At my wits end, help needed my 8 year old wont sleep(13 Posts)
Bit of background my husband walked out on my daughter and I just over two years ago. We have had to move twice in that time, our new house is in the same area to our family home and is opposite daughters school. Ex and I get on in the main but I am beginning to see a mean selfish side to him.
He has DD two nights a week (tues and wed, note no weekend night, which means I have absolutely no life) and Sunday 11-6, we both work full time. Daughter has sleep regressed so much since our last move in June. The only way I can get her to sleep is to co sleep, she always starts in her bed but ends up in mine anytime between 2-5am, yet she always slept at her dads. As I have her 5 nights co sleeping was the only way I got any sleep, but she is a fidget.
I then put in place that she couldn’t sleep with me but could sleep in a makeshift bed at the side of mine (thinking it was uncomfortable she would give up and sleep in hers). She is now waking her dad up during the night several times and he delivered her back to me at 5am last week refusing to have her until she can sleep through the night. He has also refused to have her today. As you can imagine she is heartbroken, which hasnt helped the situation.
Apparently this whole situation is my fault and I need to sort it. If I try to put DD back in her bed she screams like a banshee, she shakes with fear, begs me to help her sleep. I have to give in as I fear the neighbours reporting me she makes that much noise.
She can’t explain to me what the problem is apart from when she wakes she can’t switch her brain off.
I don’t believe she is being naughty (as he does), but now I am stuck with a little girl who misses her dad, and a idiot father who tells my I am too soft on her. I don’t know which way to turn and I am at the point of no return. We rely on him heavily financially and in the early days he would threat to withdraw financial assistance I’d I didn’t dance to his tune, however this does seem to have settled down of late.
I have tried bath, no bath, lavender oil, sleep meditation app, hot drink, laying with her, soft music, nightlight, bedtime story, getting her up and putting the tv on (which resulted in us both being up all night), moving her furniture around in her room, letting her choose all new bedding and couloirs for her room to make it nice, you name it I have probably tried it. My GP has been no help what so ever.
I don’t want her relationship with her dad ruined but on the other hand his tough love stance is just pathetic. He very much came from the the school of hard knocks and his parents are very cold, I on the other had had a lovely childhood even though my parents divorced when I was 7.
Last night was horrendous, screaming, begging; crying gripping on to me, clawing at me yet as soon as she was in my room on the makeshift bed she slept through the night.
Where can I go to get help for my DD 😥
he delivered her back to me at 5am last week refusing to have her until she can sleep through the night.
What an utterly uncaring arsehole. How about he’s had some part in this considering he walked out? I would be furious - I know you probably need those two nights but I’d be inclined to say he’s not allowed to have her until he can learn to be a caring father. She is 8 years old and obviously going through some stuff and clearly had anxiety over bedtime. I’m really sorry I can’t advise how to keep her in her room but I think your ex sounds awful. for you xx
My post sounded very focussed on him, by no means should that take away from the fact I really really feel for you. I’m sure someone will have some great, hopefully gentle advice on how to get her to like her room x
You poor thing. And your daughter. I have no experience of this as such but your daughter saying she can't turn her brain off really resonates with me. I have said those exact words to my DH on nights when I can't sleep. The thing that helps me is mindfulness meditation. Perhaps you could look into how your DD can access this - there may be something child friendly online / cds etc. Mindfulness is excellent for stress and your poor DD has so much going on. It might be something you could do together even.
As an aside, I'm sending you hugs - you have a lot going on. I was raised by a single mum. You're doing a great job. Just be there for your daughter. You will get through this.
To be honest I think I would just let her sleep in the makeshift bed from the get go and see what happens. She's clearly very anxious and I suspect battling with her every night will make that worse.
I would drop the 2 nights she has with her dad for now until she's worked through this. It sounds like she needs the reassurance that you're there. Have you tried audio books at all? I can struggle to switch my brain off too and find audio books really help.
You have my sympathy, it sounds really hard. Made harder by your prince of an ex! Sounds like he might have done you a favour by buggering off. I hope it improves for you both soon.
Thank you all for your support. It helps to know that I am not being unreasonable. Dickhead sent me a text on Monday to ask how the weekend had been and he felt bad about falling out with DD. Needless to say I blanked him. DD replied to say she missed him and then he apologised for arguing with her. I have this evening bought an air bed and touch wood she is currently sleeping at the bottom of my bed in her own little nest. I have an appointment with the Patent support advisor at her school on Friday to see how they can help. She will not being staying with her Dad overnight for the foreseeable.
That sounds like progress OP. My mum's favourite saying is "this too shall pass" and I find it does help, she won't be wanting to sleep in your bed when she's twenty!
Just an aside but when overnights start back up again I think you need to insist your ex has her one weekend night. Why can't he do Wednesday and Saturday night with all day Sunday? Or Thursday and Friday nights and all day Saturday? Perhaps every other weekend and one night in the week would be a better arrangement. Seems like everything is on his terms and you deserve a break too.
I hope things improve for you and DD soon and the school can help.
I can not believe your ex sent her home at 5am! I’m shocked.
My parents separated when I was 7 and I do remember needing to sleep with my mum for a number of years until it just suddenly stopped. My mum also found it difficult although the difference with you is that you’re kindly trying to improve things without shutting her out. A bed within your room would have worked for me so fingers crossed it will for your dd. Good luck
Different circumstances but I have a non sleeping six year old. Going through educational psychologist and CAMHS for help for her - hopefully anxiety management/play therapy in the longer term.
Hang in there. Doing fabulous for your little one.
I think you should co sleep and run with it. She clearly feels anxious with all the change. She will move out into her own bed when she’s ready.
Tell your ex to cosleep too if he wants to resolve things. Tell him you will not be manipulated by him
Normally I’d say put them in their bed and let them scream if they will but......poor little mite. Let her stop with you until she’s more settled and better able to cope with the trauma in her life.
Please support her ongoing relationship with her father to avoid future problems of resentment. You might be angry with him but she loves him. Can she go to him for the evening and come back afterwards to sleep? Can he have her on a weekend night?
Just a thought OP but where are you on the divorce? Sounds like it might be helpful to get the financial side of things pinned down so he can't use that as a threat to get you to do what he wants.
When ex-p left dd (then 6) went through a phase of needing to sleep in my bed. She is now 9 and sleeps like a log in her own bed. I think she spent two years in my bed - but she needed the comfort
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