Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Declan, sweet Declan

This boy. He can break my heart and piss me off in the same second...much like he's doing as I type. I am currently blogging so that I don't go in there and regret my actions later.

Apparently there's an issue with bedtime. The issue is that Declan does not want it to be bedtime. So he's taken to screaming for an hour or more each night at bedtime. I wouldn't mind so much, but the twins "sleep" directly next door to him while he shrieks out "mommmy!!!" "daddy!!!!" at the top of his lungs. How he can keep that up I simply do not know. There must be some sort of 3 year old code that allows him to perpetuate the unwanted behavior for hours at a time. Such pleasantries.

We moved Declan to a big boy bed in April. Things were actually going very well until about late May. By late May we had some issues with him coming out of his room at bedtime. We have the rule that you do not have to stay in bed, but you do have to stay in your room. To combat his coming out of his room we put a pressure mounted gate across the doorway to his room, but we ONLY put it up if we found him meandering around the house after bedtime. He KNEW it was coming and always ran directly back to his room...we just put the gate up without saying a word (we talked with him about it every night at bedtime). The gate ALWAYS caused a huge meltdown. I'm not talking just crying but full blown screaming in anger. He knew it was coming, but yet he flipped out every time. The screaming usually lasted over an hour.

Now he's taken to crying and screaming every single night after we leave the room. He has 2 nightlights, he often sleeps with the overhead light on (his choice, he gets up and turns it on), and we leave the door open. There is absolutely NOTHING that works to get him to stop screaming. We've tried the threat of the gate and then had to follow through with that (which is somewhat backwards and confusing to him, I would guess) ... you name it, we've tried it. He doesn't nap at all during the day. One day last week he DID nap and then the screaming lasted until 11pm. NO NAPS. He goes to bed around 7:30-8 (this is moved back from winter time, when they're all in bed around 7pm). When you ask him why he's crying he says it's because he doesn't want to go to bed. Fine, I get that, but quit the screaming!!! I cannot CANNOT get him to be quiet about it, and he sleeps right next to the twins, so I HATE how it all plays out.

I think it's a phase. I think he'll stop doing it in a few months. I think we need to NOT go in there AT ALL so he gets no reward for the behavior. Or do you have any other thoughts? We're an hour into the screaming at this point. All the other kids have been quiet for a solid 45 minutes. Declan, you challenge me.


Tressa said...

you know, this is coming from your niece, but please read it anyway.

Maybe try saying that if he screams he gets a privelege taken away like TV time, a special toy, etc. that's what works for Gabe.

Cindy said...

I'm 99% with you on not going back in when he screams. The 1% is from a girlfriend who discovered her son had wicked ear infections and that's why he was always screaming at night. I'd say if you've eliminated all physical possibilities, it's definitely behavioral.

I'll email you privately about another possible solution.