Night Terrors terrorise my family

Most expert say that Night Terrors isn’t something we, parents cause – in other words, we don’t do this to our children. It is often said that night terrors might run in the family. Perhaps. For us, adopters, this is something we can neither confirm nor deny. 😦

But I do wonder if my boys’ difficult past somehow plays a part…

My 6y old boy has night terrors almost every night.  Sometimes it’s ‘just‘ screaming, sometimes it’s screaming and sleep walking, sometimes it’s screaming and sleep walking with eyes wide open! I remember I freaked out so much the very first time it happened! I couldn’t believe he was not awake. I didn’t know why was he crying. I only saw that he  was trembling, his bed was soaked with sweat and his face was wet with fresh tears. These days we know what’s happening so we try to catch him before he comes down the stairs, we gently guide him back to his room, push his head back onto the pillow and he goes back to peaceful sleep in no time with no recollection of it the next day.

Night terror Feelingmumyet adoption

There are nights when we don’t catch him in time so he comes into the front room and starts talking to us. His eyes are open, he comes to the settee, sits down and says words or sentences that usually make no sense. Sometimes they do – once he and I had a proper conversation; I asked something, he responded, he asked back, I responded and he nodded. It was so odd! The only giveaway way the fact that his eyes weren’t focusing on anything. After a short chat I walked him back to bed. As expected, he had no memories of our conversation the next morning.

Night Terrors are scary!

Not for the child, for us, witnesses. I still struggle to accept that they are completely unaware of what’s happening to them. I looked around on the web to learn more about it, but it seems to be still an area that needs a LOT MORE research. I did find a website called the Night Terrors Resource Center that had some very useful information.

I have asked the children’s Social Worker several times about this, but her only response was ‘It’s no big deal, they don’t remember it anyways, besides, I used to have night terrors as a child and I grew out of it’. At this point I lost my cool and asked back ‘and how is that suppose to help me?’. Even the play therapist said that ‘since it’s not an experience the children remember it’s very hard to tackle it and help the children heal from it’.

Sometimes night terrors are scary even for the children!

A few nights ago 6 had an extremely violent night terror. He was screaming for over 30 minutes and there was nothing we could do about it! He was in his brother’s room – effectively waking and scaring him too – shaking and shouting ‘tell mummy I love her!‘ Both my husband and I ran upstairs and we took him to the bathroom. His whole body was shaking, his lips were trembling and he kept on saying the same thing to me ‘tell mummy I love her’. Now, this is the point where we, adopters get unsure: is he talking about me or about his first mum? There are good arguments for both…

Almost everybody agrees that waking a child in the middle of a night terror is not a good idea. Normally we don’t do it, but he was so distressed that I tried to wake him. I even put a cold and wet face cloth onto his face, but nothing worked. Husband was in the other room trying to calm down his brother. Once he came back he picked our little one up and carried him back to his bed. As soon as he put his head on the pillow he was back to peaceful sleep. The next morning he came to me and said he had a bad dream. He couldn’t recall any details, just a deep sense of worry and fear. My heart was breaking for him. We reassured him he is safe and well loved and said the lie parents often tell their children ‘it’s only a dream, don’t worry about it‘. And he didn’t waste any more thoughts on it. It was only my hubby and I who keep worrying that their past experiences somehow influence their dreams.

As I understand night terrors are not (bad) dreams per se and therefore are not connected to the subconscious mind processing the daily events. But then how do you explain the incident last night?

Night terror can be connected to daily events

Yesterday 6 had a small incident. We were in a park and he went from ‘I don’t need a toilet’ to ‘I am desperate‘ in 5 seconds (as most children would) so we started to walk home. Sadly he didn’t make it to the toilet and he wet himself in the porch. Needless to say he started crying. We kept our cool and told him ‘there is no reason to cry, go upstairs and mummy will shower you‘. He kept on crying. I thought it was because of the shame. It turns out I was wrong. He was crying mostly because he was afraid we will yell at him and be angry. (Birth father didn’t tolerate such ‘stupid behaviour’ and punished both boys severely every single time.) I reassured him we are not angry, but he kept on crying and asking ‘How can you not be angry?‘ We did the whole ‘look at my face, do you see anger’ routine while I try to give him my best smile, but he still wasn’t convinced.

Fast forward to bedtime, I put him to sleep without a problem. 30 minutes into  his sleep we heard a door open, elephant steps marching to the bathroom and then something falling onto the floor tiles. Hubby went up thinking the older one was messing about only to find 6 literally peeing into the washing basket!

