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At the end of my tether with ds 10 sleeping in our bed

(59 Posts)
Velveteal Thu 13-Feb-20 20:32:54

I don’t know how to handle this. He hasn’t slept in our bed since he was 5 and even then it was only when he was ill. Suddenly in November he started needing us to be upstairs with his while he feel asleep, then he needed us sitting by his door. By December he was in tears and on the verge of panicking over going to sleep in his own room. He started sneaking into our bed during the night.

It was just getting worse and worse so we made the decision to let him sleep in with us all night. It’s actually been lovely. He’s been falling asleep peacefully and sleeping all night.

We did this for a couple of weeks and then thought we’d try him back in his own bed. He did really well to start with, falling asleep within 15 minutes with no upset and one of us sitting by his door. We’re a week in and back to square one. He was so upset tonight. So he’s back in our bed again.

There’s nothing specific worrying him (eg school). He’s scared of things like his toys watching him, that awful momo character from last year, ghosts, burglars. I think he’s at an age where he’s aware of what’s going on in the world, kids in school (yr 6) are full of ghost stories and crap like that and he’s got an over active imagination.

I just don’t know what to do. It’s not a problem for him to sleep in our bed at all but I feel like I should be doing something more to help him. Will he just grown out of it? It’s frustrating when he’s got such a lovely, safe and secure home life. Are there other 10 (nearly 11) year olds doing this? I wouldn’t ever tell anyone in our real life about it because I know he’d be embarrassed but I could really do with some advice! Many thanks.

Basilandparsleyandmint Thu 13-Feb-20 20:46:55

I used to do this with my mum when I was between the ages of 9-12 ( single parents family) and just grew out of it.
I used to wake in the night and creep in with my eyes closed and scared.
I can’t explain why I woke but just felt but felt safer in her bed.
If it isn’t causing either of you a huge problem then perhaps go with it for a while and hopefully it will pass.
However it is maybe contact the school nurse team for advice

Kirksutherland Thu 13-Feb-20 20:47:09

He's probably seen/ heard something that's frightened him. I would try get to the bottom of that. But overall if it doesn't bother you too much, I'd let him stay for now. Try again maybe in couple of weeks. My 8 year old still gets in my bed occasionally after a bad dream. It will most likely come to a natural end.

tinatsarina Thu 13-Feb-20 20:52:55

If it's toys etc then would taking the out of the room be an option? Has he got a night light? Tbh if you and your partner are fine with him in your bed then I don't see an issue with it. He obviously needs reassurance even just for a while. He may well grow out of it. Has he started secondary school yet?

Velveteal Thu 13-Feb-20 20:56:18

Thankyou both. He’s very good at talking to us about how he’s feeling. I really don’t think there’s anything more to it than his imagination running wild at night. He said last night he felt like someone was watching him and he’s turned all his pop figures around to face the wall. We chat to him about what’s real and what’s not, we explain how safe he is at home etc but it’s not made any difference.

I think we’ll just let him sleep in with us if that’s what he needs. It’s awful seeing him so upset at bedtime.

He’s doing great apart from this-he’s happy in school, has a lovely group of friends. He’s social and outgrowing.

If I knew that he was just going to put grow it naturally, even if it took a year or more it really wouldn’t matter. I’m just worried I’m making things worse.

Velveteal Thu 13-Feb-20 20:58:23

tinatsarina He starts secondary school in September. I could understand if he was in year 7 and needing that comfort at night but he really hasn’t got any ‘issues’ at school,

We could take all his toys out. I’ll ask him tomorrow if he thinks that might help. He’s got a night light.

Iggly Thu 13-Feb-20 20:59:04

My ds is 10 and having similar issues. I’m going to get him a weighted blanket. He sleeps better after a day when he’s had sport but finds it hard to relax.

I was similar at this age. Not entirely sure why.

HPandTheNeverEndingBedtime Thu 13-Feb-20 21:00:11

DD has slept in my bed almost every night for the last 10 years. Only child and I'm a single parent, she has a lovely bedroom and a very cosy comfortable bed and she can sleep on her own as she stays at her dad, friends and grandparents and sleeps just fine but she doesn't want to at home. She says it's nice and warm and cosy sleeping next to me, I'm sure she'll eventually outgrow it, butit's not doing either of us any harm. Of course if there is two of you, you are going to want your space and marital bed back.

