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Not cut out to be a mother

(280 Posts)
sailorcherries Thu 05-Jan-17 23:24:22

Posting here for traffic, at my wits end.

My DS is 6 and has never slept through the night. Not once. He is also the worst self soother in the world.

During the day he is happy to sit upstairs/downstairs on his own while I potter about but at night time WWIII breaks out regularly.

Despite trying everything (sit in his room and gradually move out the door; sit in my room and return him reassuringly; sit in my room and return him without speaking etc) he will refuse to sleep. He cries, gets out of bed, refuses to talk, scratches himself and makes himself sick. I have tried for months and nothing works. He is upset, I get frustrated and upset - I don't smack etc but let him know his behaviour is not acceptable and tell him that there is consequences the next day (tv time/games cancelled, grounded etc).
In the end I end up sitting near his door and he then falls asleep; after 2 hours of screaming and tantrums. If I sit near his door to begin with he will be quiet but won't settle for at least an hour.

Regardless of when he goes to bed he will wake 3-4 times for no apparent reason, come and find me, and then wake me to take him to bed.

I finally went to the dr and his suggestion was that DS didn't need as much sleep (as nothing suffers through lack of it) and to put him to bed later. This has not addressed the issues at bed time whatsoever.

What is wrong with me? Am I that shit a parent that I can't get the basics right? Will I fuck it up with the next? Is there something wrong with my DS? What the bloody hell do I do? Bed time brings me to tears every single night.

seven201 Thu 05-Jan-17 23:26:47

Does his father help? Maybe you need to break the cycle by not being there for a couple of nights? My dd is still a baby so I have no experience, just thinking aloud. Sounds horrible flowers

early30smum Thu 05-Jan-17 23:30:09

You have my sympathy as my 7 yr old DD is a nightmare for sleeping. A very good night is 9.00 pm but last night was 11.30. shock but the saving grace is she does sleep through. Has he shown any other problems eg at school? I would say the making himself sick etc does sound extreme. I would you back you your GP as it does sound like you need more support/help. Don't be hard on yourself. I followed Gina ford to the letter when DD was baby/toddler and have still ended up with a child who is a nightmare to put to bed.

ChasedByBees Thu 05-Jan-17 23:33:02

It sounds horrible.

I remember as a child being unable to sleep and the anxiety would kick in about 30 mins before bed. The anxiety then would stop me sleeping so it was a vicious cycle. If you are feeling stressed and giving punishments it could be stressful for him too. Have you spoken with him about it during the day when there's less pressure?

Maybe it would be good to try something completely different and let him play and go to sleep when he's ready. Don't make a big deal of the getting up but praise hugely if he's able to do it by himself. I don't know if this would work but perhaps by removing the stress, you can then install better habits afterwards.

ChasedByBees Thu 05-Jan-17 23:34:33

PS - you are absolutely cut out to be a mother! Kids will always find at least one thing to be deeply awkward about.

sailorcherries Thu 05-Jan-17 23:38:41

I'm not with DS DF, haven't been since he was a baby. My new OH has been around for 2 years but if I'm not there at bed time DS is worse than ever, he will not go to sleep for OH at all. He'll sleep at exs house and occasionally with my parents because they give in, sit beside him and (in exs case) share a room so when he wakes someone is there instantly. He doesn't sleep through there either but once asleep they get more sleep, iyswim?

I understand that those factors don't help but I genuinely cannot stop them. Plus 4/5 nights a month/48-55ish a year shouldn't impact his home life.

In school he is a top achiever, very academic for his age and a good student (not just bragging). I brought it up with both his teachers and they have never had any issues with him. However, he does have ..
Quirks, shall we say? A woman once thought and acted as if he had an ASD/ADHD/Anxiety type issues at a child event once and I've not discounted it, but perhaps I'm clutching at straws and hoping he isn't just a shit or I'm shit.

