Thursday 23 May 2019

What I'm Really Thinking ...about bedtime

In this new series, psychologist David Coleman articulates how children process life's challenges.

Children like having parents nearby at bedtime
Children like having parents nearby at bedtime
David Coleman

David Coleman

I hate bedtime. I'm only six so I'm expected to go to bed at 7.30 every night. That isn't the problem. I don't mind the time. I just hate being in bed on my own. I say this to Mam and Dad every night, and every night they ignore me. But I try to make sure they can't ignore me. This is how it goes… Mam sends me off to get into my pyjamas and brush my teeth, which I do plan to do, but then I could get distracted by stuff in my room. D'you know what I mean?

Or, I'll have been doing something on the tablet so I don't properly hear her. I usually try to sneak the tablet into my room at some point in the evening and Mam goes mad, but I just love the games, so I'll always find it. I discovered that if I can be really quiet, that they don't notice. Which is fine until my big sister finds me and tells on me. I hate her.

Anyway, the big problem at bedtime starts if she comes up and I'm not ready. Then she threatens not to read me a story, which I'd hate. I love the stories. Cos she sits with me for ages reading them. Sometimes she strokes my head too. I LOVE that. In fact I wish she'd stay and do that all the time.

But sometimes she's really stressed. I dunno why. She just is. Maybe it's because I'm bold. I do mean to brush my teeth, I just forget.

So I'm always worried that she won't give me the time when I'm in bed. Even though I wouldn't really want to be in bed, I do want to be too. I always just feel so cosy and safe when she's there reading to me. Dad too. I feel safe with him too. He just isn't always there when I go to bed.

Mind you, when he is there, he makes up stories. That's cool. But the stories are always a bit mad; about children flying in space and finding monsters and fighting dragons, or anything. He's deadly at stories!

But then eventually after the story they say they have to go.

That's the bit I don't want. Sometimes I cry, or I plead with them. Mostly though I just follow them. Not immediately mind you, they'd just get cross. But I wait a bit, till I hear one of them putting my sister to bed. Then I go downstairs to find the other one. I pretend to be thirsty. But I think they know I'm pretending so they just send me back to bed.

I'll be up and down the stairs a lot then. That's how I make them not ignore me! At the start they just say "go back to bed" but by the end they are cross. That's not what I want. I don't want them cross. I just want them with me. Cos it feels so nice to have them beside the bed. I know everything is good when they are beside the bed.

But they don't stay. I know they want to be back downstairs watching telly. I don't mind that. Well, I do a bit. I think I'm more important than telly. But apparently I'm not. I'd definitely sleep better knowing they were there.

I wish they'd even come and check on me. In fact, if they'd even agree to come and check every 10 minutes I'd wait for them. I'd need to know they actually are coming. But if I knew they would come that'd be okay. It'd be enough to know that they haven't forgotten about me. That's the bit that's really important, just knowing that my parents still keep me in mind.

I just don't want to feel like I'm on my own. It's kinda creepy to be alone in the night. Unless I'm already asleep.

* As imagined by David Coleman

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