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CounselorJules, Family Counselor
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 732
Experience:  Licensed Professional Counselor
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I am dating a girl who has an 8 year old son. past 6 years,

Customer Question

I am dating a girl who has an 8 year old son. For the past 6 years, it has been her and him on their own, only having each other. The child is very scared of sleeping alone in his own bed. They had slept in the same bed for a very long time and he has gotten used to that. Also, when he was younger and the mom and dad were going through some tough times, he has tried to kick down her door, with the child there, in a drunken rage. This has scarred the child. Now with me staying over their place more often, we are trying to get him to sleep in his own bed. Some days are better than other, but he still gets very scared being alone. What are some ways to make him feel more comfortable in his own bed? We've tried keeping the TV on for sound and light, but that doesn't always help.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  CounselorJules replied 1 year ago.

First, Thank you for asking this question and for considering what the little boy needs for security. I would ask him specifically what he needs to feel safe. I would encourage you to lay down with him and help him get to sleep, and then slowly or gradually move out of the room. Start in the bed, then sit beside the bed, hold his hand, ask him if he feels like having a "super hero" or a specific stuffed animal in the bed would work. Encourage him, talk to him about what he needs. Even ask him what his fears are and make him understand why these things are untrue. Debunk his faulty or fearful thinking. the most important thing, is finding out what makes him feel safe and letting him determine what would help in the room or his own bed. Trauma affects kids differently. But as a trauma specialist, I have found that you have to focus on what the fearful thoughts are, finding out where they came from, and then focus on how he can understand that these are not true. Point out exceptions to him how that problem no longer exists.

I hope that is helpful. I have two little ones also, and I think a lot of parents deal with this issue, but it can and will get better :)

Expert:  CounselorJules replied 1 year ago.

I hope that you found the time to review my answer and that you will provide positive feedback. If more information is necessary, please feel free to respond. If you do feel satisfied, please accept the answer so that credit is received for the response. Thank you so much! Julie