He was so shocked for a second that he didn’t know what to do. Then he chose to talk to him. It became clear very fast that 6 was not awake even though he was acting so. Hubby was very cross because all our clothes were now smelling of his wee. I couldn’t stop laughing. Yes, it’s bad, sure, but if you take a step back and look at the big picture it’s pretty funny! It IS impressive for him to wee into the relatively tall washing basket, especially when you think he isn’t even consciously doing it! 🙂

While hubby took the basket down to do an emergency wash I walked my son back to bed. He kept on saying ‘I don’t want to race‘ which had clearly nothing to do with today’s events, but the fact that he took himself to the bathroom to relieve himself HAS TO BE connected to today’s events of him worrying about not getting to the toilet in time!

Do you guys think they are connected?

 

 

Night Terrors are common among children. Feelingmumyet is an adopter mum who writes about a potential link between terrible memories from the past and the intensity of the night terror.
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34 thoughts on “Night Terrors terrorise my family

  1. Anthony - Dada & Monkey says:

    My four year old had a run of terrors about 6 months back. Her Mother and I separated a long time ago, after her first birthday however we felt that her terrors where connected to things happening in the physical world. Her Mum started dating, he was a great guy, super with her but Katie was very jealous when he stayed over. She would wake and want to get into her bed all the time, at ours this manifested into night terrors. Thankfully we dont experience those terrors anymore, we continue to be positive in parenting and it’s paid off.

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    • feelingmumyet says:

      Hello and welcome to my little world! Glad your girl grew out of it, we are hopeful it will be the same for ours too! I definitely believe they are connected to the daily happenings so we started to take notes to see what’s triggering it. Thanks for reading and commenting

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  2. rawsonjl says:

    Ow wow!!…. that has got to be rough. My kids had a much milder version of night terror where they did WAKE up terrified for a few nights in a row, crying, soaked in sweat, and complaining of bad dreams (as best they could articulate since they were toddlers at the time). We too were told there was nothing we could do and it would pass but it was not fun. It would make since to me that they could occasionally be connected to “real life” just as our dreams are sometimes weird and not at all based on real life and other times are quite a vivid re-living of our days and lives.

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    • feelingmumyet says:

      Welcome! I’m always glad when I get feedback from others that we are not alone with this! We started to write down daily what’s happening to see if there is a theme or connection or any triggers, while we wait for him to ‘just grow out of it’. Thanks for reading and commenting

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  3. Nicole Roder says:

    Oh my goodness! Poor baby! That sounds horrible! He’s lucky to have such a caring mother who puts so much thought into how to help him. I imagine this must be very difficult for you. #thelistlinky

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    • feelingmumyet says:

      Hello Nicole, welcome to my little crazy world! Yes, it’s not easy but we knew that before we said yes so we just get on with life now, while I try to advocate for my boys! Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. ethannevelyn.com says:

    How very interesting. Well… scary at first if you have not experience it first hand before. Then the peeing in the washing pile did take the pee. Haha I think there is certainly something there – but who am I to say. 6 is such a sweetheart. xx

    Thank you so much for linking up with us on #FabFridayPost

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  5. thetaleofmummyhood says:

    My two haven’t yet experience night terrors, to my knowledge. I can’t imagine how awful they must be to witness though, it’s heartbreaking to think that there’s no way I could fix it for them. Every time I read your stuff I’m taken aback by what a remarkable job you’re doing with your boys, I know you don’t me to tell you that but it appears they have found so much love and stability in you as parents! Thanks so much for sharing with #Blogstravaganza xx

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  6. lyliarose says:

    Oops to the wee!
    My daughter, just turned 5, has had a few terrors, but no sleepwalking – we just sit by her and rub her or hold her and try to calm her
    #thelistlinky

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    • feelingmumyet says:

      Hello and welcome to my little crazy world! It’s not easy at times but we knew that before we said yes so we just get on with life now, while I try to advocate for my boys! Holding him definitely helps, too! Thanks for reading and commenting!

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  7. Lynn says:

    Hi, I came here from Full Time Tired from my blog, http://www.bittersweetadventures.com. It’s nice to find another adoption blog. 🙂

    Both my daughters were adopted through foster care. They had night terrors, and my younger one still does an agitated sleepwalking type thing. My older daughter was three when we adopted her, my younger daughter was an infant. They are siblings. Their birth mom had night terrors, apparently run up and down the hallway screaming.

