Recurring Dreams: Middle Childhood and Preteens
Once your child matures from early childhood to middle childhood and the preteen years, you may find that their dreams begin to change. Whereas they may once have had nightmares about irrational things, they may now be having recurring dreams that are actually helping their development and learning. If your child shares some of his or her reoccurring dreams with you, they may still sound a bit frightening, but if you look at what is really going on within the dream, you will see they can be helpful.
MonstersWhile the dreams about monsters may still exist, they may be of a different type. Now, rather than chasing your child around the room, he or she may be saying that a monster or zombie is commanding them to do certain repetitive things, such as dig graves or move body parts. The child may be scared by what they are doing in their dream, but they also may be bored by the constant repetition of the task. While as a parent this may sound alarming, it is more than likely a normal dream and quite common, especially among boys.
People who are highly successful and driven often speak of having such dreams as children. So what does this type of dream mean? It shows that the child may feel pressure to excel, especially if others in the family are very driven and focused on excelling in certain areas. By agreeing to complete the task given by the monster, the child is saying that he or she has decided to follow the rules. This also shows that they are trying to live up to the expectations set for them by others. As for the scary imagery of this dream, that may be simply that for the child, this conformity is still puzzling. While some dreams of this age reveal the joy of hard work and achievement, this dream may also show the tense and negative feelings that sometimes come with the success.
FlyingMany children dream of flying. These dreams can be very intense and may include flying to escape an evil force. This reflects the child’s desire to explore and experience life as well as test their abilities and talents. At this stage in life, children are being drawn towards certain interests, but they may not know yet how to take control of opportunities to explore and develop those interests. Flying allows them the feeling of freedom while also letting them use an ability – that of flying.
Breathing Under WaterThis dream may both frighten and delight a child. They find themselves underwater and know that they will eventually not be able to breath and drowning is inevitable, which naturally frightens them. However, in this dream, they continue breathing. This type of dream can occur when a child is overwhelmed by an emotional setting. For example, a child that suddenly has both parents working and therefore has to take care of younger siblings may function quite well in his or her tasks, but dream of breathing under water at night due to being overwhelmed by the situation. But, this dream has an up side – it involves the child realising they have certain abilities that they can use to deal with a crisis situation. By continuing to thrive in a seemingly impossible situation, the child comes to realise that while the task at hand may seem overwhelming, he or she can adapt and survive. This dream usually subsides by the time the child gets old enough to leave home, although it may reoccur as an adult when faced with an unsure or foreign situation.
Turning Into a SuperheroIn this dream, the child, when faced with a villain, turns into a superhero and is able to escape from harm. As might be expected, this dream is more common among boys than girls. This is a child’s way of coping with a strained or stressful situation. Problems with parents, difficulties at school, and/or family financial problems are all situations that may cause a child in middle childhood or preteens to dream of being a superhero. This dream comes about because the child may not see a way out of the situation or a way of solving the problems. This dream can have a positive affect however, making the child realise that rising to a challenge by using his or her talents can protect them and cause a positive outcome for the situation.
Middle childhood and the preteen years is a time when a child is starting to grow into young adulthood. Situations they may have been previously unaware of are now noticed and the dreams they experience as a result can help them cope with situations, not only now, but also help them learn to cope with difficult situations as an adult.