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8 year old DD won't stay in bed

78 replies

tigercub50 · 24/04/2017 21:35

I know a lot of children go through phases of this but it's getting beyond a joke now & DH & I are getting snappy with each other. Tonight she came out at least half a dozen times which included deliberately wetting the bed ( we have been advised by DD's school counsellor not to get angry about this but I'm ashamed to say I ended up getting cross about the rest of it). DD is adopted so there may be attachment issues & I am going on a course about that soon. She didn't have any trauma as the foster carer took her from birth & we adopted her at 8 months but they do say the attachment problems can even start in the womb. Anyway, DH has gone to bed early thoroughly miserable & we need to sort something out. It may sound like we're overreacting but it's nearly every night & her behaviour generally is challenging so it's extra hard when we don't get an evening. I'm torn between exasperation & feeling sorry for her because she's obviously anxious & also guilty for getting cross. I also get upset when DH refers to her as a " little cow" ( this is not usual). This was when she was playing us off against each other & he had reached the end of his tether 😞. Any advice gratefully received

OP posts:
befuddledgardener · 25/04/2017 10:54

Go to bed earlier (after bath) and ensure the room is blacked out. Let her read much much much longer. She clearly needs a bigger wind down time. Let her use a torch or other low key lighting. Nothing to stimulating. No audio. Go in at 8.30 and check on her.

befuddledgardener · 25/04/2017 10:54

Mine goes to bed at 7. Reads till 8.15

tigercub50 · 25/04/2017 10:58

I'm very happy to say that the atmosphere in the house is totally different. We still have our moments & both my DH & I are aware that we need to work on acting more like adults. DD has no siblings so she tends to argue with us instead, which can be exhausting! We both try so hard to stay calm with DD & with each other & it is such a relief to hopefully be leaving those awful times behind us. The school counsellor said that DD's concept of time is different so she may well still act as if those stressful events were only yesterday. She is pushing us to the absolute limit to test us & see if we will still love her, which of course we do.

OP posts:
tigercub50 · 25/04/2017 11:02

Oh & she has a nightlight but also insists on having the main light on too which is particularly bright ( DH is going to change the fitting as that really doesn't help either).

OP posts:
WorraLiberty · 25/04/2017 11:04

I don't think you can dismiss the fact all the trouble/arguing in the past, may well have a long term effect on her though.

I'm glad the atmosphere is different now, but sometimes it can take years for a child to feel relaxed and to trust the atmosphere won't suddenly change back again.

That could be what the pushing is about.

Henrysmycat · 25/04/2017 11:10

I have an 8 year old and she does seem to thrive with sleeping patterns that go from 9pm to 7am sometimes less. 7pm to 7am could be too long. Some kids need a bit less. My DC has an activity every day like swimming, riding, clubs etc yet she only sleeps from 9pm to 7pm.
We also have days where there are countless trips before going to bed and during the night. But I am not fussed, if she comes in the middle of the night for a cuddle, I just lift the duvet and she comes to sleep with us. My husband is stricter but I don't mind so she usually comes on my side. When she goes on his side, then the game of up all night begins because he marches her to her bed.
I do not think, the bed wetting is relevant or "deliberate". I had siblings that had these issues and it was never even deliberate.
Deal with the bed wetting differently and let her be how she wants to be on the sleep patterns. Use a Friday or Saturday to let her go to bed when she feels like it. Same for holidays. Especially in the Med, we are all out until midnight and then sleep later. No harm done.
Do not make her fear bedtime.
Without wanting to out myself, I'd say, I was in your boat and some things are not always adopted issues. From that snippet you described, I don't know your life so I could be wrong. Don't go for the adoption as your first reason.
Get a babysitter and have a night out too, you need it.

motherofdaemons · 25/04/2017 11:10

My DD1 (8) is quite anxious at night, sensitive to change in the house, has nightmares etc. she went through a period of getting up a lot when her siblings were born. We put a camp bed in our room and told her if she woke in the night she could come and get into it but she was only to wake us up in an emergency. She's old enough to understand, and you need your sleep but this way she is not on her own.

I agree 7 is too early to go to bed. My 6 month old boys go to bed at 7, my 4 year old between 7 and 8 and my 8 year old between 8 and 9. They're all up at 7! It does mean we don't get much of an evening but that's life sadly. DD1 reads to herself in bed at around 8.30 then we go tuck her in, cuddle etc. Bedtime for 4 kids takes 2 hours in our house but they need it so it's got to be done.

I think you can get waterproof pajama pants for older ones re the bedwetting, that might help? Is she scared of the dark? I remember wetting the bed at quite old because I was scared to get up!

Lilicat1013 · 25/04/2017 11:15

The kylie is helpful for heavy wetting as they are made for adults, I used them when I worked in care so the habit has carried over. I find them useful because my older son often wets more than a mattress protector can cope with and my younger son tends to spill drinks. Plus they are brilliant when dealing with sickness bugs as you can put them under a child's head so if they are sick in bed you only need to change the pillow and kylie rather than the whole bed.

ProudBadMum · 25/04/2017 11:15

I have a son a similar age and he goes to bed at 8 and watches YouTube on his tablet til I remember to tell him to turn it off.

Usually nearer 9.

He's up at 7am. Comes in and I tell him yes he can go down and watch tv. Every single morning.

He knows he doesn't have to ask but I think he likes to check I'm there.

