10 yr old stepdaughter won't sleep in her own bed.

mistykate78April 7, 2010

My husband and I have been married for 6 months. When we first married, we lived with his parents while our house was being worked on. While there, my SD's would sleep with nanna or on an air mattress in our room. When we moved in to our new house, everyone got their own room. My 8 yr old SD will sleep in her room just fine but my 10 yr old will cry at night. She won't even sleep with her sister, has to be with us. We tried staying in the room with her until she fell asleep. She was still awake at 2am at which point, she made herself sick and threw up. Help! I'm out of solutions. I don't know if she has that much anxiety or if it is manipulation but she normally is a very good kid. Thanks for your help!

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Something happened. Take her to a counselor if she won't talk to you. *Normal* 10 year old children do not do this.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 12:01PM
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Does she say why? I'd be really concerned if she is not giving any explanation at all. My SS used to (and sometimes still does) try to manipulate his way into our room or have one of us sleep with him, but staying up all night and then throwing up sounds way beyond manipulation.

Is she hearing/reading/watching frightening stories? The BM et al used to tell our SS that their house, in particular his room, was haunted and when he went up there that was what he would do as well - not sleep at all, cry non-stop, etc.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 12:44PM
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"The BM et al used to tell our SS that their house, in particular his room, was haunted "

WHO does this to their own kid??!!! What kind of messed up parents are out there who would do this??? I know it happens, but c'mon, really? Are there really mothers who are so f-ed up in the head that they will mentally torture their own children? ARRRRGGGHHHH!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 1:16PM
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"I don't know if she has that much anxiety or if it is manipulation"

Could be either one or a combination of both -- or more.

What's her history? Has she ever slept alone? Or with only another child? Will she sleep with you alone? Or only with her father (you can stay)? What about naps? And what does she say about it?

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 1:38PM
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silversword - When my husband asked that SS be allowed to sleep on couch, share a room with half-sibling, or some alternative to staying up all night long (he would come back not having slept for more than two hours at a time for the entire weekend) he was told that SS needed to "man up" and "get over it". He was six at the time. Best part was that no one else in the house, all adults or teenagers, would sleep in that room because it was haunted (according to them)!

I just wish that that kind of thing would have been an isolated event instead of a long pattern of behavior.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 2:09PM
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That's even more twisted. Make the 6 year old sleep by himself in a room no one else will sleep in. There's something wrong with those people.

Back to OP:
My DD tries to sleep with me too. I think that's normal. But making yourself throw up seems really extreme to me!!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 2:19PM
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Up until roughly six months ago when you married and lived at the in-laws, where and how did the child sleep?

Yeah, seems extreme with the throwing up even with you and dad in the room with her. Have you spent time in the bedroom at night with the lights off (minus the SD) to see if there are reflections or shadows that be frightening her? Noises from the street? Pipes making noise? Squirrel in the attic, mice?

Flat out ask her why the room scares her. Is it a seperation anxiety thing? Does she have any other types of displays of anxiety except bedtime? Is she having nightmares?

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 5:17PM
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take her to a good pediatrician, get a referral to a psychiatrist, none of this sounds normal. you need a professional to sort this out.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 6:58PM
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mistykate, I agree with the others that this is not typical behavior for a 10 year old but not necessarily that it's a crisis. It sounds like something from Supernanny which I find a very helpful show.

Not that it's important but kids in other cultures around the world co-sleep with parents for a lot longer than we expect in the USA. Before I would take SD to the pediatrician, I would ask the pediatrician first what they thought. My DS7 went through a phase of "ghosts" "men in black coats" "monsters in the closet" (this one came straight out of the Monsters Inc. movie) although he was a lot younger then. DH and I made a big ceremony of throwing out these "invaders." I'm sure it's different for a ten year old.

I'm not trying to be flip but check out Supernanny. Plus a good incentive plan, movie tickets, special treats etc. for each night she spends in her own room with her sister.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 7:36PM
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People are just jawdroppingly dumb & unspeakably cruel;
my cousin's wife used to tell thier daughter that there were Nazi skeletons in the window seat/storage areas, & that they would "get" her if she didn't do whatever her mother wanted her to do.

The poor girl "got a stomachache" every time she went through the living or dining room in their big old house.

Although it might be manipulation, to me, this sounds like the same sort of thing.

Find out what she's afraid of & you'll have your solution.

I wish you the best.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 2:00PM
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Thanks for all of your responses, I really appreciate the advice. When she's with her mom, she shares a room with her sister. She's never spent the night in her room alone, so I don't think anything is scaring her in there unless it's just general house noises. She loves it during the day and has no problem being alone in there by herself. We thought at first that it was just being in a new house but she is still sleeping with me and her dad. I think I'll try the incentive idea and see if that works...I hope so!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 1:58PM
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What would happen, I wonder, if just you, or you and your SD8, slept with SD10 a time or two? If she needs to have Daddy, with or without you, then I'd think it might be more of a separation issue; if she is fine with you then it might be more of a new house issue (or that there is a really serious problem but she feels she needs an adult to protect her).

    Bookmark   April 10, 2010 at 10:16AM
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Mattie said " If she needs to have Daddy, with or without you, then I'd think it might be more of a separation issue

This reminds me of when SS used to keep himself up all night to get attention from DH, but also sometimes had legitimate nightmares that genuinely scared him. He was late-8/early-9 at the time.

Our litmus test was that if he was genuinely scared by a nightmare, I was "good enough" to calm him down from his panic and settle him back to bed. He just wanted a safe adult to make him feel better.
If he was seeking attention from DH, he'd act all panicked just like a regular nightmare, but then he'd coherently yell at me to "Go away! I want my dad to come to me!"

    Bookmark   April 10, 2010 at 12:31PM
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