WalkingOutOfFlabbiness Thu 13-Feb-20 21:00:26

I know a fair few who haven’t stopped sharing u too 12/13 - he will put grow it as suddenly as it has come on

stargirl1701 Thu 13-Feb-20 21:01:15

I slept with my mum for months after starting S1. A new 'friend' had shown me The Shining on video. My Dad turfed me out and I then barely slept for at least a year.

I would let him stay.

PiratePetespajamas Thu 13-Feb-20 21:01:49

I don’t have children this old but I suspect it’s a little like cosleeping with younger ones (and I do have experience of that): they just grow out of it one day. If you’re all sleeping well and don’t mind I wouldn’t worry about it at all. I reckon he’ll just decide he doesn’t need to anymore one day himself. Best of luck xx

Beansandcoffee Thu 13-Feb-20 21:02:51

I wouldn’t worry about him being in your bed. I would check that there are no other issues. He will return to his bed when he is ready. Probably once he starts secondary school or puberty,

singingpinkmonkey Thu 13-Feb-20 21:02:53

I went through this when I was 10. It lasted a few months and I cant really explain why. I just went through a phase of being terrified of sleeping on my own. My poor dad would sleep in my bed while I got in with my mum! I eventually accepted that I had nothing to be scared of and went back to my own bed! Never had a sleep issue since!

moobar Thu 13-Feb-20 21:07:04

My nephew is a bit like this.

I've stayed off the aunty wanting a room for niece thread.

We have a strange set up, two brothers, sil and I get on very well. We never had children until last year quite unexpectedly after fifteen years of struggles.

Nephew fifteen and niece seventeen have rooms here and at home. We all live on the same farm miles from anywhere.

He will happily sleep here and there and nowhere else.

My sil works hard on the farm and I used to get phone calls in the night when she was in the lambing shed saying he wasn't feeling well and wanted to come home from a sleepover. That was at about 11. He's now 15 and still won't go anywhere else. He's a lovely boy, just likes his security. He will often ask for cuddles or extra chat at bedtime.

So I'm not sure, but nephew will ride a horse, bike and is tough at a days work, yet at night very very wants to be with one of us.

Velveteal Thu 13-Feb-20 21:07:45

Thanks for all the reassuring replies! It’s so good to hear other dc are the same.

DH and I have a very happy, secure marriage. We both just want DS to go to bed feeling relaxed and safe so we don’t mind sacrificing the marital bed if that’s what’s needed. We’ll just have to make sure we get some alone time elsewhere! I really thought these days were long behind us! He co-slept for the first 2 years and then we moved house and he went straight into his own room and we never had any issues at all.

I will say he also hates sleepovers too. He’s done a few school residential trips that he’s enjoyed but he’s never managed a sleep over at a friends house. The few times he’s tried he’s come home ‘feeling sick’. He’s had no practice though, any time we go out our parents baby sit but they look after him here and then go home when we get in. We’ve never stayed away over night without him.

monstermissy Thu 13-Feb-20 21:09:16

My 12 year old used to sleep in my bed all the time... now he will probably sleep in with me maybe 2/3 nights at most. He's started taking himself back into his bed and sometimes I turf him out. He's in year 8 and would be mortified if his mates knew but I think as a lone parent family we are all so busy in the week, I work full time and don't get home till 5.30pm etc... it's often the only time we get to chat/watch tv together etc... he likes to be close to me.

Like I said it's railing off now so I can't see it happening much longer but it doesn't bother me.

CrikeyYouDontWasteTime Thu 13-Feb-20 21:09:51

My ds slept in my bed on and off for years and all the time between ages of 9-11. He stopped after we went on holiday and he had a big double bed all to himself. When we got back he then slept in his own bed with a little encouragement the first night, because he'd got used to it.

Velveteal Thu 13-Feb-20 21:12:38

Oh shit, how are we supposed to have a night out if he can’t fall asleep in his own bed!🙈 not that we’re party animals or anything (obviously as this has only just dawned on me and it’s been a problem since November!). I suppose I could set him up with his duvet on the sofa and he can just stay up with his gp’s, watch a film with them and then nod off there when he gets tired.

