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Toddler having disturbed sleep, crying, screaming spells, starts scratching on face, lips, nose of mother only. Reason and treatment?

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Practicing since : 2004
Answered : 1835 Questions
Hello Doctor,

I have a question wrt my son. He is now 3 years old and goes to school. My in-laws are getting him ready and sending him to school since I start to office early morning at 6:30 and will be back home by 6 in the evening. Everyday my son says "mamma dont go to office, you have to be with me mom always". I know he misses me too much. sometimes he gets up in between his sleep in the night and starts crying and screaming. If I go and try to lift him, he scratches me on my face, nose, lips and all. I am confused why does he do that. He does not do that with anyone. Can you please answer me and let me know how can I avoid this? Thanks
Posted Wed, 18 Jul 2012 in Mental Health
Answered by Dr. Ashish Mittal 2 hours later
Thanks for your query.

I appreciate your efforts for medical consultation in so much distress.

In children it is difficult to identify problem because of:
-They do not understand problem.
-They are not able to communicate their problems

It is very common to have nightmares in this age (it is normal) which child used to forget but become frightened during that time.

Apart from that there is need to rule out any physical abuse. As child do not communicate their problem directly, you can take help of some child psychologist. There are some projective test like: draw a person test, tell a story test and play therapy which tend to identify problem indirectly by therapist.

For time being try to spend more time with your child, play with child, tell story and ask indirect question like what is his 3 wishes and 3 fears/enemies during play.

I hope this information has been both informative and helpful for you. In case of any doubt, I will be available for follow ups.

Wish you good health.
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