Online Parent Support Chat

Waiting for help!

Parents Support One Another @ = Hi – I am very new here. I have a daughter who is 9 years old and is ADHD/ODD - I also have a husband that is Bi-polar. We are just starting this but I have a huge problem right now and need some help. Syd (daughter) has been wanting to sleep in my bed for about two weeks and fighting uncontrollable from the time I get home from work. Her dad works night and leaves at 8:30 - he is off I Sunday-Tuesday - so tomorrow is going to be ruff. I try and do the ignoring - after I answer one time I try and not answer her again but she will go on non stop. She is asleep right now in my bed - we will put her in her bed at 9:00 and it will be I am scared (her room is right off the den = she can see us. When my husband goes to work tom. night she will start fighting me as soon as he walks out the door. So help I need to know how to handle this.

Sorry if this does not make that much sense - if you need to ask a question - I'll try and explain.

Waiting for help!




Anonymous said...


I am a Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist in the Ft. Worth area. Many childhood sleep problems are related to poor sleep habits or to anxiety about going to bed and falling asleep. Persistent sleep problems may also be symptoms of emotional difficulties. "Separation anxiety" is a developmental landmark for young children. For all young children, bedtime is a time of separation. Some children will do all they can to prevent separation at bedtime. However, to help minimize common sleep problems, a parent should develop consistent bedtime and regular bedtime and sleep routines for children. Parents often find that feeding and rocking help an infant to get to sleep. However, as the child leaves infancy, parents should encourage the child to sleep without feeding and rocking. Otherwise, the child will have a hard time going to sleep alone.

Nightmares are relatively common during childhood. The child often remembers nightmares, which usually involve major threats to the child's well-being. Nightmares, which begin at a variety of ages, affect girls more often than boys. For some children nightmares are serious, frequent, and interfere with restful sleep.

Sleep terrors (night terrors), sleepwalking, and sleep talking constitute a relatively rare group of sleep disorders, called "parasomnias." Sleep terrors are different from nightmares. The child with sleep terrors will scream uncontrollably and appear to be awake, but is confused and can't communicate. Sleep terrors usually begin between ages 4 and 12. Children who sleepwalk may appear to be awake as they move around, but are actually asleep and in danger of hurting themselves. Sleepwalking usually begins between ages 6 and 12. Both sleep terrors and sleepwalking run in families and affect boys more often than girls. Most often, children with these sleep disorders have single or occasional episodes of the disorder. However, when episodes occur several times a night, or nightly for weeks at a time, or interfere with the child's daytime behavior, treatment by a child and adolescent psychiatrist may be necessary. A range of treatments is available for sleep disorders.

Sleep wake reversal may occur in some teens and may cause problems with daily life. Sleep can also be disturbed by mood disorders, PTSD, substance abuse, ADHD, and anxiety.

Fortunately, as they mature, children usually get over common sleep problems as well as the more serious sleep disorders (parasomnias). However, parents with ongoing concerns should contact their pediatrician or directly seek consultation with a child and adolescent psychiatrist.

Anonymous said...

This particular manifestation of separation anxiety is probably the most common. Your approach of weaning her from the need for your or your husband's company at night is sound. What you might do is structure the plan a bit by: (a) establishing a time frame by which she will be expected to manage bedtime by herself (i.e., staying in bed by herself once she is in bed), (b) week by week gradually increasing the blocks of time between checks, and (c) setting a firm limit by the instruction that she is to remain in her bed until you come to her - she is not to come to you.

Anonymous said...

Problems similar to this appear regularly in this forum. From our observations, the fear of sleeping alone often comes on between the ages of 10 and 11. It is more common in boys than girls. Unusually, almost all readers offer similar advice.
Do not make a big fuss about it. It will become one of those 'little phases' children go through. As ridiculous and time consuming as it sounds, allow her to sleep on a mattress near your bed and gradually move it further away, nearer to her own bed.
Comfort your daughter and help her become braver by degrees rather than going the “cold turkey” route.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your comments.

One thing I forgot to mention is that she normally would sleep with me after her dad goes to work but knew and never was a problem that she would go to sleep in her bed the days he was home at night. Its just been the last two weeks that it has been terrible - it is long fights - my problem is that if she would not give me trouble the days he is home then I would let her sleep in my bed but if I don't stick to it and let her then we start the cycle again Sunday night. I am so stressed I don't know how to handle this. Husband is also not happy with her because she lied to him last week and with him being bi-polar - he has a hard time trying to deal with her. So its like I am stuck in the middle of these two strong willed people - who both basically act like 2 year olds.

Thanks for your comments!

Mark said...

Tips to encourage independent sleeping--

Here are some tips for parents seeking to encourage independent sleeping:

Focus on getting the child to go to sleep alone the first time. The rest of the night will probably fall into place.

Allow enough time for calming activities. Avoid physical play, scary movies or the news, or other activities that stimulate kids, such as visiting after dinner. Kids don't shut off like light switches.

Establish a routine -- if not a set schedule --for bedtime. For example, include brushing teeth, taking a bath, having a snack, getting into pajamas, playing a video game, having a bedtime story or song, saying prayers, receiving a back massage or hugs and kisses from a parent, turning out the light, saying goodnight.

Tell the child he or she doesn't have to shut his or her eyes right away once he or she gets into bed. Allow him to read or listen to calming music through headphones or play a video game in bed for awhile if it eases sleep. Sit with a child if he or she has trouble falling asleep.

Offer reassurances and read a story while sitting by the bed and/or make physical contact. As time goes on, move the chair farther away, such as across the room or out in the hall. If the child awakes during the night, repeat the bedtime routine. As an alternative, provide blankets or a sleeping bag on your bedroom floor so the child can go there without crawling in bed with you.

Encourage occasional changes of bedtime scenery. Have the child occasionally stay with a babysitter at bedtime or be put to bed at the home of grandparents or other relatives to help him or her see that sleep can come in many settings.