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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My six year old had a horrible nightmare last week (Thank you Shel Silverstein) and is still obsessing over it. She is seriously freaked out all the time that her mom and dad and brother will be killed...by a purple snake. Or a lightbulb head.

She has never, ever had problems before with separating real from nonreal; so I think it's an underlying anxiety issue about separation and her new baby brother?

She's having a hard time getting through the day without some serious anxiety and tears. We've tried journaling, drawing, recognizing where she got the scary images from (purple snake - shel silverstein, lightbulb head - in her Magic School Bus "Electricity" book). But she seems totally freaked out by it and keeps thinking well, rather unrealistic thoughts like monsters are looking at her through electrical outlets, etc.

She's had some serious death phobia since she was about 3, but never like this. I know she has a vivid imagination. And uh, I can tend to get worried about things myself, but I have my coping techniques (above) which don't seem to be helping her much. We've tried being empathetic, working through it many different ways...her dad is wondering if it's an elaborate attention-getting situation, but I don't think so...but I don't know for sure.

It's worrying AND annoying. Help. I'm worrying about her worrying!
 

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Eek.

I have no magic words for you (apart from Rescue Remedy, but you know that already, right?)
 

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I went through something similar with my dd, also 6. We checked out a audio tape storybook from the children's section. It was called, Tailypo a ghost story, and had a cat like creature on the front. Well I expected it to be funny, NOT actually scary. Dd was VERY freaked out by it and had a few nightmares. For about 2 mos. she talked about it frequently. It was on her mind alot, even though she knew it wasn't real. She was constantly asking questions in a very worried way. Mom, could tailypo do this, do that, would tailypo do this or that. When I said tailypo isn't real so I don't know, she said, I know BUT if it was. So every time she brought it up I just listened and discussed it with her. I think that is what she needed. It was on her mind and and I would imagine that keeping it to herself would have been much scarier than talking to someone about it. She also didn't want to go anywhere alone in the house for about 2 mos. But it did drift away and I haven't heard about tailypo since! I don't think you described the particular behavior you are dealing with? And has she only had the nightmare once? I know for my dd when she has even one nightmare about something she can get very anxious right before she goes to sleep because she is worried about the possiblity of having it again. So she would want to talk about it every night as well. And then I would veer the conversation gradually away from it with reminders that I was right there and she was safe in her home with her family. Don't underestimate the soothing effect of 'I'm here, everythings alright'!!!! Dd actually told me one night she was waiting for me to say it so she could sleep, because it made her feel so much better. I never would have guessed it meant so much to her, yk?
 

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I don't know what caused it to fade, but we went through this with Graham just this spring. She was really way into irritating-land with her phobia about death. She lost a dog to old age a few years ago and hasn't gotten quite over it. ** You know what? We let her make a memorial for Shadow in the back yard, and she goes to visit that occasionally. Maybe that gave her something onto which to fix her anxiety?

Anyway, we just kept repeating the rounds of "we're here for you," "life is a circle," and "we should all live long lives!" They started sounding more and more like platitudes the more we had to repeat them, but sometime int he last month or so she just stopped.

Maybe it's an age thing?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by MissRubyandKen
. She also didn't want to go anywhere alone in the house for about 2 mos. But it did drift away and I haven't heard about tailypo since! I don't think you described the particular behavior you are dealing with? And has she only had the nightmare once? I know for my dd when she has even one nightmare about something she can get very anxious right before she goes to sleep because she is worried about the possiblity of having it again. So she would want to talk about it every night as well. And then I would veer the conversation gradually away from it with reminders that I was right there and she was safe in her home with her family. Don't underestimate the soothing effect of 'I'm here, everythings alright'!!!!
Yes, that sounds like you're pretty much describing the situation. Also, you too Wolfmeis. She's had the death phobia since her grandma died when she was three. I know that elementary age is usually when new anxieties start cropping up, but yes, it is irritating.

Today is a little better than yesterday, so maybe there is hope...we can try doing a lot more reassurances, esp at night. It does sound like platitudes, you're right - but still - maybe saying it enough times does help eventually.
 

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do you think she might respond to something like this? Every night before my dd goes to sleep I rest my hand on her head, and tell her I'm pulling all of the scary thoughts that become nightmares out of her head. Then I close my fist on them while she watches and throw them away.
We also keep a dreamcatcher above her bed. Then before she goes to sleep we talk about pleasant things to "plant" in her mind so the good dreams will grow from them.
 
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