When my oldest son was little, he use to be scared to sleep in his room. He thought there were monsters under his bed, or in his closet. So one day I filled a spray bottle up with water and added a little vanilla, about 1 tsp. I wrote on the bottle "monster spray", I also added a picture on it of Cookie Monster with an X drawn over him. So every night we would spray under his bed and in the closet. I would leave the spray on his dresser in case he felt he needed it. It worked wonders!
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We found an easy and pretty inexpensive way to solve the problem of being scared that something was under the bed. We found under the bed storage containers at the discount store, but really any will do.
Made about a thousand of these, LOL!
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We have a challenge we can't seem to solve. About 4 months ago our 8yr became unable to sleep alone. He says he is scared. He started to try to get in our bed which we allowed for a few nights since it was a new problem. We realized we couldn't allow it permanently and refused to let him in, so then he started to sleep on the floor next to the bed and he continues to do so every night.
Maybe you could get a monitor that will allow you to talk to each other so if he gets fearful he can speak to you and you to him. Maybe that's more like a walkie-talkie. Also, maybe you could offer some sort of "reward" for staying at least part of the night in his room and extend the time required for getting the reward. I don't mean a toy every day or food but maybe a special treat time with you alone where you and he or maybe you, he and dad go for a walk or to the park or something else he enjoys without siblings.
Let him take a simple spray of glitter (not boyish but visible) and spray away the fears in his room. Kind of like bug spray but for everything he's afraid of. By his taking control of the situation this may help. Also it will eventually go away. Most stages like this are just that, stages. Good luck.
I am sure, from what I've read, that your son is above average intelligence, with a lively imagination and the normal fears of many sensitive 8 year olds.
I also think your own health problems have some bearing on this; after all, you sleep on the couch occasionally, so why shouldn't he change where he's sleeping?
It's true that our children notice our own behaviour and health issues and worry that they might be left alone one day. (though they may not be able to articulate this) They have no discernment at 8 years old that this happens to everyone and they cope.
Getting the diagnosis of ADD & ODD is great, now you know that there are things to work through and with. Never allow him to believe that having these makes him 'lesser than' in any way. ADD kids are often the leaders :-)
Although this will be a phase, because your son is so strong willed and likes to be in charge (even of you!) don't let this very real fear develop into a means of manipulating you. He still needs the firm guidelines you've always provided.
Have you tried audio books? When my son went through this phase, we did everything you have done and it threatened to develop into more than a phase so I bought several 'talking books'- making sure there was nothing in them that was scary. He also had music tapes and relaxation tapes which we used together to help calm "our" fears.
The rule then became when he woke up he'd listen to a book, then relaxing, sometimes classical, music - he was in control of this and he was happy with that, especially as we encouraged his vivid imagination to make good pictures of the music created in his mind.
We don't have TV either, nor do we get newspapers or magazines and negative conversations by adults are discouraged in front of the children. Eight is too young to cope with the horrors of the world.
As Glenn's Mom said, we are all concerned for you, so I hope some of our suggestions work out. Rest assured, he won't be like this for ever!
I have an 8 year old with the same issues, he has 2 night lights, and music. I gave him my t-shirt so that my smell would be with him. It seems to be working. Also, I have a strict bedtime routine as my son has Aspergers. He has a bath in the Johnston bedtime bath stuff, the lavender stuff, and it works. Then he watches cartoons while eating his snack, which is dairy and works as a soother for him, and then off to bed with my shirt and his favorite bedtime friend. It works! The consistency has worked for him.
My grandson was having no trouble going to sleep, but would occasionally have "bad dreams". He is a very sensitive child and watching news programs, with all the associated drama and trauma, would sometimes affect him. He was worried about something happening to his family. Try limiting exposure to violent and traumatic news items. My daughter also bought him an Indian dream catcher and explained that this would protect him from having bad dreams; he rarely has bad dreams now. So the power of positive thinking has been extremely beneficial. Hope this helps you.
My middle child is 12 now and is still afraid of the dark because she feels unsafe and believes that if she turns the light off someone will kidnap her or kill her in a twisted way. How do I assure her that she is safe?
