10 year old can't sleep alone! Sorry - a bit long.

(57 Posts)
CarofromWton Fri 26-Sep-08 20:55:01

I'm quite embarrassed admitting this but does anyone else have a child who still won't go to bed on their own at 10 years old? DD1 has always been very sensitive and has lots of fears - dogs/lifts/spiders etc and we have always done our best to give her some confidence etc. The upside is she is a high-achiever at school and has many friends.

All this greatly affects her (and our) life, the main example being that I have to take her upstairs to bed and sit in the anteroom outside her room (which btw she shares with her 4-year old sister) until she is fast asleep. This can take anything from half and hour to 3 hours each evening. Therefore I'm losing my evenings and getting very stressed about the situation which isn't improving (has been like this for approx 9 months).

You may think - well ok just leave the room and make her go to sleep on her own, but if I do leave, she becomes hysterical and begs me to stay like her life depends on it. This has got so bad in the past that it has woken up DD2 and totally stressed out the whole family. She also regularly wakes up during the night and comes into our room refusing to leave. Because I'm so desperate for sleep I often swap beds with her and she ends up with DH for the rest of the night!

She was referred to a child psychologist in January and so far we have only seen her once for the initial assessment - God knows how long it will be before the next one. In the meantime I'm feeling quite desperate and really worried that my DD will always be over-anxious in life.

Anyone else experienced this please? I can't help feeling this is all my fault and I've failed DD in some way. (DD2 is completely different - no problem at all so far).

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CarofromWton Fri 26-Sep-08 21:13:01

It's just my DD then???

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Milco Fri 26-Sep-08 21:19:08


I'm afraid I can't give any useful advice - I've only got the one and he's still a baby. But didn't want your post to go unanswered. It sounds as if you are having a really tough time. I'm sure there will be others who have had similar experiences - I hope someone will be along soon.

CarofromWton Fri 26-Sep-08 21:21:50

Thanks for your kind words Milco.

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CarGirl Fri 26-Sep-08 21:28:48

I had a horrendous sleeper (the only one out of 4 girls) when she was 4 we took her for craniel osteopathy which stopped her waking at night and he told us she had retained morro reflex (the startle one) and recommend we took her to a developmental therapist - they work at getting your reflexes to where they should be for your age and stop your brain and body being in conflict.

I was very sceptical but we now have a dd who gets to sleep much quicker, wakes very rarely and is generally more relaxed/chilled about stuff.

Just a random thought that it could help your dd?

gagarin Fri 26-Sep-08 21:30:48

rescue remedy is good too - it has a little alcohol in it i think but very very little so she could use that?

Umlellala Fri 26-Sep-08 21:30:48

Right, this is based on my experience as a teacher of teenagers, and mother of a toddler and newborn so could be completely ridiculous grin but could you explain to her why you can't sit outside the room all evening (but tell her you will always come up if she needs you) and ask her to come up with a solution/suggestion?

Do continue with the child psych and keep lovingly responding to her. I really don't think you have done anything to make her anxious, and IMVHO/E, kids seeking reassurance this way need it!

Milco Fri 26-Sep-08 21:36:38

No trouble Caro. Just wondering, now I think about it - did the psychologist give any initial view on your dd's sleep issues? And is the delay before the next appointment normal? - does seem very long to me (and to you by the sounds of it.)

cupcakesinthesnow Fri 26-Sep-08 21:39:43

I am so sorry this is so distressing for you and quite understandably so. I have a friend who was in a similiar situation until recently. She used thave to sit in her 7 yr old ds's room until he fell asleep and eventually managed to sit in the next room (reading or on laptop) until he was asleep and only now he is 9 can she put him to bed and leave immediately. He still wakes in the night and sleeps with her and her husband but not as often as before.

I have no words of wisdon but wanted you to know you are not the only one. It did help when she moved him to a much smaller bedroom though.

Milco Fri 26-Sep-08 21:40:23

Oh yes, and I should have said, I don't think you should in any way feel embarassed. I'm sure you won't have caused your daughter's worries. On the other hand, I'm embarassed to say I am still scared of spiders

CarofromWton Fri 26-Sep-08 21:44:05

Thanks everyone.

CarGirl - it's worth a try, but to be honest DD1 was a very good sleeper when she was little - it has got worse in the last year.

Gagarin - I never thought of Rescue Remedy - I'll give it a try. I have to confess that DD1 had a cold last week and rather than give her Infant Paracetomol I specifically went out and bought Medised because it has a sedative in it. I gave her the maximum recommended dose and we actually had 3 nights' uninterrupted sleep. Bliss!

