I am an adult, and I still get nightmares.
I'm not sure why my brain decides to chase me around at night with things that are trying to catch me and kill me, or drop me down elevator shafts or see what my last thoughts are when falling out of a flying train...I really wish it would just let me rest, organize the information that I learned during the day and do whatever else it is that scientists think our brains are doing while we sleep.
Granted, they are not often, but there are still some nights when I wake up wondering why my brain is out to get me.
My son, thankfully, doesn't have many bad dreams. At least, he doesn't have the type of bad dreams that require parental intervention. I can recall vividly the number of times when I have woken up to his gentle touch on my arm, telling me that he had a bad dream. We go back to his room, snuggle for a bit and he never wants to talk about them. Not ever.
I'm OK not pushing him to talk about them, as long as he realizes that everyone has bad dreams sometimes. I think the problem is when they become more frequent and we have to sit down and re-evaluate some things. For example, since we are reading the third Harry Potter book together at bedtime right now, I am on high alert for anything that shows me he isn't ready to continue the story (whether he is conscious about it or not). So far, so good.
Nightmares are hard to explain to children. In fairness, they are hard to explain to adults. I am just thankful that my son is easy to convince to go back to sleep so we can all face a happier day in the morning.
How do you help your child after they have a bad nightmare? Tell me in the comments.