Nightmare on my Street


     My husband truly means well, but he doesn’t always pick the best kids’ movies for our twins to watch. To his defense, though, I think a lot of parents get caught up in this same scenario.  All the commercials and all the marketing for some of these movies tend to make you think that because it’s animated, it’s perfectly suitable. However, as we have come to find out, it is impossible to know just exactly what might freak out your kids.

     A couple of years ago, my husband took a business trip to Paris and suggested that I watch “The Incredibles” with the kids on movie night.  I had seen about a bazillion commercials for the movie and thought it looked pretty funny myself.  My son, on the other hand, most definitely did NOT share that same humor toward the film.  I was hard at work popping some corn in the microwave, when I happened to glance over and see him huddled behind the sofa. Come to find out, the child was TERRIFIED of robots.  Who knew? I immediately turned off the movie and had a talk with him about the difference between real and make-believe.  Needless to say, my son was up half the night with robot nightmares, and I was pissed at my husband for suggesting the stupid movie in the first place. He got his payback, though, because when he returned from his business trip, complete with a kids’ Parisian t-shirt souvenir, my son immediately threw it down and burst into tears.  I picked it up to find a huge embroidered robot on the front of it!  I just laughed and thought about how much it served my husband right.

     Another example was earlier this year, when my husband took the kids to see “Coraline.”  Now, when I saw all of the previews for this particular movie, nothing whatsoever appealed to me.  It just looked dark and dreary and sure to bring about more unwanted stress in my parenting world. And, like usual, my gut was right, because my daughter still to this day has nightmares about this freaking movie. For some reason, she associates some kind of green pig with it and often wakes up crying because the pig is supposedly after her.  As ridiculous as it seems to me, I have repeatedly tried to explain to her that it’s a dream, so the pig isn’t real.  I’ve told her that the cool thing about dreams is that she can do anything she wants in them.  I’ve even described scenarios for her to try to concoct in her dream. The latest is that Mommy has wings and swoops down to pick her up, and we fly all the way up to a rainbow to chill out and laugh about the pig. I know, it sounds insane, not to mention ASININE, but it is a temporary fix, nonetheless. Hey, you do what you gotta do, especially when sleep is involved!

     So, what movies have given your kids the heebie jeebies?  How do you handle nightmares in your own house?  Do you have any special tricks or trades to calm down your freaked out little ones?


4 Responses

  1. Cracked up about the t-shirt! Not too many nightmares at our house, the little ones occasionally. Although the 13 year old did have a strange dream the other night about Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie…needless to say I didn’t ask and didn’t want to know

  2. Unfortunately… we have plenty! I have to be so careful what movies we watch… and commericails! That one ‘bring me back to hell’ scares the bejebes outta me! One time my then 8yo was scared by something in a harmless Boxcar children’s book. No, it wasn’t that the parents had died or anything, it was a mystery that had her freaked out. After that, I almost rented something really scary to desensitise her…. then a commercial came on…

  3. When my oldest was 2, she suddenly became freaked out by the TV. She would scream if I turned it on, and would hardly go in the living room. I thought it was strange because this child had loved TV since birth. I asked my Mom, and she asked what was the last thing we had watched on this TV. The answer was “Toy Story”….turns out my daughter was scared of the little doll head with spider legs in the mean boy’s house. She’s 11 now, and still won’t let anyone in our house rent that movie. She also got freaked out by a silly kids book called “Parts” and would not sleep until I had showed her that I took the offending book to the OUTSIDE trash.

    I told my Mom (as an adult) about some of my recurring nightmares as a child, and she explained away 3 of them with the movie E.T. I feel stupid now that I didn’t figure those out.

    As for nightmares, I tried the trick that my father used to do. I think most kids hit a nightmare phase around 5 or 6. When I was going through a particularly tough time, my father would tell me what to dream every night. Ex: “tonight you have to dream of a Birthday Party. There are balloons, and presents, and the cake is as tall as you, with a little door so you can go inside and eat it.” It has worked with all three of my kids when they hit this phase.

    • Great idea — love the birthday party dream! I think I might try to dream that myself tonight! 🙂

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