Would children confuse dreams with reality?
Do their dreams give clues about their mental states?
Research suggests that children starts to dream from the age of 8 months. However, there is no way to know what they dream about until they developspeaking abilityby the age of 2. Bad dreams may be viewed as a reflection of existing fears. The content of their dreams and nightmares may change by age. For example, a younger child might see monsters chasing him, while a young man in adolescence might miss an exam in his dream. Although daily concerns of the children change by age, there are common themes for nightmares, such asbeing in danger, or feeling weak against a threat that the childhas no hope to evade.
The fear encountered in a nightmare feels very much like the real thing. The child’s breathing accelerates and her heart rate increases. He/she usually wakes up from a nightmare crying or calling for help. In such a case, it is very important to make the child feel safe and to try to explain calmly that what he/she saw was not real.
Such fears usually diminish and disappear when the child understands that theyhave no baseand are not real.
Expert Psychologist and Educational Consultant