We have arrived. It has been five months of hard work for me, Michael’s Dad, and Michael. We have slowly been getting Michael used to staying alone a little more each evening as we have left his bedroom at night. It was hard. Michael is a brave child. He has challenged me on many fronts to take risks, live life more in the moment, and impressed me with just how smart he is. At night however, like for many of us, his fears and insecurities would come out. I went through this phase as a child too, and had to learn tools to manage my stress. But Michael’s fears were worse by far.
With the help of our wonderful Psycho Educator, and Dad’s cooperation, we have been on the path of helping Michael manage his nighttime fears. His teacher and the school psychologist have also been wonderful in offering support. They have been telling Michael that he is a big boy and able to finally take that step of sleeping alone all night permanently. You see, we’ve been down this read off and on since he was two years old, the road of Mommy or Daddy needing to be in his room with him at some point of the night.
Traditional sleep training worked for two years, then it was back to the old anxiety and fear response, his and mine. Yep. I gave up too. I remember only too well what the first two years of being a Mom was like. Michael was a great baby, except for the 2-3 times he woke me up every night. I was a sleep deprived mess by the time he was two years old. I recall a conversation with my brother who told me that they tortured prisoners by depriving them of sleep and that I needed to get some help for Michael. It was easier said than done long term.
http://mrg.bz/fbbad8 Via Morgue File Photos
I finally got the confidence in me to see that I could be strong for Michael and for myself. We all need to be able to put out our own fires, and stay firm when the going gets tough. Seeing my little boy suffer and not be able to self-regulate in the past almost destroyed me. By lying next to him, I wanted to provide that comfort, that safe haven. I knew it couldn’t be forever, but at the time it was my best bet so he and I wouldn’t be the sleep deprived duo. I think I made the right call. I sense a new confidence in Michael, as I have one in myself. He’s raising me, remember? In the end, a parent has to trust their gut as I’ve said before to know when it is the right time to move to the next phase of anything with their child.
Exceptional Parents, are you struggling with sleep issues with your Exceptional Child? How have you handled it so far? What techniques have been successful and what have failed? I have learned as a Mom struggling with this issue for many years, that until you are ready to face your fears and the fallout from your child’s, you will experience many difficulties. There is lots of good help out there, from great sleep books, to Psycho Educators, to psychologists trained to help you make a schedule that is reasonable for you, your child and the rest of your family. Don’t suffer in silence. Give your child and yourself the tools to be able to regulate, handle stress and fear, and get a good night’s sleep. Until next time.