Nightmares - thoughts, suggestions, or commiseration?

Nightmares - thoughts, suggestions, or commiseration?

Joined: January 19th, 2007, 7:18 pm

February 15th, 2012, 2:24 am #1

We've been having problems on & off with ds #1 waking up in the middle of the night hysterical. Lately, it's more often than not & dh ends up sleeping in his room.

We're not sure what to do. We don't want to end up in a situation where ds #1 starts to want & expect daddy to sleep with him, but OTOH, he's waking up hysterically scared, so we aren't going to ignore him. We do wait a little bit to see if he'll self-soothe & drop back to sleep but that's almost always not the case. Last night, dh waited even longer than normal, but no go.

Is there even a solution to this? Night lights have been a bust b/c they create shadows, which he's afraid of.

Will he just outgrow it?

On the plus side, a la the recent snoring thread, I'm sleeping better with dh otherwise occupied but I know long term it's not a good idea.



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Joined: July 23rd, 2008, 6:49 am

February 15th, 2012, 2:35 am #2

I do not know if this would work for a child but it might if they are old enough to be verbal. For adults, the prevention technique for nightmares is to say before bedtime, "I will not have bad dreams tonight." I have frequent nightmares as an adult and have all my life so I was interested in this and when I read it, I simply did not believe it. However, I can say from personal experience that it does work!

Again, I don't know if it would work on a child, but if he can talk, you might try it and make it part of his bedtime routine.

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Joined: January 19th, 2007, 7:18 pm

February 15th, 2012, 2:52 am #3

We did talk to him last evening about sleeping through the night, that daddy can't come in there every night, etc., but that sure didn't work! He still can't really articulate why he's scared. We're surmising it's from nightmares. He always complains about shadows & "shadows talking." It's usually around 1:00 or later, though, so it does come after he's fallen asleep just fine.

We're just kind of at a loss b/c we're not going to leave him alone in there when he's terrified. I mentioned one time in a recent post that I still remember my mom never letting me in bed with them when I was terrified. (She was then & still is rigidly anti-co-sleeping, a position I don't share. It just happened to work out fine for us & for our boys to have their own rooms.)

I have no real complaints about my parents, but I do still remember kneeling on her side many times, terrified. Then before too long she would take me back to bed. Ugh. She never stayed with me & I couldn't stay with her, & I was still scared from my dream. So needless to say, I feel kind of stuck here, as we won't leave our boys like that when they're scared.



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Joined: September 30th, 2007, 7:22 pm

February 15th, 2012, 2:54 am #4

We've been having problems on & off with ds #1 waking up in the middle of the night hysterical. Lately, it's more often than not & dh ends up sleeping in his room.

We're not sure what to do. We don't want to end up in a situation where ds #1 starts to want & expect daddy to sleep with him, but OTOH, he's waking up hysterically scared, so we aren't going to ignore him. We do wait a little bit to see if he'll self-soothe & drop back to sleep but that's almost always not the case. Last night, dh waited even longer than normal, but no go.

Is there even a solution to this? Night lights have been a bust b/c they create shadows, which he's afraid of.

Will he just outgrow it?

On the plus side, a la the recent snoring thread, I'm sleeping better with dh otherwise occupied but I know long term it's not a good idea.



When I was a little girl, probably a year older than your ds, I suffered from nightmares. My dad made me a little wooden creature called "no bad dream thing" - it sat next to my bed for years and really cured me.

I think it can be anything: a cardboard cutout or even a photo album filled with soothing dream images that you can look at before bed and tell his head to only dream of these nice things. Any kind of little shrine you can set up next to his bed, maybe with some ninja character in the middle that you declare "the bad dream fighter." you get the idea.



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Joined: July 23rd, 2008, 6:49 am

February 15th, 2012, 3:03 am #5

We did talk to him last evening about sleeping through the night, that daddy can't come in there every night, etc., but that sure didn't work! He still can't really articulate why he's scared. We're surmising it's from nightmares. He always complains about shadows & "shadows talking." It's usually around 1:00 or later, though, so it does come after he's fallen asleep just fine.

We're just kind of at a loss b/c we're not going to leave him alone in there when he's terrified. I mentioned one time in a recent post that I still remember my mom never letting me in bed with them when I was terrified. (She was then & still is rigidly anti-co-sleeping, a position I don't share. It just happened to work out fine for us & for our boys to have their own rooms.)

I have no real complaints about my parents, but I do still remember kneeling on her side many times, terrified. Then before too long she would take me back to bed. Ugh. She never stayed with me & I couldn't stay with her, & I was still scared from my dream. So needless to say, I feel kind of stuck here, as we won't leave our boys like that when they're scared.



I don't mean preparatory talking in an attempt to plan the night. I mean having him make mental suggestions to himself by simply making the statement "I will not have bad dreams tonight." That apparently sends the subconscious a message and it prevents nightmares. Again, I don't know if it works in children, but it works in adults and it works for me every time. Also if he's not really having bad dreams, then that won't work either, but it's worth a shot.

