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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:
KurriKurri · 25/04/2017 12:27

Lots of good advice here, - mine comes from the view point of an insomniac so thinking of things that will help her sleep. I think 7 is too early, could you play a quiet board game or something for another hour (nothing too stimulating) or anything to help her wind down.

I find using screen before I go to bed is too stimulating, so I limit this.

Find out about sleep cycles - they are (IIRC) every ninety minutes (may be different for children) so if you miss the time slot, it might be a will before you go into sleep mode again.

How much physical exercise does she get, is there a way of physically making her tired so sleep comes more easily (a walk, trip to the park after school) I make myself have a walk every day now and it makes a real difference.

It does sound as if she is anxious, and sometimes you can just get anxious about not being able to get to sleep and you get into an 'I'll never get off' mode which in itself stops you sleeping - especially if she knows you might get cross if she can't get to sleep.

I also always take a couple of plain biscuits or crackers up with me and sometimes just nibbling on something can help me settle down.

Anyway - I know kids are different from adults and its maybe a bit more complicated than I've suggested but just sharing from a non sleepers viewpoint !

tigercub50 · 25/04/2017 12:29

I have acknowledged that it's too early & on one of my posts, I said that we had been thinking that it could be but it's tricky because DD gets so grouchy from about 6pm onwards. In my DH's defence, he was miserable because there has been allsorts of very challenging behaviour & a lot of it is unfortunately directed at him. I appreciate it's always difficult on forums because you only get a "snapshot" of other people's lives. Having said that, I do appreciate all the advice

OP posts:
WorraLiberty · 25/04/2017 12:35

There's always something with your husband though isn't there, I mean mood wise?

I remember you saying before that your DD hid under the table, with her hands over her ears, due to the pair of you shouting at each other.

What stuck in my mind the most, was you saying your husband then at a go at her for it Hmm

I think she needs a later bedtime and tons of reassurance that you and her dad aren't going to keep falling out.

I agree with the PP who said you should probably chat to her WRT how she feels about it all.

tigercub50 · 25/04/2017 12:42

Being dim - what does WRT mean?

OP posts:
WorraLiberty · 25/04/2017 12:43

With regards to

Introvertedbuthappy · 25/04/2017 12:52

How much physical exercise does she get? That's also really important at this age. Can you get her into evening activities etc (eg DS1 tonight goes to a local youth club from 6:15-7:45). These are great for tiring children out.

tigercub50 · 25/04/2017 12:54

Street dance tonight, swimming lesson Thursday & she goes out on her bike/scooter but def could do with more exercise.

OP posts:
Screwinthetuna · 25/04/2017 13:05

She's telling you what she wants. For whatever reason, be it insecurities or something happening in school or the actual understanding now that she is adopted, she's feeling vulnerable and doesn't want to be alone.

Make sure she's physically tired out in the day time, make sure she has a strict bedtime routine with book and cuddles. Get a blow up single mattress or a single mattress topper, store it under your bed and pull it out when she comes through. Making a big deal out of it will only create anxiety and make things much worse.

tigercub50 · 25/04/2017 13:08

Actually she rarely comes in to us in the night as she has usually dropped off before we come to bed.

OP posts:
FATEdestiny · 25/04/2017 13:23

It's very easy to fit s dinner dimmer switch in place of a normal light switch.

Then she can have her main bedroom light on, but dimmed down

FATEdestiny · 25/04/2017 13:23

It's very easy to fit a dimmer switch in place of a normal light switch.

Then she can have her main bedroom light on, but dimmed down

tigercub50 · 25/04/2017 13:29

There was a dimmer switch in her old room so could set that up again although she would tend to sneak it back up to full power!