HPandTheNeverEndingBedtime Thu 13-Feb-20 21:48:49

The irony, Dds decided to sleep in her own bed tonight, she's not done that since the summer lol.

Luckypoppy Thu 13-Feb-20 22:02:50

May be try a ready bed on your bedroom floor. He is allowed to stay in your room but sleeps in his own area. The lack of comfort may eventually move him away from you and back into his own bed. At least he could sneak in and not wake you.

Whoopsmahoot Thu 13-Feb-20 22:11:56

My son went through a similar phase around that age , absolutely no idea what brought it on. I had to sit on his bedroom floor and read my kindle until he fell asleep. He was so scared of being alone. He was always a brilliant sleeper before this. Then one night he said he was ok and I stopped. Went on for a few months. Very odd at the time.

DotBall Thu 13-Feb-20 22:18:28

My DS went through this on the change from Yr6 to Yr7. Nothing was playing on his mind, he was looking forward to it, but he had quite a few scary night terrors and needed cuddles in bed overnight.

He’s now 22 and has a girlfriend to cuddle 😁.
It won’t last forever, so do whatever it takes to comfort him.

GeorgieTheGorgeousGoat Thu 13-Feb-20 22:32:11

So does he wait for your bedtime then before going up? Isn’t he tired?

Aveisenim Thu 13-Feb-20 22:41:49

Honestly? I'd let him stay. I slept co-slept with my main carer until I was about 12 and I still have happy memories about it now, it made me feel SO safe. I outgrew it on my own when I started to become aware of my own body more etc. Every time they tried to turf me out it broke my heart and made me need that assurance/security even more. As an adult, I still sleep better if my partner is in bed with me. It's a normal, human need. It won't last forever.

Schmoozer Thu 13-Feb-20 22:48:26

My 12 yr old dd ...... in my bed right now !!
Not all
The time, occasionally. I enjoy the snuggles , she won’t want to soon enough !

MrStateTrooper Thu 13-Feb-20 22:51:38

Could you try getting him to do some mindfulness/meditation exercises before bed? Or let him listen to an audiobook while he nods off?

Llareggub Thu 13-Feb-20 22:56:13

My son is 10 and he has been sleeping in my bed pretty much his whole life. He goes through periods where he goes back to his own room but the majority of the time he is with me.

I would really like my space back. I really enjoy sleeping alone when he is with his father. He is a happy, secure, loving boy who loves cuddles. I am starting to move him on by allowing him in at weekends and school holidays only, and this is going well. I think we both look forward to the weekends now, for me because I know there won’t be many more of these nights to come.

Velveteal Fri 14-Feb-20 05:16:00

Thanks again for all the replies. We’re going to let him sleep in with us and hope he just grows out of the phase.

To a pp who asked,I have some health problems so I go to bed between 8 and 9 most nights and I have to be up early for work so it doesn’t disrupt our routine at all. If I want to ‘stay up later’ I get into bed with him and watch Netflix on my phone with headphones.

farnworth Fri 14-Feb-20 05:38:01

Having worked with primary age kids for years, I found that some boys in Year 6 would wobble as their 11th birthday neared. I think it felt to some like a much more grown up age. There would be lots of talk in and out of school about the need to be more responsible, more independent, more “grown up”. Talk too of moving on, the next stage, making the most of their last year of primary school etc. I think some boys secretly feared that 11 marks the end of childhood and being carefree. Some start refusing to do things they used to like doing as they deem it childish, sometimes adults make the decision for them. They also fear puberty and what physically will happen......
I think giving boys this age the chance/ encourage them to do giddy, carefree activities they might have dropped. Think about whether your son is hearing words like “responsible” far too often.... Talk openly about how being 11 is not the end of childhood and what might be seen as childlike behaviour.

Velveteal Fri 14-Feb-20 05:52:24

Wow farnworth, that makes an awful lot of sense. They’ve been doing sex Ed in school this year, tonnes of SATS revision, DS has come home a few times saying that if he’s said or written something ‘silly’ his teacher will say ‘that’s what September Harry would write/say/do’. So whilst he is happy in school that could all be having an impact on him. He is still silly at home and we do make sure the weekends are full of fun stuff.

