Author Brings to Light the Importance of Understanding Children's Dreams

April 23, 2012 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
Parents are at a loss when the inevitable happens and their child wakes them in the middle of the night upset by a bad dream. They may tell their child that, "It was only a dream," show the child that there are no scary creatures under the bed, or tell the child to try to dream a different dream. None of these strategies work because they don't help the child understand or process the cause of the bad dream.

Mommy, Daddy, I Had a Bad Dream! (www.mommydaddyihadabaddream) takes children's dreams seriously. The story demonstrates to children that "Dreams are stories we tell ourselves for a reason," and helps them understand the reason. Children will be thrilled with the empowerment that comes from knowing why they have bad dreams and, in turn, using that understanding to go back to sleep feeling comforted and in charge. The book also helps parents by modeling loving, constructive, informed responses to the experience of being awakened in the middle of the night by upset children.

Interestingly, even though parents confront the problem of bad dreams on a regular basis, few children's books specifically address this universal childhood discomfort. The books that do exist typically make light of bad dreams as not real, present the scary figures in the dreams as not truly frightening, or suggest that the child can change the dream while dreaming. None of these "solutions" are helpful.

The uniqueness of Mommy, Daddy, I Had a Bad Dream! is that in an appealing, engaging manner it demonstrates to parents and children that bad dreams can be understood as stories children tell themselves in response to important life events. This knowledge frees children from the anxiety produced by the bad dream and also puts them in touch with the feelings the dream was meant to disguise.

Martha Heineman Pieper, Ph.D, author of Mommy, Daddy, I Had A Bad Dream!, has helped children and their parents avoid the "discipline trap" by showing parents that it is possible to manage their children's immature behaviors without punitive measures, such as time-outs and "consequences." In her own practice, she has relieved the suffering of children with emotional illnesses, including "untreatable" adolescents and children who are diagnosed autistic, ADHD, bipolar, or just "oppositional." Parents have responded enthusiastically to her groundbreaking understanding of child development, which leads to parenting strategies that are both kinder and more enjoyable for parent and child and, at the same time, more effective at producing adults who are compassionate, independent, and successful at work and in relationships. The Smart Love™ approach developed by Dr. Pieper eliminates power struggles between parent and child; shows parents that many behaviors commonly termed "willful," "disobedient," or"naughty" are actually age-appropriate and will be outgrown naturally; and explains why the disapproving responses advocated by many parenting "experts" actually harm children while simultaneously making the parent-child relationship unnecessarily conflictual and unhappy. Dr. Pieper shows parents that they do not need to worry about giving their children too much love and affection and that, in fact, the widespread advice to manage children's behavior with disapproval and isolation causes children to develop needs for unhappiness that will haunt them in later years. Martha Heineman Pieper, Ph.D. is the co-author with her husband of the bestselling parenting book: Smart Love: The Comprehensive Guide to Understanding, Regulating, and Enjoying Your Child. For ten years the Piepers also wrote a parenting column, "Smart Love," in Chicago Parent.

Dr. Pieper received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Her work is the inspiration for Smart Love Family Services (, which provides a broad spectrum of services to children and families, including counseling services, parent education, toddler programs, and a preschool. Dr. Pieper is the consultant to both the Smart Love Clinic and the Natalie G. Heineman Smart Love Preschool/Toddler Explorations. She has four children and two grandchildren. Her mother, who was the President of the Board of the Child Welfare League of America, is the inspiration for Dr. Pieper's lifelong commitment to helping children and their parents live happier, healthier lives.