What Children's Dreams Tell Us

by Pamela Blosser

Little Emma woke up suddenly, startled by a dream she had just had. A green monster had been chasing her. He had red eyes and sharp teeth. He had almost grabbed her with his big sharp claws. Emma peered into the dark, afraid that the monster might be lurking in the black recesses of her room or even hiding under her bed ready to grab her if she got up. Emma felt helpless and alone.

“Mommy! Mommy!” she cried out. Footsteps through the darkness brought growing comfort to little Emma.

“What is it, Emma? Did you have a bad dream?” Emma’s mother held her and kissed her forehead. “You’re okay, Emma. It was just a bad dream. You’re safe and nothing’s going to hurt you.” She stroked Emma’s hair until Emma had fallen asleep again.

How many times around the world do children call out for comfort in the night because their dreams have disturbed them? And how many times each night do parents tell their children it was just a dream? Just a dream. What does that mean, just a dream? It means it is not real and has little to no meaning. Yet to the child the dreams are real. They are exhilarating when they are flying. They are scary or so happy the child might laugh or cry out loud in their sleep.

They are not real in the sense that if you dreamed you were in a car wreck you wouldn’t be hurt as if you were in a car wreck in your physical day-to-day experiences. Yet they are real happenings within the subconscious mind of each individual. They are real vibratory messages that relate the dreamer’s conscious state of awareness coming from the inner mind to the outer mind during the sleep state. They are real perceptions within the conscious mind and brain of the dreamer. To discount dreams means you discount that you are a soul and that there is a link between the outer consciousness and the inner consciousness. Children still have an open channel to the subconscious mind, so they remember their dreams readily. It is important for parents and other adults to aid children by giving them a place to talk about their dreams as a real experience. Teaching children in this way insures that the connection to the subconscious mind will stay open during adolescence and into the adult years making the individual more grounded.

Because dreams relate the conscious state of awareness of the dreamer, parents can learn a lot about children by their dreams. What is going on inside the child’s head is clearly related in dreams, so parents have a direct link to the inner thoughts and experiences of children through their dreams. It is of the utmost importance for teachers, and parents to be able to interpret their own dreams so they can teach children how to understand what their dreams are telling them. Dreams are a key to understanding self and more deeply understanding others.

When Linda was little her mother didn’t know how to help her with her dreams. She wasn’t satisfied when her mother told her to go back to sleep because it was just a dream. Linda sensed that there was some kind of meaning to her dreams. When she got old enough she began to research on her own to discover the meaning of her dreams. Linda now has four children of her own. Every morning she asks them three questions about their dreams. “Did you remember your dream? What was the dream about? Was the dream in color?” She tells her children that if they have a problem in their waking life they can ask for an answer in their dreams. And if something in a dream disturbs them they can control it.

Linda has come to understand and know her children and know what they are going through as they have shared their dreams with her. One of her children, David, dreams about his teddy bear and its extended teddy bear family. She describes David as the most sensitive and maternal of her children. Toys in a dream symbolize how the imagination is being applied as ideas are developed and matured. David’s dreams about the teddy bear and its relatives symbolize that he is learning how his own imaginative thoughts are related to each other, how one thought leads to another and what effect his ideas have on other people.
Her daughter, Cassandra, has a practical, down-to-earth approach to life. In her dreams she is a problem solver. Linda says that if their family is trying to find a solution to a question, like how to fix things around the house, Cassandra will tell her mother she had a dream about how to solve the problem. This is not only a result of Cassandra’s way of thinking, but also a result of Linda’s teaching that you can get answers to questions through dreams.

Linda says that her eldest son, even though in his waking life he is the most strong-willed, has the most nightmares of all her children. A nightmare is the subconscious mind’s way of communicating to the conscious mind when there is something in life that is not understood. In the case of John Paul, when he was a baby, Linda herself was young and trying to figure out her life. Although these are John Paul’s dreams, as an infant he was intimately linked with his mother on a mental level; therefore his mother’s thoughts of insecurity and uncertainty had a profound influence on his developing mind. By the time she had the other children she was much more settled and sure of what she wanted. Yet John Paul’s reaction to the issues that were a part of his mother’s consciousness have not been resolved in his own mind.

