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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:
B1rdonawire · 26/04/2017 13:57

If she is having struggles separating from you at bedtime, and you're experiencing challenge from her in the daytime, it's right that you're looking into all the possible reasons why. I agree with PPs (and you OP) that this may be adoption-trauma related, as pre-birth experiences can have an impact depending on the experience of the birth mother such as whether alcohol, drugs, violence etc were involved. If your DD was removed at birth, there will have been a complex set of reasons for that and the needs of the foetus may not have been prioritised during the pregnancy. That has a considerable impact, as does the trauma of moving to the FC, and then moving to you. This could be attachment related, or it could be another issue. I think it would make sense to go to your GP and get a referral to the paediatrician who covers LAC and adopted children, and seek their advice. You may also be able to get support from your post-adoption team, but this varies hugely by location unfortunately.

With my DD, when bedtimes are hard, I stay with her. It's what she needs. I also do things like give her something of mine that I've worn to sleep with, and have tried all sorts of sensory things (sounds, scents, weighted blankets etc etc). Gentle massage before bed sometimes helps, but really, it's being present for her that matters here. I hope things get better for you all.

tigercub50 · 27/04/2017 11:25

Thank you to everyone & just to pick up on what was said about bonding, I definitely think that because of what happened DD has pushed DH away & he finds it very upsetting (although hopefully it will make him think about how he used to be & that there is no way he can behave like that again). She is gradually regaining trust in him, as am I, but he needs to be more patient. It can't be easy for him because she directs a lot of her "bad" behaviour towards him & has got physical with him on occasions. I can see that he is trying very hard to stay calm, be more loving & show more interest in what she does which is great. He suggested they do something every Sunday just the 2 of them & he has been coming up with new ideas for family trips too. I think also DD is gradually feeling more secure because she can see that DH & I are properly together & showing a united front. DD was getting very mixed messages before. DH is not as in touch with his or others' emotions to the same extent I am but he is genuinely making an effort & I feel as if we can move forward & be a happy family. The crisis point for us was January this year & I can't imagine going back to how it was before then - sometimes it was pure hell.

OP posts:
Biffa44 · 28/04/2017 10:52

You have mentioned that you are going on a course about attachment issues soon. This will be a revelation to you (if it's like the course I did) and you will understand where all of your DD's behavioural issues come from. I understand the extreme frustration and bewilderment you are feeling (and how this can turn to anger and then guilt), but please believe me, once you know why these behaviours are happening, it becomes much easier to cope with. I understand that you need down-time in the evenings, but getting annoyed that this is being interrupted is not going to remedy the situation. Your DD is suffering from trauma and is not wakeful deliberately.

My adopted DS is 11 and still cannot be in his room alone. Therefore we sit with him while he goes to sleep, and take him back to bed numerous times each evening when he wakes. Most nights, in the early hours, he ends up swapping places with DH and sleeps with me. He just needs one of us with him.

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