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Need advice for clingy 9 year old

Posted by on Nov. 15, 2012 at 3:06 AM
  • 23 Replies

For starters, I have 6 kids.  You'd think that I have dealt with just about everything over the years, but I am at my wits end with my youngest.  He is unbelieveably clingy at bedtime.  He will not fall asleep unless I lay with him.  Every once in a while, he will fall asleep laying with his dad in our bed, but then I have to move him and he wakes up and I have to lay with him until he falls back asleep.  Any other problem, I would just be firm and deal with the tantrums until he finally gets the picture, but then NO ONE gets any sleep.  He will keep it up until midnight or later, keeping the other kids awake and annoyed, then cranky from lack of sleep the next day.  My husband has no patience with it anymore and has started yelling at him to "grow up"  which just makes it worse.  I have tried bribery, begging and pleading, threatening and letting him do the 9 year old version of "crying it out" which just gets the entire house into an uproar.  It's to the point where I have pretty much given up and just lay with him, but I often fall asleep in his bed, and then my husband will wake up and realize I am not there and comes in and wakes me up to move into our bed, which disturbs both of our sleep.  If he knows I am really tired, he will just leave me there, which my son loves, but I would really rather sleep in my own bed, with my husband.  It wasn't so bad when he was younger and he would just come and climb in bed with us.  But we finally got to the point where he was sleeping with us most nights.  We finally got him to sleep in his own bed-but only if I am there.  Once he is asleep, he usually sleeps through til morning.  If he wakes up though, he will come in and wake me up and the only way to get him back to sleep is to take him back and again lay with him until he's asleep.  The worst is that I have to be up at 5:30 to get my daughter up for school (her bus comes at 6:35 am).  And if I don't get her up (which is a chore in itself because she is a VERY heavy sleeper), she will oversleep.  The only alarm we could find that will wake her up, also wakes up the entire house.  SO I am often up til midnight with one, then back up at 5:30 with the other.  I am not getting enough sleep and have started getting really run down.  My husband wants me to just spank him, but I refuse to spank him for not wanting to fall asleep alone.  There has to be a better way than that, I just can't figure out one.

Help?

by on Nov. 15, 2012 at 3:06 AM
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Replies (1-10):
frndlyfn
by Gold Member on Nov. 15, 2012 at 3:22 AM

First of all is there a bed time routine for him, has there ever been a routine?  You may have to treat this particular problem as you would a toddler.  If he throws a tantrum, then he will lose privileges or go in time out for 10 minutes.  Any noise to disturb the rest of household, loss of privilege.   Is he in his own room?  I only have one child and she is 6.  We use a fan for white noise as well as air circulation.  I have never laid down with her unless she is sick and needs that extra comfort. 

Another thing is that he may feel this is the only way he can get special time with you even though there are other times you may have set aside for him.

MomofSCMJJA
by on Nov. 15, 2012 at 3:57 AM


Quoting frndlyfn:

First of all is there a bed time routine for him, has there ever been a routine?  You may have to treat this particular problem as you would a toddler.  If he throws a tantrum, then he will lose privileges or go in time out for 10 minutes.  Any noise to disturb the rest of household, loss of privilege.   Is he in his own room?  I only have one child and she is 6.  We use a fan for white noise as well as air circulation.  I have never laid down with her unless she is sick and needs that extra comfort. 

Another thing is that he may feel this is the only way he can get special time with you even though there are other times you may have set aside for him.

He goes through the same bedtime routine as all the other kids have all these years.  Everything is fine until I try to leave the room.  This is not the only time he is clingy though.  He always has been far more than any of the other kids.  If anything he gets more one on one time than any of the others since he often prefers to be with me than off doing his own thing.  Wherever I am, he wants to be.  If I am on the computer, he will move up to the loft to play or watch TV so he can be by me.  He will come and hang in the kitchen if I am cooking, will come in and lay on my bed to talk to me while I am folding laundry, and will always ask to ride along if I am running errands.  He HATES being alone.  He shares a room with his brother who is 2 years older-who is really sick of not being able to fall asleep at night because of the hassles.  Lately his brother has taken to wanting to sleep on the couch in the loft so he doesn't have to deal with him. 

mjande4
by Platinum Member on Nov. 15, 2012 at 7:48 AM

First, I agree with frndly fan.  If he's going to act like a toddler, then treat him like one.  Second, get the kid into some extracurricular activities so he's not clinging to you so much.  Just because he's the "baby" of the family, certainly does not mean that he should act like it.  Good luck.

