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My daughter won't sleep in her bedroom...
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My daughter won't sleep in her bedroom...

We have been struggling with our 6 year old daughter for years now about sleeping in her bedroom without having lets say a "panic attack".  She gets upset, vomits begs us to stay in her room.  She has gotten this upset since she was days old and home from the hospital.  Hated her crib we had to put a portable crib in our room just to get sleep.  She has had off and on phases throughout her life, untill we moved to a new house.  It has gotten extremly worse.  I talked to a doctor and he said to rule out a sleep disorder have her sleep in our room and bed for a month then after that month move her to a bed beside ours for another month and then move her closer and closer to the door away from our bed untill she is up in her room.  We have been doing this since October and she is fine-in our room-but as soon as we try to have her in her own room it starts all over again.  We are at a breaking point. She is 6 and can not sleep in her room.  This is so frustrating and exhausting.  We have tried everything... leaving the hall light on all night, she has a nightlight, she wanted a fish-got her that, painted her room and got new bed stuff, we try talking to her to find out what the problem is, sitting in her room until she falls asleep, reading, music playing, letting our dog sleep in her room, and the list goes on and on.  (Her 2 year old brother sleeps in the room right next to her) When we finally get her down she dosen't sleep soundly, she is up and down all night waiting for morning to come into our room.  Constantly asking "is it morning yet?"  But in our room she sleeps so sound.  At school she sleeps without a problem.  When she sleeps over her aunt's she goes right to bed. I don't understand why and how she makes herself vomit in her own room.  We have never had any bad things happen in our house ie. fire or burgler.  We may yell and scream at all the vomit all over the bed, carpeting, sheets and stuffed animals at 3am.  But you have to remember this goes on EVERY night.  We just want her to sleep in her room and not get so afraid of whatever it is. We don't think she even knows why she is afraid.  

Help....Should we take her to see a specific type of doctor or will she grow out of this?  We don't really want to use any type of meds.  Are we the only parents that have this problem or is it normal?  We are afraid that our 2 year old will see what his sister is doing and start it too...
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Unwittingly you have taught your daughter that she will feel safe and secure falling asleep at home only when she is with you. Think of all the nights since she was an infant when she has had this perception reinforced. The behavior is not at all normal, nor is it likely to change if you leave it alone. The general guidance you received from the doctor is prudent - i.e., a behavioral approach whereby your daughter is gradually weaned from sleeping in your room. It might be helpful to you to consult with a child psychologist (or other pediatric mental health professional). That person can assist you with designing the specifics of the weaning plan and give you the support you'll need to 'bite the bullet' and get this done. Many parents, trying to do the right thing, make the same mistake you did when your daughter was an infant. That's the time when children should 'learn', by experience, that falling asleep on their own is OK. But that's all water over the dam now. Talking with your daughter about it will not be a great help - it's not as if she has a 'reason' for this reaction. She simply feels petrified to be falling asleep without you. With practice, she will be OK, but it's not going to be pleasant or easy, as you've already discovered. Please arrange the consultation - it is a wise thing to do. Also, take a look at Richard Ferber's well regarded book, Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems. It will give you the basics of the plan to make this better, and it might be reassuring to you when you see, via the vignettes in the book, that you are not alone.
6 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
I certainly do understand!  I have an 11 year old boy that does the same thing.  He didn't sleep thru the night until he was 3 and a half.  He has been on our bedroom floor for almost a year now.  When we "force" him to sleep in his own room, he has an axiety attack.  We have gone to talk with a doctor, but my son does't apply what he has learned from the doctor.  We stopped going.  Just hoping and praying that eventually he will choose on his own to sleep in his own room.  We have a 7 year old daugher that has no problem with sleeping.  You are not alone.  Sometimes it helps just knowing that.  wpouey91
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Avatar_n_tn
I have 2 sons niether which will sleep in his own bed.   They say thier scared.  I'm so gratefull it hasn't gone as far as vomitting and such but they are very insistent on sleeping with me.  I am a single mom and and they started sleeping with me when we moved back into my mom's house 7yrs ago and have not left it.   both of them absolutely refuse to even try to sleep in there beds so we're all scrunched in my full size bed;  a rather large 9 yr old, me a 165lb women and my little 6yr. old at about 40 lbs.  I'm soooo sorry to hear about your situation and my boys and I will keep Krys and her daughter in our prayers which we each do individually and out loud each night.  
my only suggestion is a to to pray and ask in jesus name for this to stop.
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Avatar_n_tn
I understand your problem, because my 2 year old has always slept in her crib and now gets upset and vomits if I put her in there before she falls asleep.  We have to wait until she falls asleep in the living room then try and get her in there.  She now vomits when we try and put her in her pajamas.  I don't understand why this has become a problem, she has never slept with us in our room.  I am very frustrated because there are nights she wont fall asleep until midnight and then only has 7 hours of sleep.  I try to cut back on her daytime naps, its not working.  If you figure it out let us all know.
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Avatar_n_tn
I'm at my wits end, my daughter just turned 10 and has been sleeping on our bedroom floor for about 3 months. All of a sudden she is afriad to sleep in her room, even if I'm in there with her, she wants to be in our room. I think it started when she watched some scary movies that had "ghosts" in them and now she is afraid of ghosts. It doens't help to leave the BR light on or anything so for now I am just giving in and letting her. It sure puts a hold on my husbands and my love life !
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Avatar_n_tn
My niece had the same anxiety attacks you mentioned.  They became much worse when they moved into a new home.  This lasted from when she was 6 or so until today.  She is now 13.  She would cry at night when my sister made her sleep in her own bed. She would get up at night and sleep at the foot of my sisters bed.  She refused to sleep anywhere without her parents.  My sister finally brought her to a child counselor who advised that they suffer through by putting the child into situations that forced her to face her fears.  First, she would leave my neice with our mother for an hour or two.  Then gradually she made my neice spend the night. (Our mother lives behind my sisters home-so it wasn't far) Yes, there were terrible panic attacks due to this. But she made it through.  We thought it was very odd that this happened to my neice because she is a very outgoing child. She is a cheerleader at school and very well liked.  She did not want to be separated from her parents.  You have to take little steps and gradually things will get better.  My neice goes to Florida and spends a week occasionally and goes to overnight sleepovers! which is amazing from 1 year ago.    There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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A related discussion, 4 year old will not sleep in her room was started.
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A related discussion, Our 7 yr old son will not sleep in his own bed or room! was started.
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