Recommended Site

While Children Sleep 
This very unique and helpful website is maintained by Philippines pediatrician Rhodora Damaso Diaz. 

Challenged by one of her child patients who expressed continued rebellion, negativism and hostility, and whose mother had resented the pregnancy, Dr. Diaz suggested that the mother talk to her son while he was sleeping, preferably during REM time.

Dr. Diaz then made similar suggestions to a second mother. When she received highly positive feedback from the first two mothers, she began to give the same suggestion to others. Now she recommends this technique for helping any child with puzzling or persistent problems. Her inspiring website offers many encouraging stories and letters from parents who have used this approach with great success. Dr. Diaz is currently collecting stories for a forthcoming book on the subject.

The Sleep Talking script consists of four parts:

  1. Statement of love
  2. Statement of the problem
  3. Proposal for a solution
  4. Statement of love (closing statement)

Dr. Diaz suggests limiting the Sleep Talk session to 5 or 10 minutes. She recently gave this elaboration of the technique:

"As an example, I would have a mother tell her daughter, as part of number 1, that she is much loved by both parents and by the rest of her family. The mother should include such things as her pleasure upon seeing the baby for the first time, special things the child did as a baby or when she was growing up and how proud her parents have been of her. She can modify this and talk of other things during the next 'sessions'.

"For the second portion, I usually have them start with 'I have been worried about your recent change in behavior...' or 'I don't know why you are more fearful, or angry, or moody...'. The parent can say things like, 'We feel such pain when we see you like this, or people are upset to see you doing that'. Details can be supplied by them.

"The third part should include the parent's explanation or understanding of why this behavior is manifesting. She can explain any current difficulties in the home or within the marriage: 'We know you are worried because of the problem your father and I have. We are sorry, but please understand that people do have problems they may not solve right away, so they fight and they create heartaches for everyone. This is our problem and we are working on it. Whatever happens, our love for you will not change, and we will try to make it easier for you. We are not perfect and we are learning from this. We are sorry that this is happening.' The parent may even explain some of the details, emphasizing that there is always a solution.

"Occasionally, I have the mother encourage an older child to 'tell Mom how you feel,' especially if the child is not willing to talk about it when awake. Of course, there can be many variations in this portion, and sometimes the mother will find herself crying. That's okay, too.

"The final part is just a repetition of loving thoughts and the parent's reiteration of her commitment to helping her child grow up healthy and aware."

Visit this fascinating website to learn more about this gentle, compassionate and useful technique.

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