After living with me for two years, Christopher finally asked to sleep in his own bed for the first time. This is huge! He used to be so afraid of sleeping by himself -- he was afraid of monsters in the closet, the dark and the smoke alarm scares him too. He used to be afraid of thunderstorms but he actually got over that in the last year. So cross one fear off the list, thank you very much. But the fear of the dark, monsters and the smoke alarm persisted.
That's a symptom of PTSD by the way; irrational fears like the smoke detector and loud thunderstorms. His therapist tells me that I don't know what happened when he was in foster care; that he probably felt scared when there was a thunderstorm and didn't have anyone there to comfort him. He feels safe and protected in my house so no more fear of thunderstorms or smoke alarms. Yay!
I used to battle with him to sleep in his own bed because I thought it was important that he sleep on his own. I'd put him to bed and he'd jump out four or five times and run around the house. Sometimes he'd be up until 11pm and I'd wonder how he was going to function the next day. I wondered about myself too actually. I was very tired a good chunk of the time.
After the Marathon bombing, I gave up on fighting with him at bedtime because I just didn't have it in me anymore to battle with him. I decided it was doing more harm than good to make him sleep in his own room and maybe he just needed his mama near him in order to feel safe. I stopped the hard nosed stance and changed to a much softer approach.
I've been telling him that if he sleeps in his own bed overnight, that he would get to play Angry Birds on the Kindle in the morning. He loves Angry Birds. And he loves the Kindle. So every morning he would get out of my bed and ask to play Angry Birds on the Kindle and I would say no. This was a reward for when he slept in his own room. He'd cry but I held firm. Last night, he finally worked up the courage to sleep in his own room by himself and I held up my end of the bargain: he is playing Angry Birds on the Kindle right now. Win-win all around!
I never thought I would say this but...thank goodness for Angry Birds!