Dream Symbols | People

Family Dream Meaning

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Dreaming about your family members can give you valuable insight into your relationships with people, as well as help you learn some important things about yourself.

As we’ve covered in our posts What It Means to Dream About Someone and characters as parts of ourselves in dreams, when a person appears in our dream it doesn’t always directly represent them.

Many times we dream of a person who appears as an actor to represent some aspect of ourselves. For example, dreaming about your mother may actually be representative of your own nurturing and maternal instincts.

Family Is Often The Most Important Thing in Our Lives

Child drawing happy family

Ask 10 random people what is most important to them in life, you probably wouldn’t be surprised when they told you that family is the most important part of their life.

Family can present a lot of challenges, especially because there is no family that doesn’t have its problems, but at the same time family gives us a sense of connection and belonging with others.

Dreaming about your family members can show you what is important for you in your waking life.

To interpret your dream about a family member, make a quick list of the qualities you admire about the person or things you associate with the person. Chances are these qualities somehow relate to events that are currently happening in your waking life.

dreaming about family

What Our Relationships to Family Members Mean in Dreams

We have many different roles in our families. For example, I am a daughter, a sister, a mother, an aunt, and a cousin depending on who you ask in my family how I am related to them.

When we look at what it means to dream about our family members, it is important we think about what our relationship is to the person we dream about and what that relationship might symbolize.

Dreaming About Parents

Soldier with parents

Our parents are supposed to be the people who take care of us, the people who protect us from harm and teach us the basics of how to survive in life. They often teach us about morals and values and give us our initial sense of what is right and what is wrong.

Understanding the role of what a parent is supposed to do can help us better understand what it means when we dream of a mother or father figure.

Mothers symbolize our maternal instinct; our inclination to nurture and care for others.

Many times a mother will appear in a dream to represent your need to care deeply about a situation in your life. We may be in a caretaker role with someone in our waking life, or we may need to nurture ourselves and practice self-care.

A father can represent our need to protect ourselves and others from harm. You may feel anxious or worried about someone in your life such as a child, sibling, or spouse but dream about your father because you want to find a way to protect this person.

Fathers can also be symbolic of an authority figure in our life. You may feel like someone is pressuring you or trying to control your actions. Seeing a father in a dream often represents your need to stand up for yourself and take control of your own life.

Dreaming About Siblings

Three sibling hugging on the beach

Our siblings are people who are most like us; they came from the same parents and we share the most DNA with them. Brothers and sisters in dreams most often symbolize parts of ourselves or some important aspect that your relationship shares.

For example, maybe you feel competitive with your brother or sister, and so dreaming about them is a symbol for some other area where you are feeling competitive in life. Maybe you are up for a promotion in your career and you are worried that someone else will get it instead of you.

Dreaming About Grandparents

Selfie with Grandparents

Your grandparents are your parents’ parents and they can symbolize the way we think about tradition and family history. Grandparents often represent our own childhood memories.

When we dream about our grandparents, it’s often an indicator that we long for simpler times, when we didn’t have so many responsibilities and things to be stressed out about.

Dreaming About Aunts and Uncles

The Crazy Aunt

Our aunts and uncles are the people who are most closely related to our parents. In dreams, an aunt or uncle can represent “adulting” – taking responsibility for our life and becoming more independent.

In many cultures, aunts and uncles often take on the role of godparents, who act as someone to guide their nieces and nephews through the challenges of life.

When we dream of an aunt or uncle, it can often mean that we are navigating through a problem and some characteristic of this aunt or uncle can help us to find a way to resolve it.

Dreaming About Nieces and Nephews

A group of children running across a grass field.

If you dream about a niece or nephew, it is a symbol of how close you are to your family and how much family means to you.

Seeing a niece or nephew in your dream can also mean that you are taking care of some responsibility.

Dreaming about nieces and nephews often represents our feelings toward children and all the hopes we have for their future.

Dreaming About Cousins

Cousins play "Go Fish" card game. Children enjoying each other's company. Okay time.

Of all my relatives, I have probably had the most dreams about my cousins. I have nearly 35 first cousins and I spent nearly every day of my life as a child with at least one of them.

Cousins often symbolize friendship, loyalty, kindness, and compassion. When we dream about a cousin, it usually means we are putting the needs of someone else ahead of our own.

