Anxieties and Fears in Children-Part 4
I was interested to add dreams to anxieties and fears in my training. I researched to understand, learn and be informed about dreams. I know when I was a child, I would have dreams like ghosts where in my life and found myself awoke and under the covers. Research said “One out of every four children” between the “ages of 3 and 8″ experience either night terrors or night‑mares. Both of these situations are generally short‑lived.
It went on to say that Night Terrors generally occur within an hour of falling asleep. The child awakens suddenly from a state of deep sleep in a state of panic. He or she may scream, sit up in bed, breathe quickly, and stare “glassy eyed.” I know one of my grand-kids experienced this and came to the edge of the stairs, stopped and screamed. I thought surely my grandchild would fall down the stairs but stopped and screamed for help. The child also may seem confused, disoriented, and incoherent. Each episode can last from 5 to 30 minutes. (My grandchild’s lasted about 5 minutes.) A child who experiences night terrors is not aware of any scary thoughts or dreams and is usually able to go back to sleep quickly. In the morning, he or she usually doesn’t remember waking at all. Night terrors may occur for several years. Generally they go away with time and are not an indication of any underlying emotional problems. I was happy to know my grandchild’s night terrors did go away with time.
Then there were those Nightmares which generally occur in the early morning hours. Children who experience nightmares can often recall the vivid details of their scary dream and may have difficulty going back to sleep. Nightmares will often center on a specific problem or life event that is troubling the child. I know whatever troubles the grandchild, they will come to the aid of their parents or grandparents to calm them down and hold them for reassurance. For the parent or teacher, they should stay close to help the child feel safe and secure until he or she falls asleep.
Next week, I would like to touch on fears, phobias and Halloween.