Why does my son wake up crying uncontrollably?

Kylie - posted on 04/08/2010 ( 14 moms have responded )

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Sometimes he wakes up and starts crying like he's in pain or scared, and I can't do anything to make him stop. At times, he won't even let me comfort him, when I touch him, he cries harder, and louder. Last night was the worst! Help!

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Nicole - posted on 04/09/2010

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I know this might sound weird and may or may not be able to be applied here but ... my son had a short lived similar problem where he'd start crying in the middle of the night and sometimes wouldn't even be awake. 2 things weresuggested to me that I make sure his feet weren't covered at night (no socks or footie pjs) and that for a hour before bedtime he drink only milk, no juice of any kind. I did those two things and the problem was gone that night so I've stuck with it. I can't say for sure which one or a combination of the two did the trick but it worked for my son so I'm offering up that for you to consider.

Tracy - posted on 06/18/2012

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My son does the same thing. I was so worried that we actually went to a sleep specialist. They told me he was having night terrors:( The strangest part about it is he will wake up and be completely hysterical and scared, and he won't really let me touch him; they said this is because he's not actually all the way awake yet! Even though he's talking to me and looking at me he isn't fully out of that nightmare which is why it's so hard to comfort him. The best thing I have found to do is hold his hand on my face and say very loudly and calmly, "mama is right here, feel me? I'm right here baby, wake up now" I'm not kidding, he seems to snap right out of it as if he suddenly wakes up. I'm so sorry your little one is going through this, but I hope this helps;) Also, my son's night terrors have gone since I stopped letting him watch tv before bed!!

Laura - posted on 04/13/2010

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If it is night terrors and it seems to happen around the same time each night then go in there about 15 mins before its due to start and wake him up, then let him go off to sleep again, this is what one woman i know did with her daughter when she had night terrors and she said it works

Amanda - posted on 09/30/2010

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My son did the same for a while. He would wake up screaming at around the same time every night and fight me when I tried to put him back to bed. He would cling to me terrified, it was the awful to deal with. Anyway, bad me, ended up putting him in bed with me coz the thought of going near his room scred him so much. After a few weeks he told me that there was something scary by the door so I ended up putting his bedroom light on (or he would turn it on) when I put his sister to bed and I told him that when the light goes on all the scaries go away and when we go to bed and turn the light off it means they can't come back in. It didn't work overnight but after a few nights he stopped screaming and after a few more weeks he was able to go to bed without the light being turned on first.
If your son can tell you what he is scared of it may help you to find a solution

Crystal - posted on 04/12/2010

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My little boy will do that. He's not as bad at night as he is when he wakes up from a nap. Sometimes he'll get up from a nap and scream and sob for nearly 2 hours. He's made himself get sick with it before. Breaks my heart.

Touching him would set him off into a flailing fit, like he was fighting a monster (and this is a kid who doesn't watch scary movies or anything. Just things geared to little ones.) I've actually wondered if I should let him stay up late one night with daddy to see a kung fu movie or some spoof scary movie with puppet monsters or something and see if it helps! (evidently, it did with me when I was his age and mom resorted to that.)

Try singing? My little boy loves "Angel" and "Blurry" and either one will get through and calm him down. I've been able to just lull him back to sleep and sometimes he wakes up enough to see where he is and who's there and he'll just smile and fall back asleep.

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Danielle - posted on 09/30/2010

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I agree that it sounds like a night terror. I've heard touching them and trying to comfort them while they're in the middle of one can make it worse. My 17 month old has only had one night terror (I hope he NEVER has one again). He woke up screaming bloody murder and when I picked him up he went into absolute hysterics. I thought he was in pain too and tried everything I could to console him for 20 minutes. Then, as quickly as it came on, he suddenly just stopped and passed right back out. If this is an ongoing thing I'd consult his doctor.

