream.  I don't think my mom could do anything for me except comfort me when it happened.  I just outgrew it, but am not sure how long it took.

    It's hard because it sounds like it's all different things she's afraid of, whereas if it was one or two consistent things, you could develop a "spray" to get rid of it (like a "monster repellant" or something like that, which has worked for some of my friends).

    I'm sorry - I don't have any real advice to offer, just my sympathies.  If it makes you feel any better, it probably means she has a wonderful imagination - a great quality to have, except when it's scaring the beejeesus out of you (which mine still can do to me if I'm not careful).  I hope some parents of older kids can help with suggestions...
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: bad dreams and irrational fears

    Oh, that sounds so frustrating for everyone.  What about asking specific questions when she's not in a panic?  Go to a non-threatening wall and ask the wall, "Wall, do you move?"  "Wall, do you fall?"  "Wall, do you yell?" and have her help you answer for the walls.  Ask her if she has any questions for the wall.  Then, move to the scary wall and do the same procedure.  Maybe the difference between them will be revealed if she's talking about it without adrenaline in the way.

    I'm grasping, I know, but I'm not sure what else you can do.  Obviously, since the fear is irrational, there's no way to fix the problem without illiciting what she thinks the problem is.  But, how...if all she can say is that she's scared of the wall I think your hands are tied and you'll have to just do what you're doing until she outgrows it.
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from KAM2007. Show KAM2007's posts

    Re: bad dreams and irrational fears

    Lemon-sorry to hear you DD is going through this!

    I'm prepared to do Poppy's suggestion of the "potion" (aka water) in different colored water bottles to help repel certain scary stuff. We haven't had to use it, but DS definitely like to take things into his control.

    For the things he's been afraid of we play with it. like the shadows on the wall, at first he was scared, but then one day I darkened his room-not too dark, but enough to get a shadow. I then took a flash light and made shadow puppets on the wall-dogs, aligators, etc. and showed DS how to make them too. Now he loves to make shadows on his wall and actually is pretty funny to watch when he's in bed at night and sees the reflection.

    Maybe creating a situation where DD can take control of the situation will help?

    What has also helped is when I show DS I'm scared about something small (like a lion on TV, or loud sound), DS immediately comes to comfort me. Again, I think he feels better when he has some control over the situation.
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from lemonmelon. Show lemonmelon's posts

    Re: bad dreams and irrational fears

    I like these suggestions! Thanks, ladies. She has this cheetah picture on her wall that she talks to -- he can get her to do things I can't -- so maybe I'll enlist his help too.

    Now tell me, isn't THAT scarier than light reflecting off a library book? But she loves him.
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: bad dreams and irrational fears

    Yes, maybe (um, yeah, scary! LOL) Mr. Cheetah can have a conversation with her about what is scary about the wall.  Is he on the scary one?  That'd be purrrrrfect.  Sorry, couldn't resist. :)
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from ALF72. Show ALF72's posts

    Re: bad dreams and irrational fears

    The only thing I can suggest is not to get mad at her when she does it.  I had  nightmare about ants and all things creepy crawly when I was little. The only things I remember about it was that it happened at my family's summer house and that my dad went ballistic that I woke everyone up by screaming, crying and being hysterical.  As long as you don't get upset at her, I don't think you can have any 'wrong' reaction to this.  GL!
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from KAM2007. Show KAM2007's posts

    Re: bad dreams and irrational fears

    A very dignified looking cheeta! Maybe all you need is an eye patch to capture that same magic? How many therapy bills would that create: When ever I got upset/scared my mother put on an eye patch and prentended she was a cheeta...
     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from Lostgrouse. Show Lostgrouse's posts

    Re: bad dreams and irrational fears

    Crazy cheeta!  Sorry little Lemon is going through this.  I don't have much to add other than maybe another stuffed animal on her bed?  DD has a little stuffed animal army which helps to ward off anything bad... Oh and a fairy wand.  
     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from canukgrl. Show canukgrl's posts

    Re: bad dreams and irrational fears

    Lemon - I have no words of advice, but it is totally normal.  My DD was/is having similar stuff happeneing and when DH mentioned it to some Dads of slightly older kids who were over playing this winter, they all say "oh, yeah... we had that happened too, it sucked"

    Sweet dreams little Lemon!
     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from lemonmelon. Show lemonmelon's posts

    Re: bad dreams and irrational fears

    In Response to Re: bad dreams and irrational fears:
    [QUOTE]A very dignified looking cheeta! Maybe all you need is an eye patch to capture that same magic? How many therapy bills would that create: When ever I got upset/scared my mother put on an eye patch and prentended she was a cheeta...
    Posted by KAM2007[/QUOTE]


    hahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!
     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from lemonmelon. Show lemonmelon's posts

    Re: bad dreams and irrational fears

    Alf -- my husband and I were talking about nightmares last night and we both had terrible ANT nightmares too! Several of my friends around the same age also had antmares. I am convinced it can all be traced back to a mid-day airing of THEM on TV one summer. I clearly remember a camper getting torn apart by pincers.
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from beniceboston. Show beniceboston's posts

    Re: bad dreams and irrational fears

    I still have bad dreams and wake up afraid

    Can you put something on that wall? I don't know if this would help, (and it's only on my mind because we have some and I'm not sure what to do with them) what about those glow in the dark stars - could you stick some on the wall? Or would that freak her out even more?
     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from lemonmelon. Show lemonmelon's posts

    Re: bad dreams and irrational fears

    I asked her about that, and we sat at the computer and looked through a bunch of pictures -- some I'd drawn and others on etsy -- and she chose an inscrutable beaver. We put it on the wall together and she was really happy about it, but when it was time for bed she got really  upset again and said, "no beaver, mommy. no scrutable beaver. I no like it." and I had to move it. But beavers are kind of weird -- they have those teeth. Maybe a wall decal of flowers? Rainbows? I don't know. The mind of the child is complex and mysterious.