I'm 20 weeks pregnant and feel sick knowing that, in a few months, baby will be settled then DS will take hours to settle, then baby will be awake, then as baby settles DS will be up again. Surely to god it's not normal? If he was terrible for going to bed but slept through I could deal with it. If he went to bed peacefully and maybe stirred once or twice but fell straight back over then okay, but this is a nightmare.

Rixera Thu 05-Jan-17 23:41:10

Have you tried going to sleep on a pillow on his floor?
I only have a 20month old so can't really compare but she's always been terrible at sleep, but I found if I lay down and pretended to go to sleep (or actually went to sleep) she would play along going 'aah, night night mummy' patting me on the head, saying shh, and lying down to fake snore. The fake snores then turned into her actually falling asleep.
Gradually was able to ease it back by just miming lying down so she does the fake snoring then leaving the room, she still fake snores herself to sleep even at the childminders...

sailorcherries Thu 05-Jan-17 23:41:43

I've tried allowing him to read until he falls over - he read for an hour and still wasn't asleep.
We have 3 different night lights all of different brightnesses in case it was the dark. His door is left open and hall light on.

We tried horlicks, lavender spray, oils, bed time bath stuff etc. At the most my bed to his bed is literally 10 steps away from each other but he acts like I've packed a bag and fucked off (I wish I had some nights, to a lovely hotel, for some kip!)

early30smum Thu 05-Jan-17 23:41:58

Go back to your GP and tell them everything again. It is possible he has some issues which you could get support with as it does sound extreme. Take care.

sailorcherries Thu 05-Jan-17 23:43:17

That has been my last resort (sleeping on the floor) along with sitting just outside his door. However some nights it'll be 1 hour before he's sound asleep. Any movement and he's awake screaming like a banshee again. Now though it's getting too painful and achey sad

Ruralretreating Thu 05-Jan-17 23:45:11

DS1(4) has never been a good sleeper - would take 90 minutes to get to sleep, used to wake up 2-3 times a night. We used to have nightly shouting matches with escalating consequences which just got ridiculous. We did three things: (1) consider underlying causes, for DS it was anxiety/separation anxiety/loneliness as this behaviour had got worse when DS2 arrived and I was leaving DS1 to settle whilst I fed and settled DS2 (2) to break the cycle, let him get up for ten mins if he wasn't settling in 20mins from lights out (3) I settle him, then go back in after 5 mins, then after 10, then after 20 and so on. He was normally asleep by third visit. It dealt with his need to be reassured and stopped the shouting (mostly). It's exhausting to have such disturbed sleep and you have my sympathy btw.

sailorcherries Thu 05-Jan-17 23:45:18

Thanks early30smum. Last time we went the gp literally said "oh it's nothing, he doesn't fall asleep during the day and isn't suffering at school. Push his bedtime back and he'll sleep longer" (he slept from 8-4 or 9-5) and that did help those aspects but not that actual trauma before sleeping or quality of sleep.

sailorcherries Thu 05-Jan-17 23:47:47

ruralretreating he has been worse since he found out about the baby, so that isn't helping. However, even with the popping in in 5/10/15 minute promises he still screams the minute I leave his room and then by the time 5 minutes has gone by he's in a state/has thrown up over the bed/has scratched his sides raw/point blank refuses to get off the floor or lie down or anything else sad

When the baby comes I'm dreading it.

seven201 Thu 05-Jan-17 23:49:17

Have you tried leaving a white noise machine on quite loud? I mean just to help him actually stay asleep, as you mention him waking at little sounds.

