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night terrors

my child is 4 years old he has had "night terrors" as long as i can remember. his father and i have been seperated since he was 6 months old. he repeatedly tells me he wants his dad and then he wants me to hold him. his father takes him every weekend. they spend alot of time togather. they dont seem to bother my child much but i have since loss so much sleep over it that i skip work frequently. if i had a normal job i would be fired. we went to a therapist because he also developed minor ocd issues and come to find out the therapist advised that he was extremely intelligent and these types of things just come with the package. she also said it has become habit to wake during this very deep sleep before rem sleep and could usually be timed to approximately 2 hours after falling asleep. her advise was to wake him up about an hour and a half after i put him to bed so that he will skip this stage. he does this randomly so he will do it for weeks and then just stop. she told me that is very common with children with bi-polar disorder but not to jump to any conclusions as of yet because that seems to be a difficult diagnosis.

my question is what causes it?

and good luck to all the moms suffering with this with your child. many people dont even really believe or understand it. i went so far as to even video tape it to show people what im dealling with. its heart breaking because you as a parent feel helpless and that is the worst feeling ever.


This discussion is related to 3 year old Night crying.
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Avatar universal
It is extremely distressing to watch a child going through night terrors. I know this because my neice used to have them when she was little. She seemed to grow out of them when she was about 7, as most children do. She was an anxious little girl but has grown up to be fine, a happy and well balanced teenager and no bi-polar! I think the therapist was being unhelpful to make the link between night terrors and bi-polar. Yes,  it is a common thing for bi-polar children to suffer night terrors, but there are plenty of perfectly normal children out there who are not bi-polar but do have night terrors.
It does seem to be that bright children are often more anxious than the average and it makes sense that they would be more prone to OCD for example, but as you will know, cognitive and behavioural therapy can be very effective in dealing with this.
As to why night terrors happen, you might as well ask why do people sleepwalk and sleeptalk because they are two other somewhat similar disruptive sleep disorders.
The problem with night terrors is that they are so upsetting to witness and as a mother, it is all the worse because you can do nothing to help comfort your child at that time, which is why you are far more disturbed that your son by these events. If you can try to normalise the night terrors in your own mind by saying 'he'll grow out of it'(which he most likely will) you might find it easier to cope with. The advice to wake him up an hour and a half after you put him to bed is a good one and it may be that this will have to be a habit you get into for the next few years. If you can keep his bedtime very regular and not too late, then you won't be too tired to waken him. Good luck with your little man.
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Avatar universal
hi my wee girl is 3.5 years old and has been taken night terrors im not sure what has started them at the same time these started she started peeing her self after being fully potty trained for a year. some days she has 10/ 15 accidents she knows to use the toilet but will just sit there and not bother. ive treid every thing from reward charts to start for every time she pees in the toilet  ignoring it even being frustrated with her. im a single mum and between the night terrors and wet during the day and at night im at the end of my tether.
thanks any adivice or help would be greatfu
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