I think the way forward is to let him sleep in with us, get him relaxed and sleeping well again. It really doesn’t matter how long it takes. I feel horrible for pushing him out now, last night wasn’t my finest parenting hour. I didn’t shout but I did give him a firm talking to ‘calm down, you’re perfectly safe, close your eyes etc’ in my best ‘firm mum’ voice. I thought it might have snapped him out of it but it obviously didn’t. I’ll chat to him later.

farnworth Fri 14-Feb-20 05:58:19

I bet school staff have made lots of comments to year 6 about how they need to be more responsible and grown up...
I totally agree with your approach, and talking to him would be good - often helps to talk when doing something (baking, Lego, dog walking) or when in car as it feels less intense for the child and so easier for them to think and talk.
If it continues maybe think about a discreet word with his teacher?

99problemsandthecatis1 Fri 14-Feb-20 06:09:55

At the same age I just all of a sudden got really aware of growing up, I think it's the impending move to secondary school. I was simultaneously excited and terrified. I would cry myself to sleep but be thoroughly unable to articulate how I feeling.ithink because I didn't really know why I felt like I did. It's only with retrospect that I know

Be kind to him, it'll pass and he will grow out of it. Sounds like you are doing wonderfully with him.

ThisHereMamaBear Fri 14-Feb-20 06:38:38

My 5 yo is the same. He's scared of robbers and toys watching him. I have no idea how to calm his fears other than to let him snuggle up to mama!

FET2020 Fri 14-Feb-20 06:43:19

Yes I used to do this at that age. I still remember the sheer terror I had at night. It came about from watching horror films with my older sister and her friends. Let him sleep with you, he’ll be grown up and gone before you know it.

Soontobe60 Fri 14-Feb-20 06:53:03

I'd be looking at moving things in his bedroom that seem to be bothering him first of all. Make sure he has a night light that stays on. When he goes up to bed, can one of you be pottering round upstairs so he can hear you? Or maybe watch tv in your bedroom again so he knows you are close by?
I used to believe that there was someone hiding under my bed and as an adult have always bought beds that go right down to the floor! (No room for the bogeyman now!)
Ask him what his fears are, then try to address those fears. When we get lighter nights he may well be happier back in his own bed.

TheVanguardSix Fri 14-Feb-20 06:57:53

Does he watch YouTube?
If he's using a phone and watching videos, make sure you monitor the content. You'll have to put a family setting on the phone. My money is on him watching videos that are creeping him out.
This combined with the anxiety of secondary makes 9-11 a tricky time. It's a very transitional age.

averythinline Fri 14-Feb-20 07:48:37

I think it's normal for yr6 to have a wobble my DC did....I think it's an accumulation of things and lots of change coming... as well as more awareness of the world at large... it's a tough year for Stressful events.. I would just go with it .,.
And make the most of the end of the child stage ....

Velveteal Fri 14-Feb-20 07:56:04

Thanks for all the suggestions we have tried everything-he’s got a night light, one of us up stairs with him. The only thing we haven’t tried is removing the toys that are ‘watching him’ but he’s got other things he’s scared of too so I don’t think that would solve it entirely.

All parental settings in place, tv in living room so we see what he’s watching on YouTube. He doesn’t have a phone yet. I do think some of his friends are watching some scary stuff and then coming into school and talking about it which is difficult as we’ve got no control over that.

I really appreciate the replies, they’ve been very helpful.

We’ve had a chat while I was pottering in the kitchen during breakfast. I said sorry for last night and that I thought being firm might help him but obviously it didn’t and from now on we’ll try in his bed first but if he gets upset like that again he can come in to ours. I’ve reassured him that there’s no pressure to sleep in his own bed, this is a normal phase he’s going through and that half his classmates are probably doing the same it’s just not talked about!

FraglesRock Fri 14-Feb-20 08:15:13

Would a mattress on your floor help? A halfway house

IWillWearTheGreenWillow Fri 14-Feb-20 08:19:39

It sounds like this could easily be a function of pressure from the school to "grow up" as someone said up thread. Does he have any underlying issues, or do you suspect any? We have finally joined the dots and realised that one of our DS's (excuse rogue apostrophe, want to make it clear he's not a stepson) used to collapse emotionally when the school started applying pressure - particularly over the 11+ and SATS (and later with Y7 exams etc). Now we know he is dyslexic with ADHD and hEDS, we know that the extra pressure was simply too much. Physical collapse would usually follow emotional collapse, as he was working at capacity anyway, and poor sleep would then make it worse.

