Introduction to Somnambulism in Children
Sleepwalking or somnambulism is a relatively rare occurrence. In most cases, it begins in early childhood, and later passes spontaneously or lasts into adolescence, sometimes into adulthood.
Characteristics and Behaviors During Sleepwalking
The phenomenon has nothing to do with the influence of the Moon on humans, and consists of a child getting out of bed, walking around the room, performing various more or less meaningful actions, crawling into bed with parents, trying to get out of the apartment and the like. He is calm, does not wake up, sometimes speaks in his sleep. In the morning, he regularly remembers nothing.
Causes of Somnambulism
In more than half of the cases, a familial predisposition to somnambulism (Bakwin) can be established. Sometimes it occurs after an event that has shaken the child’s mental balance, e.g., after the birth of another child, after school failure, separation from parents, etc. But in many cases, it is difficult to find a reason for somnambulism, especially since such children do not show significant disturbances in his mental development. It happens that a somnambulistic child is diagnosed with epilepsy, but this is rare.
Case Study 1: 12-Year-Old Boy With Father Issues
Only two cases of somnambulism have appeared in our material. The first was an 12-year-old boy who suffered from strong ambivalence towards his father who left the family, indulged in vagrancy and alcoholism. The boy condemned his father, feared him and hated him, but at the same time longed for him. While living in the family, his father was his only support and protection from his very strict mother and aggressive brother. When he was left without a father, the boy felt greatly threatened and neglected; he aspired to parental love, and felt rejected. He got up in his sleep, muttered something incomprehensible and wanted to leave the apartment.
Case Study 2: 15-Year-Old Boy With School Conflicts
A 15-year-old boy developed somnambulistic problems when he came into conflict with his parents over schooling. He wanted to go to high school, and his parents forced him into a trade. When the conflict was resolved to the boy’s satisfaction, his sleep disturbances disappeared.
Management of Somnambulism in Children
When a child walks in his sleep, it is necessary to lock the front door, hide the key, close the windows, so as not to go out and injure himself. He should be allowed to lie down spontaneously again or taken to bed in a peaceful way. The phenomenon should not create a sensation, it should be ignored, and in addition to considering whether there is any difficulty in life that needs to be removed.