OP posts:
stopfuckingshoutingatme · 25/04/2017 13:33

OP please consider moving this from AIBU to an adoption board, you will get more measured and less judgy answers

also if what worra said is true, consider getting some external help OP. she is already insecsure as it it, and being scared of a maritial break up WILL affect her Flowers

Crusoe · 25/04/2017 13:33

Your DD has suffered trauma both in utero and when she left her foster carer to come to you.
I am a fellow adopter and even after 8 years with us bedtime is still a trigger for our DS.
I suggest a slightly later bedtime, following the same routine every night, staying with her for a while and or letting her read. My DS falls asleep listening to audio books as they help him feel less alone and this seems to his big concern. Going to bed re triggers those feelings of being left, being abandoned even though he rationally knows he isn't.
No screens before bed and perhaps a tiny reward for staying in bed. DS used to like a chocolate coin left in his room to wake up to in the morning. Definitely no punishments though!
Maintain calm reassurance and consistency.

SleepOhHowIMissYou · 25/04/2017 13:35

Suggest putting her to bed later, stay with her (in silence, low light, no stimulation) till she falls asleep then creep out and​ enjoy your evening. Do you have any books you fancy reading, that'll pass the time?

Once she's in double-figures she'll start the separation process naturally but it's an alien thing to sleep alone, no other animals sleep separate from their young.

user0000000001 · 25/04/2017 13:36

Get this moved to the adoption board, OP

My DD (also adopted) suffered with this. It was horrendous.

How long as your DD been placed?

user0000000001 · 25/04/2017 13:39

Just saw how long in your OP., sorry.

Yes, trauma can absolutely occur before birth.

Is she generally hyper vigilant during the day at all?

Has she always been like this or has it started recently?

staffy777 · 25/04/2017 13:44

Marking place as loving the advice 😊

Starlight2345 · 25/04/2017 13:49

I have a DS who has stuggled to get to sleep.

A few things I have done that have helped.

He gets sent up early to read..In that time he could come up and down stairs and talk about all the million things he has forgot to tell me. Anything he needs to ask.

He has a relaxation CD which helps

Also at bedtime. I get into bed with him. We have a 10 minute chat and I cuddle him till he starts settling..However if I am not helping settle . I just leave.

He generally is much better now

LornaMumsnet · 25/04/2017 15:27

Hi all,

We're just sending this over to the adoption topic!


thethoughtfox · 25/04/2017 15:44

'What I really can't handle (and shouldn't have to) is how he reacts to our 7 year old daughter when she unfortunately witnesses us shouting at each other. She's off school today so wouldn't normally have been there & to be honest that hasn't helped my husband's mood. When she covered her ears, my husband told her off for being disrespectful! And when she sat under'

This is from a previous post of yours. And child may have residual stress and unhappiness from living through a period of unhappiness in the home ( taking you at your word that this is no longer the case)

thethoughtfox · 25/04/2017 15:44

Is there a bonding problem between dd and your husband ?

thethoughtfox · 25/04/2017 15:49

'I have posted before about my DH & his tendencies to be controlling/abusive.'
'Does anyone have experience of living with someone that is mentally ill or you suspect that it is highly likely that they are? I have posted about various things to do with my DH before & quite a few people responded that they thought he sounded abusive/controlling. There have been problems right from the beginning but it's got worse lately. The idea of depression came up. We were due to go to couples counselling but my husband refused right at the last minute'

I appreciate that you say things are better. However, don't dismiss your child's issues as a simple bedtime one. She is obviously in need of extra love and support. Changing a bed time won't fix that.

SeekingSugar · 25/04/2017 22:35

Just to throw a spanner in the works, my 9yo goes to be at 7 and he absolutely needs to. Wakes at 6.30. Bedtime need not be determined by age, all children are different!

exercisejunkie · 26/04/2017 07:18


Just to add, maybe sit down with her and ask what she thinks will help, offer some choices that you're happy with that she can choose, and call it wind down hour and then bedtime, so wind down hour is 7-8 and 8pm is bedtime, maybe she could colour, draw, write stories, build some Lego, listen to an audio book, you can get audio books from the library so build in time during the week to go and get new ones, you can now get those mindfulness colouring books in Poundland.

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