Nightmares can often be explained as either,
- genuine spiritual oppression (Children seem to be born with their spiritual windows wide open)
- imaginary projections from real fears
- annoying bedtime stalling tactics
Rather than rebuking children for believing in something that is not real, I find it much more helpful to invite Jesus into the room to deal with the ‘monsters’. I ask the Lord to show our children the angels and invite them to clean the house up. Who better to eradicate fear than the Lord Jesus, who is happy to use the child’s imagination to bring peace. He loves to train them to fear no evil by recognising His presence.
We don’t deny what they are experiencing. We invite Jesus in. We ask Him what the monsters are, where they came from and what He wants to do about them.
I’m not afraid to attach consequences if the trouble continues, but initially I threaten the monster, not the child. For example, ‘Jesus, can it come back? If it tries to come back, Jesus what will You do to it?’ Then we speak a final truth over the child, ‘Jesus is here now and you can tuck Him in with you. You’re totally safe. Good night.’