Beautiful Child speak to me of the magic I no longer see.
Show me how to live again with joy, love and laughter
not judgement and blame.
Tell me all your stories so I may find my way
inward to the Kingdom of Heaven that in each of us does lay.
I am often asked how parents can help ease the anxiety of the intense feelings children can sometimes experience in dream state and upon waking.
There are many ways in which we can assist. Firstly adults need to realise that DREAMS ARE REAL! They are not just products of over-active imaginations. If they are treated as real events by adults, and children have the freedom to express their experiences both waking and sleeping, the children learn that they are safe and they don’t have to carry around the feelings of their experience, nor do they necessarily need to have repeating dream experiences occur.
Just because us adults cannot see the monster hiding under the bed, or the “imaginary” friend, the fairies and whatever else children can see does not mean for one second that those things do not exist. Children are far more “open” than we are and have not lost their connection like we have to Spirit.
Sometimes a dream can be too scary or horrible for children to talk about and so other ways of expression need to be looked at. The following applies as much to adults as it does to children.
A special book in which a child can write and/or draw whatever they need to is useful. Painting, modelling, poetry or any other creative medium can also be used. Drama has wonderful results when the child plays out the part of the monster or whatever he/she chooses to from the dream, with adults encouraging the child to take control of the situation.
A delightful example of how this works so beautifully came to me some time ago. I read about an innovative school teacher in Tasmania who instead of the normal “show and tell” sessions has introduced “Dream Discussion”. She stated that she found it helpful to class morale and co-operation because the children realise that they all have similar experiences, feelings and fears.
The story that was included in this article of how effective Dream Work with children is, follows:-
A young girl had a Wolf visit her in her dreams every night, so the teacher did some role playing with this child and they discovered (with the child playing the role of the Wolf) that the only reason he came to her all the time was because she was “so easy to scare.”
The girl proceeded to draw and colour the Wolf as she had seen him in her dreams, she then screwed the drawing up, jumped up and down on it a few times, tore it to pieces and put it in the bin.
That night the Wolf came to her in a dream and he had bandages all over him. The next night again he returned but this time he was in a wheel chair. The third night he came on a stretcher and told her she’d won, she’d finally killed him and then he died.
I’m sure much to the little girl’s relief.
Another useful form of expression is “Dream Talk”. I usually find that over breakfast is a good time for this whilst it is still fresh in the child’s mind. If a child knows they can talk about their dreams and not be ridiculed they will do so frequently and usually in great detail. Adults can then use this dream information, if they choose to, to gain a clearer insight into what is REALLY going on with the child or children in their care.
You’ll be in for many pleasant surprises, challenges and sometimes amazement if you start practising this regularly. I have personally found in the past that my daughter’s self-esteem, sense of self and her ability to find her own solutions to life’s challenges was greatly enhanced by both of us working with her dreams.
“Enjoy your children as your teachers,
not for what you necessarily wanted to learn
but for what you needed to discover.”
© C. O’Connor 2013.
* Cognitive & Body Based Counselling.
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Twitter: Cheryl O’Connor@Cheoco99
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