7 Reasons You're Dreaming Of Your Childhood Home, According To Experts
When it comes to interpreting your dreams, every detail matters—from who's in the dream to how you feel in it and, of course, where the dream is taking place. In the case of dreaming of your childhood home (or any previous home you've inhabited, for that matter), there are a few key things to keep in mind, according to experts. Here's what they had to say.
Generally speaking, if you subscribe to the belief that dreams can help us tap into our subconscious and offer us insights into our lives, dream interpretation involves looking at the various factors in the dream and relating them to your lived experience. Through dream interpretation, the idea is to get a sense of the dream's message so you can integrate it into your life for growth.
And while the scientific research behind whether dream interpretation is valid is lacking, anecdotally speaking, we've all had a dream that felt too uncanny to ignore. So, whether you think dreaming is purely memory consolidation or playing out future scenarios, we've all found ourselves wondering what our weird, funny, or stressful dreams can mean.
Why we develop an attachment to our childhood home.
Of all the places we spent time in our childhoods, our home was likely the place we spent the most. In those formative years, we associate our homes with our family, our sense of safety and comfort, and even ourselves, as we identify with objects and possessions to form a self-image.
With that in mind, therapist and dream expert Leslie Ellis, Ph.D., tells mbg, to dream of your childhood home makes sense, given those deep and long-standing associations in our minds. "Ideally, we attach to our childhood home because of the memories we have of being loved and supported. It can be a time of freedom, and so poignant because we experience so many 'firsts' in our young lives," she explains.
And of course, there are also cases where our childhood home doesn't bring back happy memories but rather memories of difficulty and even trauma, she adds.
In any event, the places we live throughout our lives, and especially our primary childhood home, will have far-reaching effects on the subconscious, making them likely to appear in our dreams from time to time.
7 interpretations for a dream in your childhood home:
1. You're integrating childhood memories.
According to both Ellis and professional dream interpreter Lauri Loewenberg, dreaming of your childhood home (or any previous home) often indicates you're working through old memories that are coming up. Ellis suggests asking yourself what was going on in that time of your life or if the dream is evoking particular memories.
"For example, if you dream of a particular room in the house, was there something that happened there that you can recall?" she says, adding, "Dreams can unearth memories that may be asking for integration in the present."
2. You've grown and evolved.
Oftentimes when we dream of a previous place of residence, we may notice there's something different about it, but really, it is actually you who is different now. "Maybe certain rooms have changed, the furniture is different, there's something different or updated about it—and that is usually representative of our growth and change since being that person that lived in that house," Loewenberg tells mbg.
3. You're reclaiming parts of your past.
Along with signifying growth and/or integrating past memories, Ellis says dreams of your old home can serve as reminders of lost parts of yourself that are ripe for reclaiming. In this case, perhaps you find yourself in a room where you used to paint because you've subconsciously been missing creating. Or maybe you're in a spot in your home where something traumatic happened, as your subconscious urges you to reclaim that memory.
4. The home represents your body.
Interestingly, Ellis explains that houses in dreams can also sometimes be analogies for the body, pointing to an area that might need attention. "For example," she says, "windows as eyes, wiring as nervous system, plumbing as digestive system and so on." If you have been having a dream like this, it could be worth looking into, she adds.
5. You're thinking about your own children.
Loewenberg notes that it's not uncommon to dream of a childhood home if you now have children of your own. As you parent, many childhood memories, and even wounds, are bound to come up, reflected back to you by your own children.
"It's a reminder from the subconscious of what it was like when we were children so that we can better relate to our own children when it comes to disciplining them or understanding where they're coming from. It can certainly help the parent-child bond," she explains.
6. You're yearning for the past.
On a more fundamental, literal level, Loewenberg says childhood home dreams can also mean we're yearning for the past in one way or another, especially if life has been tough recently. "When we're dealing with really difficult adult issues—marital trouble, bills, debt, you know—it's kind of the way we yearn for when things were taken care of for us," she notes.
7. You (or someone else) are behaving childishly.
And last but not least, to dream about a childhood home can also simply mean childish behavior is present in your real life, according to Loewenberg. She notes that this is "pretty common," and whether it's you who is behaving childishly or someone you know, it can remind us of our youth, and subsequently, the house in which we lived then.
What it means when the house is burning down.
So, what does it mean if something bad is happening to your home, whether it be a fire, a robbery, or some other traumatic event?
According to Ellis, it could signal the end of something that was present in that era of the dreamer's life. "Fire, death, and destruction may seem dire in a dream, but they are not always so negative—they can also be symbols of transformation," she says.
Loewenberg echoes this point, adding that especially if you came from an abusive or broken home, to dream of that house burning often signifies you are "in the process of destroying your attachment to the negativity from back then."
The bottom line.
It's not uncommon to dream of your childhood home, and many of us likely will for similar reasons: We're reflecting on the past, overcoming childhood wounds, or just reminiscing on simpler times. In any case, when we take a closer look at these childhood home dreams (and any dream, really), we can figure out where those messages are coming from within our subconscious and how to work with them in our waking life.