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Sensitive 8 year old who won't sleep....am at the end of my tether

(14 Posts)
Goneshopping Mon 02-Apr-12 02:40:55

Have posted this in behaviour but thought I might be able to get some advice here too....

My 8 year old dd literally has me pulling out my hair. She is extremely sensitive so often gets very upset at the slightest comment from other children at school as she thinks they're being mean to her. She cries going into school, cries if I watch a school assembly (as this makes her want me...think there are separation issues here). She is very shy and sensitive about anything and everything and also very frightened by any change.

At home she is generally happy until bedtime, which is when it all kicks off. She develops a multitude of illnesses, generally a headache and feeling sick and cries, sometimes hysterically. This behaviour can continue until we go to bed at 11pm and sometimes throughout the night. I am concerned how she can cope with a lack of sleep and the disruptive effect this has on her younger brother who she shares a room with. We have tried dealing with her in a number of ways...ignoring it, checking on her every 5-10 minutes, punishing her by taking rewards away, rewarding her with good behaviour, being calm, being cross but nothing seems to make a blind bit of a difference. She says we never believe that she feels ill and in all honesty we don't. I've tried telling her I do believe her and we will get her to the doctors in the morning to which she gets even more upset about. Dh and I never get an evening to relax as we are up and down the stairs all night long. She has a calm bedtime routine with a story and a cuddle. I've tried meditation CDs to try to get her to relax but she says they scare her.

Dd is a kind, thoughtful child but I am really struggling to deal with her and find myself feeling irritated sometimes just looking at her (which I know sounds dreadful). I am a sahm with 2 other children and have none of these issues with them, they are straightforward happy kids. Dd has a loving, secure homelife but just seems unable to cope with life and I just don't know how to help her. Does anyone have any advice? I'm not sure if she needs to see a child pyschologist or a sleep therapist? I worry that if she is struggling at the age of 8 then how on earth is she going to cope at secondary school, teenager, adult. Sorry for the ramble but I just don't know what to do with her and am exhausted!

Hi I couldn't read and run. You poor thing.

Now I can't really give any advice for an 8 yr old. My dd has just turned. 4. However we found that however much we tried tge bed story sleep thing it just didn't work. She just wanted us to stay longer and longer and got more and more upset. So we don't stay.

In fact we don't do anything in her room except a quick tuck in, hug and kiss and we are gone. Pjs are done in tge bathroom with teeth, wash and toilet. Anything I want to say re the day good girl/proud etc as well as what's happening tomorrow. Then into her room with no messing.

It really works for her. If I get slack or drawn into talking staying longer she soon reverts back to asking us not to go.

Don't know if tgat helps at all but good luck.

cronsilksilt Mon 02-Apr-12 03:40:14

have you tried rescue night? Boots sell it.

londonlottie Mon 02-Apr-12 09:26:53

Sorry I don't have any advice based on experience (my twins are 2) but read your post and really do feel for you. Have you tried talking to her about it in the morning? She does sound very unhappy and my first thoughts are that it sounds like attention-seeking (I don't mean it in a trivialising way). Is it possible she feels left out from the other two siblings? Is she the eldest or otherwise?

This really does sound very stressful for your family and if it were me I think I would seek help from a counsellor. For whatever reason, she doesn't sound happy and it may be that this upset in the evenings is her outlet for complex feelings in another area.

Really hope it improves for you all soon.

clopper Mon 02-Apr-12 09:34:33

My niece was very similar at that age and my sister bought a book called

What to Do When You Worry Too Much: A Kid's Guide to Overcoming Anxiety (What to Do Guides for Kids) [Paperback]
Dawn Huebner

Which they found very useful. It's a workbook which you can personalise and write down particular worries and strategies. It worked for them, I hope you have success, my sister felt like you did at the end of her tether.

MovingGal Mon 02-Apr-12 09:40:03

I found that when my boys didnt want to sleep and complained of not being tired at all I feigned surprise and said
" Oh I don't mean that you have to sleep! But you do have to lay there quietly until morning so that your body can rest and everyone else in the house can rest too"
Maybe you can put it to her like that - that she would be being considerate and grown up to think about what the rest of the family might need too.

loveisagirlnameddaisy Mon 02-Apr-12 11:25:31

My nephew was very sensitive at this age and would worry about really odd things (like my sister used to have candles with a bath, occasionally, and he would freak out that the house would burn down). He worried a lot about school and what people thought of him. He would also call himself an idiot a lot if he got something wrong and had pretty low self-esteem.

I think sounds like she needs external help, like a child psychologist or counsellor. My sister saw one, through the school, and it helped enormously. Eventually, he just grew out of it and now at 13 is really confident and happy. Children can exhibit signs of nervousness or depression at a really young age and if you're unsure as to how to deal with it, I think it's always best to seek a professional opinion. Hopefully it will turn out to be nothing, just part of growing up, but you and she are getting stressed out by it, so it's worth a visit to your GP/school headteacher to start the ball rolling.

loveisagirlnameddaisy Mon 02-Apr-12 11:27:20

By the way, you may want to post this in another area as it's not really a classic sleep issue. You'll probably get a lot more advice from people who've been through the same thing.

Goneshopping Fri 13-Apr-12 07:08:52

Hi - thanks for your replies and sorry for the delay in posting but we've been away on holiday. We have started the book 'what to do when you worry too much' which looks very good. I am planning on going to see the gp when she's back at school to see if we can get some professional help. Thank you!

HRFS Fri 03-Nov-17 11:20:33

Hi there. I realise the original post was a long time ago now but I'm wondering how it all panned out because your experiences mirror mine exactly and I'm beginning to feel rather desperate as to how to resolve the issue.... Any insight much appreciated. Thank you.

MoominMama10 Mon 20-Nov-17 10:36:52

Likewise! I'd be really interested in knowing the outcome as we are at our wits' end with my daughter (8) who is cries and screams at us every night for hours (sometimes until 2 am) because she can't get to sleep. We can't go on like this as it is really taking its toll on the rest of the family.

CakeBeTheFoodOfLove Fri 24-Nov-17 17:48:31

My DS (8) sleeps pretty well unless he is ill. He had an ear infection a few weeks ago which was stopping him from sleeping and he was getting upset because he was struggling to sleep/stay asleep. I found what helped him to stay calm was to tell him it doesn't matter if he sleeps or not, just laying quietly in bed in a dark room snuggled up in bed is enough for his body to get some rest. This helped tremendously as it took away the pressure of bed = sleep which he felt stressed about when he wasn't sleeping easily.

crazycatlady5 Fri 24-Nov-17 18:24:04

took away the pressure of bed = sleep which he felt stressed about when he wasn't sleeping easily.

I think this is so important. I have such bad memories of when I was younger - ‘you MUST go to sleep!’, not my parents but anytime we were on holiday with family etc. It felt really scary and I felt like I was bad because I couldn’t sleep. If someone had said the above I think I’d probably have actually relaxed enough to sleep!

Mickeymoo12 Mon 27-Nov-17 22:02:32

Hello I've just signed up to mumsnet after reading the post from Goneshopping. I too am at my wits end with my 8 year old daughter! So she's started waking up in the middle of the night scared so we try comfort her but it never works she just ends up screaming and shouting and it can go on for upto 3 hours!!! We are all drained. #help #desperateforsleep 😢

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