Scary Kids

Happy Spring, dreamers!  I’m enjoying the natural world as it unfolds its blossoms and surrounds us with a living metaphor for creating new plans, hopes, and dreams…

Last night, I was the guest of Esme Murphy on CBS’ WCCO 830 news radio in Minnesota. Several gracious listeners called in with dreams, ranging from striking images to whole nightmares.  Scary dreams can influence our mood the next day, and although they may lead us to feel unsteady and apprehensive, they often contain a message about something preoccupying us which needs attention.  Creative people tend to have more nightmares than average, so if we’re going to have more of them, we might as well make use of them!

In my mailbox last week was just such a frightening dream, from a generally happy young mother. She dreamed a young, unfamiliar boy was in her home. He had the same last name as she, and “he seems evil…he grabs my throat and starts to choke me.”  He “overpowers” her, and plays word games with her. She figures out he is related to her:

“I don’t feel comfortable repeating the conversation I had with him. It was like he was the devil playing games with me, and I’m not religious. What does this mean? It bothers me so intensely, I can still feel the crazy kid.”

Don’t worry!  These are not uncommon dreams. Creative people have three dream themes more commonly than do others, and one of them is more children.  What might kids mean in dreams?  Generally, they represent new aspects of the self. The age of the child often (not always) indicates how long the new quality has been around. How threatening the child is, suggests how willing or able we are to accept it (the more threatening, the harder the quality is to accept within us).

The dreamer feels related to this child (and has the same last name!), although she does not know him. He enjoys playing word games, he says things she is upset by or afraid of, and he seems to have something to do with talking (it is hard to communicate when choking, word games).

What if the child represents a part of this dreamer, herself? An emerging, masculine side that may have been “born” within her about 7-8 years ago, and has qualities so different from the way she typically sees herself, that they are presented in the dream as threatening, even dangerous?  It may be that, for the last several years, she’s needed to express a more assertive side, and the dream child does this in an exaggerated way.

Change is frightening. We humans don’t like it much. Even positive changes can be unbalancing. If you have a dream like this, consider what the dream child is like.  What are his qualities? What does he seem to want you to do? And why?  Are any of his qualities, in more positive form, something you are developing within yourself?  Consider what the child needs and wants; is there a way in which you could give this to yourself in a healthy, productive, less exaggerated form?

At the same time, is there something within you that is stealing your own breath (choking) and ability to communicate?

Consider your dreams of children as emerging, creative aspects of your own personality. What do they need? How can they be protected? Do they need discipline? Limits? Freedom? Tools?

Scroll down (or click the links to the right) to get help for ending nightmares. Until next time… sweet dreams!

About Veronica Tonay

International dream expert, Dr. Veronica Tonay, earned her masters and doctoral degrees in psychology from the University of California at Berkeley in the early 1990s. She has been a licensed psychologist in private practice since 1997 (CA PSY 15379), and has taught psychology courses to undergraduates at the University of California at Santa Cruz since 1989.  Her work has been featured for over 25 years in many media outlets, such as Psychology Today, NPR Public Radio,, and The Chicago Tribune. Dr. Tonay was featured dream expert on the Discovery Health TV Channel's 3-episode miniseries, Dream Decoders. She has organized several dream conferences for the International Association for the Study of Dreams, and has published journal articles and three books, including: "The Creative Dreamer, Revised: Using Your Dreams to Unlock Your Creativity" (Ten Speed Press/Celestial Arts) and "Every Dream Interpreted," published in London by Collins & Brown.  She lives with her husband, Steven, in Santa Cruz, California, gardening, painting, writing, dancing, and dreaming.
This entry was posted in children, Dreams Interpreted, Dreams of Being Attacked, Nightmares and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.