Thursday, September 21, 2006

I was just on the air with Dr. Joy Browne!

I love, love, love Dr. Joy Browne. In case you don't know, she's a psychologist with a radio talk show, and her advice is so spot on and her perceptions so keen that she just knocks me out again and again. My own call was no exception.

I called because my 8-year-old daughter has been suffering insomnia, and I've tried everything in my mommy bag of tricks, to no avail. Dr. Joy gave excellent advice about removing myself from the process of helping her sleep, because the attention I give her rewards the behavior. So, I'm to give the tools she needs to calm herself. For instance, if she wakes up during the night, she can listen to an iPod or read a book, but she cannot come into my room.

I told Dr. Joy that during day, my daughter is the happiest, most confident kid, who loves herself, her school, her friends, her life. At night, she gets utterly anxious about not being able to put herself to sleep. Dr. Joy said, "It sounds like she tap dances her way past her anxieties during the day, and so they come out at night."

WHOOSH! It was just a throwaway line on her part, but holy cow. It cut right through a carefully built wall of denial. I'm still reeling.


Susan Henderson said...

My little one's this way.

Ellen said...

Sue, last night was a misery. My daughter cried hysterically from 11-12:30. The refrain: "I WANT MOMMY! I NEED MOMMY! I NEED A HUG!" Incredible that she could keep going at that level for so long. It was relentless and heartbreaking. I wanted to go in and tell her that if she calmed down and stayed quiet for 15 minutes I'd give her a hug, but hubby said I'd defeat the whole effort. So finally HE did it, and it worked. Hope tonight is better.

Lisa McMann said...

Oh Ellen. We went through something similar with our daughter -- it lasted a year, but it was most horrible only when she spent the night elsewhere or had friends staying overnight. She worried herself into staying awake all night every time.

Good to know you have an answer...crossing my fingers that it works for you.

Stephanie said...

I love Dr. Joy. I hope this works out. It's always so hard to change behavior patterns.

Ellen said...

Lisa, that first night I took Dr. Joy's advice was a nightmare, but she slept the next two nights. I have my fingers crossed that we've licked the problem.

Steph, isn't she brilliant? I'm a huge fan. And yeah, very hard to change behavior, but specialists in the field have been working with my older son for years, and I've learned a ton. (But still need expert help, apparently!)