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Children afraid of the dark and of sleeping alone
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Children afraid of the dark and of sleeping alone

My children (girl-9, boy-7) are extremely afraid of the dark, being alone, and or sleeping alone.  Neither of them will venture upstairs, to the basement, etc alone.  It doesn't seem to matter if its daylight or dark.  We have tried nightlights.  They will not under any circumstances sleep alone in their own rooms.  They sleep (usually together) in one room or the other.  Occassionally one will sleep in the bed with the other beside on the floor.  But by morning they are on the floor together.  Often times they even sleep together on my son's closet floor!  

I have tried to be understanding.  I have acknowledged that their fears are real to them, even if there is no danger present.  We even tried offering rewards for sleeping alone.

This situation has created 2 major problems.  
1) neither child can have an overnight guest, becuase this leaves the other child sleeping alone.  So socially they are being left out of the circle of friends who stay at each others homes regularly.

2) we are expecting another child soon, and he will need to be introduced into my son's room.  I am afraid of tripping over my children on the floor while tending to my infant.  Not a safe situation for my children or me, and especially not for the baby.

We have asked if they would like to share a room, but both hate the idea.  Also, they don't want their friends to know that they are opposite sex siblings and share a room.  Is there a specific age when we should insist they sleep apart?  At this point I'm afraid they won't be able to go to college without each other!

I'm out of ideas, and would appreciate any suggestions.
Thanks!
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242606_tn?1243786248
It would be reasonable to offer them the following plan, with the condition that the current arrangemnt cannot continue and they must 'sign on' to one of two options: (a) share a room, or (b) sleep in their own rooms. It's OK to push them in this direction. With experience (even if it's forced on them) they will acclimate to this, with the benefit that they can enjoy having guets stay over with them. Be decisive and firm, while supportive.
8 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you for responding with advice so quickly.

We'll certainly give it a try.  I do have a couple of questions.  1) Would it be appropriate to pose this as an ultimatum (sp)?  2)  Should they be given a specific time limit to accomplish their goal?  Say when the baby is old enough to move from cradle to crib?  (I don't want them to blame the baby for having to give up the security they now enjoy by sleeping together, though.)  3) Do you have any advice for the possiblility that one may choose to sleep in their own room and the other may prefer to share a room?
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242606_tn?1243786248
Yes, an ultimatum would be fine, but do it in a 'nice' way - it does need to be clear that it's either/or. Relative to the time frame, it would be sensible to offer them a date by which the decision will go into effect, rather than to make the decision immediately. Re: your final question, I'd insist that they reach one decision - they must concur (if they're unable to do so, let them know you'll make the decision - otherwise they may think they can maintain the status quo).
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Avatar_n_tn
TOGETHER

for the time being, sharing a room could be a good idea, but evently about when your duaghter turns 12, She will probably want to sleep apart, so that will take care of itself, Make sure that they well dont change together at same time, have them use restroom or step out on those ecasions...

APART

Problem here is keeping them apart, its like how do you pry apart to blocks of wood glued together with Wood glue?  or maybe it is more like a magnet... they keep clipping together...i suggest that you Head them off at the front, witch may become tiresom for you, another words bed checks...maybe take something away when they do this type of thing, E.G., favorite objects...

