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Night-terrors - what to do?

(7 Posts)
Wolfgirl Mon 30-Jul-07 11:32:16

DS is 3 and 3/4. for weeks...neigh! months, he wakes at least twice a night, screaming as though being skinned. He talks out in the frightening disturbed way, and he seems to be recalling conversations, scoldings (old fashioned word, but heck), even stories he has heard during the day.

Ive heard of night-terrors, but never thought my little boy would go through this, at such an extreme level anyway.

Anyone else experienced this? any advice please? me and DH are so sleep deprived and raw that we need answers to both help DS and ourselves!

many thanks

roisin Mon 30-Jul-07 11:46:27

My sympathies Wolfgirl.

Does he actually wake up at all?

Ds1 had night terrors regularly, and would utter unearthly screams and howls, and sob his heart out. But he wasn't awake/conscious at all, and we were advised not to attempt to rouse him. In the mornings he would remember nothing.

A friend told me it can be caused by over-heating, and I thought "what complete rubbish" and ignored it. But later as the NT became more frequent and I became more desperate I decided it was at least worth an attempt. I put him in just a T-shirt, and removed the duvet from its cover, and just put the cover on his bed.

The NT stopped immediately Since then (6 years!) he very occasionally has one, and we just cool him down straight away and he's fine.

MorocconOil Mon 30-Jul-07 11:54:24

My DS1 experienced these from age 3 1/2 til about 6. We tried all sorts, waking him up, turning lights on, talking to him and singing lullabies etc. Towards the end the best thing seemed to be to just sit in the dark with him on his bed til he stopped crying. He used to have them a few times a week, but not as many as your DS.

To begin with we found it really disturbing, and worried that he was emotionally traumatised. He did have a lot of changes around the time with house moves, nursery changes etc but he is perfectly ok now, and seems to have grown out of them.

You could always ask your HV about them. Try not to worry too much

Wolfgirl Mon 30-Jul-07 12:00:34

Good question roisin !! I was going to mention/ask about this. Its as though he is in a trance, sleep state, but yet understands when either myself of dh goes to him. He knows one of us is there, he can distinguish between us, and gets wilder and more agitated when its DH.

He has always been a bit of mummies boy, and please! by no making of my own - not consciously least wayz. In fact, its very hard work, when everything has to be done by mummy and wont have DH anywhere near!!!! He has a great relationship with DH ordinarily, loves going out with him, lets him do the bedtime stories, bath him etc etc.....but there are times!! I swear <<rolls eyes>>

Back to the prob. So in enters mum (after DH is exacerberated) and so the shouting starts at me. I ask him should I leave or go away, No he says. He is desperate to go back to sleep and when he tries, instantly the bad dream/picture is there, and he thrashes around and speaks/shouts out his fears. Writhing on the bed and very upset.

So, I dont know. Im guessing he is aware, but....half asleep?

Re: overheating. Both my kids sweat loads - wish I could bottle it and sell it, would make a mint <<oooh perish the thought - eeeewww).

DS sleeps by the window - which is almost certainly open/ajar. In the warmer nights I leave the fan on, until we go to bed. Yes, I have tried the duvet cover thing, but cant recall if it helped with the NT's.

I will try again, and do that tonight. Thanks for the tip.


Wolfgirl Mon 30-Jul-07 12:07:09

mimizan - yes! emotionally traumatised! Im wondering what on earth I have done to him to make him like this, what damage have I done during the day. And yet, I do everything, it is forefront of my mind EVERYDAY, to give praise, to verbally tell him I love him, to hug him, to play with him, to interact etc. Equally, I will not tolerate naughtiness, and pull him up frequently (heck, who doesnt with a 3 year old)!

Dont you often wonder how well you are doing as a parent? Its not often I question my abilities, but when something like this happens it makes you step back and think about things. I know I can be aggressive and very harsh with him sometimes, but usually thats when he has pushed beyond human capacity. Even tv character heroes such as the Incredibles - elasterplast mum? wouldnt cope with the tantrums and horrible stuff that comes out of my 3 year old sometimes, so yes, I do lose it occassionally.

But surely this should not bring on such vicious night-terrors or upset?

I laid cuddling him on his bed twice one evening, eventually about 3am in the morning he stayed asleep.

I did think this morning, that maybe he is so disturned he has special needs, and Ive overlooked it. Which is why I need to know how common this is, before my very sleep deprived brain takes me on a tangent which is off the bloody planet!

MorocconOil Mon 30-Jul-07 12:42:18

My DS was very 'trying' at that age WG. He pushed me to my limits, and I am very ashamed to admit I shouted at him and smacked him several times, when I was completely at the end of my tether.

I put it down to having DS2, 22months after him. He was very active too, and I was just exhausted and we got very little support. With hindsight I think we had high expectations of him as our first born. Also had little support from our families. As I said we moved to France for a year during that time, so DS1 had lots of changes. My Mum describes him as a highly strung child. He does fly off the handle easily sometimes, but can also be very tolerant and patient too. He is also very bright and extremely inquisitive and curious with a an active imagination. This probably contributes to NT.

All I can say to help you is that he has calmed down alot in the last 2 years, and I think NT are something they do grow out of. I do think as a young family we were experiencing a stressful time, but I really don't think he was emotionally traumatised. However I am a caring and very loving parent, and like you am desperate to get it right all the time. I am coming to realise that maybe I have set myself some very high standards and just need to chill a bit.

HTH and I've not waffled on too much

Wolfgirl Mon 30-Jul-07 14:44:31

what about if a child is over-tired? would that start it off? brain too active.

we 'wind' down our DS by warm milk, wash or bath, and stories - every night. So dont know what else to do.

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