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A Nightmare Scares My Son

Questioner

H (32-female-Canada)

Reply Date

Oct 11, 2018

Question

Five month ago, my son talked about something bad and how it was scaring him in the upstairs (where the bedrooms are). When I asked him about it, he said it was a black dog. I tried to reassure him and told him it was just a scary dream, but he looked so scared and refused to sleep upstairs. When I told him that I would sleep with him, he was happy and accepted the idea. Yet, all through the night he was scared looking at the walls and in the spaces. His eyes would go round and round.

Actually, I felt sorry for him, so I moved him downstairs where he slept safe and sound. This is where he has been sleeping since then... Well, all of us. My question is, was this really a dream or something else? Could a child see some other creature? My son also spoke of dead people and that someone has been hiding in the closet. He told me some other scary things, too. It is true?

Counselor

Answer


seeing

In this counseling answer:

•The best method of controlling your boy during a night terror is to hug and reassure him and tell him that everything is all right. Make sure that there is not anything nearby that could hurt him or others. And don’t go through what happened the next morning, unless he brings up the subject; just try to reassure him.

•Try to calm him at least two hours before his bedtime. Do not let him watch television or read stories about topics that might be scary for him.

•If you could identify when it usually happens, try to awaken him 15 minutes before, take him to the bathroom and let him awake for 5 minutes.


As-Salamu`Alaykum dear sister, 

May Allah bless you and your son. It is really disturbing to know of your sufferings. After all, I am a mother and my boy is the same age as your son. I will try in sha’ Allah to help you as much as I can.

First, you should know that this is a temporary state; it goes and it will become just a memory, according to doctors. I have also witnessed a similar case and I can tell you that the girl is now fine.
Your question was “Is that really a dream or something else?” I will look at it in a variety of ways.

If it was a sleeping disorder, then it could be either a nightmare or what is called a night terror which is sometimes misdiagnosed with nightmares and to lesser extent with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (stresses and fears following a bad incident or accident).

Night terrors can occur anytime in a person’s life span. The most common is reported in children between the ages of three and five, usually fifteen minutes to one hour after going to sleep, unlike nightmares which can occur anytime in sleep. Many people, who remember their night terror, have talked about seeing animals, people, or a dark and shadowy person who is going to hurt them. Others see snakes and spiders or just things they are afraid of during waking hours. Some people remember the night terror and some don’t, to which there is no explanation.


Check out this counseling video



Now What to Do?

•The best method of controlling your boy during a night terror is to hug and reassure him and tell him that everything is all right. Make sure that there is not anything nearby that could hurt him or others. And don’t go through what happened the next morning, unless he brings up the subject; just try to reassure him.

•Try to calm him at least two hours before his bedtime. Do not let him watch television or read stories about topics that might be scary for him.

•If you could identify when it usually happens, try to awaken him 15 minutes before, take him to the bathroom and let him awake for 5 minutes.

•Then, I strongly recommend that you consult a doctor – not that those night terrors signifies any psychological problem; it doesn’t, but to get help, reassurance and maybe do an Electroencephalography (EEG), which is by the way easy, safe and simple.

Now, looking at the problem from another angle, whether he really sees something or not, only Allah knows, but He has gifted us with so many solutions in the Qur`an and the Sunnah which protect us from many things.
Do the following things in deep faith in Allah and in His words (it doesn’t work without this) as Allah says in Hadith Qudsi # 15 “I am as My servant expects Me to be.” (al-Buhkari)

•You should mention the name of Allah (saying athkars) before entering or leaving the house; it keeps away evil from the house.

•Read (or set a recorder) Surat Al-Baqarah in his room daily.

•Protect him with  du`aa’ to guard children and du`aa’ of bad dreams.

Also, read Ayat Al-Kursi (Al-Baqarah 2: 255) in the morning which will keep him under the protection of Allah Most High until the evening. Similarly, whosoever reads this during the night will keep him under the protection of Allah Most High until the morning.Allah is He besides Whom there is no god, the Ever-living, the Self-subsisting by Whom all subsist; slumber does not overtake Him nor sleep; whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth is His; who is he that can intercede with Him but by His permission? He knows what is before them and what is behind them, and they cannot comprehend anything out of His knowledge except what He pleases, His knowledge extends over the heavens and the earth, and the preservation of them both tires Him not, and He is the Most High, the Great.” (Qur’an 2: 255)

•‘I take refuge in Allah’s perfect words from the evil that He has created”

•“I place you in the trust of Allah, whose trust is never misplaced”

•“I take refuge within Allah’s perfect words which no righteous or unrighteous person can transgress, from all the evil that He has created, made and originated. (I take refuge) from the evil that descends fro the sky and the evil that rises up to it. (I take refuge) from the evil that is spread on Earth and the evil that springs from her, and I take refuge from the evil of the tribulations of night and day, and the evil of one who visits at night except the one who brings good, O Merciful One”(Bukhari)

•Don’t get any one for ruqyah which is not strictly bound to the Qur`an and Sunnah. “If somebody innovates something which is not in harmony with the principles of our religion, that thing is rejected.”  (Al-Bukhari 3: 49 861)

•Then try moving him to his room (still saying the du`aa` and Surat Al-Baqarah going on through the night).

In sha’ Allah, you will find that everything is just fine and it is just a small trial from Allah to test our patience. You will find that His mercy always prevails.

***

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About Mona Salama

Mona Salama is a Medical Nutrition Specialist. Parenting Counselor and hold an Ijaza in Islamic Da`wah. She Graduated from Faculty of Medicine-Cairo University.

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