Father with child

Sleeping: Discipline Issue or Not?

December 3rd, 2013

Sometimes power struggles that seem like discipline issues are not really discipline issues, but are rather issues of autonomy. Whose body is it, anyway? You can’t force your child to sleep. Perhaps this is really not an issue of discipline, but an opportunity for fostering independence and growth in your child. Who should have say over your child’s body—you or them?

Many struggles over sleeping and bedtime seem like discipline issues, but they are really issues of your child’s separation anxiety. Saying goodnight to mom or dad and sleeping alone in their own bed for ten hours may cause your young child to feel abandoned and scared. It is important to set firm but fair guidelines around sleeping and bedtime routines, but it is also important to address what underlying anxiety may be present.

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