Why can't my nine-year old stay asleep? Every night, around 3 a.m., my son wakes up and can't get back to sleep. It takes at least an hour of fussing, crying and fighting before he finally succumbs. We have tried everything. Nothing to eat or drink after 6 p.m., melatonin at bedtime, warm milk, lots of exercise during the day, no TV, varying bedtime from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. etc. Additionally, he has been given many tools to try and soothe himself back to sleep: visualization of pleasant places, telling each part of his body to go to sleep, counting backwards, reading, more praying, positive thinking, deep breathing. No matter what we do or don't do, he still wakes up and can't get back to sleep on his own. This has been going on for over a month, since we have forbidden him to crawl into our bed with us. Admittedly, we made the mistake of "attachment parenting" that has been so popular for raising a "healthy" child. This included co-sleeping and attending to your child's every need. This technique of parenting, which may be effective up until the age of two or three, is impossible to break. Days of clinginess and neediness have turned into years of difficulty, thus our problem. He is currently getting professional help for what has been described as "anxiety" and oppositional defiance" disorders (both of which are likely the result of our parenting philosophy). Please help, we need to undo the damage so we can all get a good night's sleep. And yes, I did say nine years old!!!
This sounds exactly like the situation with our eight year old son. We used to let him sleep with us but over the last couple of years we've stopped for the most part (he's just too big!). He comes down every once in a while but I was able to get him back to his bed and he would usually stay. Until this last week or two he all of a sudden WON'T stay in his bed. He gets up four or five times every night and no amount of rewards or consequences seems to phase him. Last night I was going to try the no-talking and no-snuggling approach be he held his ground at the bottom of the stairs and he's too big to carry so I had to sleep in the livingroom with him just so I could get some sleep myself. I'm seriously considering bringing him to a counselor or psychologist to see what's going on and what I should be doing.
Does anyone out there have ANY advise?