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9 year old DS - recurring nightmares

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#1 Silver Girl

Posted 14 August 2019 - 08:59 PM

My 9 year old DS told me tonight that he has been having recurring nightmares about a clown that eats kids' arms and then the kids die. He dreams that this happens to him.

DS said that one of his friends at school likes this kind of story and has been telling them to DS.

I reassured DS that he is safe, and DH is staying with him while he goes to sleep tonight.

Do you have any ideas on how to manage this situation? DS doesn't make friends very easily, but does have a small circle of friends. So while it's distressing to know that he's having bad dreams, I'm reluctant to tell him to stop associating with this boy. I'm not sure if his teacher can do anything to help?

#2 Silver Girl

Posted 15 August 2019 - 06:57 AM

I’ve just realised that the story DS has been told is about the clown from Stephen King’s “It”. (He mentioned the name Pennywise.) The movie traumatised me as a teenager, and I’ve found clowns creepy since then.

#3 AdelTwins

Posted 15 August 2019 - 08:43 AM

No advice, but I can completely sympathize. Twin DS1 & 2 are 7 and quite a few of their classmates are watching M+ and MA15+ movies.

I know my two are not ready for that level of violence/action/themes, yet they get told all of these stories at school.

#4 Caribou

Posted 15 August 2019 - 08:47 AM

My DD is 7, and having similar dreams. You just made me want to ask her if a kid has been talking about ‘it’ at school! But I won’t bc she’s upset enough it’s happened.

We did a warm cup of milk and stayed with her. We also did low light fairy lights for her room too. Another thing was avoid salty or rich dinners as they were a key trigger for DD to have vivid nightmares.

#5 theboys2

Posted 15 August 2019 - 10:19 AM

my son is still not keen on clowns - i think he was watching utube videos once and cartoon clowns were on it and then it was a few clicks away till he was on the scary clowns from the above movies.

he didnt watch for long and came and told me it was on the screen and was scary.. but it is frustrating how quickly innocent videos can click to not appropriate videos on line for kids!

#6 Nepheline

Posted 15 August 2019 - 10:22 AM

I used to have terrible recurring dreams as a child. Vivid, frightening and some lasted years. The only thing that used to help me was writing them down - I used to keep a little notebook full of them. I’d do it first thing in the morning once my eyes opened. I think it helped cement the fact they were ‘stories’ and not real. Didn’t stop them but helped me manage them. I still have very vivid dreams to this day.

#7 PoolsideMasterchef

Posted 15 August 2019 - 10:40 AM

I have horrible nightmares if I am too warm at night. Could that be a possibility?

#8 amdirel

Posted 15 August 2019 - 05:39 PM

Yes I was going to say that scene (or similar) is in IT.
My DS 11yo also has nightmares from IT. But more of a problem for him is the "daydreams", when his mind runs away from him, usually when he's in a room alone, and he gets scared of IT actually coming in real life.
While he knows that IT is fiction, in his anxious, alone state, his mind starts saying "what if??"

We've talked it through with his counsellor, and she has him talking through the facts. ie have you ever seen the IT in real life? Has any of your friends? Have you ever seen an evil clown? How could this creature get in your house if the doors/windows are locked, and your family are home and would have noticed something like that? Remember CGI in movies. Remember this movie is based on a SK book that is totally fictional, along with all the other crazy SK books mum has on her bookshelf.

Also FYI DS always talked about this as "nightmares" or "bad dreams", but on investigation I found that it was happening when he was awake, he just didn't know how to describe when his mind runs away from him.

#9 Silver Girl

Posted 15 August 2019 - 07:34 PM

Thanks for all the responses. I’ll give those suggestions a try.

amdirel, I will have a chat with DS along the lines you’ve suggested. I often tell him to answer the “what ifs” when he’s anxious (something I do myself), and this kind of approach might help here too.

I’m not sure if it’s wise to advise DS to say, “don’t tell me about that, I don’t like hearing that sort of thing”. That’s what I say when someone tells me about a horror story. But it might backfire or lead to teasing etc when used with kids?

#10 amdirel

Posted 15 August 2019 - 07:40 PM

DS will usually go to the toilet/get a drink, or ask a friend to go and play handball or similar, in order to get out of an uncomfortable situation. Or if he's feeling confident he will change the subject to something else.

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