Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by WSM, Sep 3, 2008.

  1. WSM

    WSM New Member

    I've mentioned some of the problems we've had with Stepson11, our difficult child. One of the problems is that he doesn't seem to sleep much. My husband also doesn't sleep much, only needs about 5 hours; that's just how he is. The boy's bio-mom is bi-polar, she also has little need for sleep when she is manic or psychotic, which is most of her life.

    So whether he comes by it naturally through his father, or through brain chemical problems, the fact remains, SS11 doesn't sleep much. He's prone to wandering and getting into mischief, such as black paint on the carpet, or police picking him up on the road at 2 am. We also suspect he lies awake and becomes anxious on occasion, altho he's just as likely to lie in bed and pretend to be superman according to the son who shares a room with him.

    On a couple of occasions, my husband has given him a sleeping pill, if SS11 needs sleep or gets shadows under his eyes or has been wandering at night. But this can't be a habit, nor is it a solution.

    He's gone to three psychiatrists to be evaluated for medications. The first one said he didn't need it. The second got angry and demanded of my husband, "Why do you want this kid on medication?". The third, last spring said he'd like to hold off as long as possible, because once kids get on 'these types of medications', they are usually on them for life. My husband didn't ask what medications he was talking about.

    It seems like every kid in the world has medications shoved at him, but everyone is reluctant to rx SS11. He's not ADD/ADHD. He's not temper tantruming out of control. He doesn't present as depressed (altho we both think he is), because he's friendly, polite and well spoken. He hides his anxiety because (I think) he feels it makes him different and sick. He's been in sooooooo much therapy, he's actually learned a bit how to manipulate therapists. He knows to say, "I did it because I want positive attention" and has learned it often brings him a reward. He hates tests, counselling, evaluations and is guarded, and we think he has sabotaged some of the. Once when we all made a thanksgiving wish, tied them to balloons and let them fly to the sky, he wished not to have therapy any more.

    I digress: I see a couple of you have used melatonin? Has it been effective? Have you used it on some one as young as 11? Are there side effects?

    We tried St John's Wort. It seemed to have helped slightly, but it might have only been us hoping. We let it go because it seemed like too much hassle.

    SS11 does not seem to mind taking medications because he wishes his mom would so she wouldn't be sick so much; and does worry some about being like her.

    Any comments or experiences with Melatonin?
  2. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    My difficult child is 10, and we have been using melatonin for years. It is effective most times, and is safe. His psychiatrist is aware of it and has no problems with it. My difficult child takes 3mgs. If he is hypomanic sometimes he can power thru it and it won't work, but this does not happen often.

    Your ss has a lot of issues to not be medicated, in my humble opinion. I am not a doctor or anything, but it seems odd they will not prescribe for him.
  3. amazeofgrace

    amazeofgrace New Member

    I should own stock in it!

    Both difficult child's get it at dinner time, and unless they really hit the sugar b4 bed, it generally works very well, they get up easier as well.
  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Melatonin is awesome, in my opinion. Every psychiatrist my kids has recommended it - usually they want to try it for a few months before they rx anything for sleep. It can be very effective and is quite gentle on the system (from what I have been told - I don't know of any research offhand about this - it is just what the docs have said).

    I think it would be worth trying as it probably can't hurt - just make sure that each doctor he sees knows he is taking it. I treat it like any other medication when we go to the doctor I mention it. That way if there is a problem the doctor will/should know.

    Other things that might help (you have probably tried these, but thought I would mention them) lavender for aromatherapy is supposed to help sleep, a set bedtime routine is supposed to help, a warm bath just before bed (I know - 11yo boys think they are allergic to soap, but if he doesn't fight it, it might help), a soothing warm tea (we use tension tamer by celestial seasonings and it does seem to help).

    Having the child not sleep is so hard on the parents. I hope you and husband trade off getting up in the night to check on him.

    It is so frustrating when they get the therapy down pat and can manipulate the therapist. I am always surprised that the tdocs fall for that stuff. You would think they would know better, wouldn't you?

    My difficult child used to go out wandering in the middle of the night. Drove us nuts. Finally we explained that while he was just walking and not causing trouble or doing anything illegal (he truly wasn't), he would still be blamed if someone else did something illegal. The police brought him home once, and so they KNEW that he would wander at night. So they would look for him if someone's house or car or whatever was broken into, stolen, or otherwise disturbed. They would come investigate HIM because they knew he was out at night. The police probably wouldn't know of other kids/people out at night, so they look at whomever they know is out at that time.

    this really scared my difficult child. Wiz stopped leaving the property at night. He might go sit in the backyard, but didn't go further. He had already had a brush or two with the police and really didn't want any more involvement with them.

    Explaining this to your difficult child might help. Can you set up somewhere he CAN go (out of his room where he would bother your other son) to read or whatever when he just can't sleep? It is so frustrating to not be able to sleep and not be able to do anything. Maybe just a space he can go play quietly or listen to soothing music and read? I would make sure the music available is very soothing and that the activities are quiet. For a long time I kept a few books that were old favorites and a blanket on our couch at night. Wiz could go there and at least not disturb anyone else.

    I hope you can figure out a way to help him sleep. Wiz is on trazadone to help him sleep and has been for a number of years. It does have its drawbacks (any medication does) but it certainly helps him sleep. He also doesn't feel groggy in the am.