If your child has a recurring dream (a scary one in this case) a couple times a week for more than a few weeks (a month) is it:

  • Something of a phase that will go away by itself.
  • A sign there's something you need to talk about with your child (being anxious).
  • Too much milk/cheese before bedtime (my mom's theory)
  • Fill in your own theory here.

I'm not concerned with dealing with any one specific instance, with comforting and putting back to bed, but rather whether it warrants some further action during the day or before bedtime or if not bringing it up is better.

In this case it's apparently a pretty sparse dream about being chased. Sometimes before bedtime there's a fear of the dream recurring. Other dreams seem to end with or become this dream, so it's as though a memory triggers it.

asked 13 Nov '09, 10:43

dlamblin's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

I had very similar dreams when I was about 4. They eventually went away. My parents thought it was related to the stress of a remarriage, but I am not convinced.

Interesting that you talk about triggers. In my case, there were two parts with the first part triggering the second part. There was a trigger for the first part, and it is hard to explain it other than saying it was a feeling, kind of like when someone with epilepsy says they can smell burnt toast, but I eventually learned to notice that trigger and either change positions or get up. Once every couple years I still sense the trigger, but no recurrence of the dream in a very long time.

I know that sounds weird but it is the absolute truth.


answered 13 Nov '09, 11:38

Scott's gravatar image

Scott ♦♦
accept rate: 10%

Yes, it sounds like you're saying you still experience the trigger as an adult, but that the recurring dream itself is gone. That does sound weird yes, but I assume it doesn't bother you anymore, so that's somewhat reassuring.

(14 Nov '09, 02:18) dlamblin

@dlamblin: It has been a while, and no problem anymore.

(14 Nov '09, 03:02) Scott ♦♦

I had recurring dreams as a child, and if there was an underlying issue causing them I still have no idea what it was.

My daughters both have occasional spells of scary dreams, on the same theme, although I've never thought of them as recurring before. What we tend to do is discuss any issues we think might be causing a problem during the day, well before bedtime, so that it isn't becoming a delaying tactic, or bringing the thoughts to the forefront of the brain shortly before sleep.

One daughter used be terrified our house would be bombed by planes, she never watches the news or anything but we are under the flight paths for two nearby US air bases. We discussed the fact that the UK is not in conflict with any country with the capabilities to send bomber planes. Unfortunately, being obsessively honest and logical people, we couldn't assure her that this could never happen, so it took a while before she got over it. I think in the end she just stopped worrying about that issue and started obsessing about getting a dog instead.

I think recurring dreams are about things that worry us, but everyone has worries, even small children, and you can't completely eliminate that from their lives. All you can do is reassure and comfort.


answered 13 Nov '09, 14:12

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Meg Stephenson
accept rate: 7%

Although you didn't mention your childs age I would suggest working through it if he/she is at an age where they are able to discuss there feelings with you eloquently.

Like Scott, reading your post made me think about recurring dreams I've had, and what has triggered them. In one recurring dream I am driving in a car and my feet have great difficulty reaching the pedals. The car dream is very old, and I can recall having this dream when I was much much younger, (even before becoming a driver). I think its a form of frustration that triggers that particular dream. Another version is always missing a flight or a train, when I know I need to be somewhere at a certain time or I have a deadline.

I think the dreams could be a sign that there is an issue that is perhaps worrying/disturbing or just merely occupying his/her thoughts. I wouldn't know what would be the correct way of working through something like this, but I would certainly try talking about the dream without making him/her feel uncomfortable. I would ask questions about things that he/she has been thinking about and try to empathise. I know that looking at things from my daughters perspective really changes how I see things from my point of view.

I have seen how discussing some dreams, listening to details of other dreams and sometimes sharing my own dreams has helped my daughter see that dreams can be really varied.


answered 13 Nov '09, 14:13

Emi's gravatar image

accept rate: 19%

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Asked: 13 Nov '09, 10:43

Seen: 3,550 times

Last updated: 13 Nov '09, 14:13