Can't you send her downstairs. He does his own cereal and gets dressed for school. On weekends he puts PlayStation on

He loves his lonely mornings before I We and baby come down

Oulavache · 25/04/2017 11:20

I had problems like this with my eldest from the age of 7 til about 9. We tried all sorts and the one thing that worked or at least gave us something to work on was a book called "what to do when you worry too much". I got it on amazon and it was worth every penny I thought. A suggestion from a therapist we brought her to was that the age of reason brings with it the realisation that mum and dad can't fix everything and and so opens up a world of worries. On the other hand dc2 is 8 and doesn't stay in bed either and does not have the excuse of anxiety just I can't sleep, I'm bored. An audio book playing helps sometimes but if not, in his case, I'm at a loss. And he comes into us at 2am every night. I reassure myself that he won't be doing that when he's 15 (I hope!)

pleasecomesoonspring · 25/04/2017 11:24

I have an child who is also 8, she came to live with me just before she turned 4 and did have a lot of trauma before that.
Night times were a real issue at first waking like a new born many times a night.
These days she's on meds for sleeping but we do a 45 minute bedtime routine.
No screens an hour before bed.
Get in to pjs/teeth ext then do something with her (Coloring/puzzle/board game) then into bed with a story, some times some nursery rhymes. audio book on and it stays on til she falls asleep.
Make sure she gets plenty of exercise.
And a big no to having the main light on. Have hall light on with door open and a lamp?
Hope some of these may help you

CatchIt · 25/04/2017 11:30

I think 7 is far too early for an 8yo! My dd is 4 and she goes to bed between 7.30 & 8pm.

I disagree with a pp that wanting to have some time together with either your partner or spouse is a bad thing. In our house it's vital, I need to spend time with dh and not with the dc. The only time to do this is when they're in bed.

tigercub50 · 25/04/2017 11:32

The mornings aren't a problem as DH often gets up at 6.30 for work anyway. At weekends, DD has been told that she can go downstairs after 7 but doesn't need to wake us up to ask. I hadn't thought about screen time - DD has an hour on her tablet each day & sometimes she finishes just before bedtime. So hard re the light as she is VERY strong willed! I have said to her many times that it's a really bright light & won't help but she is scared of the dark. Will try with landing light & nightlight

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Crispbutty · 25/04/2017 11:32

Hearing your parents argue is horrible at that age. I was an only (adopted) child and I can clearly remember hearing occasional arguments downstairs after I had gone to bed. I would sit at the top of the stairs and occasionally go down on the pretence of wanting a drink as it stopped them rowing. They never argued in front of me.

I was just scared they would get divorced.

Even silly arguments between adults can be misunderstood by young children.

Crispbutty · 25/04/2017 11:34

I didn't like the dark, but I had glow in the dark stars all over my bedroom ceiling. That really helped me relax after the light was out.

I'm 47 and still like having them too Blush

Gottagetmoving · 25/04/2017 11:35

From what you have said it sounds like your DD is the one in charge in your house.
You have been her parents since she was 8 months old?
I doubt very much she has issues from her life before you adopted her.
There is nothing wrong with telling her that there is a 'Mum and Dad' time, or laying down boundaries about bed time etc.
Try to get a routine in place and make sure she is tired enough to go to bed but be firm about it.

Crispbutty · 25/04/2017 11:36

This looks awesome and would have kept me in bed as a kid!

8 year old DD won't stay in bed
PeaFaceMcgee · 25/04/2017 11:36

You could make it super cool in there with fairy lights and a colour-changing mood lamp.

PeaFaceMcgee · 25/04/2017 11:40

Of course adult-time is important in the evenings, but 7pm for an 8yo (no matter how stressed out DH is by her behaviour) is ridiculous - was my point.

PeaFaceMcgee · 25/04/2017 11:40

And smacks of being shipped off for his convenience, rather than her needs.

taptonaria27 · 25/04/2017 11:43

I agree 7pm is early and also no tablet at least an hour before bed! My DS is very sensitive to the effects of a tablet within an hour of bed and will be up and down for hours it seems to be like caffeine!
Love the idea of the cool lights/ fairy lights - choose them with her so that she is excited about them.
I think that generally by age 8 they should be able to be in bed bored without coming in and out to you all the time though I appreciate that may be different for her if she is frightened or anxious.

PeaFaceMcgee · 25/04/2017 11:43

His stropping off to bed 'miserable' at 9.30pm because his little cow of an 8 year old daughter didn't stay in bed at 7pm seems really off to me. He needs to manage his expectations.

Crispbutty · 25/04/2017 11:46

At 8 I was still playing out after tea until 7pm, or at brownies, or swimming. I had a milky drink and toast or cereal for supper and bedtime was around 8.30 and I was allowed to read for half an hour. I always slept well, probably as I had loads of exercise and was tired by bedtime.

iknowimcoming · 25/04/2017 11:54

Great suggestions already but just wanted to add, have a talk to her after school today, ask why she's finding it difficult at bedtime, suggest some of the things here and ask her opinion on whether she thinks they would help (later bedtime, fairy lights etc) then make a plan of what you will do tonight together. Getting her involved in the problem and solution should make her feel more grown up and that her worries are being considered, then tomorrow, have another chat about what helped, what didn't and if she has any other ideas for what could help the next day.

Reassure her about any worries - have you actually discussed with her why you and DH were having problems and what's now changed for the better? Children pickup on so much more than we realise, try talking to her about it and explain things to her in a simple way she can understand.

Lemonnaise · 25/04/2017 12:22

7pm is far too early for an 8 year old. Several people have told you this and you haven't acknowledged it. I understand it's important to have some of the evening for you and DP but you can't exclude her, she'll look back and have memories of a lonely childhood on her own stuck in her bedroom.

I have an only child, she's 6. She goes to bed at 8.30. There's times I want to put her to bed earlier for a bit of peace and quiet. I really miss the times when she went to bed at 7pm but she just doesn't need that much sleep any more.

Could she not bring her books down to the sitting room and lie down on the couch or use her tablet with ear-phones on, she sounds like she just want a bit of company.

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