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6 year old sobbing at bedtime

(12 Posts)
cheekymonk Mon 08-Aug-11 16:15:47

DS has always been a fantastic sleeper but the last couple of months has been having bad dreams/nightmares once or twice a week. Now, it has manifested into being totally afraid to go to bed. He has sobbed 2 nights running. DH dealt with on first night after I went up twice. Dh shut DS's bedroom door, shouted and DS cried hard for ages, woke DD up (6mths) and would not let me comfort DS until he had calmed down. Last night we did it my way and I stroked DS's head and he went to sleep much quicker and did not wake in night. Obviously stroking head every night is not ideal and I want to help DS regain his former confidence and be secure in bed. I can see DS is genuinely scared and needing alot of comfort. He slept in grandparents bed last week which I think has caused the reaction to going to bed alone.
He has recently got his molars and I feel that this is hormonal/growth spurt type thing but I want to handle it properly and am considering going to docs I am so concerned. Any advice or experience?? Thanks.

cheekymonk Mon 08-Aug-11 16:47:14


cheekymonk Mon 08-Aug-11 17:46:48


festi Mon 08-Aug-11 17:51:07

I think your dps attitude did not help. has your ds got something on his mind that is distressing him.

changeforthebetter Mon 08-Aug-11 17:55:54

My similar age DD, similarly a fab sleeper went through this a few months ago. It was hard going as she would wake up regularly in the night. I don't know if it was connected to something she heard in the playground or saw on the telly (but watches only Beebies and Milkshake, so unlikely). I did a similar thing - comforting her and reassuring her and it passed fairly quickly.

I am shock at your H's reaction which seems brutal in the extreme tbh. I don't care how tired he was. I was knackered and got up to work and lone parenthood after each disturbed night. Whatever your son needs, that doesnt't seem the right response.

Your approach seems gentler. I don't think stroking your son's head is going to ruin his character. If he has previously been a good sleeper, he will revert to being one. I also doubt that a couple of nights bed-sharing would harm him. DDs slept with me every night on holiday and they went back into their own beds fine. Could something have scared him while he was out of your care?

We all have disturbed nights sometimes and we all have nightmares. Find out if there's more to it but it could just be a phase. I think your problem is with H but that is my very humble opinion wink

cheekymonk Mon 08-Aug-11 18:02:34

DS is scared of witches which started off the night wakings. He saw wizard of oz a long time ago and I think the bad witch affected him which showed itself months later.
He just says he doesn't want to go to bed alone and is scared. Dh feels we should not pander to it and create bad habits but to me, ds is too upset for it to be a simple attention seeking thing. DS has an old head on youbg shoulders and is quite sensitive and switched on. We decorated his room last week in the colours he chose, got him a new bed set and night light (he is also scared of dark).
We also changed bedtime routine to create more quiet time and quality 1 2 1 time before bed. I cannot think what else to do.
Your response changeforthebetter seems to be to go with it and comfort him as he needs which was my instinct too. DH is trying to be firm but fair but yes we do disagree over parenting regularly which I know must confuse poor DS.

changeforthebetter Mon 08-Aug-11 18:21:19

They hold on to certain fears for a long time don't they? It sounds like you are doing a lot of the right stuff and I really believe it will come right in time. It's not pandering really is it? I mean, you're not bribing him or anything. You are encouraging him to see bed as a safe place. Had he always been a crap sleeper, it would be different. I mean, he is six not sixteen. If you can reassure him now, then it saves trouble further down the line. Is he usually dry at night or does he have accidents? That was the other thing DD did after a couple of years of dry nights. Somewhat wearing, but again, it passed.

changeforthebetter Mon 08-Aug-11 18:23:02

Oh and the arrival of a new baby - OK, she's 6 months. Maybe he is coming to realise that she is a permanent fixture. However much he may go on to love his little sister, a new sibling is a massive upheaval for a child and will take time for him to get used to.

thisisyesterday Mon 08-Aug-11 18:26:47

he recently got his molars? so he's like 2.5 or thereabouts??

and you let your husband do that to him??

i am actually lost for words.

there is no need, IMO, to see a GP about a child being frightened/unsettled at bedtime. Be kind to him, keep doing it your way and let him get over this in his own time would be my advice

thisisyesterday Mon 08-Aug-11 18:30:34

i;m sorry, i've just seen you say in your title he is 6.... so you mean he has lost his baby teeth and his adult ones have come through?
if so i am not sure that's a growth/developmental thing is it?

cheekymonk Mon 08-Aug-11 18:51:05

I googled the subject and apparently it is common at 6/when adult teeth come through for their behaviour to be affected/change. The dentist also said that it is a massive period of change/growth from now on.
Yes my Mum said it could be do with dd. He loves her dearly, is very protective of her etc but I am always mindful that he has had had 6 years to himself and now has to share us. I agree, it is massive.
He is completely dry, no regression in that area, which I did expect. His eating has become another difficult area, he is very fussy and the other night refused his tea and kept stealing dd's banana! He always wanted calpol like dd. as I write this is does all seem to be linked with dd. I don't physically spend the time with him that I did but I do try... Thanks for your thoughts. With regard to DH, he does make me feel like I am too soft and am spoiling ds (which I can be guilty of) but he can be very hard and it is defintely the main source of conflict in our relationship.

thisisyesterday Mon 08-Aug-11 19:04:54

sometimes children can go through a period of wanting to be baby-ed when they get a new sibling. this could be his version of it?

i think that a gentle approach is pretty much always the right way to go with young children. he may not really be able to articulate why he wants you at night, but saying he is scared means you stay with him.

a good friend once said to me that a need that is met will go away, but a need that isn't met will just keep on manifesting itself.

like you say... your way worked. he went to sleep quicker and he didn't wake up in the night.
you aren't teaching him bad habits, you're teaching him that when he feels vulnerable or sad or scared that you will be there with him... and that kind of security will stand him in good stead

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