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.