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(Fairly) New development of sleep anxiety

(2 Posts)
Sassy80 Wed 04-Jan-17 21:11:43

My DD is 11 and so far has been the most confident outgoing little girl I have ever met and I'm really proud of her.

My ex and I (DD's father) separated when she was only 1 and has been used to being away from me overnight regularly and this has been no problem (even to the point as a toddler sometimes she would tell me she was bored of me and wanted to go stay with her daddy or grandad etc).

In July we went on a long haul flight (5 hours behind uk time) and when we returned she really struggled with returning to a normal sleep pattern (this was the first long haul flight she's been on since she was 3 years old).

In that first week we allowed her to watch a scary film (which she has coped with in the past) I wasn't hugely keen on her watching this film (as it still scares me, although Disney movies make me jump so...) DD has always been able to manage better than me! DH assured me it was a 12A anyway. I think DD heard me voicing my concerns to DH before the movie started but watched the movie without flinching. However as soon at it was bed time she broke down in what I can only explain is a panic attack (although never witnessed a panic attack in RL) insisting she could not go to bed by herself as the movie scared her too much.

For the next few nights I lay with her for anything between 20 mins to an hour until she fell asleep, gradually (after about 2 weeks) I started telling her I would only lay for 5 to 10 mins and eventually let her sleep with door open an hall light on (we're still at this stage, I also have to assure her that we will not go to bed until she's asleep).

The big problem is that her dad is not as accommodating as I was and is quite forceful in that when she stays he refuses to lay with her etc (but always gets to a point where he gives in and let's her sleep in beside him at least when his GF isn't staying over). I kind of understand where he is coming from but I don't agree with the strict line and then giving in completely as this isn't achieving anything....I wish he would do something similar to what I did although I understand I might not have done it in the best way (but I think his approach isn't working at all). DD has called and texted me many times into the small hours when she is struggling wanting me to collect her but I have always insisted she has to stay. Along with this she is getting g a lot of abdominal pain and diarrhoea (I have IBS and ulcerative colitis which started around her age)

Anyway she started saying she no longer wants to stay overnight with her dad (she lives him and wants to see him but only during the day). I can't really support her with this as if I do then the ex will just see this as me hindering his ability to spend time with our DD. The ex also stays miles away and relies on public transport and to spend any significant time with her would be almost impossible especially because of her 2 Saturday clubs.

A further complication is that she is due her first residential stay away with school (mon-fri) in march and I'm worried she will struggle being away (she's already said she doesn't want to but I paid the deposit anyway hoping that I could address this issues before March as I think once she's there the experiences she has will be immense).

Sorry for the long post!

Anyway my question is I think I'm beyond being able to help her and wondering if I should look at outside help i.e. Counsellor or I was even thinking of acupuncture or similar (DH thinks this is too soon and extreme). Has anyone had similar experience that they can share?

hayleyB79 Sun 05-Mar-17 18:42:28

Hi. My daughter is 12 now but when she was 10 she went through the same thing, being terrified to sleep in her own room after being told ghost stories by her peers at school. I just went with what she wanted, if she wanted to sleep in bed with me a particular night that was fine. She started off sleeping with me a few notes then it dwindled to once a week then never asked again. She slept with her bedroom light on for a few months then just with the hasllway light on now she just has some dim fairy lights in her bedroom on. I let her take it at her pace and she made all the decvisions by herself to get braver. Now she wastches scarier movies thasn me and is fine about it.

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