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healthbound

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I've experienced years and years of insomnia and now my 14 year old son is having troubles with sleep.

I'm nervous that he is "learning" from my behavior???
 

David Baxter

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Possibly. Or that he has inherited some of the physical and psychological traits that mske you vulnerable to insomnia.
 

Eunoia

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just as a personal note, I know that from my parents I've definitely learned sleeping behaviours so to say... modelling I guess. They used to be strict when we were kids, ie. "go to bed at 'X' time" but they let up pretty soon, b/f I even started my teens b/c of school and stuff. I do, however think that as much as genes play a part in this (?) there is a lot you can do to try to teach good "sleep hygiene" (I posted links about this in another recent reply on here). Make sure that he knows it is important to you that he gets his sleep and help him out if you can, ie. by having dinner early enough, not asking him to do chores late at night, that kind of thing... he is 14, so he'll have a mind of his own, but you can try! I know from friend's parents vs. mine that there were def. differences, my parents are weird in that they go to bed late, get up in the middle of the night, get up wayyyy too early in the morning and complain that they lack sleep...sigh. it's such a trecherous cycle once you're in it! also keeping his stress level down should help, so if he gets a good outlet (ie. sports) during the day it'll help him get rid of some of that energy.... hope this helped some.
 

healthbound

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Hi Guys,

Thanks for your replies.

Eunoia, I saw your post about "sleep hygiene" and posted the links to the referred sites on my blog. I'm also going over "sleep hygiene" with my son today.

He's very active in sports, playing lacrosse and rugby-so, that's about the only part I've already got covered. I am changing my sleep patterns as of now - no matter what it takes and will be intently focusing on this for the next while until new patterns are set for both of us.

I'm also going to do a bit of psycho-education with him so that he is armed with understanding why it's particularly important for him to pay attention to things like healthy eating, sleep and exercise. There's a history of anxiety and depression on all sides of our family.

Nothing like my son taking on some of my "traits" to knock me out of a bad pattern!
 

Eunoia

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glad the links were of some use. and it sounds like you have your bases covered and a good plan of attack so to say. only advice, when you talk to your son about the importance of sleep, nutrition, exercise etc. try to make it somehwat, I don't know, fun.... lectures don't work on teens (or even anyone else for that matter). :eek:) maybe get him to help you plan dinner, give you some input into what he wants, keep encouraging him to do sports, and yes, model better sleeping behaviours!!!! good luck!
 

comfortzone

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There can be so many precusors to sleep deprivation. I would make sure you take your son to his medical doctor to rule out any biological reason. Then you can figure it out if there are not any biological reasons. Hope you both have some good rest!!!
 

healthbound

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Thanks for your replies.

He's in bed now and is reading a book. We'll see how the night progresses.

The approach I took was pretty simple. I explained to him how I was feeling and told him that I wanted to talk openly about possible reasons for his recent "down" feelings.

He found it challenging to think of conscious reasons for not wanting to "do anything" and so I asked some questions around anxiety as he was diagnosed with GAD a couple of years ago. It seemed to subside for a while, but it appears he may be experiencing it again.

After talking to him about anxiety, school and a possible link between the two, he "suddenly" remembered that he was supposed to give me a sheet from his Socials teacher and a sheet from his Science teacher. Both of the sheets had his grade on it thus far.

He normally gets straight B's, with fairly little effort, but both of his grades showed that he was getting C's. When I asked him if he thought the grades sheets might have contributed to his "feeling like giving up", he said no until about 15mins later.

From what I could gather, it seemed like he was being pretty hard on himself about the grades and thought that I would be hard on him too.

At the beginning of the year we set a goal to strive for Honorable Mention which means we would work towards bumping his grades from B's to A's given that he maintains B's with little effort. I'm wondering if this caused some anxiety and then when he saw that he was actually performing _below_ his usual G.P.A. he experienced more and overwhelming anxiousness about how he was doing.

SO, I explained that maybe we could revisit some of the goals as it sounds like maybe bumping up to A's wasn't very realistic after all. It seemed like a huge weight had been lifted off of him and he grabbed his bag and said he wanted to do his Science.

Man, teenagers have SO MUCH going on for them. Hormones, peers, competitiveness, sports, grades, girls, physical changes, struggle with independence etc. etc. PLUS, in my son's case, he's just watched me pull myself out of a depression. That's got to make for some anxiousness.

I'm glad we were able to identify the challenge and begin to work through it though. My first priority is to help provide him with the tools he needs to go out into the world and do his own thing. It's challenging sometimes.

Once again I'm aware of my own "power" or (lack of) when it comes to parenting. I want him to be happy and healthy and want to do whatever it takes to ensure he has the best chance of getting there. And so far so good. But I feel like I'm on high alert waiting for something horrible to happen and have everything come crashing down or something.

Maybe it's because my sister's death date is coming up and I'm remembering my feelings of trying to "raise" and "save" her, but not being successful at it. I wonder sometimes if I think of my son as a second chance to do things right this time.

Awwww, crap...I'm ramblin again - I guess that's for another forum :)

PS - he's been asleep for about 20mins. Success :)
 

healthbound

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Duh-duh-dun-nahhhhh!

Huston, we have lift off. Repeat, we have lift off.

Thought I'd let you know that we've had success on day one. We both got up a little earlier today and the boy is at school!
 

healthbound

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Another success regarding Operation: Get Normal Schedule Back on Track

My son is sleeping (and has been for about an hour now) and I'm heading to bed sometime soon.

And he's got all the work he needs to catch up from the time he's missed and I'm meeting with some of his teachers tomorrow during parent/teacher interviews to find out more about how I can help him.