If he sleeps peacefully and well in your bed, and you and your DH are ok with it, I'd stick with it.

actiongirl1978 Fri 14-Feb-20 09:14:03

Ds comes into us most nights, he is about to turn 10.

A year ago he started being terrified of burglars and we now have to lie with him until he goes to sleep each night - which can be 30 mins or 2hrs depending.

I've given up: tv, time with dh, time with my Dd, eating dinner.

I now graze on snacks at about 6pm then spend the evening focussed on ds. I am really hoping he gets over it soon!

99problemsandthecatis1 Fri 14-Feb-20 09:14:04

Velveteal you sound lovely. I wish my parents had been so understanding when I was going through similar. I suspect knowing he can access reassurance and comfort at any time he needs it will actually really help him feel more secure and independent.

Velveteal Fri 14-Feb-20 12:09:07

No additional needs although he has always been a worrier, he does get anxious about things and although he has got lovely friends and enjoys an active social life his absolutely favourite place to be is at home with us, we are a tight little unit. Maybe he’s feeling subconsciously that that could change as he’s getting older. He could just be wanting that closeness. I think it’s probably a mixture of things-the fear of sleeping alone, imagination running wild and year 6 pressure. It did all start in November so it does tie in with school. He’ll get there. I do secretly love us all being bundled up in the same bed especially when the weathers so horrible. Even as a 40 year old with no fears I can see the comfort in it.

redwoodmazza Fri 14-Feb-20 12:44:53

Maybe you could you suggest a friend comes for a sleepover?
He would want to be in his own bed for that, surely?

KurriKurri Fri 14-Feb-20 13:16:11

I think if you are going to have a go at getting him back into his own bed, then I would wait until Easter or Summer holidays. With the double benefit that he hasn't got any shcool pressures going on, and also you can fill his days with activities to wear him out so he is extra tired.

I wouldn't worry about it - there are very few (if any) 16 yr olds sleeping in their Mum and Dad's bed - they grow out of it. But it is common for children on the cusp of puberty to regress a little before they go forwards. Growing up is a scary process and it is often one step forward and two steps back. Security is the key and he will find his own way in safe loving environment.

Which is exactly what he has - I agree with others you sound like a really lovely Mum, and it's fantastic he can come to you with his worries without feeling sill yor childish. He's only ten after all - still a little boy, there's an awful lot of societal pressure on children to grow up too quickly.

ritatherockfairy Fri 14-Feb-20 14:06:08

We have had this for years with DD (9). Late last year, I bought a cheap double bed - "small double" - for her room. Now I sit in bed with her to help her settle to sleep and then if she does wake up and need someone in the night then there's always the option for me to go and sleep in her bed without disturbing DH.

MWNA Fri 14-Feb-20 14:39:30

Let him. For as long as he needs - especially as it's not an issue for you. Don't be swayed by or worried about convention. He is obviously a highly sensitive child and you are his safety and security. He won't be in your bed at 15!

(My now married, 28 year old mother-to-be daughter slept with me until she was about 11. She just needed it. She was fearful of the dark and burglars and fire etc etc. It would never have occurred to me to try and make her sleep apart from me. And as the blurb above says - she is independent and ordinary and great now.)

ShinyGiratina Fri 14-Feb-20 15:07:17

I ended up with my 9yo with me last night. I went up to bed after 10 and he was wide awake, so I let him come in with me, and read to him for a while. He has HFA and can get anxious (plus it was the end of term) but on this occasion, he seemed to have woken right up after being shattered when he got home from school- he has always needed less sleep than average.

He's become a lot more affectionate in the last year or so after being quite reserved in earlier childhood . I help in school and he'll come up to me, and hug me, kiss me or hold my hand. No one seems to bat an eyelid, and it seems to be accepted as part of his eccentric geek persona, so I'm happy to let him be. He'll quickly change his mind when it becomes uncool and not the done thing. Actually one of his classmates randomly hugged me too... their teacher said she's quite tactile and huggy too and she was missing her best friend that day.

