It is terribly upsetting to the parent of a child whom experiences a nightmare. You may try to reassure them, but it is usually the problem that you can't even understand them. Our adult instinct is to rationalize; to assure the child of the difference between the fear they feel and the real world. But how helpful is this? First it is useful to understand the nature of nightmares, how they occur, and what they mean. It is also useful to explore the models we can teach our children in order to best help them with this persona.
As unsettling as it is to see our children struggle with the fears of a nightmare, imagine a more complex form. To see your child awaken soon after sleep has set in and physically experience a terrifying aspect of sleep can be far more disturbing. Night Terrors are a dynamic sleep disorder experienced in the early hours of sleep.
To understand this disorder we must first look at how it is different from the more common and less explosive nightmare. In the same way that we try to understand nightmares we must look at night terrors. By understanding the biological reasons and causes of night terrors we can then understand more about them and why they happen. This information while useful to parents is not always as reassuring as the methods they can use to help their child return to bed and enjoy a restful night sleep.
The specific topic of nightmares and night terrors deemed to be very intriguing to me. The reason that it was so interesting was because as a child I was plagued by such occurrences on a nightly basis. I would either wake up shaking or screaming with my sheets soaked right through. As...