    I am also not sure how to deal with the midnight wakeups. Of course I don't get mad at her (although I'm not totally psyched about it either). What she wants is to get into bed with me and snuggle until she feels better, so that's what I've been doing. But she doesn't want to sleep there, so she usually stays for about 10-20 minutes and then starts kicking off the covers and saying, "nope nope" and I ask her if she wants to go back to bed and she says yes. But then she's asleep and I'm awake. I want to be asleep too. All night.


     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from RedFishBlueFish. Show RedFishBlueFish's posts

    Re: bad dreams and irrational fears

    For a (not serious) different perspective:

    http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2011/02/scariest-story.html

     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: bad dreams and irrational fears

    Aside from drugging her (kidding!) I don't know - I do appreciate (and need, actually, so I don't get migraines) my sleep so I understand.  Sadly, I have no advice. :(
     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from ALF72. Show ALF72's posts

    Re: bad dreams and irrational fears

    what about a magical blanket that makes you invisible?  One of my sisters got a new blanket for a gift that she proceeded to cut a perfectly square hole in.  When my mom found it, she freaked out and said why did you do this?  My sister said it was the monster hole and she could see monsters when she was under the blankie, but they couldn't see her.  It's worth a shot.  Worst case scenario, you have a blanket w/ a hole in it. :-) I think she still has has her blankie. She will be 34 next week.  lol. 
     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: bad dreams and irrational fears

    That is hilarious!  And, it worked?!  Kids are strange little creatures.
     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from clc51510. Show clc51510's posts

    Re: bad dreams and irrational fears

    My mother told us growing up that a reflection on the wall was one of Santa's elves coming to make sure we were behaving so they could update the naughty and nice list.... well it worked!  We were very well behaved when a light reflection was around.  And the best part, she could create them with her jewelry when she knew we needed a little reminding.  It took me until I was way too old to figure out what she was doing : )

    ETA: Could a new night-light help with this problem?  Maybe she could pick out one that she liked and it could help fight off bad dreams?  Or you could find a story about a dream catcher and make one together.  Sounds like a nice little weekend project and it could catch all of her bad dreams.
     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from lissafro. Show lissafro's posts

    Re: bad dreams and irrational fears

    All these suggestions sound great.  I especially like the one about asking what the wall does and seeing if that gives you a better idea about what's going on so you can somehow combat this.
    Our daughter has had a few bouts with night terrors but those are different.  She's still asleep and although she's shrieking and flailing against some horror, she's not awake.  I just have to hold her and rock her and quietly murmur "it's ok, Mummy's here.  mummy's here, I'm here, you're ok, mummy's here" and then she eventually wakes up and murmurs "good night.  go away, mummy" and I put her back in bed.  One night she murmured "mummy's here.  Daddy's in bed! " with a smile and a snuggle that indicated those two things meant all was right with the world.  It says a lot about who is in charge of things when the child is sick or hungry or awake for any reason haha.
     
  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from lemonmelon. Show lemonmelon's posts

    Re: bad dreams and irrational fears

    Yeah, daddy tried to help last night but she kept screaming until she was in my arms. He's got a lot of skills -- fort building, supergirl flying, foot-on-foot stepping -- but when it comes to bad dreams or hurt fingers, it's all about mommy.
     
  24. You have chosen to ignore posts from luckinlife. Show luckinlife's posts

    Re: bad dreams and irrational fears

    Oh I, too, am sorry for the little lemon.  Very normal part of development though.

    Maybe she will feeling better knowing that I will have nightmares about the one-eyed cheetah.  Argh!

    Or, perhaps, Weissbluth is a big fat lie and what we all really need is our patched cheetah friend on the walls.
     
  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from medfordcc. Show medfordcc's posts

    Re: bad dreams and irrational fears

    Poor bitty thing.
    I really like the idea of talking to the walls during the day.  I also like the idea of getting/making a dreamcatcher.
    Another thing I used to have was called a worry doll.  You told it your worries before bed and then you didn't have to worry any more.  It was tiny, like an inch big.  I was a little older, though.
    The other thing, and we are not at this stage yet with our LO so I have *no idea* what I'm talking about, but I have read that since kids that age have trouble articulating (as you mentioned) it can help to restate their fears for them.  So I think it would be something like "You don't like that wall.  You think that wall is scary!  You don't want to be with the wall.  But it's okay because _____."  (Filling in whatever reason it's okay, e.g. because a one-eyed cheetah/beaver combo will protect her from the wall...?)
     

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