I'm all for letting children be children while gradually letting them develop towards adulthood at their own pace.

Purpleartichoke Fri 14-Feb-20 15:10:54

We dealt with it by making up a little bed on the floor. So dd could be in our room, but in her own space. On the rare occasion she was completely freaked out I still let her sleep in our bed, but most nights the camping version was enough. I got better sleep that way and. I think it helped her get over it by it not being quite so close every night. Eventually she came in less and less.

vhs95 Fri 14-Feb-20 15:43:25

I agree with setting up a bed of sorts on your floor - make it special for him in some way. My 11-yr old grandson would share with his single mum given the chance so the compromise is - on her floor. He also became anxious in yr 6 and it's followed him into yr 7 so we don't think anything drastic would help him. He won't be doing it when he's a spotty yoof (hopefully!).

Giroscoper Fri 14-Feb-20 15:53:13

Completely normal for children to worry and need company.

Ds2 is 14 and if he's had a bad dream he will thunder across the landing and scramble up the bed between me and Dh.

We are lucky that our bed is a super king as he is bigger than me so it is like 3 adults in a bed

We talked about using our imagination to stomp down any worrying thoughts so the second you realise your thoughts are going negative you force yourself to think of something positive. It helps if they have a default memory or thought so it is recalled instantly..

Vintagevixen Fri 14-Feb-20 16:32:13

OP my DD went through a similar phase last year. She always slept well in her own bed. Then from Christmas last year when she was in year 6 suddenly really anxious wanting to sleep in all the time (single parent so not such an issue space wise!)horrific anxiety about me going to work even when in the care of her father, texting me all the time to say she missed me etc

Nothing specific caused it and looking back I think it was a combo of hormones and anxiety about the change to senior school. I really think the change from primary to secondary is a big thing for them that we as adults underestimate.

Soon as she started year 7 and adjusted/actually did quite well it resolved and she is back to her old self. I think you just have to bear with it, be super understanding, listen to them and you will get through.

Zaphodsotherhead Fri 14-Feb-20 16:56:50

What about leaving an audio book running for him?

I have an overactive imagination and if I wake at night all sorts of fears and dreads start running through my head (and I'm forty years too old to get in bed with mum, besides which, she's long gone!). So I have Audible running familiar books through my phone at night (particularly keen on Harry Potter or Swallows and Amazons).

The reasurance of a voice in the background tends to keep me asleep. Might be worth a try?

Velveteal Fri 14-Feb-20 19:43:05

Thanks again everyone, I’ll keep the audio book idea in mind, he loves Harry Potter so that might be a good distraction.

Tonight we’ve put his mattress on the floor at the bottom of our bed, he’s really excited about it. I think it’s a good half way point and he feels better about needing to be with us as he’s not technically in our bed, just in our room. So thankyou to those who suggested that idea, I wouldn’t have thought of it.

He’s such a sweet boy, he’s dragged in his duvet, teddies and clock and piled his pillows on both sides to make it cosy. Lovely to see him going to bed happy.

FraglesRock Fri 14-Feb-20 19:52:45

A sleepover!!
Bless him, maybe the landing next week 😂

GrockleRock Fri 14-Feb-20 19:55:17

Hopefully he will get a good nights sleep, being tired the next day causes me anxiety.

QuixoticQuokka Fri 14-Feb-20 20:05:17

DS has slept on his own since age 11. Growing up he co-slept until age 2, then slept in my bed, in another bed in the same room, and in his own room on and off over the years. At 11 he had to transition from sharing a room with me for six months, to having a bedroom on a different floor when we moved, so he slept in my bed at first and moved out when he felt ready.

WhataMissMap Sun 16-Feb-20 10:44:58

I think that by allowing him to sleep with you, you are reinforcing his belief that it’s not safe for him to sleep alone.
It’s a normal stage of development to go through for him. He has realised that there are dangers in the world to be wary of. You need to help him come to terms with how to cope with his fears of what is a reasonable fear and what isn’t.

tinatsarina Sun 16-Feb-20 13:35:55

@Velveteal how was his night on the cost mattress? It's good that he's ok with a halfway point cuz that gives you space that you both need.

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