Her eldest daughter, Stephanie, often dreams about flying in airplanes or swimming with dolphins. Experiences like these are out-of-body or astral projection experiences. It is not unusual for children to be aware of flying in their dreams. This is because children are still closely linked and identify with their subconscious mind or soul. The soul is not restricted to the physical body and can easily move through time and space. Therefore it’s easy for children to leave their bodies during sleep and move through time and space. This motion is remembered when they wake as swimming or flying. Often they remember how free they felt as they flew when they wake up from such a dream.

Linda doesn’t always know what the dream means but she says that by giving her children a place to talk about their dreams she knows it helps them. They know they can come and talk to her if they need to. They know she will listen to them, accept what they have to say and teach them what she knows.

Parents who learn how to interpret dreams open an expanded world for themselves and their children. They can help them solve problems. They can know when their child is troubled and what that trouble is related to. They can know what their child is thinking that the child might not be aware of himself or not want to talk about with the parents. They can know how their child responds to the world --- do they roll with the punches or are they more sensitive to what is going on around them? How easy is it for them to change or adapt to the changing factors of their environment? Understanding children’s dreams gives parents a more well-rounded view of their children. What they observe on the outside is complemented with what they learn about on the inside through their dreams.

When a soul enters the physical body it is immersed into thoughts, words, and actions. The outer conscious mind is like a sponge that absorbs this stimuli into the brain. The individual is still very much aware of itself as soul and the freedom the soul has outside the body. During the early years there may be dreams of flying or meeting angels and other heavenly beings. Four year old Iris talks about meeting her guardian angel in her dreams. She says she and her guardian angel fly together and sometimes she talks to Iris. This indicates Iris’s awareness of herself as a soul and not just a physical being. Since our soul is closer to our true nature than our physical bodies, it is important to aid the child to keep this connection open and alive. Talking about dreams and learning about them is one way to do this, since the dream is coming from the soul or subconscious mind.
It is the child’s urge to explore and gather information of a physical nature so the conscious mind and brain can function and reason. With each experience, links are made in the brain and stored to be used for the development of reasoning. When Hezekiah was four years old he had dreams related to what he was linking together in his life.

Franklin (his favorite stuffed animal, a turtle) fell into the pond. Pam and I were at the pond and a car came and ran over a basket of dinosaurs and they were pushed into the water.

Franklin is a toy and toys are the use of imagination. Water is conscious life experiences. This means that Hezekiah is using his imagination in his everyday life. Dinosaurs are old creatures that are in fact extinct, symbolizing ancient pathways connected with the superconscious mind. There is an innate desire within us all to fulfill our potential. The superconscious mind holds within it a blueprint for fulfilling this spiritual potential, which is to create, to give, to learn and grow to a point of mastery. These urgings are ancient, buried deep within the heart, mind and soul of us all. Pam is one of Hezekiah’s teachers which symbolizes a superconscious aspect. Children are stimulated by parents, teachers and other adults around them as to how they would want to be when they grow up. What parents and teachers symbolize in a dream are ideals we aspire to emulate. A car is the physical body. The dinosaurs are toys so this symbolizes how Hezekiah is using his imagination to link this urge of who he wants to become to physical life and experiences, maybe even what he would like to look like physically when he is older.

In another dream he told his mother:

We were in the kitchen. There was a lion and the lion had two baby lions and they were under the oven. I was holding Franklin and tigers came up to Franklin and me.

