The first time my son exhibited night terrors, he wasn't the only terrified one. He had bolted upright in bed, was screaming uncontrollably, sweating, and shaking with fear. When I tried to comfort him, it was as if I was trying to talk to him through a sound-proof wall. There was a large part of me that wondered if maybe something supernatural was happening under my roof. For parents who have been there, I'm sure they would agree when I say there are many ways having a kid with night terrors is like living in a real life horror movie.
After that first episode, I ran to my favorite family doctor, Doctor Google, and asked her what was up. Apparently this was not an early sign of my child being haunted by an otherworldly being. This was just an old-fashioned night terror, which isdescribed by the experts as something young children often experience within the first few hours of falling asleep and often happens during the deepest stages of sleep. The crappiest part? There is basically nothing you can do when your kid is experiencing one, short of sitting there helplessly until it passes.
Even though, intellectually, I know this is a somewhat normal thing for my son to be experiencing, each time it happens (about once a week for us) I feel like I am being dragged into a Friday the 13th type nightmare, too. The terrors can sometimes last up to 45 minutes, but when your kid is screaming at the top of his lungs and waking up the whole house, it can feel like an eternity. Come, join me as I walk you through the horror-show-type-experience of what it feels like to go through a night terror with you child: