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KHulsey, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 0
Experience:  Licensed Psychotherapist. 25 Years Experience. Babies, Children, Families, Couples
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My daughter is 8 years old. I recently took a job that

Customer Question

my daughter is 8 years old. I recently took a job that requires me to travel all week, i am only home on weekends. For the last few weeks she has been having bad dreams about puppets. she was obsessed with them and scared to death. Now, she is having dreams that her mother is attacking her with a chainsaw. I am worried couild you please tell me how to address this.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Kaushik replied 8 years ago.

Hi there,

Please answer my few questions..

Since when your daughter has been having dreams such as these?

How is her relationshipwith her mother, is she too much scared of her mother?

Is she too much glued into the TV as children nowadays are?

She only has dreams that her mother is attacking her with chainsaw...right? It is not as if she when fully awake and conscious sees her mother attacking her when she actually is not even there?

Does she mutter to self when all alone in room or has she ever mentioned you that she could hear non existent voices?

Expert:  KHulsey replied 8 years ago.
Hi bird 634,
I know that you are very upset by your daughter's new behaviors. Sometimes children react negatively to changes in the household, especially major changes such as a parent's new job. Luckily for you she is 8 years old and can use some reason.

With this situation, I would suggest that you first talk with your daughter just to check out exactly what is bothering her. Give her the chance to come up with her own thoughts first. Then, if she does not know why she is having bad dreams, ask her if she is worried about your new job. Find out exactly what her worries are: Is she afraid of you being gone? Does she fear that her mother would not be able to protect her if an intruder came into the home? Is she worried that you will get hurt while you are gone? Is she afraid that you will never come back? These are just some of the worries that a child may have. Just talk with her and "feel out" what her worries might be. Sometimes, just getting everything out on the table will help relieve troubled thoughts. Of course, you should use reassurance if she does express any worries.

There are some other things that you might do: You can have a daughter/father outing when you come home every weekend or every other weekend. You can give her a little gold locket with your picture in it along with her mother's picture. You can put a picture of yourself in her bedroom. You can get a web cam for your home computer so that she can talk to you in the mornings and at night before she goes to bed. You can let her talk on the telephone with you each day. There may be several things that you can do to relieve her obvious worries.

As for the puppets, children often become afraid of many things such as Santa Claus, clowns, etc. If she has puppets, just pack them away until she wants them again. This is no particular big deal and easily avoidable. Being in school, she will be exposed to puppets over time which may reduce her fears.

I would avoid all scary movies and television shows at this time. This will just give her extra things and images to worry about and will not be helpful at this time.

If she persists with these troubling bad dreams, your next step would be for her to see a counselor. You might try her school counselor first and then, if the problem is greater than the scope of the school counselor, she might be referred to a reputable person in your area. School counselors can be a tremendous, local resource.

I hope this answer helps. If so, please click the Accept button. If I can be of further benefit, please do not hesitate to let me know. Good luck with your precious little one.

KHulsey, LCSW
25 Years of Experience