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Dr. G.
Dr. G., Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1492
Experience:  Licensed Psychologist in the state of Minnesota
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I have a 7 year old boy that has been going to bed on his own

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I have a 7 year old boy that has been going to bed on his own for 4 years now, but all of the sudden he doesn't want to go to his room to sleep. He will sleep in my bed alone or on the couch alone. We have tried to comfort him, talk to him about why he is scared, as well offer encouragement. All he says is that doesn't know how to fall asleep in his room anymore. He doesn't like his room, but won't go into details why. We had nothing big happen in the last few weeks nor has he been with anyone to cause him harm. It just started on Sunday.

We offered to allow him to keep the door open with the hallway light on and that worked for 2 nights, but the 3rd night, he woke up at 3 am and wanted to sleep on the couch. I told him he could, but if he did he would have to give up his games. I was told that to give him rewards and punishments for sleeping in his bed or the couch. It seemed to a have worked for 2 nights.

I would love any advice you may give to me.
If it worked then go back to it. Lay down specific rules about sleeping in his bed and specific consequences if he does not follow the rules. Then...................STICK TO IT!!!!!! Just because he doesn't want to do it that does not mean you have to give up on your plan. In addition to the rules and consequences, which by the way should be strong enough to make it uncomfortable for him, the can be rewards. You and him should decide on a mutual reward if he sleeps a whole week in his bed. Once that ocurrs ofr a few weeks then move on two 2 weeks , etc. etc. This should do the trick.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
My worry is that he is afraid to the point that he is willing to give up his video games for rhe day. He told me that it was just a day and that is ok. This tells me that he is truly scared, but he won't tell me what it is all about. Should I be concerend? Should I continue then with the punishments even though he might be truly scared?
He told you that taking video games away does not matter to him. BINGO. there is your clue to use something else against him that will have a greater impact. Continue with the plan. See if he can't get over being scared a few weeks after the plan. the thing is though is that you need to make the consequences unbearable and the rewards irresistable. If after you have stuck to the plan for a while and he is still scared then you might want to take him to a therapist to work on this issue. I am willing to bet he will come around.
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Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thank you very much.......I really appreicare your encourgagement that I am doing the right thing.