    I’ve been told it’s hereditary, they don’t remember (which they don’t seem to) and it’s more distressing to us than them. This all seems to be true. Does your 6-year-old have any sensory issues or anxiety? My girls do and many of the other parents I’ve spoken with whose children have night terrors, say their kids have one or both of these things as well.

    I’ve also been told that changes in routine, stress, not getting enough sleep or inconsistent sleep schedules (even temporary) increases the chances of having them. This makes sense as my older daughter had them the worst around the time she moved in with us but was still having visits with her birth parents.

    Anyway, that’s my experience and opinion. I hope your little one stops having them. Feel free to chat more if you like.

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    • feelingmumyet says:

      Hello Lynn, welcome to my little crazy world! Yes, it’s not easy but we knew that before we said yes so we just get on with life now, while I try to advocate for my boys! Thanks for reading and commenting! I will find your blog and twitter so we can connect- it seems we and our little ones have lots in common

      Liked by 1 person

  8. bumbismom says:

    I think night terrors can be connected. My little one has gone through bouts of them and recently a new dog was brought in to her other home and she is terrified of it. She screamed through the nights with me and later during the day post sleep/night terror would ask me things like “Will that dog eat me?” I do think they can be connected. Night terrors are very scary and so hard sometimes. I hope things improve so you all can sleep better. Thanks for linking up with the #FabFridayPost

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    • feelingmumyet says:

      Hello and welcome to my little crazy world! Yes, it’s not easy but we knew that before we said yes so we just get on with life now, while I try to advocate for my boys! I am glad you agree it’s connected, I just need to convince the SW so she can get some support for my boys. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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  9. Mummy Times Two says:

    It must be so tricky to put together all of the pieces. My Number One occasionally sleep talks and walks but we have never figured out the connection why. I hope you get to the bottom of what’s causing them soon. #PostsFromTheHeart

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    • feelingmumyet says:

      Hello again, welcome back! It’s really tricky but you know me, I don’t give up easily so one way or another we will get to the bottom of it! Thanks for reading and commenting

      Like

  10. Musings of a tired mummy...zzz... says:

    Thankfully none of mine have experienced this but it must be so awful to see your child so upset 😦 #blogstravaganza

    Like

  11. Family Makes says:

    It’s really hard for the whole family. Both my children suffered from bad dreams, and one from a form of night terrors and sleep walking too. I really sympathise with you and what you’re going through at the moment. Dream catchers worked for us on the bad dreams front – we researched their origins and made our own, and it took away the fear associated with bedtime. #TheListLinky

    Like

  12. Alison Down says:

    Hi, our LO has night terrors, kicks, screams, cries, they’re awful. On a course this week with Social Services and will be asking again about what we can do. The day after a night terror LO is tired and often harder to get her through to her. Love to you and yours.

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  13. Laura says:

    This is so interesting. i really don’t know anything about night terrors sorry. Thankfully my boys haven’t had any yet, a few bad dreams but nothing like what you have described. Hope he does grow out of them #KCACOLS

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    • feelingmumyet says:

      Hi Laura, welcome to our little world! Be glad if your kids don’t have it! 🙂 I also hope my boys will eventually grow out of it! Thanks for reading and commenting!

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  14. queerlittlefamily says:

    My mum once woke up to find my sister trying to pee into our drawers of clothes. Sleep talking and walking runs in our family. Strangely I have had night terrors for the first time ever in the last couple of week. Do you think he will grow out of it? #kcacols

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    • feelingmumyet says:

      Hi, I really hope so. SO far everybody said he will, but I think they just try to play it down saying it’s not a big deal. I am hopeful once they truly feel settled and loved even their subconscious will be able to accept it and move on from the horrors of their first family… Thanks for reading and commenting!

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  15. ohprettycity says:

    I suffer from sleep paralysis which my daughter has unfortunately inherited, she has also had incidents of sleep walking and shouting things out in her sleep but she never remembers. I haven’t experienced anything as bad as screaming or crying, it sounds really distressing for you! Hope it is something that they grow out of. #KCACOLS

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  16. Emma Me and B Make Tea says:

    oh goodness, it sounds really scary for him and you. my son is just 4 and sometimes he wakes at night very upset but I think it is just regular nightmares. fingers crossed he grows out of it xx
    Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time.

    Like

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