Child struggling to sleep because of scary things - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 07-24-2002, 12:27 AM - Thread Starter
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I really need some help. My 10 yo daughter is having problems going to sleep. This all started last week while I was gone and it was all over the news about the 5 yo girl who was kidnapped and murdered. My daughter is now paranoid whenever she tries to sleep, she's afraid that someone will try to break in and harm us. There was also a sermon about death at church and she didn't do well with that, either. I can't tell her now that a 7 yo girl has been kidnapped in Philadelphia because that may put her over the edge. We talked about it and I told her that we would not watch the news around her for a while but she's still scared. Does anyone have any suggestions?
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#2 of 6 Old 07-24-2002, 02:01 AM
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I feel for her.I am an adult,and I have a hard time wraping my head all around the terrible things that can happen to our children.Is there anyway that you could bring her into bed with you,or you sleep with her for a while,just to give her some solid ground and comfort for a while?
Sorry I am not any help,I only have 2 21 month old babies.Long way to go till 10!Good luck.
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#3 of 6 Old 07-24-2002, 08:58 AM
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Could you take a self defense ckass together? Or talk about the 7 yr. old who was abducted now that she has escaped!!
I know if I'm worried about something I can't stop thinking about it until I've "worked it through" in my head.
Maybe a sense of empowerment over the situation would help, the class I mentioned, ( our local police station offers them for free) or talking about stranger safety, etc.

It makes me so mad and sad that our children even have to know about these things nevermind worry about them. What a world!

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#4 of 6 Old 07-24-2002, 11:03 AM
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10 is old enough to understand about the odds of things happening. Find some statistics on good things and make a list that she can go over as an "affirmation" when she feels scared. You could phrase it one of two ways, whichever you think will be more effective: "You are 59 times more likely to win a trip to Hawaii than to get kidnapped." or "You have a 1 in 582 chance of winning a trip to Hawaii in your lifetime." with no mention of kidnapping. (I'm just making up those numbers.)

Also, talk with her about imagining her way OUT of any scary situation. I found this very effective for myself after Sept. 11: I would think, "What if the military research building across the street from my office gets bombed?" and start to freak, but then I would envision ducking under my desk just as the shock wave broke the glass, emerging unscathed, running down the stairs and exiting the building thru the parking garage on the side away from the military building, and walking home utilizing quiet side streets. Coach your daughter to imagine acting like one of those kids in movies who seem to think of everything, kicking the bad guys at just the right moment, seeing the perfect way to slip out of their reach, etc. Whatever horror she can imagine, there's a way out; direct her imagination in that direction. The little girl in Philly is an excellent inspiration for this!

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#5 of 6 Old 07-25-2002, 10:02 AM
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I am having the same problem with my 10yo son!! I am thinking of letting him put a mattress in the floor of our room. He feels better with someone in the room with him. Maybe that would help you.

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#6 of 6 Old 07-25-2002, 05:44 PM
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While I agree that 10 year olds can be reasoned with, I have to say that giving them statistics may not be much of a help. I don't have pre-teens or teens yet, but I have vivid memories of my pre-teen years. I was in elementary school when that movie "The Day After" was aired. It was the movie about nuclear war (I think it was war, it was a nuclear incident, nonetheless.) I didn't watch the movie, thanks to my mother's good judgement, but I knew what the premise was, and I was terrified. I would lay awake at night in fear, just waiting for the bomb to drop. I really believed that, not only would their be a nuclear war, but that the bomb would hit our house. I know that sounds irrational, but that was truly what I thought.

When I was 12 my mother had breast cancer. It was a best case scenario, she had a mastectomy, they got it all, no chemo, no radiation. For many months I would lay in bed at night until long after midnight worrying about this. I didn't worry that my mom was going to die, because I knew that she was okay, but I was just sure that I was going to get it too, one day. It was a constant fear for me. When I thought about getting it myself, I always thought that I would die from it.

In both of these cases I knew the statistics, but it didn't help me to feel less fearful. Fear is often unreasonable, even with the best of information.

I could give many more examples, but you get the idea. Marg, I think you are lucky that your child told you. I never mentioned it to my parents, I simply spend years worrying about such things in silence. Ask your Dd what she needs from you to help her deal with, not necessarily overcome, these fears. Overcoming her fears may be impossible, but you can help her to deal with them.

Best of luck to you and your daughter.
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