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how do i explain lies and dreams?

my dd keeps having nightmares she wakes up and tells me she is mad at me b/c i got into a car and left her all alone w/her baby brother. (hubby is deployed we just moved out of my parents house 3 weeks ago this is when the dreams started) i keep saying its a movie in her head when she is asleep and she says its not its real. she isn't grasping that concept.
we also have a problem with lies. she will say she didn't poop in her panties but she did, or that friend, bre (imaginary) is the one who took all the toys out and threw them on the steps i keep telling her a lie is a story that isn't true and she doesn't grasp that either. so how did you explain these things to a 3 1/2 yr old?


Asked by vabchmommy at 5:19 PM on Aug. 4, 2009 in Preschoolers (3-4)

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Answers (10)
  • its the same issue as deployment, it may not be that DH just left, but all the other people in her life just did so its the same thing. I would consult the therapists on base b/c it is abandoment issues.

    Um... right now her dreams are real. I would not even fight that battle. JUst say wow I bet that was a scar;y dream. I would never do that to you, why do you think you would have such a dream???

    And any mess that bre makes -- DD has to clean up. "That's so not cool of bre to make this mess and now you have to clean it up b/c its your house and your toys... you should really talk to her about manners etc....."
    Just go with the flow and move it into the direction you need it to go.

    Answer by MamiJaAyla at 11:03 PM on Aug. 4, 2009

  • I don't know exactly how I would explain it, but it sounds like she may be acting out because her daddy is deployed. I know here at Ft. Drum they have a program that helps parents understand and cope with behavioral problems (like lying and acting out) when spouses deploy.

    Answer by tangleballlover at 5:29 PM on Aug. 4, 2009

  • well he'll be home in a matter of days now, so i'm not worried about that. and the lies didn't start until a few weeks ago, maybe a month or so, and he left back in feb. so i don't think thats it. i know the reason for the dream is that he is gone, we moved out of my mom's house (my brother was there as well), my sister moved a few months ago so did my father. so all the people she was seeing at the least twice a week aren't seeing her as much so she thinks i'll leave too. that i can calm her down about. i'm just more at my witts end with the lies, and my husband said he'd try to explain it to her when he gets home, b/c for some reason she will listen and understand what he says better than me. so i'm hoping it works. b/c i'm sick of her "friend" peeing in her panties.

    Answer by vabchmommy at 9:25 PM on Aug. 4, 2009

  • At that age they don't really distinguish reality and fantasy yet. except for maybe the telling you she didn't poop when she did.... that one-- yeah I would deal with and expalin that you can smell it and you're pretty sure she can too. Don't get mad about it but do have her help with the whole clean up process -- rinsing off panties, putting into hamper et

    Answer by MamiJaAyla at 11:03 PM on Aug. 4, 2009

  • oh I meant to add in the previous.... don't butt head with a 3 yr. old. Pick the battles. Do like in martial arts, use their force to get them to where you want them to be.
    And yes, really call the counselors on base. Dad may have been deployed for a while. BUt she just lost... grandparents, aunt, uncle, house all her familiar things. Acting out is totally understandable.
    good luck

    Answer by MamiJaAyla at 11:05 PM on Aug. 4, 2009

  • thanks ladies, i'll give someone a call for advice etc on how i can deal with it. i'm hoping when he gets home it'll make things a little easier on her. and my family is making an effort to call her each night to say good night and to come see her as often as they can so keeping my fingers crossed.

    Answer by vabchmommy at 11:20 PM on Aug. 4, 2009

  • My son is 3 1/2 and you should hear it. Let's see, last week, he didn't take his nap, nope, he stayed up and built a castle that a giant beetles tore down. And last night, he didn't sleep, he spent the night playing hide and seek with sissy. At this age, they really don't understand dreams.

    Lies to them, become real. I just reinforce, because he is going through the "if I say it, it's true stage". I just don't give him the opportunity to lie. Instead of , "did you poop your pants?" it's "uh oh, you pooped in your pants, let's get you cleaned up". Not, "did you eat the cookies", it's "oh no, you ate some of the cookies, I guess that means you don't need dessert". This way they see that just because they want something to be so doesn't mean it is.

    Answer by Petie at 11:47 PM on Aug. 4, 2009

  • i've tried the saying it and not asking, and she'll say it wasn't me mommy. thats why it drives me insane, b/c i know asking the question implies the possibility that i don't know the right answer so in her mind its an opportunity to say no it wasn't me or whatever the question was about. so i just say, oh you messed up your room lets clean up. or you pooped in your panties and she'll say it wasn't me mommy it was bre. and so forth. thats why its so darn frustrating for me, b/c i try not to give her an opportunity to lie to me but she finds them anyways.

    Answer by vabchmommy at 12:37 AM on Aug. 5, 2009

  • children this young aren't capable of 'lying' per se. she is probably saying she didn't poop becuase she wishes she hadn't and doesn't want to get in trouble. it's higly unlikely that she is trying to manipulate you.
    as far as the dreams, i'm not sure. i've never encountered that kind of issue, good luck.

    Answer by jcsmummy at 12:44 AM on Aug. 5, 2009

  • In her mind, blaming bre is a way for her to make what happened not have happened. So just let her know that it is OK to make mistakes. "Honey, can you tell Bre that next time she makes a mess, she needs to help you clean it up. I'm sorry she chose to leave and make you clean it up all on your own". So, this way, Bre doesn't get her out of taking responsibility, and it shows her that she is responsible for anything Bre does. I think a PP already mentioned this method, and it may be the best one for your situation.

    Answer by Petie at 6:45 PM on Aug. 5, 2009