Could "night terrors" be demonic in origin? I have serious concerns about some of the advice your ministry and certain other Christian organisations are giving on this subject. We’ve confronted this problem in our family. Our son used to wake up screaming and go wandering through the house in the middle of the night. Experience has led me to the conclusion that a purely "psychological" or "therapeutic" approach is dangerously inadequate. Christians have lots of spiritual weapons at their disposal, and I’ve found them to be powerful in overcoming Satanic strongholds of this nature. As I see it, believers need to learn how to use the Word to take authority over tormenting demons.

We’re Bible-believing Christians, too. We take the reality of the supernatural realm as seriously as you do. But this doesn’t mean that we discount the validity of psychology. We think there’s a place in the Christian life for common sense solutions to everyday problems.

You may be right in assuming that some cases of night terrors can be traced to demonic activity. But we suspect such instances are extremely rare. Most episodes of this nature are caused by a disordered arousal from deep sleep (non-REM sleep). Night terrors affect two to four percent of children (more commonly boys) during the toddler to preschool years. They tend to run in families, and the first episode generally occurs sometime between the ages of two and four years.

It’s always a good idea to pray for a child who suffers from night terrors. But it’s equally important for parents to recognise that the problem is relatively common and easy to understand. The best way to handle it is to remain calm and patiently soothe the child until the disturbance passes. In our view, it’s unnecessarily alarmist to jump to the conclusion that demons are involved is.

As we’ve explained elsewhere, a parent’s job during a night terror is to sit tight through the seemingly endless 10 to 30 minute ordeal. It can be helpful to hold the child if he’ll tolerate it and to provide him with soothing reassurances that he’s okay. It’s especially important to prevent him from hurting himself. Parents can incur a very real risk of injury if they leave the child alone or try to wake him. The night terror usually runs its course in relatively short order. In most cases, the child will suddenly relapse into sleep and in the morning he will have no memory of the previous night’s uproar.

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