Mumsnet Logo
My feed

to access all these features


to ask how you deal with older DC being difficult at bedtime?

22 replies

LottieG100 · 15/06/2017 22:53

DD is ten and frequently goes through phases of several nights, or even weeks, of being difficult at bedtime. She goes to bed between 9.15-9.45 and gets up at 8 so she's definitely not going to bed too early and ten hours is enough so I don't think it's too late, either. She has tons of exercise and not much sugar.

I tuck her in and we chat for 10-15 minutes. On a good night, she then goes to sleep. On a bad night she'll be up ten minutes later saying she's too hot/too cold/not tired/something hurts. I'll reiterate the need for sleep but she'll be up again ten minutes later and will start whimpering and wailing, and eventually screaming and crying and waking her siblings.

She gets plenty of one on one time and I wouldn't mind if she read quietly for a bit but a) she mostly won't and b) if she stays up any later she's a nightmare to get up in the morning and extremely moody. She doesn't have any technology so I can't remove that, stopping activities punishes me too as it's wasting my money. I've stopped her having sleepovers until she can go to bed well consistently but it still keeps happening.

Last night she was in bed for 9.45 yet up and down screaming and crying until 11.30. The next day she refuses to talk about it. Does anyone else have an older child that struggles like this or any suggestions on how to stop this?

OP posts:

NavyandWhite · 15/06/2017 22:58

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mnistooaddictive · 15/06/2017 23:04

Dd who is 10 did this the other night. I tried are you sad, worried etc but she just wanted company. I'm afraid I was evil. I started talking about puberty and the changes to your body. She covered her ears, told me I was embarrassing and ran off to bed. She hasn't been down again since. SmileGrin


LottieG100 · 15/06/2017 23:08

No, there's nothing wrong. She's perfectly happy all evening then just flips. Her dad and I are separated but he won't communicate with me (this isn't a new thing) but from what she says I gather she kicks off at his and gets to stay up downstairs so she doesn't wake her sibling or else her dad goes to bed with her. I've remained firm at home but it's been happening regularly for years. At ten, I would've thought she'd be past this.

OP posts:

GotToGetMyFingerOut · 15/06/2017 23:10

My eldest did this for monthssss and monthssss when she was about that age. She was up much later though to sometimes 3am!

We eventually got it out her that her friend had told her because me and my husband are married we probably have sex every night and because her mums single she never does. My dd to this day is still strange about me and dh showing each other affection.

It sounds like there's defo something worrying/concerning her. How long has it been going on?


GotToGetMyFingerOut · 15/06/2017 23:11

Crossposted, if its been happening for years it could be seperation anxiety. How does it correlate with when it started and when you split with her dad?


wineusuallyhelps · 15/06/2017 23:13

I don't know but I will watch this thread with interest. My three are a flipping nightmare on a regular basis. I'm sure babies were easier, right?!


LottieG100 · 15/06/2017 23:26

We've been separated for nine years. I don't get how she can be fine with being separated from me to see him but can't bear to be after often a 14 hour day with me!

OP posts:

WinkyisbackontheButterBeer · 15/06/2017 23:53

I remember going through a phase like this as a child. I must have driven my parents bonkers.
There was nothing huge bothering me but I felt anxious when left alone and worried about very minor things that I then struggled to verbalise. I'm a pretty no nonsense kind of person but still get that odd anxiety occasionally and don't like being on my own when it hits.
Could it be similar?


LottieG100 · 15/06/2017 23:55

It could but how do I get her to realise screaming and shouting isn't on?

OP posts:

LottieG100 · 16/06/2017 07:23

Anymore ideas anyone? Dreading waking her this morning as she was up and down until 11.20 pm so she's going to be in a foul mood.

OP posts:

TheMasterNotMargarita · 16/06/2017 07:43

We have done several things.
1 - Long, serious chat about being a big girl, letting us know without screaming at what is wrong, how life is affected if you don't get enough sleep you need sleep to grow etc
2 - sleep spray for pillow from Boots.
3 - doing deep breathing/ relaxation exercise to relax
4 - if you really, really can't sleep you may read a book with a low light on
5 - always have a drink of water by the bed - one less thing to get up for.
6 - be calm, patient and act like you don't give a shit even when you are dying to go to bed yourself and dealing with a little hellion.
It took a while but now we have all this in place it's easier to say to her "Do your breathing" or whatever and she can often deal with it herself.
Very challenging, you have my sympathy.
At least when you finally get her up and off to school treat yourself to a quiet coffee!


