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Bedtime Battles
by Rachel Paxton
01/25/03
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My soon-to-be 14-yr-old daughter is a night owl. It's taken me
13 exhausting years to realize that all the begging, threatening,
bribing, and pleading in the world won't make a child go to
sleep. My conclusion? Some kids just have their own sleeping
patterns, and while it may not always be convenient, their needs
definitely need to be taken into consideration.

I've tried everything to get my daughter into bed and asleep by a
decent time. It wasn't until the last year or two, however, that
I finally realized that she wasn't just trying to get her way,
she was really having a hard time going to sleep at night.

We tried letting her stay up as late as she wanted, as long as
she stayed in her room, but it quickly became harder and harder
for her to get up and going in the morning, so we had to try
something else.

Next we decided that she had to be in bed with the lights off at
a certain time. We thought that would surely have an effect on
her, that she eventually would fall asleep if she just laid there
long enough. She soon complained she was lying in bed 2-3 hours
a night before she was able to fall asleep. Surely it would
pass, I thought, she can't lie awake indefinitely.

Well, I was wrong. Just like when she was three and cried
herself to sleep when I wouldn't come in and lay with her every
night. She has always had her own sleeping schedule. When she
was younger I would try keeping her awake through nap time hoping
she would go to bed earlier at night. Didn't work. She's always
been a great sleeper. Once she's asleep a herd of elephants
thundering through her room wouldn't wake her up. She'll sleep
for 10-12 hours at a time, no problem, it's just the bed time
that's a continuous struggle.

It was harder when she was younger, but now that she's older it's
tempting to just let her go to sleep when she wants and let her
suffer the consequences. Then again, my mom instincts kick in
and want to try to make her go to sleep when I want her to. Yes,
I can make her go to bed and turn off the light, but I can't make
her go to sleep.

This year we've stumbled upon a sort of compromise that seems to
work for everyone. As school and her social life have been
taking up more and more of her time, her focus has been taken
away, she's decided, from her spiritual life. She's started
spending her late evening hours doing teen Bible studies and
having her personal devotion time. In looking for a peaceful
night's rest she has found something much greater--the peace of
God, the most precious rest of all.

Copyright 2001. Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and
Christian wife and mom. For complete resources for the Christian
home, visit her web site at http://www.Christian-Parent.com. To
subscribe to her monthly newsletter send a blank e-mail message
to Christian-Parent-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.

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