The kitchen is a place where food is prepared. Food is knowledge. In order to receive knowledge there must be desire to know and a curiosity --- a question in the mind reaching for an answer. This is the state of mind a kitchen symbolizes in a dream. The lions and tigers are animals which represent brain pathways. Franklin represents the use of imagination. Learning and growth means new ideas are presented to us that we try out in our life. As children we experiment with the ideas through the act of playing, singing, drawing, acting, and so on. If these ideas bring us some kind of benefit we continue doing them until they are a part of our outward identity. “This is the way I am” we might tell others because we respond in this manner without giving it a second thought. This is a brain pathway. Hezekiah’s dream is revealing this learning process. Hezekiah spends much time playing at being fierce, brave and strong. This is what the lions and tigers represent.

When Hezekiah was five he had another dream about tigers. Hezekiah was in a car where there were tall buildings.

There was a tiger. The tiger was jumping off buildings and roaring and stuff like that. It was the Exotic Animal Paradise, even worse than the Exotic Animal Paradise. The tiger wasn’t in a cage, so me and mommy drove away from there. Mommy was driving. We went into a big box to hide.

The Exotic Animal Paradise is a park where animals roam uncaged and people drive through in their cars to view them. The reason he said it was worse than the Exotic Animal Paradise was that in his dream the cats were roaming uncaged, and at the theme park the wild cats are caged. Again as in the previous dream, Hezekiah is forming a pathway of strength and courage. However in this dream it is one he doesn’t feel he has control of. His mother told me he had this dream about the time his father was gone for several days to visit his ailing father. This was the first time Hezekiah and his father had been separated.
The varied experiences in a child’s life are what fill the brain with information. Some of the experiences they may understand and feel in control of and some they may not. Because the reasoning ability is developing children may not always be able to draw an accurate conclusion from the experiences they have. When there is an incident that they don’t understand, don’t feel they can control, or that scares them in their waking life, this reaction will show up in their dreams as monsters or animals that scare them -- bears, lions, gorillas --- as in Hezekiah’s dream of the uncaged tigers.

When Greg was four years old he dreamed of a threatening looking lady who resembled the licorice character in the Candyland game coming in through the window into his room. Greg’s bedroom was next to the garage, and in his waking life he feared that someone might be able to come into his room through the garage. Because Greg experienced fear about someone coming through the window in his bedroom, the bedroom became a perfect symbol for a deeper fear that the dream was describing. A bedroom symbolizes a place in the mind for assimilating what is being learned from the experiences of life. The threatening lady represents a thought that is threatening Greg’s sense of security and safety. The dream signifies that Greg’s own imagined fears were interfering with his ability to learn from the experiences around him. His mother mentioned how Greg seemed to be sensitive and afraid at times.

Three year old Adam had a recurring dream that the Incredible Hulk was after him. He would wake up crying. The monster signified there was a part of himself, such as a way of thinking that he didn’t understand, felt threatened by, and had no control over. His mother and father had divorced. Adam’s family had been destroyed, threatening his own sense of security. He didn’t know how to reconstruct his family or control his environment as he witnessed his sense of security dissolving. And he was afraid of what might happen now that his family no longer existed.

If a fear is not understood, each time there is an experience similar to the original one, the individual will unconsciously react as if it were the original experience. The subconscious mind will relay a message to the conscious mind that the same reaction is being triggered again. This message will come in the form of a recurring dream. Let’s say in the case of Adam, the fear continued each time he imagined he might lose something he loved that brought him security. Let’s say his grandmother, to whom he was quite attached, became ill and he began to imagine she was going to die. His subconscious mind would relay a message that he was experiencing the same type of insecurity he experienced when his parents divorced. The message would come in the form of the same Incredible Hulk dream.

Recurring nightmares especially from childhood are the subconscious mind’s way of letting the dreamer know there is still unfinished business from childhood or the past that is cropping up again and needs to be addressed. Dreams reveal so much about the individual that parents can learn a lot about their children from their dreams. Encourage your children to write down their dreams. Talk about the dreams with your children. And learn what the dreams are revealing so you can guide your child to a sense of peace and security and quicken their evolution.

©2002 School of Metaphysics, updated 7/04

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