TheMasterNotMargarita · 16/06/2017 07:46

Oh and consequences for the screaming. NOT for not sleeping but for nonsense. So if you don't sleep you'll be too tired for Brownies etc. Only takes once or.twice to follow through and they know you mean business.


Enb76 · 16/06/2017 07:51

On nights when my daughter finds it hard to sleep I put an audible book on or some music. I used to find it hard to sleep in silence because my brain wouldn't switch off so listening to something allowed me to relax and sleep.


mrsm43s · 16/06/2017 07:58

I have an 11 year old who doesn't like to sleep. In our case it's because he wants technology, so obviously we've set systems in place around that. (set "hand in" time for all devices/router auto switches all devices off 1.5 hours before bed/"hand in" of tv remote). He's naturally less sleep needy than his siblings, so we can sometimes have a bit of a battle as he's not tired. His bedtime, though, is 8.30, absolute lights off by 9. He's allowed to read 8.30-9.00 if he wants. I'd say your daughter's bedtime for a 10 year old is very, very late, and she may well be overtired.

I find the reaction you describe as quite worrying though. As I say, we often have nighttime battles, but that's him arguing about his bedtime, trying to convince us to give him extra time, telling us that "everybody else gets to stay up to midnight and have their ipod in their room all night" etc, not screaming, crying, wimpering and wailing, which seems a inappropriate reaction (to anything) for a 10 year old.

I really would try getting her to go to bed earlier, in case she is overtired. How is she generally? Happy and achieving at school etc?


SabineUndine · 16/06/2017 08:02

I would say either she is frightened of the dark, or there is some serious problem you don't know about.


ChilliMum · 16/06/2017 08:03

I was going to suggest an audio book too. My Dd is a terrible sleeper and our live's were plagued with evenings like yours until she learned to read. Now we are fairly relaxed (she is 11 btw) and she is allowed to read until 9 or 9.30 (we get up at 6.30 although Dd is often already sat up in bed with a book when I get up) then I trust her to put out her own light.

It's not perfect but I think having some autonomy over her bedtime has really helped and most nights we don't hear a peep once she has gone up.


TeenAndTween · 16/06/2017 08:09

She is getting less sleep than my 12yo, so it could be that, even though you say not.
Does she have a night light?
Have you tried consequence for fussing is earlier night the next night (either to bed or lights out)?
At 10 she is old enough to understand that if she won't tell you what's going on you'll have to assume it is just bad behaviour and give consequences.


isupposeitsverynice · 16/06/2017 10:00

If my ten year messes around after bedtime he goes to bed earlier the next night to make up for it. Not being sent to bed at 6pm is a powerful motivator, it transpires. Also this isn't a popular opinion but I'm afraid I think 9pm or later is far too late for a ten year old to be going to bed. I don't believe children function "just fine" without proper sleep I think they learn to compensate and mask their tiredness. I certainly notice a massive change in my sons temper when he is tired - he rarely screams and shouts when he is well rested. In your shoes, personally, I'd bring bedtime forward to 7pm with 30-45mins of reading time in bed before lights out, and see if that helps. If nothing else, at least once she's done pissing around and actually gone to sleep, you'll be two hours ahead


Popfan · 16/06/2017 21:37

Totally agree with isuppone. I'd bring the bedtime forward as I wonder if she is overtired. My 9.5 yr old is left in bed at 7.30 and lights out by 8. I do the same as above in that if he's messing about, bedtime comes forward by half an hour the next night. We also have treat late night on Saturday if he's been good in the week with a film and popcorn etc- though he still goes up at 8! HTH


Barbie222 · 16/06/2017 22:06

Have you tried going to bed yourself, switching all lights off and leaving her to go to bed? She might get the message if there isn't company.


Supersoaryflappypigeon · 16/06/2017 22:15

I did this at a similar age. My nana had Alzheimer's and my dad was having an affair so I suspect I was picking up on those things really. I used to be there, in the dark, worrying about anything and everything. I went downstairs because if I did that I wasn't worrying. Sad


Crumbs1 · 16/06/2017 23:03

Nightlight, gentle music and tell her to behave?

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Sign up to continue reading

Mumsnet's better when you're logged in. You can customise your experience and access way more features like messaging, watch and hide threads, voting and much more.

Already signed up?