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"To be a man, a boy must see a man."  (J.R. Moehringer)

"Unexpressed feeling never die. They are buried alive and come back later in ugly ways." (Stephen Covey)

Adolescence can be the cruelest place on earth. It can really be heartless.  ( Tori Amos)

If you (parents) tend to overreact to your child's misbehaviour - your child learns that he can't trust you. Mom, Dad, stay regulated!

Simple rules adhered to when children are young can prevent more serious problems later.

If you are headed in the wrong direction as a parent - you are allowed to make a U-turn.

Removing a child from a traumatic environment does not remove the trauma from the child's memory.

You cannot reason with someone who is being unreasonable.

The challenge of adolescence is to balance the right of the parents to feel they are in charge with the need of the adolescent to gain independence.

Setting limits teaches your children valuable skills they will use the rest of their lives. One day, they will report to a job where their ability to follow rules will dictate their success.

Learn more.

Night Terrors


Question from a parent – “What are night terrors?”

Night terrors are completely different from nightmares or bad dreams. They are sometimes called sleep terrors since they can occur during daytime naps as well as nighttime sleep. Any parent who has witness a child in the process of a night terror will understand completely why it has the name – it can be terrifying for the parent to observe. During the night terror, your child will wake suddenly, and she may let out a panicky scream or a fearful cry. Her eyes will likely be opened and her pupils dilated, but she won’t be seeing. She may hyperventilate, thrash around, or talk or yell in a confused incoherent manner. She may be sweating, her face flushed, or heart racing rapidly. She may jump out of bed or even run around the room. She’ll act as if she’s being chased or threatened, or she may appear to be terrified by a horrible nightmare.
Actually, your child is not frightened, not awake, and not dreaming. She’s sound asleep and in a zone between two sleep cycles, somewhat stuck for a few minutes. When the sleep terror passes, she’ll resume the cycle that was interrupted. She did not have a nightmare and is unaware of what’s happening and won’t remember the episode in the morning. So the “terror” part of night terrors is named not for the child but for the parent who watches the disturbing scene.
Now that you understand what night terrors are all about, it should take some of your fear and concern away. While it may still be difficult and unsettling to watch your child during an episode, you can rest assured that your child is neither awake nor frightened.


What Should You Do About Night Terrors?

A parent’s natural response upon seeing the child acting terrified is to hold him and comfort him, however, your child is not awake nor aware of your presence. You may try to hold him, but trying to hold a thrashing child during a night terror usually results in his pushing you away or fighting you off – making the whole thing even more frightening for you. In this case, you can try a gentle pat or touch along with a series of comforting words, but realistically these might be more to give you a sense of doing something to help rather than achieve any real purpose.

If your child gets out of bed, you can try to lead him back. If he’s sitting up, you can try to guide him to lie down. There is no value in waking your child up; in fact trying to wake him may just prolong the episode.

Your goals are to keep your child safe by preventing him from falling out of bed, down the stairs or banging into furniture and to get him back to bed after the terror has run its course.


Should You Talk About the Night Terror to Your Child?

Given that your child isn’t aware of what’s happening during the episode and since he has no memory of it and can’t control the night terrors, there’s no reason to talk to him about what’s happening. Actually, doing so may just upset him and cause him to worry or fear bedtime. While you shouldn’t talk to your child about them, do remember to talk to a grandparent or baby-sitter who may tend to your child during sleep time. If your child has older sibling, talk to them as well. Let them know a little about night terrors and reassure them that what happens during them is normal. Tell them exactly what might happen and how to handle a situation.

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+ Behaviour Management (now available online)

This full day or 2 evening workshop will introduce you […]

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+ Lick Your Kids

  “Lick Your Kids” (figuratively not literally) (2 hours) First […]

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+ A Parent’s Guide to the Teenage Brain

  A teenager’s brain is not just an adult brain […]

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+ Reading Rescue

A program for children with reading problems

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+ Taming a Toddler

Many parents wonder what hit them when their sweet little baby turns into an unreasonable toddler – ideas for dealing with mealtime, bedtime, temper tanturms, toilet training, noncompliance, etc.

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2720 Rath Street, Putnam, Ontario

Phone: (519) 485-4678
Fax: (519) 485-0281

Email: info@rickharper.ca


Parents' Comments

“I wish we had found Rick 2 years ago. We could have saved ourselves and our son a lot of trouble.”

(T.T. – Byron)