Hitting another brick wall......

mom2emallDecember 3, 2009

So SS used to wake up in the middle of the night crying when he was younger. He would cry till the whole house awoke! And it would be over wanting some chocolate milk or something. Dh would get up and make him chocolate milk and lay down with him. This would happen 1-2 times a night till me and the other kids had enough and I told dh we were all going to form a mutiny if it continued! I told him me and the other kids decided it would be best for dh and ss to sleep on the couch in the living room away from all our bedrooms so they could do their chocolate milk cry thing all night without waking us up. I told him that I could not get up at 5am for work and function because I was up all night listening to crying about chocolate milk. DH got the point.

Well lately my dh has been babying ss again and now he is acting like a baby. The boy is nearly 8 and the other night he wakes up screaming and crying till ds woke up and asked him to be quiet. Then ss walked into our bedroom and woke up dh and said that it was dark in his room and he could not find his flashlight and that is why he was crying. Dh had him lay down with us for a bit and then sent him back to his bed.

Next morning DH is telling me this and I said well I guess one night light in his room is not enough so lets get another and put it by his bed and get rid of the whole flashlight thing. The bathroom is right next to his bedroom and has a night light....so he really does not need a flashlight anyways.

DH then says well ____(my ds) came into our room a while after saying he could not sleep. I said of course...because he was awoken by ss sitting in his bed screaming because he could not find his flashlight.

I told dh that ss's room is not dark because it already has a night light in it. And he could see clear enough to walk out of his room and to ours, but we could get him another night light. And I told him that he needs to talk to ss about not sitting in bed screaming and waking everyone up!

DH then got defensive and said well he was scared...bla blabla. I said well I understand he was scared, but the house was lit enough for him to walk to our room so he needs to be told if he is scared he could walk to our room and wake up dh, but not sit in his bed screaming and waking up his siblings. It is not fair to them. DH got his angry look and was real quiet and the conversation ended.

Well last night I went to the store and bought ss another night light. We told him he could put it next to his bed and he did not need a flashlight anymore. So he looked at dh at bedtime and said "I don't think I am going to be able to sleep tonight and I might be scared"

Don't you think ss is doing this for attention from dh? My dh does not think so, but I do.

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Our kids are 7.5 yrs old. I cannot imagine either one of them screaming in bed at night.

Occasionally, one or the other will wake up and come to our room and say "I'm scared, I had a nightmare" and either DH or I (depending on which child it is) will walk them back to bed, sit with them for a minute, reassure them, etc. This happens VERY occasionally, I might add, like every couple months!

Is your SS crying/screaming while he's awake, or is he dreaming? My DD went through a phase last year where she had night terrors---about 3 or 4 of them. She would SCREAM and CRY but she was just absolutely incoherent. It was clear that, while she appeared "awake" she really wasn't. She would flail around and sob and mutter jibberish; I would sit there and rub her back and try to comfort her but nothing worked, it would last about 15 mins and then she would just go back to sleep finally...in the AM, she would have NO recollection of the episode.

Is that what's going on with your SS? If so, then there is not much you can do except wait for the phase to pass...

If he is awake, though, and calling you and DH by name and making complete sense/being rational, then it's not a night terror. In that case, I think you should not coddle him at this age. I think it's good that you bought the extra night light. If he comes into your room, I would take him back to bed, and tell DH NOT to lie down with him. That is a bad habit IMO.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 12:38PM
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He's got your DH wrapped around his little finger. Chocolate milk in the middle of the night?? That sounds like a sure fire way for a little kid to be up and "scared" every night so he can have some chocolate milk. He shouldn't get rewarded for causing a scene in the middle of the night...rewards include cuddling with dad, sleeping in his parents' bed, and chocolate milk! He is getting exactly what he wants by this behavior, so there is no motivation to stop it.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 4:24PM
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tell him you are taking him to a doctor (you might actually need to) to find out what is wrong wiht him. i normally would not scare children wiht doctor's visits but maybe that would stop him from screaming.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 4:30PM
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I agree about it being a play for attention and/or chocolate milk.

