Hi - I posted this last night in the "Childhood Years" subforum, but have gotten no replies... Not sure where best to post it, but this might fit. I don't know if I explain myself very clearly, so please don't hesitate to ask questions. But basically I'm trying to understand first why he might be acting this way all of a sudden - how to figure that out, and how to deal with it in a firm (not caving in to his disruptiveness) but loving and respectful way that will help him feel secure. Thanks for any help you can give... (or if you know where would be a better place to post, please feel free to point me there...)
I could really use some help, thoughts, experience, etc... I've got four year old twin boys who sleep in the same room (we don't have any other bedrooms, so separating is not an option, and I don't think it would be any help). They had been going to bed great for quite a while. We have a routine we do every single night. They would sometimes give us a bit of trouble, but it was rare that there were any major problems.
For the past few weeks, things have been rockier - since the weather started to get hotter (we don't have central air and their room does get pretty hot), and since school ended and they've been staying up about an hour later than they had been during school (8:00 as opposed to 7:00). They're also sleeping about an hour later usually, so they're getting the same amount of sleep. It's been one (D) more than the other (G) giving us the problems. Problems being not following the routine, not laying still and quiet (it's our rule that they lay still and quiet while we sing two songs and if they don't we can't sing - so they give us trouble, we don't sing, then they're upset, and on and on...).
But I would say over the past week, D has started really flipping out. He'll be fine (mostly) until he's in bed and it's time to be laying quietly while we sing, give hugs & kisses and say "I love you"s. Then he usually insists he needs to use the potty again (even though he just has, sometimes twice), and gets upset at being reminded what his "job" is, and just keeps asking for this or that. And we try to find a balance between respecting legitimate needs, but also sticking to our expectations. And the past three nights now, he's just lost it, out of control crying, screaming, hitting - just beside himself. And we leave, which feels horrible, but this is after repeating our expectations over and over and telling him that if he can make an effort to calm down we can help, if he doesn't, we can't. So we leave, then 5 minutes later I go up, and 5 after that if I need to until he's worn himself out to the point that he's willing to be a bit more reasonable and calm and then I give him a drink of water, sing him a song (not the one that he missed out on because of his behavior) and say goodnight.
Tonight, he really seemed desperate, clinging to me and screaming not to go, screaming and crying for me to come back up... It felt like he was scared somehow, but I don't get it. He hasn't said anything about being scared at night, or having scary dreams. I was so torn - to feel like he was feeling scared and desperate and to walk out of there, but at the same time, he was totally out of control, and I felt like I had to set some boundaries, not cave in (I had told him before we started our routine that if he needed anything he had to tell me then, because when we started our routine, no more special requests.). And he was not listening at all, not to anything. It was really really bad.
I'm just at my wit's end. I have no idea why all of a sudden he's having such a hard time. It's been a month since school ended already, we're falling into a daily routine for the summer, there haven't been any big changes in our lives that I can think of... In general he's been much more confrontational (yelling, hitting, thrashing around, telling me if I don't do something, he's not going to be my friend, etc.). Any ideas what could be going on? Or what we might try? Help, please!!