The bedtime therapy session

Jun 30, 2021

Hey Parenting People!


Do you have a kid who turns bedtime into a therapy session every night? Recently, several mamas in my group program have talked about how bedtime devolves into a rehashing of every hard or painful moment in their kiddo’s day. Pretty soon this kid is beyond sad, their parent is desperately trying to cheer them up, and is held hostage in a sea of drama and tears!  


When kids use bedtime to download with their parents, it can be beautiful. We don’t want to lose that, especially as kids get older!  But when we feel trapped or helpless to make it better, the bonding and connection get lost and it becomes a power struggle instead. If this sounds familiar, here are two false beliefs that are probably causing you to get stuck in this trap:


False belief #1: “I’m not done until they feel better.”

It’s not your job to manage your child’s emotions.  They are allowed to feel bad and we can’t (and aren’t supposed to) control that. Ask yourself: how do I show up so that I’m not fixing their problem, but instead walking alongside while they go through something hard? You will be more powerful to your child as a resource, not a rescuer.  


False belief #2: “I’m a jerk if I leave.” 

Endless talking and comforting is actually getting in the way of your child’s self-regulation. There’s a reason why therapy sessions don’t go on for 5 hours at a time.  Some problems can’t be solved in a single bedtime chat, and that’s OK. Give yourselves 15 minutes and let things flow. At the end of that time, say goodnight and leave with a hug, even if your kiddo is still emotional. 


Does this sound really hard? I understand completely - it is hard to walk away while someone we love struggles. It is hard to know we can’t fix things for others. It is hard to set boundaries when someone doesn’t want us to.  


To all the parents doing this drama dance every night - I am sending you a big hug and I want you to know I can help. Set up a free Discovery Call with me. We’ll talk about everything you’re facing and what to do about it, and you’ll finish your call armed with the next steps.


Love, Ann