Aiden’s Acting Up Again

My son’s been having issues again.

It started back up about a month ago. Now he’s saying there’s a monster that’s coming to hurt him at night. I’ve told him there are no monsters. I went as far as opening the closet and getting on my hands and knees and looking under the bed after he’s tucked in to reassure him. It doesn’t work.

He says the monster waits until Wayne and I are asleep, then creeps into his room. I asked him why he doesn’t call one of us when the monster comes, and he says the monster tells him to be quiet or it will kill him. Honestly, I don’t know where he gets this stuff. We don’t let him watch any violent TV shows or cartoons; I don’t even know how he knows what kill means.

As some of you may remember, I began posting here about six months ago, when Aiden first started throwing tantrums at bedtime. He would say he wasn’t tired, then ask me to read him a story, followed by constant requests for water until I would finally get fed up and tell him no more excuses, it was time to go to sleep. Then the screaming would start, followed by sobbing. And I do mean whole body, convulsion sobbing. It broke my heart, and I let it get to me at first, but Wayne said we couldn’t coddle the boy—by giving in to him we were just teaching him that if he cried and screamed loud enough he would get his way.

Reluctantly, I agreed.

At first I thought that did the trick. Everything seemed to get a little better. I remember Wayne was in Phoenix on business, and I told him Aiden seemed to have straightened out. Wayne even made a joke that Aiden was acting up because he knew Wayne was leaving and didn’t want him to go. I said there could be something to that, but whatever it was, Aiden seemed fine.

But then a week later, here comes the screaming and crying again. He would cry himself to sleep, which broke my heart, but it was the only way we knew how to deal with it.

Some nights the monster doesn’t come. I can always tell by his mood in the morning. If he saw the monster he won’t even look at me at the breakfast table and just pokes at his cereal. Wayne will try to make some corny dad joke, and Aiden doesn’t react.

It’s starting to spill over to school, too. Last week he got into a fight. I still can’t get over it, a fight. He’s five years old! It makes me look like a terrible parent. I’m devastated.

Aiden threw a huge fit tonight. He was crying so hard he couldn’t breathe at one point. I started to tear up myself and had to leave the room and let Wayne take over. The crying stopped almost instantly. Wayne says Aiden can see weakness in me and knows I’ll give in if he cries enough. I suppose that’s probably true, but I still can’t get his sobs out of my head. Wayne stayed up late tonight as he does sometimes, working out in his shop, and I laid in bed tossing and turning. I got up to get some water and I could hear Aiden still sniffling and wimpering. He sounds absolutely terrified—he really thinks this monster is real.

I just don’t know what to do.

I couldn’t go back to bed, so I came here looking for advice. What should I do?

Wayne just came in from the shop, I heard him washing his hands in the kitchen. He didn’t see me—he thinks I’m in bed. He went into Aiden’s room to check on him. I’m glad he’s as worried as I am. I would think this is some kind of phase all kids go through, but I’ve never seen him so upset before. I’ll talk to Wayne when he comes out.

I’ve seen stories around the web about parents using “monster repellent” and that sort of thing, maybe I’ll give that a try. There has to be something that will work.

Wayne’s been in there a long time.

 

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