A cousin is a symbol representing something we care about and want to take good care of.

Dreaming About Your Spouse or Partner

Husband and wife

Dreams about your spouse can be a symbol for the relationship you share with this person, for your feelings toward yourself, and even how well you are taking care of yourself. Because relationships change over time, dreaming about your partner can also mean many different things.

When we dream about our spouse, our spouse often really does represent themselves, since our relationship with this person is often intertwined in our everyday lives.

However, it is important to remember that what a spouse does in a dream is not a reflection of what is really happening in your life. Many people have dreams about exes or even cheating on their spouses, and it never actually means you are cheating or would even think of cheating.

Dreaming About Our Children

Woman Showing Educational Cartoon to Children

Just like spouses are most likely to appear as themselves in dreams, so do our children, especially when we spend a lot of time with them.

Being a parent is tough and we often have a lot of insecurities about whether or not we are doing the right thing in raising our kids. We might worry about how they are doing in school or if they have enough friends or if they are growing up to be good people.

We may also question our own ability to provide for them – and sometimes we might just be exhausted because we give our kids all that we can but we don’t always know how to balance our responsibilities.

As a symbol, children represent our need for playfulness and curiosity in life. They can represent innocence, integrity, and loyalty.

We have a couple of different dream meanings in our dream dictionary related to children. See what it means to dream about a baby and what it means to dream about being pregnant.

Dreaming About In-Laws

Husband pouring wine for his father in law

In-laws are the people with who we have connections through our spouse. It’s often very difficult to get along with in-laws because in a way you are always competing with them for the attention of your spouse.

Some in-laws can have impossible expectations and be very demanding – they are exhausting to be around. Other in-laws can be warm and welcoming and make you feel like you fit right in with their family.

When in-laws appear in our dreams, it often is a symbol of a challenge we are facing in our life. Think about the traits that you most like about your in-laws and the negative traits that get under your skin. Chances are these characteristics are present in a current challenge you are facing.

For example, you might dream about your mother-in-law yelling at you about something. It doesn’t mean your mother-in-law is mad with you in real life, but it does probably mean there is something you are angry about. You might feel like your needs aren’t being met or you might feel like you don’t have enough time to do the things you want.

Dreaming about your family members can show you what we value and how we feel toward others, as well as who and what we care about. When it comes to our siblings, dreams may also take on a darker tone because of the competitive relationship so many siblings share.

Dreaming About Deceased Family Members

Person on the cliff

It’s common to dream about deceased family members. Sometimes these people are symbolic in our dreams – they represent a part of ourselves or there is an aspect about them that we are thinking about.

We’ve also written extensively on the topic of visitation dreams – these are dreams that feel real in which during the dream you feel as if you are really communicating with this person.

Learn about visitation dreams here.

Big family with many generation meeting at home

Dreaming About Family Members Dying

When we have dreams about family members dying it can be very upsetting. We might worry that something bad could happen to them in real life.

Fortunately, death usually is a symbol of change, and dreaming that someone is dying doesn’t typically mean that they are going to die in real life.

When you dream about someone dying, think about how your relationship with that person might be changing. It’s also helpful to think about what qualities this person has that might be changing.

For example, if you dream that your sister died, and your sister is someone who is very outgoing and social, the dream could be symbolic of how you need to be more outgoing and social in your life to see a positive change.

Our family can appear in our dreams in many different ways, and it’s always important to remember that more often than not we dream of these people in a symbolic way.

Only in a few circumstances do the people we dream about actually represent our relationship with them, such as very close family members we interact with on a regular basis.

How to Interpret Your Dreams About Family

In order to best understand your dreams about your family, ask yourself these questions:

  • What is my relationship like with this person?
  • What qualities of this person do I think of?
  • How could these qualities relate to an event currently happening in my life?
  • Could this person represent a part of myself?
  • What other symbols were present in the dream?
  • Where did the dream take place?

Answering these questions can help you better understand what your dream means. There are many ways to interpret your dreams, such as mind-mapping or using the color pencil technique.

And of course, if there are other notable symbols in your dream, you should always look them up in the dream dictionary to gain more insight into what your dream may mean for you!

Did you have a dream about your family? Share your experiences in the comments section below!

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