Our expert says:
Yes, it's remarkable how much scary stuff there is within films and materials aimed at kids. The old fairy-tales are actually horrifically full of murders and mayhem and abuse. And it seems that enduring children's classics are not all fluffy but include real themes of love and loss, which echo within kids. They can be useful, as a basis for parents and kids to discuss such themes together. Most normal kids, though, go through a phase or two of having nightmares, which seem to arrive for no reason that's ever clear, and then go away again, just as mysteriously.
Sometimes when they hear of tragedies in other families ( the news is full of them ) or they hear of such things from other kids at school ( so you can't protect them from bad news ) they can grow excessively worried about their own loved ones, and over-protective of them. Discuss with your daughter what she's thinking of when the dreams frighten her, and this can be useful. Moving to her own room shouldn't be impossible. Emphasize her role in caring for her little brother then, and in comforting and not scaring him ; use a night-light for aded feelings of security. And check out the Archives of this Forum, as we've discussed Nightmares, and the issue of a child moving into her own room, quite often, with a range of good advice from a number of readers.
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