   all and all, one of those plans have to happen... Good luck, choose one soon...  best one for u is together, no fighting and Gives you a entire Room for the baby...
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Avatar_n_tn
i have a girl of 10 and a boy of 12 until 2 months ago they slept together i tried a spare matteress on the floor but that didnt work so i got a second hand combi tv and video each for them now they wont let one another into there rooms i tried everthing b4 that but this worked a treat have a go or just a tv so they can watch what they want good luck
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Avatar_f_tn
As to fear of the dark, try getting a dimmer dwitch for the lamp. They can control how dark it gets. Giving the child control will make a difference. Put one in each room, and allow only the child that belongs in that room to work the dimmer switch. Reward bravery (how dim they are able to get it) but don't punish being scared, ignore it completely. Also, I know they make tent things that go over toddler beds. Maybe you could construct something similar for their beds.
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Avatar_n_tn
i am a 15 yr old teen girl and i have something like the exact same problem as those two children being afraid to sleep alone. As a very young child i had to sleep with my older sister in her big bed everynight bcuz my parents were as u say * not getting along*. i slept with her alot in that bed and when i saw a scary movie or sumthing i knew that nothing would happen to me bcuz i was safe sleeping there with her and that nothing could harm me. Years went by and my mom decided instead of sleeping in my room she would sleep with my father again. @ first i showed that i was SOO haPPy that i FINALLY got my room back @ night. WELL it turns out that the first night i went back to sleeping in there i was VERyyyy worried and scared. i couldnt sleep at all so i ended up sneaking back to my older sisters room at night. i did that everynight for awhile and i did it EXTREMELy cautiously,i would wait until my mother would get in bed and i would SNEAK ooh so cautiously pausing at every move i made so that my mother wouldnt hear me. well days went by and i had about 4-6 hrs of sleep and it was so hard for me to sleep in that room and i couldnt figure out why! so one night i was doing the same thing nightly and my mother knew it at that point but yet i still thought that i was really sneaky. SO she told me to go back to bed and this has happened maNy times she yelled at me and told me to go to sleep. WELL my mother was VERy sick of living in that house with my dad for reasons not yet to be told, so we moved in with my grandmother where we still live to at the point now for 3 yrs soo far. well when we moved in to my grandmothers house, there was a big house but not enough beds to go around SO i volunteered to sleep with my gr8 grandmother so i can help her to the bathroom and get stuff for her if she needed anything.(she was 85 then), WELLL the past two years ive been sleeping with her eVERynight and we used to pray together and have a bunch of laughs and stuff like that . well  years have gone by and i am 15 now. shes been in the hospital in and out for problems with her heart and that killed me to see that she was getting sick. i stopped doing things with my friends i stopped making plans for fun stuff to do, bcuz i was sOO worried bout losing her and i wanted  to be with her everYDAY and we used to just chill on the couch and laugh at the tv and id help her to her room or to the bathroom or to anywhere she wanted. i used to make her laugh and when she was in the hospital not too long ago she had a stroke and i was very worried and i had to sleep by myself in the room by myself and i cried ALL night nONSTOP bcuz i was soo worried. during those days in the hospital i visited her alot i skipped school to b with her everyminute and i was there for her. we were sOO close. so those nights i ended up sleeping with my older sister in her room made for her BUT those last 3 nights i slept by myself in that room and i held her picture in my hand to remind me she was gonna come home soon and that everything was gonna b perFECT. i forgot to mention that she was 91 by this year. so the next day shE COMES BACK FROM THE HOSPITAL! WE were ALLLLLL extremely excited and we spent EVERY minute with her! we even brought my tv from the basement and stayed with her all day. they brought a hospital bed for her to sleep in that night so i slept with her alllll night side by side but in a different bed same bed as we always slept in together. well during that night she had VERY much trouble breathing. the stupid people from the hospital didnt bring oxygen and she really needed it that time especially-she was literally SUFFOCATING. i didnt kno wat to do i didnt kno how i could help her i jus tried to comfort her and massage her back hold her hand give her little kisses bcuz we felt soo bad for her. my mother was on the phone trying to get ahold for them to bring oxygen so my mother said it was on its way so i kissed my gr8 grandmother goodbye and i hoped the best for her to be better when i got back home. well 8:45 i had an early dismissal and guess wat happened? she died. i screammmmed in terror that it didnt happen i couldnt CONTROL myself. it was SOO horrible i jus wanted to hug her SOO much!  i missed her SOOOOO terribly i was hugging and kissing her dead body before they actually took it away. iT was SOOO horrible for me! i couldnt sleep i couldnt think all i did was CRY CRY CRY everyyyday.oo yea and where i slept?? i tried sleeping in that room but i couldnt take it! i dont know if i was afraid to sleep in there bcuz of the fact that she died in there but that cant be the problem bcuz i kno she loved me dearly and that she would NEVER harm me and that she was in heaven now, but i couldnt sleep in there. so i ended up sleeping with my older sister in her room the days before the funeral. the day of the funeral my best friend ally slept over and she slept with me in that room. i had a VERY ackward feeling sleeping in there it made me feel very scared and nervous and i almost had a panic attack.the next night it was the same but my other friend slept over named britt. i asked her " do u feel sumthing weird " and she was like no im fine and so i jus didnt sleep at all and jus kept the tv on. soo the next night i couldnt have a friend sleepover so i tried convincing sum1 in the house if they could PLZ sleep with me in that bed bcuz i kno that i wouldnt sleep in there by myself bcuz i triED the next night and i freaked out i was soo scared. til this day i cant sleep in there so i sleep with my older sister or on my grandmother and grandfathers bedroom floor or i usually sleep on my grandmother and grandfathers sofa in their bedroom. i STILL CANNOT FIND A WAY TO SLEEP in there! and i cry about it bcuz NO one in my family will help me and sleep in there and No one in my family understands that i have a problem and then i get soo angry with myself bcuz i REALLY WANNA SLEEP In that room in that bed but it just KILLS me that im afraid or scared or that i cant sleep in there without her! i try soOOO hard to sleep in there! but it NEVER works. i get so angry that i cant sleep in there i cry about  it bcuz i have a feeling that it hurts my great grandmothers soul that im not sleeping in there, and i remember that she told me when she dies to NOT be afraid of her coming to see me or anyone else in my family to kno shes ok and that shes fine but i cant take it anymore! i wanna sleep in there i feel its hurting her and its hurting ME the most knowing that its hurting her. i just want to sleep in there and live a good life like she did. CAN ANYONE HELP ME? i kno that im supposed to post a comment but i dont have any money to so im just wondering if anyone takes their time to read this then will they email me and try to help me resolve my problem??! i hope its fast bcuz its been 1 month since she has been gone and i cant stand doing this to her. PLZ if anyone reads this EMAIL me with a VERY helpFUL answer- and name it * helpful answer* bcuz i delete junk mail- lol - thx for taking time to read this ~ BYe! ~
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A related discussion, 6 yr old cannot sleep; fears emotions and body was started.
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