Feeling awful after yet another row with DD (9)...(8 Posts)
At the moment, everything seems to be a battle with the favourite one being about bedtime... It's great, just when I am tired and have got her to bed, she decides that is the time to start playing up! She is in and out of her room every 5 minutes with some excuse or another ensuring that every evening I am up and down like a yo-yo. It's not that she is anxious about anything (I have asked) but more that she has a general unwillingness to abide by rules. She is constantly exhausted as she is not getting enough sleep and that makes her moody during the days! I finally flipped my lid at 10o'clock tonight and shouted at her which I now feel terrible about as I don't want her going to bed upset! I have also had to follow through on my punishment if deleting all her Disney channel programmes eg: victorious and shake it up as I do wonder if this boundary pushing comes from mimicking teenage behaviour!!! I hate getting cross and punishing her but, sometimes it feels like I am left no choice!!! Sorry to rant....
It does get to you, doesn't it? Have you tried just ignoring her when she gets up. We told our DD (ever so nicely) at around the same age that from 8pm or whatever her bedtime was, it was our time and she wasn't welcome unless there was a crisis. She could do whatever she liked in her bedroom, preferably reading in bed, until lights out. This gave her some element of choice, but we made sure we were doing/watching things that she wouldn't be remotely interested in so she wouldn't be tempted to come back & join us.
Well done on following your threat through. She needs to know that you mean what you say, but try to keep any threats in proportion ie. ban TV or miss an after school activity for 1 night rather than for a whole week or term.
We have this too with my youngest who's nearly 9, rather than the eldest. Eldest nods off pretty quickly but youngest can keep going till 10pm and beyond if allowed and it doesn't help with it being so light outside. But then it's hard to get her up in the mornings.
Does your DD read in bed before lights out? I let mine read for around 10-20 minutes once they're in bed. DD settles better if she's had some quiet time in bed reading, she's more likely to nod off, also means she's doing some extra reading which is great, as she resists reading during the day! Nothing heavy, she's reading her brother's Diary of a Wimpy Kid series these days, not exactly a literally classic but she's enjoying them and I'm just happy she's getting pleasure from reading and it seems to make her fall asleep more easily.
Maybe work out a compromise. If her bedtime/lights out is say 8pm, I'd say to her that if she gets fully ready for bed and is in bed for say 7.50pm, she can read for around 15-20minutes and then it has to be lights out without any shenanigans by 8.10pm at the latest. My kids are happy to have those extra few minutes even if it's just to read in bed.
And the act of reading really does seem to help them drift off more easily. As they get older they may need slightly later bedtimes, might help her feel more grown up if you agree a later bedtime on basis that she's more likely to go to sleep at the slightly later time than two hours after the slightly earlier time, ie overall net sleep will be more if you agree she can be up a little bit later albeit staying in her bed to read.
When my DD really struggles some nights to sleep, I let her read for a bit longer and then when I pop in to check her, she'll have turned her light off and be asleep.
I also link pocket money to going to bed at proper time, getting up and ready by fixed time, plus doing some chores. I say to them that if they end up making me do the things they should be doing themselves then they need to pay me from their pocket money! This tends to work more for my son though who is constantly wanting to earn money to spend!
I suggest a reward chart which gives her a star each time she stays in bed. After say, a week she gets to choose a treat (keep it small).
Stick to your routine and give her plenty of attention outside of bedtime. So perhaps after tea when everything has been put away you can spend 15 minutes with her talking about school, her friends, anything which might affect her. Just talk to her and listen. That's quality time with her that she'll appreciate.
When you put her to bed make sure she's been to the toilet and has a drink by her bed so she doesn't need to get out of bed for anything.
If she does get out of bed. Don't give her any attention or say anything to her, just put her back in bed and leave the room. Even if you end up doing this 5 times, do the same thing; go up, lead her back to bed, put her in, close the door and leave without saying a word.
It does sound to me like she is vying for your attention so the trick is to give her plenty of positive attention at other times and no attention at all once you've put her to bed.
It might take a couple of nights but she will realise that she's getting nowhere fast and will start to stay in bed.
Firstly, you are at the start of the period where DCs will want to stay awake until 9.30 - 10pm. It's absolutely pointless fighting it.
Up to bed by 8.30 and read, so adults get some evening and DCs don't start watching unsuitable TV, but you can't force them to go to sleep.
9 year-olds are starting to what some freedom and control over their lives, bed time today (as it's the obvious first step with light evenings), but there will be lots of others.
9 year-olds, know in their hearts they can't be left for long on their own, cycle to town on busy roads, stay out at their mates until 10pm, but a bit of them wants those freedoms of 11/12 now. The result is ridiculously small choices become important to them.
If you can give your DD a bit of freedom about bedtime, clothes, what or where to eat or any other daft little thing it helps enormously.
More than any other age preteens seem to be the ones to pick your battles.
A toddler forgets and my 15 year old understands adults have good reasons to be stubborn and sometimes make mistakes.
9 year-olds remember, bear grudges and still get in toddler grade tizzies they can't control. They are the most frustrating adorable mix, grown up one minute and little children the next.
Also the better they behave at school, the more this mix of emotions of wanting control and cuddles comes out at home.
Thank you all for your comments, its always good to hear other peoples experiences!
cheeseandpineapple: We do let her read in bed and, whilst it worked at first, it no longer seems to make much difference as she will now come out, complaining that she cant sleep and asking to be allowed to read for longer.
THERhubarb: I think that a lot of her behaviour at the moment is to do with vying for attention which does make me feel bad for getting frustrated with it. I have recently gone back to work after having my youngest daughter 2.5 years ago so, along with having to share me with a sibling, she is also missing out on time with me during the week. It is very hard to find the right balance in that respect but, I will give the 15minute chats a go as that is definitely manageable and valuable to both of us.
LunaticFringe: Hehe - Shagging.... what's that????
Startail: You are so right about picking your fights at this stage in their life and I will definitely try to remind myself of that when situations arise regardless how tired and frustrated I may be!
Mine found story CDs more relaxing than reading in bed at that age.
We had things like:
All the Just William stories
The Narnia stories
The Secret Garden
A little Princess
There are loads.
If they woke at night and couldn't get to sleep again, they were allowed to put a cd on quietly.
I also found that a slightly earlier bedtime with a CD allowed for winding down and relaxing.
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