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Our 5 Year Old Daughter Keeps Waking Up In Fits Of Rage And Is Unconsolable

by Anonymous
(Oakland, CA)

For five nights in a row our daughter has awaken in the middle of the night moaning, yelling and calling out for us (mom and dad). We wait for about 5 minutes, thinking she's dreaming and will fall back asleep. When she doesn't one of us goes in to comfort her, however, she gets agitated and starts yelling, and crying.

I read that it's best not to touch or talk to a child in this "dream state"???, so I'll sit by her bedside and wait it out. At this point her yelling and crying turns into shaking, jumping up and down on her bed, writhing...out of control behavior. I then begin to talk softly to her saying, "Mama's here. Shhhh, it's alright. Do you want me to hold you?" At this point she continues to yell and cry. I sit and wait and then she gets belligerent screaming, "Hold me! Hold me!" I go to hold her and she puts up her arms and says, "No! Go away!" I start to leave her room after saying goodnight and then she screams, "No! Don't go!" So I stay and continue to ask her if she wants me to hold her...trying to comfort her.

Then she'll make demands in this state like 1) I want to sleep in your bed 2) Sleep with me the rest of the night. At times to get rest we've given in to these demands. Other times when we've held the line and said no, you need to stay in your bed and sleep by yourself her behavior gets more extreme and worse; throwing things at us, clawing, hitting and trying to bite us. This goes on, I kid you not, for hours.

Many times when the behavior is extreme as stated above we've spanked her (this has happened at the tail end of a 2 hour episode because we're at a loss of what to do, we're tired and she's just so out of control). We have spoken to her pediatrician, but she says there's nothing we can do, but attend a parenting class which may result in being referred to a psychologist??? We are seriously depleted and have no answers.

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