So, we're making progress :)
 

Eunoia

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so happy you two are making progress. :eek:) I think it's good that you're going to p-t conferences too, they're a really good opportunity for parents and teachers to get caught up, exchange info, and find out about success and possible problems. my parents always went, in fact they went religioulsy, they even wanted to see my PE teacher, lol! anyways, I wanted them to go but when I wasn't doing well I obviously dreaded these things.. one time I was near failing in Math (I don't remember if they were aware of this ahead of time), anyways, my teacher was very honest w/ them and mad b/c he thought I was just being lazy and they were very mad at me but both of them had agreed upon a plan to help me, ie. the teacher would help me outside of class for extra help and my parenst would make sure I'd do the hmwk etc... I was very mad at 1st and didnt' see the big deal, but I was scared more so... my point is I was forced more or less to go for help and do the work (I hadn't been doing well b/c I didn't "get it"- the math and I just gave up) and soon my teacher realized that I might not be a genius in math but I am determined and comitted to do well- this made all the difference for the rest of the year and there wasn't as much anxiety about math anymore or him or my parents finding out... but I would have never done anything about it back then if it hadn't been for the p-t conf. (long story, sorry).

sometimes maintaining certain grades does take a lot of effort so even though those grades are close the next best grade, it's still a huge jump to get to that point. I'm realizing this now in univ. so it's a good idea to maybe focus on maintaining is B average (or getting back to it) and w/ time if he can bring it up even more, great, if he tries his best and you are supportive to the best of your ability that's all either one of you can do. do get his teacher's input in this as well as they know his working habits from class and how he seems to fit in compared to everyone else etc. If your son knows that he can be honest w/ you and that you won't be "mad" or disappointed in him as a person, then he will be more open about failures if they come up... if you only ever hear about the A's and never about anything else but you know those aren't the only grades hes getting, there's a reason for this.

sorry about all the feelings you've been having... and w/ your sister's death date coming up.... I see what my mom goes through every time one of these dates comes up and it's hell. in a way, your son may be that "2nd" chance to you but don't be too afraid of failing... if you focus too much on failing you and he will lose track of the entire journey, and the good parts of it as well as the bad. it's a journey, right? a progress, a development... it's not supposed to go all smoothly.
 

ThatLady

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That's wonderful, healthbound! It sounds like things are really starting to turn around for you. Hugs! :)
 

healthbound

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Hey Eunoia,

Thanks for all your comments.

The p-t meetings went very well. All of his teachers had no concerns for him except for the amount of time he's missed from school lately.

I ended up taking him for dinner last night after I came back from all the meetings and talking to him about re-evaluating his grades goal and adapting more of a routine around homework. Before I got into "the talk", I took out all the sheets that summed up his grades thus far. I hadn't thought of it before, but I decided to quickly add up his marks to find out what his average was BEFORE he started missing school. In English he was at an A and all the others he was at a B. That made both he AND I feel better. At first we thought we weren't calculating things properly, but then after thinking about it for a while realized that due to the teachers strike, there were a number of "catch up" assignments, quizzes and tests that teachers administered once the strike was over. Well, that was only 3 weeks ago. So my son missing 2 weeks really meant missing about a month.

New Goals:
Work towards establishing a homework routine. And I KNOW I'm being a bit of a stickler with this one - but, I'm taking him to the library to do it for the first while. He gets distracted too easily at home - and so do I.
Work towards getting back to maintaining a B average

And in the meantime, I think I'll do a bit of research about good study habits and see if I can find anything on how to minimize exam anxiety (he freezes during exams and finds it really difficult to study during the time leading upto exams because he's panicking).
 

healthbound

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Thanks ThatLady!

I'm still puttin' one foot infront of the other and somehow I'm gettin' where I wanna go :)!!
 

Eunoia

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hey again.... I found some articles on test taking & anxiety that might be of some help or at least a start...

also:

Can sleep help you do better on tests?
A recent study found that people who got 8 hours of sleep before taking a math test were nearly 3 times more likely to figure out the problem than people who stayed awake all night.
(from the Test Anx. link)

I guess I should have slept more than 4 hrs than b/f my stats exam today! sigh....

Successful Stategies for Test Anxiety
http://www.freedomfromfear.org/aanx_factsheet.asp?id=28

Test Anxiety
Test Anxiety
When Tests Make You Nervous (related)

Test anxiety article
http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_g2602/is_0005/ai_2602000524

How to be a great test taker
http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0HUV/is_1_31/ai_90984055

Implementing strategies..
http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0FCG/is_4_31/ai_n8590239
 

Thelostchild

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Its probably because he inherited it. I got my insomnia from my mom. unfortunatly. Hope you find a good med that allows him to sleep and you of course
 

healthbound

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hey tlc - thanks for this. He hasn't had any struggles lately which is always good. I'm not having much insomnia lately either. And the insomnia I do have has been pretty manageable.

I always used to think that environment was the major influencer for things like this, but the more I see and experience, the more I realize that much of it is also genetics. Luckily we are in an era that is more accepting to those getting help for anxiety or insomnia compared to the past :).
 

stargazer

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Odd this should appear in my Inbox at this time. I just woke up thinking it was morning & it's only1:30am. I went to bed at ten & was sleeping soundly, but when I awoke I was wide awake. Got up & started to make coffee before realizing the time, now am only drinking orange juice. I doubt I can get back to sleep though. Not sure what brought this on...
 

stargazer

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Unlikely. Here it is 1:45AM. In this case, I've not yet slept, but my anxiety level is so high it's unlikely I will sleep. (I don't mean anxiety as in clinical--my current life-circumstances are creating untold levels of anxiety. I probably won't be able to sleep until I can solve certain life-problems.) All that said, I love irony, too.
 

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