Tuesday, November 28, 2006

more about dreams

You've probably heard people say that you shouldn't wake kids up when they're in the middle of a nightmare. People say this because they are stupid.

The usual reason given is that kids need to work through dreams themselves, or some such crap; apparently, if you wake them up you interrupt the child's process of resolving the nightmare on their own.

As if nightmares resolve themselves. As if someone did a study where they waited till kids had nightmares, and then woke up half of them in the middle and let half of them sleep, and kept track of how many turned out to be Jeffrey Dahmer.

I *can* see how someone came up with this: we probably have a certain number of nightmares that we don't remember the next day, so someone said "Hey, if we dont' wake up in the middle, we're happier because we don't remember the nightmare in the morning!" And from there was born the idea the waking people up from a nightmare is bad.

But I can tell you I've had plenty of nightmares I wish someone had woken me up from. I see absolutely no value in letting a child cry and sweat and thrash and whimper in fear when by waking them up you can
a) stop the nightmare, and
b) offer comfort.

I don't believe that nightmares "resolve themselves". I think it's unhealthy for any number of reasons to let sleep be a time of fear for kids. I think the sooner you can stop a nightmare and replace it with hugs, the better.

Any other opinion on this subject is of no value. ;-)

10 Comments:

At Tue Nov 28, 11:10:00 AM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guess I haven't heard that theory. Our folks always awakened us to bring us out of the bad dream. I have heard, however, you shouldn't awaken a sleepwalker. Not sure of the purpose of that, either.

 
At Tue Nov 28, 12:53:00 PM PST, Blogger si said...

believe it or not -- don't disagree with you -- yea! i'm definitely not scientific, but it seems unnecessary to let a nightmare continue lest "irreparable damage" occurs. comfort sounds like the better alternative to me.

tho, if a nightmare is recurring, there might be reason to find underlying cause. IMO.

BTW, remembering to log on as a blogger is probably causing me to have nightmares. :-)

 
At Tue Nov 28, 02:08:00 PM PST, Blogger Kylee said...

I believe that we dream things that help us resolve some internal issue. But I don't believe that leaving someone to dream a noticeable nightmare is the right way to do things. When Steve has nightmares.....I rub his back and talk to him until he wakes up or calms down. I think he has very prominent dreams...he will laugh out loud during the good dreams and will cry and whimper during the bad ones. Most of his bad ones have to do with being alone or being left...so being there and showing him he is not alone helps his internal struggle. (I think)

 
At Tue Nov 28, 03:28:00 PM PST, Blogger unca said...

I think it's important to distinguish between nightmares and night terrors in children. I agree there's nothing wrong in waking the child up during a nightmare (as Bryan says, show me the stats on this). Night terrors, however, are a different breed. In this case, you can't really wake the children up--they already have their eyes open but are not able to process things around them. I've seen this happen and it's kind of scary. I think they do recommend turning the light on and speaking gently to provide an extra measure of reality and security.

 
At Tue Nov 28, 06:34:00 PM PST, Blogger SoozeSchmooze said...

It so happens I am liking the topic of dreams/nightmares! I was one of those kids that had the same recurring nightmare..I had it often enough that I can relate it to this day completely...I have never really figured out what it meant...except it was about kidnapping and that was something my Mom always warned us of ...to be careful ...not talk to strangers etc...I usually woke up and got in bed with my sister...that was all the comfort and protection I needed..Like Kylee though my husband has lots of dreams some good/some bad...talks in his sleep a lot..
the other night he started singing in his sleep...I really enjoyed that one.. :)I am really glad I didn't have any opinions here to refute Bryan...as he feels his opinion is the only one of consequence...groan...

 
At Tue Nov 28, 09:08:00 PM PST, Blogger anya ransuns aka Roxy said...

I've never even heard that theory. And yes, it is ridiculous.

 
At Tue Nov 28, 10:59:00 PM PST, Blogger blogball said...

I used to have lots of nightmares and was always awakened by my mom or dad or siblings. I am glad they did this because I think I would have ended up a wreck instead of the normal person I am today.

What …you don’t believe me? I can tell you don’t think I’m normal do you. I shouldn’t have read this blog. Why did I read it? This is a nightmare. My whole world is a nightmare. Please someone wake me up.

Seriously though speaking of dreams and sorry Bryan this might require a separate posting. Unca has touched on this before in another forum but I was just interested to see if anybody ever had the dream where you are back in school and forgot where your next class was or can't find your way around campus etc. This is supposed to be a fairly common reoccurring dream that a lot of people (including myself) have.

 
At Tue Nov 28, 11:33:00 PM PST, Blogger si said...

used to have a recurring dream/"nightmare" about school: i would be wearing the same outfit as i had worn previously that same week (ack!). not sure if it's more of a statement of me or of the school i attended -- probably both... :-)

 
At Wed Nov 29, 03:53:00 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm always glad that Annette wakes me up when the baby snakes attack.

 
At Mon Dec 04, 08:47:00 PM PST, Blogger Andi said...

What about dogs having nightmares? They could be chasing a rabbit or the neighbors cat...yummm!

 

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