Around age 4, many children begin to develop dark and unsettling fears about things adults can’t always understand. And what they fail at explaining to us during the day doesn’t always just go away — it often pops up at night, in the form of nightmares about boogie men, vampires, shadows that chase them or creepy-crawly spiders and bugs that won’t leave them alone.
Of course, even these horrible dreams are a sign that our children are developing and acquiring normal and healthy anxieties about the world around them and things they can’t explain. Let’s face it: The universe can be a frightening and phenomenal place that brings stress upon the most put-together of adults, so why would we not expect our children to work out their emotions through the occasional bad dream?
Instead of cursing our children’s bad dreams and all the sleepless nights and nights spent in Mom and Dad’s bed that go hand-in-hand with them, we should start thinking of dreams as a priceless guide that give us insight into our little ones’ mental well-being. As Dr. Barbara Condron, an author who has been teaching dream recall, interpretation and lucidity through her association with the School of Metaphysics since 1975, explains, when equipped with the right tools and knowledge, parents can help their kids overcome their nightmares and the fears that create them.
Condron interprets what eight common nightmares mean and how we can help our children deal with their dreams and jitters.