Seeking Control and Nightime Anxiety

Last night was not a good night, to say the least. Our family has struggled with Michael’s sleep issues since he was a baby. I am still trying to figure out triggers for his fears at night. Some of them I know, some I think are created by him in his mind, and some are about control, controlling what he can which is listening or not listening to his parents during the sleep routine. A simple request went unmet yesterday, but late last night when we both finally went to bed I think I figured out why it went unmet. There was resentment and anger. Our Psycho Educator came over yesterday and Michael did not like what she had to say. I think he felt decisions were being made without consulting him, and, of course, we were talking about him in front of him, something most children do not like, especially those on the spectrum. We agreed that in future unless Michael would be actively participating in the meetings, I would see her when he was at school. I think that was strike one. Mom was also not home last night to do the sleep routine as it was one of my writer’s meeting nights. I suspect Dad does the routine a little differently, and given his already high level of stress due to the changes in the sleep program (though I gave him some choice in which two options he could choose), combined with me going out did not mesh well. Suffice it to say, he would not wait by himself in bed while I did a few things before coming to lie down with him. We are doing a gradual phasing out of me leaving for longer and longer periods of time. He not only refused to stay alone, but refused to stay quiet. It was a disaster for both of us and Dad too.

I was also not proud of myself as a Mom last night. I lost my temper, yelled and it was only by praying, literally for patience from God, that I was able to see things through calmly at the end. I learned I was at my wit’s end the hard way, but today, as they say, is another day. A chance to start fresh, learn from yesterday’s mistakes, both mine and Michael’s, and handle stress and control better. That is what is at stake, Michael’s issues of control over his life and his feelings of powerlessness. As I find ways to help me feel more in control over strategies to help him, I know I will be able to give Michael tools to help himself.

Exceptional Parents, when was the last time your child used manipulation with you due to feelings of powerlessness and lack of control? How did you react, for better or worse? Did you learn from your mistakes? Did you teach them to learn from theirs? If not, don’t worry. Every day is another chance to start over. Remember to look for clues, and don’t be afraid to sit down when it’s all done and look at where to go from there. Always think positive. It will get better. Until next time.

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