I agree that you definitely need to be there for him when he's frightened. I also think he will either grow out of it or learn how to self soothe back to sleep.

Last edited by biogal on February 15th, 2012, 3:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: July 23rd, 2008, 6:49 am

February 15th, 2012, 3:05 am #6

When I was a little girl, probably a year older than your ds, I suffered from nightmares. My dad made me a little wooden creature called "no bad dream thing" - it sat next to my bed for years and really cured me.

I think it can be anything: a cardboard cutout or even a photo album filled with soothing dream images that you can look at before bed and tell his head to only dream of these nice things. Any kind of little shrine you can set up next to his bed, maybe with some ninja character in the middle that you declare "the bad dream fighter." you get the idea.



Basically what your dad did was help you to make suggestions to yourself, in your case, in the positive (have good dreams) as well as in the negative (bad dream fighter). I think this is the same concept.

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Joined: September 30th, 2007, 7:22 pm

February 15th, 2012, 3:41 am #7

We've been having problems on & off with ds #1 waking up in the middle of the night hysterical. Lately, it's more often than not & dh ends up sleeping in his room.

We're not sure what to do. We don't want to end up in a situation where ds #1 starts to want & expect daddy to sleep with him, but OTOH, he's waking up hysterically scared, so we aren't going to ignore him. We do wait a little bit to see if he'll self-soothe & drop back to sleep but that's almost always not the case. Last night, dh waited even longer than normal, but no go.

Is there even a solution to this? Night lights have been a bust b/c they create shadows, which he's afraid of.

Will he just outgrow it?

On the plus side, a la the recent snoring thread, I'm sleeping better with dh otherwise occupied but I know long term it's not a good idea.



Oops double post
Last edited by BabyCotton on February 15th, 2012, 3:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: November 23rd, 2007, 9:46 pm

February 15th, 2012, 4:35 am #8

We've been having problems on & off with ds #1 waking up in the middle of the night hysterical. Lately, it's more often than not & dh ends up sleeping in his room.

We're not sure what to do. We don't want to end up in a situation where ds #1 starts to want & expect daddy to sleep with him, but OTOH, he's waking up hysterically scared, so we aren't going to ignore him. We do wait a little bit to see if he'll self-soothe & drop back to sleep but that's almost always not the case. Last night, dh waited even longer than normal, but no go.

Is there even a solution to this? Night lights have been a bust b/c they create shadows, which he's afraid of.

Will he just outgrow it?

On the plus side, a la the recent snoring thread, I'm sleeping better with dh otherwise occupied but I know long term it's not a good idea.



... us meaning, me. Dad usually sleeps in the spare room because of my snoring and can't just sleep with little ones. It doesn't bother me. In fact, she sleeps longer in the AM if with me. BUT she doesn't wake up screaming, just says she's afraid of the dark - the DARK OUTSIDE, not necessarily in the house. We keep their door ajar and a bright light on in the hall.

I know, its baffling. Poor little guy.

1st kids for us!
5th DE attempt
Last edited by AndreaMomma on February 15th, 2012, 2:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: February 24th, 2004, 6:44 pm

February 15th, 2012, 2:24 pm #9

We've been having problems on & off with ds #1 waking up in the middle of the night hysterical. Lately, it's more often than not & dh ends up sleeping in his room.

We're not sure what to do. We don't want to end up in a situation where ds #1 starts to want & expect daddy to sleep with him, but OTOH, he's waking up hysterically scared, so we aren't going to ignore him. We do wait a little bit to see if he'll self-soothe & drop back to sleep but that's almost always not the case. Last night, dh waited even longer than normal, but no go.

Is there even a solution to this? Night lights have been a bust b/c they create shadows, which he's afraid of.

Will he just outgrow it?

On the plus side, a la the recent snoring thread, I'm sleeping better with dh otherwise occupied but I know long term it's not a good idea.



My DS talks about his dreams and bad dreams, but he hasn't woken up in fear of them as of yet, even though he does mention them. Actually, now that I think of it, he does wake in the middle of the night sometimes, but not often. And I will sleep next to him until he falls asleep. If he mentions it the next morning, I try to get him to tell me what happened in the dream and then I try (see I use the word 'try') to explain how dreams work. I guess maybe he is too young even though I explain it in 4 year old terms.

As an aside, DS has also already asked me what happens after someone dies? where is my penis? and who is G-d? Such difficult questions! Our babies are growing up so quickly.

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Joined: January 19th, 2007, 7:18 pm

February 15th, 2012, 3:31 pm #10

When I was a little girl, probably a year older than your ds, I suffered from nightmares. My dad made me a little wooden creature called "no bad dream thing" - it sat next to my bed for years and really cured me.

I think it can be anything: a cardboard cutout or even a photo album filled with soothing dream images that you can look at before bed and tell his head to only dream of these nice things. Any kind of little shrine you can set up next to his bed, maybe with some ninja character in the middle that you declare "the bad dream fighter." you get the idea.



Will try something like this.



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