DD. turning 10 soon, has terrible anxiety at night - phase?
JMAngel1 · 21/08/2019 07:42
This is so upsetting for her and me but DD has reverted back to needing to sleep in our room on the floor whilst holding my hand. She sobs herself to sleep and feels ashamed that she has to do this - hence why she won't get in my bed. All made worse by the fact her younger DS7 has no problems at bedtime.
It started very slowly over a year ago when a neighbour was broken into so there was definitely a trigger but from a slow burn, it's now escalated such that she won't go upstairs on her own at anytime of the day - i.e. not just anxiety related to sleeping/nightime. She says she thinks someone is up there and at night that someone is watching her. I've taken her to a family member who is a therapist who said it is all about a fear of losing control due to changes with growing up and we should just allow her to do what makes her feel safe and secure - i.e. let her sleep with us.
But my DH thinks that this is making her worse and that by not forcing her to face her fears, she will never defeat them. We have had some humdinger rows about this as I think he's being callous and he thinks I'm babying her. I literally don't know what to do for the best. I'm scared that if we don't help her now, she will be in for a lifetime of anxiety.
During the day she is very independent, very cool beyond her years, good friendships, top set at school etc. I don't discuss it with her friend's mums as she has asked me not to, but they would be surprised with this behaviour. I have been nervous/reluctant to allow her on sleepovers but when she has gone, she has had no problems which then gives DH pause to think that the problem is me making allowances for her and not forcing her to sleep in her own room.
Anyone got any advice - I don't know what to do now. All my instincts are to reassure and protect but I feel like it's making her worse.
stayathomer · 21/08/2019 07:49
Your friends advice seems counter intuitive, by telling you she sh o Ulf sleep with you she's assuming it's a phase, but surely this could keep going? I'd be inclined to agree with your dh that it's not helping, but is it not more likely that the reason she's fine with sleepovers is your house/ neighbourhood after the break in? I'm assuming you've all sat down together to talk it out?
MarigoldGlove · 21/08/2019 07:57
I would let her sleep in your room if that’s what she wants to do as dealing with her fears at night just doesn’t seem to be the right time to be tackling it.
There might be something in what your dh is saying. You are the one worrying about the sleepovers and you are using the word ‘forcing’ which seems quite strong about a child sleeping in her own presumably nice bedroom.
Clearly she needs to get used to going upstairs and being in her room during the day, That’s what I’d work on first.
Soontobe60 · 21/08/2019 07:57
I'm afraid I'm with your DH on this one. But I wouldn't be so harsh as to 'force' her to go to bed alone. You need to start a new bedtime routine. Go up with her when she gets ready to go to bed. Make sure she has a warm bath and get some nice relaxing bubble bath. Get some sleep spray she can spray in her pillow, and some sleep moisturiser for her to rub in her arms. Havebthe lights in her bedroom on low for when she gets out of the bath. Encourage her to read a few pages of a book, and perhaps sit and read your own book with her too. Have a set time when she puts the book down and settles down, leave the room, door ajar.
JMAngel1 · 21/08/2019 08:07
Thanks all , omg Soontobe60, you have wierdly described her routine to a tee! I do all of this (not the sleep cream though just the spray)and I sit and read with her until I think she's asleep then 5-10 minutes later, she appears at our bedroom door asking to sleep with us.
Itwasstuck · 21/08/2019 08:08
I’d be trying to encourage her into her own room by going in with her and even maybe sleeping overnight in there with her to begin with.
Leapyearlover · 21/08/2019 08:12
My ds is the same age and has the same problem. He shares a room with his sister but still comes into us almost every night - normally dh takes him back when he's asleep. I don't know what the solution is but I remember being the same at his age.
PoppingOneOutIn2020 · 21/08/2019 08:16
I'm 23 and have this.
I eventually just grew to manage it.
Although my other half went on a works course for 4 days in July and j had to have my sister stay with me, I hate being home alone. Even just for a couple of hours. In terrified of someone breaking in.
I've gone out to drive around before when I've been home alone for too long. I start to panic and need to get out of the house.
I'm getting better just trying to 'force' myself to be home alone. I've stopped making plans to go out while DP is out.
I suffer from general anxiety anyhow, I had nothing to trigger me, it's just over thinking the worst case scenario.
I did go to CBT which really did help my general anxiety. Maybe that could be an option for your DD?
