Thursday, March 1, 2012

Nightmares and Night terrors

She was kicking and screaming . “Nooooo, Melissaaaa!” 

I rushed inside the room fearing that the siblings are strangling each other or something. The eldest was fast asleep while the youngest was upright, confused and upset. She was saying phrases I couldn’t understand. Before doing anything else, I said “Go back to sleep.”

She stopped and she looked at me, then went back to sleep. I tucked her in and kissed her another good night. In the morning , she couldn’t remember any of it.


What’s their difference?

Night terrors occur in 1-3% of children and are usually short lived. A night terror is sudden in onset, usually between midnight and 2 am. The child screams and appears frightened, with fast breathing and fast heartbeats. The child may or may not speak intelligible words; the child may thrash violently, cannot be consoled, and is unaware of parents and surroundings. Sleep follows in a few minutes and there is total amnesia the following morning.

Nightmares  usually involve vivid, scary, or exciting events which are easily recalled by the child on awakening.

During night terror, don’t be as scared, confused, and in a state of panic as your child’s. Don’t start slapping him in the hope of waking him up. Don’t scream or yell at him. Stay calm and tell him to” Go back to sleep.” Repetitively. Stroke him gently until he goes back to sleep.

After a nightmare, hug him  and remind him you are beside him and will not let anything happen to him. Tell him to “Go back to sleep.” Sometimes, parent has to stay with the child all through the night for assurance.

Learn what triggered the nightmare/night terror to prevent it from happening again. Stop allowing him to play violent or horrid video games. Stop allowing him to watch movies with adult content.But sometimes, horror movies are less scary than the bully next door. Learn  about the underlying problem.


If these nightmares or night terrors give your child socio-culturally inappropriate behaviours please seek professional help. A child psychiatrist or child psychologist can help you. But if you don’t know any of those specialist or is uncertain whether it’s time to seek help, see your pediatrician.

But who is Melissa.

Melissa’s my child’s nemesis. Lol. Melissa is actually a sweet kid who’s been outsmarting her since preschool. Good thing Melissa has been around, or else we would have a hard time explaining to our kid that she’s not the smartest  ass in the land. Once  in a while, we remind her that outside of Baler, there are 10,000 other kids smarter than Melissa  and 100,000 kids  smarter than her. Anak, study harder ... And then another reccurence of night terror
(Anak,the edge  of the world is not limited to the boundaries of Baler, but the sun shines warmest at our home.)

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