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Would you do anything different? Advise please! (sorry, kinda long but I tried to spell/grammar proof :)

Background information needed: My son is 5. Right before christmas he had a horrendous nightmare, where I was killed by an intruder and he could see everything that was happening but he couldn't save me. He woke up screaming, and was able to recall vivid details of the nightmare. I was concerned, made an appoint with the pediatrician. It was decided the dream wasn't based off anything experienced in real life, but his extreme anxiety about being "replaced" in my life. In September my SO and I moved in together. In October we found out we were expecting, and in November got engaged. Up until my son was 3 it had always been just him and I, and up until September we were still living just him and I, even though SO was there all the time. My son still sometimes will say he misses "mommy and maison in our old house" time. So it's been well decided the dream was his anxiety in dealing with all these new changes, and in a sense "loosing" his mom. At first ds stopped wanting to sleep all together. That progressed to willing to sleep, as long as he was in my room and I was right there touching him at all times. This progressed to sleeping in my bed, with me absent (due to the pregnancy I'm on the couch for comfort). The newest step we're on is sleeping in his room, with me laying by his side. Next I plan to just sit in his room, so he can see me but can't touch me. But we're not nearly ready for that yet. It's been a week and although he falls asleep in his room, he's woken up every single night at some point and joined me on the couch. So this is a step we're gonna be on for awhile, and that's ok with me. The dream was horrific, and I'm proud of the progress he's made.
I'm a SAHM (use to work part time but not lately) so spending quality time together is not an issue. I'm constantly working comments like "I will ALWAYS be your mommy" into our everyday life. I remind him a new baby and new step-dad doesn't change the fact he's still my monkey (a nickname since birth). I say "love you" a million times more then I did before, which was already at a million lol. You may not have any advise, but I can't help but wonder if maybe I'm missing something. If there's anything else I could do to help him. It's been 3 months and sleep still isn't back to normal, so although we're progressing I sometimes wonder, what am I missing to help him? Does anyone have any other suggestions/advise other then what's currently being done? Thanks :)


Asked by ba13ygrl1987 at 12:49 AM on Mar. 13, 2011 in General Parenting

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Answers (8)
  • This dream doesn't seem to be about a fear of being replaced. I'm a psychology major and it sounds like the dream is about safety issues or concern about your health or just starting school. Have you been sick at all or does he know that you have any ongoing health conditions? When children have bad dreams, it takes much longer for those images to disappear since their imagination is more vivid. Have you tried using a night light in his room? Or putting an angel statue or something that you can explain to him as something that will keep him and you safe? I think your son is making good progress and that at age 5 it is more likely just a revisitation of an attachment issue connected with going to school and leaving you for long periods of time. I remember I had the same issue of just leaving the comfort of my home at that age. This phase goes away though.

    Answer by hellokittykat at 1:51 AM on Mar. 13, 2011

  • Poor little guy! Sounds like you're doing everything you possibly can. Eventually this will fade, he's probably concerned you're not going to be just his mommy anymore. Keep up the great work, it'll be alright.

    Answer by Kathy675 at 12:55 AM on Mar. 13, 2011

  • Do yall go to bed at the same time nightly and do the same bedtime routine beforehand?

    Answer by txdaniella at 12:56 AM on Mar. 13, 2011

  • Do yall go to bed at the same time nightly and do the same bedtime routine beforehand?

    For the most part yes. School nights 8pm, non school 9, 9:30pm... Always we play a bored game, read 3 books, 2 hugs, 2 kisses, then sleep. Which as I stated now means laying in his bed with me there, rubbing his back. He gets a bath every other night. This has been pretty consistent since he was very little, with life's interruptions once in awhile.

    Comment by ba13ygrl1987 (original poster) at 1:05 AM on Mar. 13, 2011

  • Sweet boy! Poor guy. Adjustments are hard and you are doing every thing you can. I think that I would also have a therapist if you don't already have one. Just time limited and to do some play therapy. It can be helpful for anxiety. In the mean time continue to carry out your plan. If he wakes or calls out then respond imefiately. You are attentive and trying. That is all any mother could do.

    Answer by frogdawg at 10:08 AM on Mar. 13, 2011

  • And by the way...your method is right on target. Great plan, don't rush it. After the chair try the chair outside his door, then you get a little more distance as time goes by. When you do go out of the room - you canmaybe tell him you will check every fifteen minutes on him. And do. GL and he is very lucky to have you.

    Answer by frogdawg at 10:12 AM on Mar. 13, 2011

  • Sounds like your son is very lucky that he has a mom who is in tune with his needs. I have a son with similar sepration anxiety issues and I to this day don't know what exactly triggered it. I read the book The Kissing Hand to him by Audrey Penn and it is a very sweet book about how moms are always there and it wasn't a save all but it did help make some progress. We always have two hours of mommy and me one on one time very consistantly on Saturday AM where we do simple things together. People think I am terrible not to be more forceful but more than once a week I fall asleep in his room on a mat on the floor holding his hand while he is asleep.

    Answer by hotelmom123 at 10:18 AM on Mar. 14, 2011

  • It never even occurred to me about the night light. He's had several throughout the years, but always ends up taking them apart, so I stopped using them. With the new circumstances it probably wouldn't hurt to re-introduce it. We'll do that tonight. He does have the glow in the dark stars on his walls and ceiling but they obviously don't give off much light. I was placed on bed rest right before Christmas, although it's since been lifted. But I never thought about the connection between me being on bed rest and his nightmare. That's a good point. Especially since he likes to "take care of" me when I'm sick, it probably effected him more then I realized. Thanks ladies, we'll try the nightlight and I'll start making comments about how me and the baby aren't sick anymore, just in case he's still worrying about that. Hopefully things will continue to progress. Thanks again for the insight :)

    Comment by ba13ygrl1987 (original poster) at 12:50 PM on Mar. 14, 2011