How many of you out there have children who have difficulty falling asleep alone even after doing sleep training when they were babies? This is my situation now with Michael, but I have to say, (knocking on wood), that in the past month I have been working with our social worker and it is going very well. I am out of his bed and chair and going in to check on him periodically! It wasn’t this easy at the beginning, but he is older now, and we talked about what we were going to do before we started. I did the sleep training thing with Michael at two years old when he still wasn’t sleeping through the night as a baby and toddler, and I was, well, a train wreck. As my brother put it when talking to me on the phone one day,”You know, they torture prisoners by depriving them of sleep. You need to do something.” He too had challenges with his daughter, my niece, but it passed. So train Michael I did, and it worked great until he was about four and a half years old and again. All of sudden the fear of night was back. He started coming to our bed at night and needing us to lie down with him to fall asleep. There have been stretches of days in the past few years when he sleeps the whole night and we’ve done nothing different in the routine. But since last spring, fear of the dark (with more comprehension of his daily anxieties) came in the picture. I am so proud of how Michael is doing this, as his nighttime fears are not easy things to conquer. But he is doing it!
Seeing him progressing smoothly on this front recently reminded me how how important it is to face our fears. And I, like I’m sure a lot of you out there, have my share as well. So in honor of addressing our fears and tackling them one by one, (and we all have at least one, ladies) here is my list:
5 Ways to Tackle Your Fears:
1) Admit they are there and forgive yourself if you haven’t addressed them yet. This is huge ladies. FORGIVE YOURSELF. I was terrible at this in all areas of my life. Now I say to myself: “You are doing the best you can.” And then “Easy girl. One step at a time.” Sounds suspiciously like the way we talk to our kids, doesn’t it? I use the same patient tone of voice on myself, and so should you. It gets results.
2) Calm your mind with meditation, yoga or exercise, reading, etc. and make sure you are rested before you undertake ANY change. Guess what, if it’s hard and you’re tired ladies, it won’t work! Use whatever works for you.
3) Talk about my issues with close friends and family and get their support beforehand. This way if I want to cop out, I have one or more of them to hold me to my promise to do my best.
4) Look at how well our children handles their fears considering. This should actually have been my first point. Even when Michael fails, he asks for help from me or his father, than moves on. He is brave, braver than any neuro-typical adult who doesn’t have a different body/mind chemistry than the majority of the population. All our kids, as far as I’m concerned, are mini heroes for how they navigate our world.
5) Write about my feelings around my fears in a journal and make lists. Yes, I’m one of those! Only now, I hold myself to those lists and feelings. I am gentle, but move myself forward. And if I don’t do something, tomorrow is another day.
Anyone can do the 5 steps above. All it takes is patience, focus and kindness toward yourself. So go for it! You deserve to be happy, whole and free of your fears once and for all. Until next time.