My 10 year old is a very bright child who has read advanced books since age 5. He loves medieval fantasy books and can read one book per day when not in school. He is also very sensitive and about a year ago choose to become a vegetarian not to hurt animals. He talks about helping poor people and preserve the wild. He attends an advanced class. At home he is happy and does not play a lot computer / electronic games.
Recently we had a long conversation and he confided that he has been dreaming of kiling people, he refered to them as soldiers lead by barons and kings. When I asked what he thought were the causes of his dreams, he said he did not know. He also told me that I should not worry because killing people is a choice and he would never made that choice.
I am worried and afraid and really do not know what to do. I always though of him as a very caring chld and still do but his dreams seem to me as an expression of aggresivity I did not know existed.
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Ten year old boys have fairly active imaginations and this usually means that parents have nothing to worry about. In light of the fact that he is a vegetarian because he wants to protect living things, is interested in wild life and is against killing people demonstrates that he is engaging in fantasy when he is having these dreams. In fact, he states that in the dreams there are soldiers led by barons and kings rather than modern day people with whom he interacts.
There are a number of symptoms that indicate a child might be having a serious mental problem. Among these problems are: lighting fires, killing living things, torturing living things such as cats, mice, and birds among other things and getting into constant fights. In addition to these symptoms are the inability to sleep, poor performance in school, night terrors and difficulty being managed at home and in school. Your son demonstrates none of these.
There are also circumstances in which a child could show symptoms of anxiety and terror. Children who witness violence at home, such as can occur between angry spouses or who are being abused themselves. If this is happening there is reason for concern. Yet, even if this is true, your son does not appear to have any other symptoms than a few dreams that do not seem to upset or bother him.
It is true that your son’s dreams express some aggression. However, a certain amount of aggression is normal and needs a healthy outlet. Medieval type dreams in which there is combat is a safe way for a youngster to express these impulses. In every other way he is doing very nicely at home and in school.
If I were to suggest anything it might be that he become involved in some sports activities. Of course, this might be happening already.
You are a conscientious mom with a bright and talented son who truly values life and has excellent values. You need not worry.