Ediemccreedy · 21/08/2019 08:17
My 10 year old has gone through exactly the same. She was fine at sleeping alone until about 6 months ago. She is fine at sleepovers because she is not alone in a bedroom then.
She comes into our bed every night at about 2am and I usually go into her bed then.
We think that this will hopefully pass and are just going along with it.
WillLokireturn · 21/08/2019 08:19
I'm the opposite view. Let her sleep with you. She sleeps well at sleepovers as she's likely in same room as her friends! She has company. Or, she hasn't associated their house with her NDN's house & yours which feel vulnerable due to that traumatic event. I'd be inclined to ask her a bit more (CBT drilling down) about what she's scared of, what makes her think burglar will come to our house, what that means, what can we do to help her look at that and make her feel her home is more secure.
BUT also... Some DC are built for sharing a bedroom and if you look on many threads, see how many women or men say they hate sleeping alone when their partner is away. As a child, that is writ large and she is also growing into pre teenage years at larger less cosseted school, lots will be changing.
I doubt she'll still be doing it when she's 14-15! But do have a long term plan ..
1 Whilst she's in with you, use the time to redesign her room with her, to teenage it up a bit more. Does she need a new bed or just a mattress topper? and definitely new bedding she chooses. I'd make her bedroom more attractive to her, with her having control to design how she has it. Repaint it even. New photos up. Pin board for her personal stuff.
2. Get her to help in lock-up -rounds at night (back door, check bathroom windows) but do them early before her bedtime and bath etc.
3 Do a routine with her, spend time together, then tuck her in her own bed but that it's open if she feels she needs to pop later into your bedroom to sleep
I have a related background.
JMAngel1 · 21/08/2019 16:20
@WillLokireturn. thank you. Coincidently she is having a room revamp right now as her sister has just had hers done. I'm hoping that the change in decor will encourage her to stay in there but we'll see.
Thank you all for your suggestions
WillLokireturn · 21/08/2019 20:50
@JMAngel1. Well that sounds a super plan. I bet she'll enjoy designing it out with you. You can change pictures,bedding, cushions, throws, fairy lights, easily in room without painting walls super bright girlie pink or black btw! (Girls can change their minds a lot stylewise from age 10-13 ! I speak as a mum there who had to cover (multiple layers) very rich bright paint up within a couple years!! 😆)
MissCarryingOn · 01/09/2019 22:06
Having the same issues with DSD. When with us she shares room with her older sister who is 12 (who suffers terrible anxiety). Unless she sleeps in with my partner, she will complain of stomach aches. Don’t know what to do as we’ve tried everything to soothe her but come bedtime she always asks if one of us is staying up or she gets very anxious. One of us always does, me again tonight, but then the I can’t sleep, crying and tummy aches start. Any guidance appreciated.
whattodo12345 · 02/09/2019 20:40
My son recently started doing this....he's also nearly 10 .
I'm more stern and have never let my son sleep in my bed so wasn't about to start now at nearly 10.
So basically every night it happened I would just tell him not to be so silly and to go back to sleep....the more I did it the less it happened and now he is back to normal.
So think it is a phase but I don't think letting them sleep in your room/bed will help them get out of it
Bitlost · 14/09/2019 16:58
Same here with dd (turned 10 last month). It started in July. She is terrified as soon as night comes and keeps waking up and coming to us. The tiredness is affecting her hugely. She behaves awfully, cries all the time and I don’t see how she will get through year 6. So far we’ve only let her sleep with us one night because we fear she’ll never get back to get own bed otherwise. Dd is seeing a therapist who is recommending a long course of cbt to learn to manage her anxieties. We’ve seen the therapist twice so far so too early to see improvements, sorry I can’t help more.
decisionsinsandouts · 21/10/2019 20:36
Similar problem with a 9-year-old son. I am single so don't have to negotiate with another parent. He goes through weeks when he doesn't sleep in my bed and then several nights in suggestion. I don't make a big deal about it and am of the view that if that is what he needs to do it's what he needs to do. Unlike your daughter, it is usually related to him being overtired or stressed about something. I think locking up together is a good idea and obviously being open to discussing anything she wants to talk about. I told my son that I was often frightened at night as a child and how I would check under the bed, wardrobe etc and I think he appreciates knowing this.
To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.