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Old 01-29-2013, 09:06 PM   #13
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Re: Serious problem with DD. Need help :(

DS had this same problem around the same age. He actually ran full face into a wall during one of the episodes. It is so scary. Unfortunately, what happens is that in your attempt to console your child, your child transfers the effects of the night terror onto you, as if you are the thing causing the fear. DS actually gave DH a black eye once fighting him off. We kept a food journal and tried an elimination diet. We also tracked his sleep and awake times to look for any pattern.

I wish I could tell you a magic solution, but at 5 years old, he still occasionally has them. Just a couple weeks ago, he came downstairs (no recollection of walking down the stairs) screaming and crying that we forgot to put him to bed and how could we forget him, why did we lose him, etc. Just totally gone. DH carried him kicking and screaming upstairs, laid him next to him in bed and suddenly, he was back asleep, then woke up a few minutes later, asked for water, and was done. In December, he had one where he came downstairs (again, no memory of walking downstairs) and kept sobbing that Mariella (DD) was missing and why couldn't he hold her, he needed to hold her, why were we hiding her. I carried him upstairs (got a fat lip when one of his flailing arms connected with my face) and laid next to him with DD. He fell asleep almost instantly. He didn't remember a thing.

As he's gotten older, the terrors are more vivid, but he comes down from them more easily. When he was littler, he could go hours without stopping. It is so frustrating. We have eliminated food dyes, especially red, that one was a major contributor. We lowered his dairy and juice intake. We tried everything. Our insurance wouldn't cover a sleep study unfortunately. And now we've just learned to live with it.

There is a definite theme with his terrors of being lost or losing things, so we try to make him feel very secure during the day. We have a very set night ritual. We finish every night by saying "I love you, I like you, I'll miss you, goodbye goodbye goodbye." We hug and I tell him I promise I'll see him in the morning. Since we've added the night mantra and it's become a permanent fixture of our bedtime routine, his terrors are a little less frequent, but that could also be because he's just aging out of them.

Good luck with your DD. I hope you figure out a solution. I do not recommend trying to restrain her or trying to wake her up. Keep her safe, reassure her from a distance. If she will allow you to hold her, do it in a non-constrictive way so she won't try to fight you. I feel for you momma.
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