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Rocking self to sleep and while sleeping
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Rocking self to sleep and while sleeping

My 9 yr old son, has rocked side to side vigorously since he was able to do so.  He says he just likes to and it helps him fall asleep.  I have talked to him about this and even tried to get him to stop.  In the middle of the night, I can hear him rocking and it will actually move his bed or mattress.  
There have been a few nights we had to share a bed together.  All I can say is thank goodness it was a king bed because he would have injured me.  No kidding.  So I have seen first hand, how vigorous he can rock and how often he rocks.  Sometimes he is actually sleeping and I have tried to get him to stop and he will wake up and not know what I am talking about.  
When he was about 1 yrs old, I remember mentioning it to his Pedicatrician and then every other year after that.  I have always been told he will outgrow it.
Not to sure he will....
I know he doesn't want to outgrow it yet he doesn't want to do it either.  He wishes he didn't but he likes to do it.  He has a few close friends and at sleepovers he will rock and has told them he does.  But people he doesn't know well, he can stop himself from rocking (he says).  I am not sure if he actually does all night though.  Nobody has ever said anythign to me but family.  They were concerned about it.  

I am wondering, how to get him to stop safely.  Without having him feel like he is being rejected or made to feel like he is bad for doing this.  Right now I just tell him that it would be a good idea if I could somehow help him stop because he might hurt himself.  Seriously, he does it hard and fast!!!  Just whips from side to side.  Head and body.  10-20 minutes at a time and he will do it some nights every 10- 20 minutes.  Its like once the dizziness feeling goes away he does it again.  It has to be shaking his brain and can't be good for him.  Really.  

He has always had a speech delay and has a hard time reading and remembering words and spelling.  But he is a math whiz!!!  So he can remember things, he is a great kid!  No problems with him.  He is smart and responsible, loving, caring and all his friends think he is "cool".  His friends all look up to him.  He is friendly, outgoing, yet sometimes shy depending on the circumstances.  As most kids and adults are.  

I am writing too much I know, I just am concerned on how to get him to stop without it effecting his self esteem or making him just feel bad.  

I have heard in the past it is an autistic behavior and can be related to mental retardation.  Please tell me if I should get him tested for an autistic behavior?  I know there are many many forms of autism.  

Anyone's help, advice, experience would be GREATLY appreciated :-)  

Thank you in advance!!!


2 Comments Post a Comment
351246 tn?1379685732
Well, I can understand your concerns. Since your son has a speech delay and has problems reading and writing, he may be having a dyslexia type of problem or may be even a mild form of autistic behavior because he actually is emotionally connected to others. Rocking can be due to a part of rhythmic movement disorder, or pervasive developmental disorder (which includes the whole spectrum of autism). It can also be a sleep disorder. Please consult a psychologist and a sleep specialist. Take care!

The medical advice given should not be considered a substitute for medical care provided by a doctor who can examine you. The advice may not be completely correct for you as the doctor cannot examine you and does not know your complete medical history. Hence this reply to your post should only be considered as a guiding line and you must consult your doctor at the earliest for your medical problem.
Avatar m tn

I rocked myself to sleep from age 6 or so until age 12. I lay on my left side, and struck a pillow with my right hand each time I rocked. I couldn't sleep well without my rocking routine.

I did eventually outgrow it. At about 7 or 8 I started singing songs as I rocked. Songs I'd learned in school, Beatles songs, etc.

I don't think I rocked as hard as your boy does, but rocking helped me burn off excess energy, and I developed a good singing voice over the years.

I suffered a few learning impediments -- mild dyslexia, etc -- but was able to work at grade level for my age. I was a pretty "dreamy" kid, a little anxious but good natured.

I don't know if hearing this helps you, but I turned out okay.  The worst part of rocking was during sleepovers with friends, and summer camp, where I couldn't hide my rocking from others.  Friends teased me by saying I was "fighting martians" in the middle of the night (I would stifle the impulse to rock at bedtime, but would then rock unconsciously as I slept).

If your son isn't hurting himself or others, my advice would be to make him feel okay about himself and his needs. Look past the rocking to what his basic emotional setup is, and work with that.

Good luck!

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