parenting · special needs parenting

I Just Remembered How to Manage Childhood Insomnia 

Last night I had a couple of hours of insomnia. As an adult with a toolbox full of coping mechanisms and a million thoughts to distract me, I stayed in bed and tried not to wake Mike, while allowing my mind to wander. 

As it wandered I thought of Ben.  Ben has almost 11 years of insomnia under his belt. No matter what we do, he doesn’t sleep well, and believe me, we’ve tried everything under the sun. But what I was thinking about was not his insomnia, per se, but the idea of expecting a child to cope with chronic insomnia by staying in bed. 

It would be impressive for a neurotypical child to have the skills to cope with chronic insomnia without summoning parents, but for a child with neurological differences, how could I ever think he would be able to stay in bed. 

I know my child, he has traumatic stress, anxiety (primarily separation anxiety), little impulse control, and doesn’t understand negative reinforcement, rather, he thrives on positive reinforcement. 

Putting that all together, I believe it’s completely impossible for him to stay in bed when he can’t sleep. 

So now what?  

I go back to the lovely, late Dr Karyn Purvis for an answer I saw long ago, though I often need reminded. 

This video, and really all that I have ever seen of her makes me long to crawl up into Dr Purvis’ lap for comfort and warmth. Likewise, I desire to be that person for Ben, knowing how desperately he needs that comfort and warmth. 

And I resolve, again, to approach his insomnia from a place of acceptance. 


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