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11yo sleeping arrangements

(16 Posts)
Packupyourtroubles Mon 09-Dec-13 13:59:50

Hi all,

I am a long time lurker but a new poster and would appreciate some advice.
I have had my DNephew living with me on and off since he was 5. He is now 11 and living with me full time.

He has had quite an unstable childhood and is quite an anxious little thing. He is however socially confident and enjoys jokes and playing with his friends.
When he first started staying with me, I had no space or spare room and he used to have nightmares, so I had him sharing my bed. This has continued. When he turned ten, I spoke to him and said that now I had the spare room I would make it into his own room and he would have to sleep in there, as big boys don't share their beds.
However he didn't react well to this and started crying, saying 'everything is changing and I don't like it'.
I completely sympathise with him and want to make his life as stable as possible. However he obviously can't continue to share my bed.
Any tips? He is so scared of change.


enderwoman Mon 09-Dec-13 14:01:22

Can you replace your double bed with two singles?

Packupyourtroubles Mon 09-Dec-13 14:03:45

Unfortunately I don't have the spare cash to do that. It is a good idea though, thank you

Packupyourtroubles Mon 09-Dec-13 14:27:25

Also I sort of want him to understand that we both need our own space- I as an adult and him as a near teenager.

Bumbolina Mon 09-Dec-13 15:51:24

Can he help make it into his own space? Pick a fun duvet set? Sort the room so that you can surround it by stuff that is his, and let him set it up? Do you have a camp bed that you could sleep on next to him for a couple of nights to get him settled?

Packupyourtroubles Mon 09-Dec-13 15:59:50

bumbolina (I love your username!) thank you for your suggestions, I have said to him that we will get him a duvet cover etc and his own wardrobe. He just seems reluctant to even try. I know him and I know he would be fine once he's used to it, it's the thought of the change that terrifies him!
I don't know if I'm being to lenient? I don't know whether I should say this is what you're doing, you don't have to like it? Or should I try to ease him into it?

minniemousey Mon 09-Dec-13 16:17:36

maybe try posting this again on the fostering/adoption boards? this sort of separation anxiety is quite common amongst children with an unstable start and someone on there may have had similar experiences?

Tuhlulah Mon 09-Dec-13 16:17:42

I'm not clear on if you have another room to be your bedroom or are you going to use a sofa bed in the living room (one bedroom flat?)

You have to present it as a great thing and not at all negative. Make is as cosy as possible for him. This is my view, but you say he's anxious and my DS (12) is extremely anxious too, so I would present it as something you are going to try out and if he hates it you can rethink it (difficult this because you don't want to give him an 'out' clause!). Whenever I have tried this it's always worked.

Don't tell him things have got to change. Don't present it in that light. Present it as a lovely thing that he is now old enough for, and that you want to make him as comfortable as possible now that he is getting physically bigger, and tHis is something you can do together. It sounds as though money is a bit tight (isn't it always) so what cheap things can you allow him to choose for himself? Duvet cover? Bedside lamp. ALL of his toys can go in there so it becomes his space.

Re beds, could you get him a single bed, as a double might be a bit daunting? (Gumtree have a section where things are given away for free, and if you look on there you might get lucky eventually with a single bed) Does he have a TA (transitional object?)/cuddly toy that will give him comfort when you aren't there?

The concept of 'growing up' can be daunting for some children, so you may need to be careful about that. But he can't deny he's getting physically larger.

Good luck. I'm sure you'll find a way. Once he gets used to it he'll love it.

Tuhlulah Mon 09-Dec-13 16:19:48

Sorry, just reread your post and saw that you have a spare room. So sorry. (DuH!!)

Also his room can be presented as a place where he can play with his friends, his special space, etc.

Packupyourtroubles Mon 09-Dec-13 16:31:46

Hi tuhlulah. Some great advice here. Yes the spare room has a single in there already. I am willing to make it his space in whatever way possible- money allowing- he knows this but doesn't want to make this change.
Any time I have spoken to him about it he cries. I don't want to make him feel like I don't care or I don't want him around. I have been positive about it- I.e, you are a big boy, it can be your own space etc. he just doesn't want it to happen.
Thank you for all the suggestions. To the pp who suggested the fostering/adoption boards- thank you I will do that.

TeenAndTween Mon 09-Dec-13 20:34:27

What if you slept on the floor in his new room while he got used to it? and then used the 'gradual withdrawl' method.

Or is it out of the question for you to move rooms not him? So he only has one change?

Or move some of your furniture to his new room so it isn't all new.

Has he just changed to secondary school or will that be next Sept? If he has only just changed then I can see that might be a lot of change in one go.

Set up the new room, and spend time in there in the daytime playing games etc so he gets used to it before he has to start sleeping in it. Maybe play some games in there with torches so he gets used to being in there in the dark.

I agree he cannot continue sleeping in your bed though!


Packupyourtroubles Mon 09-Dec-13 20:47:38

Hi TeenandTween, thank you for your reply.
I will definitely sleep on the floor in his new room, when it finally happens. I think that he needs to go into the spare room, as I have adjustments in my room (I have health problems) that wouldn't be easy to move.
I like the idea about moving furniture into his room.
I don't know how to move on from where we are at the moment is the problem. I don't want to have to 'force' him to do this, but it really can't carry on.
I've tried again tonight, and he said 'you don't want me around do you'.

Tuhlulah Tue 10-Dec-13 12:53:13

Hi Packup,

It sounds as if he isn't ready for this yet. Could you not set up his room anyway, with lots of input from him, so that's it's ready, put all his stuff in there, so he can see that life will continue even if there is another room in which he can sleep. Don't force it otherwise it might become an issue and he'll never want to go in there.

With any child I believe you have to let them take it at their own pace, and with a child like your DN, who's had a shaky start, then it's even more important you don't force it. So take it steady, at his pace. he has been sleeping with you for years, you are his security blanket!! As far as you can, let him stay with you. Is there any reason for current anxiety -is he in Year 6? He said 'everything is changing' -what else is changing?

Like Teen said, make the new room a positive thing. Maybe at the same time show him that his presence in your home is permanent - name plate on the door for him. I recently gave my DS his own drawer in the bathroom, and he was really pleased (it had never occurred to me before, but he's starting to get lots of his own toiletries now). he said he felt 'honoured'. My lippy 12 year old aside, can you do things elsewhere in your flat to let him see he is moving next door, not out of the home?

Tuhlulah Tue 10-Dec-13 12:55:53

And maybe try a 'of course I want you around, that's why i am making you your own room, so you can have your own space to have your things and your friends. Because children have their own rooms and you need one too, and you will be really glad you do have your own room soon, when you get a bit older'. So he can see his future is with you??

TeenAndTween Tue 10-Dec-13 14:04:13

Following on from Tuhlulah, this may not be appropriate but could you apply for a Special Guardianship order for him to show his permanence in your home?

He should have his own room, so he can have friends round (even if he doesn't sleep in it!).

Packupyourtroubles Tue 10-Dec-13 16:15:05

Hi everyone thank you all for your replies, I am having to deal with a few things at the moment so can't deal with this ATM but will try things out when I can. Thank you

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