I too think you should go back to the gp. What reasons does he give for waking up or for not going to sleep?

sailorcherries Thu 05-Jan-17 23:49:39

It's practically 11.50 now, we came up at 9pm for a story which ended aboit 9.15. He is just now in a deep enough sleep that I can move off the floor, which I had been sat on for half an hour, after almost 2 hours of nonsense. That's almost 3 hours from going to bed to sleeping sad

Msqueen33 Thu 05-Jan-17 23:49:59

You have my deepest sympathy. I've got three eldest 7 takes an age to go to sleep but thank god sleeps through, 6 year old takes an age to settle (especially during school time as she has asd) but the bloody nearly four year old requires me to sit on her bed until she is asleep and then comes and wakes me in the night (to be fair she does have asd). Sounds like anxiety is an issue. Have you asked him why he won't sleep and why he thinks he wakes up of a night? Do you leave any lights on?

sailorcherries Thu 05-Jan-17 23:52:44

Typically 6 year old answers seven
- he isn't tired (despite struggling to keep his eyes open)
- he misses me
- he wants a cuddle
- there is no reason and I shouldn't ask
- he doesn't know why

He will shut down if probed too much.

He finds it hard to actually express his emotions at times and tell you why he does things. He also gets irrationally angry over silly things.

Ruralretreating Thu 05-Jan-17 23:53:01

Also, have you tried asking him what would work for him/why he doesn't like bedtime? DS1 when asked said he wanted to listen to music so we got him a kids' bedtime classics CD which helped for a while (before DS2 arrived). When we asked him why he wasn't happy at bedtime he said he wanted to be with me. The repeated visits strategy worked well to help him with that.

milkjetmum Thu 05-Jan-17 23:53:11

We co-sleep a lot with our two who have both had sleep issues - would that work for you? Even if a short term first step to getting everyone rested and in the habit of sleeping at night. Get everyone sleeping then worry about of sleep as stage 2?

Dd1 was motivated by the offer of bunk beds once she had got the hang of staying in her bed. At one stage we had a blow up readybed in our room she was allowed to come in to. As pp said I quite often had to lie down with her to get her to go to sleep.

Sleep deprivation is a killer. Can you trade 2hr naps with your dp during the day at the weekends to give yourself a boost? This has got us through some hard nights.

Also agree about gp discussion , dd1 had colic as a baby and even now at 6 has persistent stomach aches (under consultant now). Could something physical be behind this eg constipation or eczema itching at night?

iniquity Thu 05-Jan-17 23:54:18

I think it's anxiety related. If I was you, I'd let him stay up until your bedtime and let him sleep in the same room as you.

LucyLocketLostIt Thu 05-Jan-17 23:54:31

I would be contacting a sleep training clinic if I were you. Millpond are meant to be good.

Good luck. It sounds awful.

sailorcherries Thu 05-Jan-17 23:54:56

Thanks for all the answers, it makes me feel better knowing we aren't alone!

SarfEast1cated Thu 05-Jan-17 23:55:48

Your doctor isn't being very helpful is s/he? Can you ask for a referral to a sleep consultant (or whatever they're called?) It seems really unfair that you both have to go through this every night. Do you ask him (during the day) what would make going to bed easier for him? Can you move his bedroom furniture around a bit, revamp his room a bit so he is happier about being there? No real ideas I'm afraid, but wishing you a rapid solution!

Ruralretreating Thu 05-Jan-17 23:56:12

Can you bribe him with something as well as your return to keep him calm for the 5/10 minutes? I tell DS1 I'm coming back but he needs to be calm and quiet. Could you start small - 30 seconds/1 minute/2 minutes?

ohlittlepea Thu 05-Jan-17 23:56:32

He sounds anxious.
You must be so exhausted. Things that are clinically proven to help with anxiety
Exercise
Mindfulness
Cosmic kids story book yoga is quite a nice bedtime thing for this age. Lots of open chatting about feelings and how anxiety works may help. Relax kids resources are really good for this. Sitting down with him with a big sheet of paper and saying 'We have a problem with nights, you seem really upset or worried, and I feel really tired. Can you help me think of some ideas that would help both of us get a better nights sleep?' Write any of his ideas and your ideas (even crazy ones that you can't do) and then work through the list together crossing through any that either of you isn't comfortable with. Kids are pretty good at helping solving things if we give them the opportunitysmile xxx

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