Night terrors are probably the worst thing that I have to deal with on a regular basis at bedtime. The generally occur about 2 hours after I put my oldest daughter to bed and they last about 10 minutes. The most common time they occur is when she has a cold or is too hot for some reason. Thank fully this is only about once every couple of months, not once per night like some kids.
The worst part about them is that there is literally nothing you can do about it other than try and keep them confortable until the episode passes. In some cases the child can thrash about so much that they can hurt themselves so I routinely try and keep her from moving too much while not restricting movement completely as that can actually make things worse.
As a father you have to come to terms with these and it takes time because you will hear your child scream your name because they have an overwhelming sense of pure fear yet you cannot stop it. It is terrible to stand by your child and know that they are experiencing this feeling without any way to help them other than wait it out. For me, it took about four of these episodes until I finally came to terms with it. What helped me get to that point is when I would ask my daughter after the episode and she truthfully had no recollection of what had just happened. Once I knew she didn’t remember whatever that paralyzing fear was she experienced it made me feel a little better.
The last time this happened my daughter screamed for my wife instead and that was the first time she had experienced this so personally. She has not really come to terms of how to deal with it yet but I suspect it will come in time.
I would be curious to know how others deal with this type of issue when raising children. It is important that we share information about this ugly part of childhood that some kids need to go through.