Taryn - posted on 09/29/2010

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When I was younger I hade Nite terrors. I would wake up crying and screamming and my dad was the one that always woke me because my mom was a very heavy sleeper. My father could never calm me down because my Nite terrors werealways about the same thing, they werent the same nite terror they just had the same theme. It was always me beging seprated by a materal object from my mother. so when I would wake up I wanted my mom, but my dad was always the one that woke up.
Maybe thats it.

Kathleen - posted on 04/14/2010

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I hear you. My 7 year old daughter had night terrors from the time she was born. She would wake up screaming and not recognize my husband or I when we would try and console her. I would hold her tightly and rock her because she would flail around so much I was affraid she would hurt herself until she woke. Even when she was older and started talking she would never be able to remember what it was she dreamed about. I tried everything in the books, online and that her pediatrician suggested. I know some people have had great luck with the waking them up after 90 minutes of sleep then letting them go back to bed, but it didnt work for us. Now that she is 7 she still has them occasionally but not every night the way she always has, so I think she is outgrowing it. The best suggestion I can give is to try the things the docs say, but if it doesnt work, just continue to be there and sing or talk to them until they are awake enough to know who you are. Good luck! I know how hard it is.

Tracy - posted on 04/12/2010

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does he seem to be still asleep when you go in, or like in a trans? if so it may be night terrors, if he's fully awake then probably night mares - either one is scary for you and the child. The night terrors most kids dont' realize what is going on or even their surroundings they are hard to calm or console because they aren't really awake. You almost have to wake them, when you try to touch him his terror is probably feeling more real to him since he's not able to tell the difference at that point yet. Try going in and actually saying his name to try to get his attention or to wake him. If he has a lamp turn it on, I wouldn't turn the big light on since this can be a little hard on the eyes and maybe a little too shocking to him. Remain calm and use a soft voice, keep saying his name over and over and if he will let you touch him go ahead and hold him. Most kids grow out of the terrors.

Michelle - posted on 04/12/2010

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It sounds to me like your son is having night terrors, these are not the same as nightmares as you can console a child who has a nightmare. My son used to have these between the ages of 2-5 they rarely occur now...it is very difficult to console them when this is happening just keep talking to him tell him mommy is here and that mommy won't let anything hurt him, if he will let you touch him great cuddle him but if he won't don't touch him just keep talking to him. Night terrors hit at a very deep state of sleep so you have to reach him with your voice first then comfort him once he is awake.

Kami - posted on 04/09/2010

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girl i went through the same thing and we found out it was acid reflux. he would wake up in the middle of the night and just scream for an hour and wouldn't let us comfort him. we thought he was having seizures but it was acid reflux. tell your peditrician and see of they have any suggestions. we also video taped him doing it to just for some reassurance from the doctor.

Crystal - posted on 04/08/2010

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i cant really say what exactly is going on here im dealingb with something simliar though your sounds more like nightmares than mine does.. i know my mom told me when i was little i had really bad nightmares mostly on days i got into trouble alot... not sure if that helps.. could be he's dealing with some kind of stress... maybe your stressed and he can tell or maybe he's getting in trouble alot... i dont kn ow just some ideas

Valerie - posted on 04/08/2010

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my son did that too, he would wake up screaming and nothing i could do would help him it broke my heart, then he just stoped doing it and now he only has the occisonal nightmare when daddy play halo with him... I used to just let him cry it out and then he would calm down and then he would let me hold/ rock him until he went back to sleep

Danielle - posted on 04/08/2010

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Hey chick its ok i think ur son mayb aving nightmares wen he goes to sleep. I know alot of children that do tht, my daughter is 3 and sometimes wakes up doing the same ur son is. Some ppl say wen tht happens i know its nasty bt ur meant to shout at them and it calms them down. I havent done tht personaly i jst comfort her or if she dont want me my husbands tries and if tht dont work we jst wait till she calms down bt we r always there for her. Wen yuour son does this does he go back to sleep after ?

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