Umlellala - this may be the time to mention that both I and the child psych strongly suspect DD is going through early puberty so your experience with teenagers may be spot on. Unfortunately, when DD1 goes to bed and becomes anxious (for whatever reason - spiders/burglars etc) she becomes beyond reasoning. It becomes v. frustrating because she clams up and won't make any suggestions herself. I have pleaded with her but sadly, as yet, no joy. The child psych has also suggested that there could well be an element of DD 'trying to take control' of her life and family by doing this, in much the same way that a teenager develops an eating disorder etc.

Thanks again all for your suggestions.

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CarofromWton Fri 26-Sep-08 21:47:01

Sorry Cupcakes - cross-posts. Thanks - it helps to know it's not just my DD!

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CarofromWton Fri 26-Sep-08 21:50:49

Yes Milco it's a very long delay - the first appointment came at the start of Sept after 8 months of waiting. The psych said to contact the child mental health unit early Oct if I haven't received the 2nd appointment by then. shock

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CarofromWton Fri 26-Sep-08 21:51:52

Oh - I don't like spiders either (doing my best to hide this fact from my DDs).

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CarGirl Fri 26-Sep-08 21:54:14

Do you think you could try I'll come back every 5 minutes to check on you? Literally set a time at the bottom of the stairs and keep going back up every 5 minutes?

I'd be tempted to use medised a couple of times per weeks so I could function - I don't cope with broken nights at all!

Umlellala Fri 26-Sep-08 21:54:17

Oh poor thing - teenage hormones are very odd things indeed...

I actually meant do the chat during the day, over an ice cream or something. Was envisaging a fairly 'matter-of-fact' discussion (ie not an emotional one) about 'well, we can't really carry on with me outside for three hours - I was desperate for the loo! Hmmm, what can we do instead?' (maybe you sit outside for ten minutes, or get her a special torch etc etc). In my non-expert view, I agree it sounds like it may well be about control - and so, IMO, it would be great if she could (help) come up with a positive suggestion to help herself.

Sending you lots of support, you sound like a lovely, lovely mum. smile

Orinoco Fri 26-Sep-08 22:00:33

Message withdrawn

CarofromWton Fri 26-Sep-08 22:04:55

Thanks for all the support - it's much appreciated because I don't feel like a lovely mum lately! I'm afraid (out of desperation) I've started to issue sanctions for really bad nights ie loss of TV time etc. I don't know why I'm doing this because I suspect it's the wrong thing and it certainly hasn't improved things yet.

I also lost it with her this morning because she got up and came downstairs like a bear with a sore head having a snipe at everyone. In fact, when I think of it, much like a moody teenager.

I really, really love her (as mums I'm sure you know how that feels) but sometimes I just don't want to see her when she's like this.

Cargirl - we have discussed this option but I'm afraid the lady's (or rather girl,s) not for turning. It seems I have to do all the compromising.

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CarofromWton Fri 26-Sep-08 22:08:00

Wow Orinoco - my DD says that she doesn't feel safe unless she's with us, not even in her bedroom! Sometimes I think other problems ie school worries manifest themselves in other fears because it's the only way children know how to express them.
(Turning into a psychologist now!!)

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SixSpotBurnet Fri 26-Sep-08 22:09:58

What time does she go to bed at?

DS1 is 9 and is just not tired enough to go to sleep until at least 10 p.m. (I was the same when I was his age) - often much later.

Orinoco Fri 26-Sep-08 22:16:18

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CarofromWton Fri 26-Sep-08 22:16:49

8.30 pm on schoolnights, between 9 and 9.30 pm weekends. I'm reluctant to make it any later as she is an early riser and can become really cranky if she has a few late nights.

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marmadukescarlet Fri 26-Sep-08 22:23:37

Did the Child Pych give you a report or any recommendations/coping strategies whilst you wait(a very) long time for your next appt?

Personally I would go back to my GP, make a blardy great fuss about the detrimental effect this is having on your family life and her education (even if it isn't, be convincing).

I would ask for them to chase the second referral, ask to whom you are being referred and phone their secretary and pester them for an appt asap.

I would suggest you ask the GP if they can prescribe melatonin or refer you to a peaditrician/consultant who can. Melatonin is a chemical that induces sleep, a non licensed medicine in the UK but otc in USA! Works in 2-30 minutes but is a short term release for 2-3 hours, but may help get over the initial anxiety problems.

I would also contact Young Minds who will get a appropriately qualified person to call you once they have taken some details.

Good luck.

Umlellala Fri 26-Sep-08 22:24:03

reckon she would get comfort (whilst knowing it wasn't really doing anything) from a night guardian, or dream catcher, or wand, or torch, or book to write everything down in... but I still think she has to be the one to buy into it/choose it.

marmadukescarlet Fri 26-Sep-08 22:24:43


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