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Ask Dr. Shirley Schaye Your Own Question

Dr. Shirley Schaye
Dr. Shirley Schaye, Doctor
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1673
Experience:  PhD-Psych; Certif. Psychoanalyst NPAP& NYFS; Memb.APsaA;IPA; Pub.Author; Teach/Supervise Therapy
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my 2 year and 4 month old child doesnt want to go to sleep

Resolved Question:

my 2 year and 4 month old child doesn't want to go to sleep during the night. he used to go at 9pm perfectly. Now it takes him about 2 hours to come down. I try to do the routine, and fulfill one of his requests about juice, but then he is still crying and doesn't let me go. I seat behind the door with my back turned on him, it seems to help for him to come down, but he doesn't go to sleep and after 20 min of me seating there I can't take it any more and leave and he cries alot. His nap is 2-3 hours during the day and he wakes up around 8 am. he also got addicted to juce and refused to eat what I make for him. Now we dilute juce with water or add milk in it, but most of the time he demands juce. Any advice?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Dr. Shirley Schaye replied 2 years ago.

Dr. Shirley Schaye :

At 2 years four months a child is still not sufficiently separated from it's mother. It is hard to know why he is doing this because I don't know any of the developmental history. Let me explan a little to you about early childhood development.

Dr. Shirley Schaye :

There is a book that you might want to read written by Margaret S. Mahler, MD and Manuel Furer, MD. --- "On Human Symbiosis and the Vicissitudes of Individuation". Margaret Mahler is the definitive researcher on early childhood ego development. It might be of interest to you to read this book. It will really help you understand why she is behaving the way she is when she has to be separated from mommy --- even by going to sleep. A child is in the Symbiotic phase of early ego development until 4-5 months old. child They are just beginning to learn the difference between themselves and mommy. At 1 1/2 years old the child is still not able to separate. They could walk away from mommy but need to turn around and see that mommy is there. This is the separation-individuation stage. At 23 months a child is not separated from it's mother. In fact, a child cannot separate from it's mother until age 3. At age 3, a child has developed object constancy. What that means is that at age 3, when a child is away from it's mother it can understand that it's mother is coming back. Before age 3 a child has no object constancy and does not know that mother will come back.
--

Dr. Shirley Schaye :

So all that being said I have no idea what has transpired until now. Do you work? Have you traveled without her? These would be important questions to be answered to understand what is happening now.

Dr. Shirley Schaye :

OOPS!!! Sorry, I meant him, not her.

Dr. Shirley Schaye :

So now let's go to another point. He is getting older --- why is he napping for 2-3 hours during the day. Try reducing it. He is sleeping too much during the day so, of course, it will be harder to get him to go to sleep at night. Many children that age do not nap at all during the day.

Dr. Shirley Schaye :

As for his diet, I would seduce him with a treat that he likes A F T E R he has eaten his dinner. Show him the treat and let him know he can only get it after he eats his meal.

Dr. Shirley Schaye :

I see you are offline. I'll pause here and await your response so that we may continue with our chat.

Customer:

What is the reasonable nap length for him? yesterday he didn't nap and went to bed ok, but was tired in the evening.

Customer:

I tried to give him juice later, but he is throwing tantrum and still doesn't want to eat his food. And for breakfast he stopped eating cereal and prefers waffles, which are not that nutritious. Should i just go with the waffles?

Dr. Shirley Schaye :

Let's do one thing at a time. A lot, a lot of kids don't nap at that age. ( Mine didn't ). Some do. But I would play it by ear. Only nap as long as it doesn't interfere with bedtime. If he's very tired early evening then maybe let him nap a tiny bit OR keep him occupied and amused until bedtime --- do that for a while until he establishes a routine that works.

Dr. Shirley Schaye :

As for the food, if he's eating waffles, so be it.

Dr. Shirley Schaye :

If you have other questions, don't hesitate to ask. If I have answered your questions, please click on ACCEPT and leave feedback. Bonuses are always appreciated. You can always ask more questions after you have clicked on Accept.Simply Reply To: XXXXX XXXXX Schaye

Dr. Shirley Schaye, Doctor
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1673
Experience: PhD-Psych; Certif. Psychoanalyst NPAP& NYFS; Memb.APsaA;IPA; Pub.Author; Teach/Supervise Therapy
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