I am a divorced mother and my two daughters live with me. They visit their dad every other weekend. However, this Christmas they spent an entire week at their dad's house. When they came home, they'd been home for only one day and my 7 year old fell asleep in the middle of the day and woke up with a terrified look on her face, crying and saying "I don't want to be here, I want to go home." It took several minutes for me to help her realize that she was at home already. She had gone to sleep fine and woke up with a 102 degree fever. It was a scary experience for us both. That night, the same thing happened except there was no fever. Only this time, once she realized she was safe at home with me, she kept telling me to stop talking so fast and to be quiet. It was as if she was overstimulated upon waking and was hearing a lot more noise than was really going on. The next couple nights I made sure to put her to bed a little earlier and didn't let her watch any tv for the last two hours or so before bed, and things were fine for a few nights. Last night she woke up again, terrified and wanting to cuddle with me. The look on her face was sheer terror. Again, she kept telling me to be quiet, even when I hadn't spoken. I asked her if she was hearing voices and she said yes. I asked what they were saying and she said she didn't know. The noises/voices she is hearing only last about 5 minutes at the most, and then everything is fine again. It seems to me that this could be a cross between a nightmare or night terror and hypnopompic hallucinations. She NEVER hears voices when she's awake. It has only happened these couple times upon waking from a nightmare. She's well liked among her peers, teachers, and everyone who knows her. She makes friends easily and is a good student who wins citizenship awards all the time. She's in first grade. At first I thought these were night terrors but she remembers them in the morning. She can even tell me about the scary dream. The first time, she said that she dreamed that the world was going to explode and that her dad was mad at me (me being her mother). Last night she said that she dreamed her dad turned into a scary doll. It concerns me that these terrifying dreams have both included her father. We've been divorced for 3.5 years and he's been remarried for about 9 months. She has indicated that she wishes her dad still lived with us, but why would it take 3.5 years for her to start having nightmares if it's related to the divorce? Help!
"We've been divorced for 3.5 years and he's been remarried for about 9 months. She has indicated that she wishes her dad still lived with us, but why would it take 3.5 years for her to start having nightmares if it's related to the divorce? "
My guess would be that it is more a matter of her now being old enough to effectively communicate what she is feeling. Plus, having a better understanding of the whole "divorce" thing.
I think (hope) that once school starts and she gets back to a regular routine, and also is more tired/stimulated during the day - she will sleep sounder at night and the problems will cease.
Keep in touch and let us know if this gets better or worse. Best wishes.
She has had a few more of these nightmares. Not every night, maybe once a week. Last night she had one and so in the morning I was asking her about it and she said that she's not hearing a voice, but that she is telling me to stop talking because she's afraid that her dad is coming. In the dream apparently he's very mad at me. She also says that there's "something else" in the dream that she doesn't want to tell me because it's too scary. I think perhaps she's dreaming that he's trying to kill me or something. He has never hit me or the kids but he does have a temper and screams and throws things when he's mad. This nightmare thing started one day after the kids got home from a 10 day stretch at dad's house. During that time, she called me two times crying and saying she didn't want to be there and wanted to go home.
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