By Athena A.
Realize that this may well be a temporary issue. I would suggest asking her what you and she might do so that she would feel more safe. Perhaps, a small light left on? A night light or two? A hall light on with her bedroom door open? Doing something to "secure" windows? If you see her concern as a developmentally appropriate response to a (real or perceived) threat, collaborating with her, creatively, to find a resolution will help her develop her own self-trust and ability to work with her fear. Some adults even prefer to sleep with a light on, and, in the big scope of life's "things", this is not such a bad thing.
First of all, try to find out what has made her frightened. She may not feel able to talk to you, but perhaps another member of the family or her teacher can find out. Thinking back to my own days as a 12 year old, I had heard about all kinds of child abuse and also knew of people who were operating outside the law in my community, for example, drug dealing. I lived in a highly respectable area too. Children get to hear about all sorts of things at school, from the other children. They may not feel able to talk about things that they have heard, to parents.
I had gotten my boys a dog, that would sleep with them. I would tell the boys the dog will protect you. I made sure the dog would sleep in the boys room either on the bed or between the boys.
Another thing is to check to find out why she feels this way, did something happen elsewhere and she didn't tell you... But my best thing to help is always a dog. A dog is a great warning and guard for her. When you think of it, they use dogs for Veterans with PTSD. A dog is great for children to feel secure. Plus have the dog be her dog, family dog ok, but her dog mostly.
I wish it was possible to promise safety to every child and adult but the reality is you can't. Just love the child and leave the light on. Besides what can it hurt to help them feel safe?
Fear of the dark at this age and older can be a normal thing, but it can also be a sign of other things.
My daughter had been sleeping normally, but suddenly a few years ago she could not go to sleep at all unless I was in the room. She was exhibiting some other behavior also that was strange. I questioned her about sexual abuse, and she told me a trusted family friend had touched her inappropriately. The man is now in jail, but she was afraid that he would come in the night and take her out of her room. It was a difficult road, but we found many things to help her. She has two night lights. (I turn one of them off when she is asleep.) Tapping (Emotional Freedom Technique) has helped a great deal. She taps while saying Bible verses about Jesus being with her and taking care of her. Controlled breathing has also been a great help as have essential oils. Peace and Calming, Lavender, and Orange Oil from Young Living are her favorites.
Another important thing is that your daughter be taught to take care of her anxiety herself. She is making herself afraid when there is no real, immediate danger. She has to learn that she is her own safe place (from Lucinda Bassett's series).
Another possible reason for the fear is that she may be super sensitive to the spirit realm. My other daughter is that way. She can sense the spirits as they roam about. This can cause her a lot of fear. I can sense them some as well, but I am not as sensitive to them as she is. We are Christians, so I just keep reassuring her that with Jesus, the spirits cannot harm her. They are around doing their evil work passing from place to place.
Your daughter may be prone to anxiety as well. It does run in families. Does she show any other signs of fear in any other situation? Those of us with anxiety can get really good at hiding it, so you have to be super sensitive to her behavior in order to pick it up. Does she have to do certain things in a certain order? Does she ask a lot of questions when something out of the ordinary happens? These kinds of behavior can be a way for people to cope with anxiety.
I hope you find this helpful or find another way to help your daughter. God bless you both.
I wouldn't worry too much. My grand-daughter who is 14 has only recently stopped needing a night light and as for me at 64 I still like one on in the hallway. But having said that if it's only a recent fear, I would definitely try to find out if there was a specific event that caused this or something on TV news that was the trigger.
Sorry to hear of your Daughter's fear of the dark. This is not unusual in children but at her age there could be an underlying physiologist problem. Sound advise from posts suggesting a Dog but make sure you tell her it's HER guardian and try RSPCA or any Animal Welfare to rescue one. If your home and yard space permits try for a German Shepherd they are wonderful canines. Have owned bred / shown them all my life. Good luck with what ever breed you decide on. Please keep us all posted.
After many attempts to reassure our grandson that no one was going to break in our home, he was still worried. I realized that I wasn't addressing his fears. I told him that if someone broke in, Papa would catch them, call the cops and they would be arrested. He was fine after that!