Our trick to figure out the reason behind it is that I go first to see what SS wants. If it's a valid physical need or a real fear, them I am "good enough". If he demands DH, then he's probably looking for attention.
He hasn't figured out how clever we are yet ;)

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 5:05PM
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If I remember correctly I think you talk well with your stepkids, could you try talking with SS (or having your DH if you think best) and asking what's going on?

BM had been absent from any contact with the kids for like 9 months and just recently she pops in from a distance via cards gushing with 'baby' and 'I miss/love you' blah blah. And also recently SS has been a whiny/crying little guy again (the stunt at pizza, the crying/screaming at night, demanding dad's attention anyway he can get it good or bad).

Could SS be feeling frightened and threatened by the recent contact and be acting out. He's become safe, loved, cared for, and secure in the last 9 months with just dad and you and suddenly here comes that BM again after dumping him months and months ago with no contact.

Could be he's upset without really knowing/understanding why. Being dumped by BM , sudden contact without real meaningful contact...maybe he's not knowing how to deal, reaching (okay crying and screaming) out for attention and reassurance that dad is still here, his home is safe, his Sm loves him blah blah.

Just some ideas/thoughts to mull over as if I remember right (I don't always so I might be wrong in the memory) but I thought you had said he had gotten better with the theatrics and now suddenly he's right back at it. At least one of the 'new/recent' events in his little life has been the contact from BM. You might pry just a bit and see if you can get him to open up to you and see if he's upset and confused and if so you might got a better idea as to how to deal with what is going on.

He's been really testing dad and you of late, you might think a bit and see if you can see anything else in his life new and recent that might have caused his crying/whining/clingy behavior to kick back up.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 5:41PM
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Thanks girls for all the good advice. I really thought it was just a "daddy wrapped around his finger" thing, but you brought up some great points justmetoo. Thanks for all your perspectives.

And I told dh about ceph's idea and we are going to try it. This is not night terrors where he is crying in his sleep. He is very much awake and just sits there and cries till someone pays attention to him. I never really thought about the connection between it and things that happen with bm. But now that is was brought up a lot of his worst tantrum times were times when bm was in and then out of his life quickly.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2009 at 3:13PM
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We put rope (white) christmas lights in my DD's room. She rarely wakes up in the middle of the night, and certainly would never get chocolate milk at that time!!! Does he brush his teeth after? Leaving chocolate on the teeth is one thing, but milk is not good either.

This needs to be nipped in the bud. Now. My dd was crying at bedtime the other night and I was on the phone with my dad, and I was telling him "funny, when I was a kid and crying at night before bed for no reason, I used to think that if I cried louder someone would care. Now I realize, parents don't care (well, unless something is really wrong) we just want the kid to be quiet and go to sleep!!!"

My dad started laughing, because it's true. The kid thinks they can manipulate (I'm hungry, I'm thirsty, I'm scared, etc.) and get some reward (staying up later, getting a snack, sleeping with mom and dad). And unless you have an iron will, they WILL get their way. And forever more it will be "just one more story" and "a glass of water".

I empathize. Parents don't want other people to criticize their kid. Defense is a built-in parenting mechanism. But there should be rules that everyone has to follow in order for everyone to get their sleep, be respected, and not get special treatment.

I suppose something like "well, you are scared at dark, perhaps we should make your bedtime a little earlier so you can go to sleep when it is still light?" may work wonders. Also, a nasty tasting "sleep better" drink rather than chocolate milk? Maybe spinach juice is good for nightmares?

Unless you think the night terrors are real. That's a whole 'nother can of worms.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2009 at 5:01PM
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"Maybe spinach juice is good for nightmares? "


That's hilarious! Wish I had thought of that when DS pulled that monkey business!


    Bookmark   December 4, 2009 at 8:41PM
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