Paperfishies
by on Nov. 15, 2012 at 7:52 AM
I would tell him, " alrighty, since you refuse to sleep, then you can at least be productive with your extra time, you're going to go do chores until you are ready to sleep." And make him do chores until he is ready to lay down on his own.
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JulesFairy
by Silver Member on Nov. 15, 2012 at 8:21 AM
I am going to offer an alternstive to the ones above, although they are all great ideas, i am trying to add to the variety. My youngest did this when she was about 2. I took one of the weeks where we had a very flexible schedule and did this. I made it known from here on out we are big girls in big girls bedtimes. I did routine and put her in her room with her sister and said i lo e yous hugged and kissed and left. When she got up or started crying i told her I love you and now its time for bed ill come check on you after i am done cleaning up. And i just kept doing it over and over. The first couple of nights sucked. And they definately slept late the next day. But then it got better. And now we still have issues now and again but nothing like before. So maybe you can try forcing the issue with thanksgiving break and christmas break coming up?
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hwifeandmom
by on Nov. 15, 2012 at 10:14 AM

I use melatonin with my 9yo.  She's never been able to fall asleep well, even as an infant & toddler.  It helps her fall asleep better.  When she was younger, it would make her super cranky before she fell asleep.  It's not so bad anymore.

When my daughter is getting clingy, I try to arrange surprise extra time with her, such as showing up at school during lunch time to eat lunch with her in the cafeteria.  Physical activity is often helpful, too, even if it's just having her play a sports game on the Wii, having her run an obstacle course through the house, or something like that.



GwenMB
by Gwen on Nov. 15, 2012 at 10:24 AM

Have you ever read The No Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers & Preschoolers by Elizabeth Pantley or Sleepless in America by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka?

The Pantley book may seem too young for your DS, based on the title, but you may get good tips from it.

You might also check out their websites (I put links on their names) or even contact them & see if they have suggestions.  I have a friend who contacted Kurcinka when she was having sleep issues with her son & Kurcinka was able to help her personally.

MomofSCMJJA
by on Nov. 15, 2012 at 1:52 PM


Quoting JulesFairy:

I am going to offer an alternstive to the ones above, although they are all great ideas, i am trying to add to the variety. My youngest did this when she was about 2. I took one of the weeks where we had a very flexible schedule and did this. I made it known from here on out we are big girls in big girls bedtimes. I did routine and put her in her room with her sister and said i lo e yous hugged and kissed and left. When she got up or started crying i told her I love you and now its time for bed ill come check on you after i am done cleaning up. And i just kept doing it over and over. The first couple of nights sucked. And they definately slept late the next day. But then it got better. And now we still have issues now and again but nothing like before. So maybe you can try forcing the issue with thanksgiving break and christmas break coming up?

Unfortunately, I have NO support from my husband at this point on being tough.  Within 5 minutes of him starting up, my husband begins to demand that I "shut him up".  If I let it go for very long one of two things happens:  either my husband loses his temper and yells and screams until our son is sobbing hysterically, and then he is more clingy than ever for a couple of days, or he just says "Oh just go lay with him so he'll be quiet."  Once he says that out loud (and often very loudly), I have lost the battle.  Either I have to have a big old fight with my husband at 11:oo at night or give in.

mary841108
by on Nov. 15, 2012 at 2:05 PM

 omg this is a tough one. my kids are momma's babies but i never had an issue with bedtime. my son is also 9 years old, i usually have them up in bed at 8pm but they can read quietly until 8:30 before lights out. i would try that. let him pick the book he wants to read and let him have at it for a bit and then announce its lights out and time to sleep.

MomofSCMJJA
by on Nov. 15, 2012 at 2:06 PM


Quoting hwifeandmom:

I use melatonin with my 9yo.  She's never been able to fall asleep well, even as an infant & toddler.  It helps her fall asleep better.  When she was younger, it would make her super cranky before she fell asleep.  It's not so bad anymore.

When my daughter is getting clingy, I try to arrange surprise extra time with her, such as showing up at school during lunch time to eat lunch with her in the cafeteria.  Physical activity is often helpful, too, even if it's just having her play a sports game on the Wii, having her run an obstacle course through the house, or something like that.

 

 

Melatonin didn't do a thing and we have tried two different prescription sleep aids but one gave him terrible nightmares and the other made him throw up every night that he took it.  When we tried another, he refused to take it and I won't pin him down and force it down his throat which is what it would take to get him to take it.  We have tried relaxing music, playing meditations, special toys that he is only allowed to have at bedtime, letting him fall asleep with the TV, letting him stay up until he just drops (which was consistently around 2 am), incentive programs (we can't find anything that means enough to him to work for), He also won't spend the night away from home-even at Grammy's.  The last time we tried to leave him there so that my husband and I could go away for the weekend, my mom tearfully called up the next morning-exhausted-and begged us to return early because she just couldn't do it.  A couple of times he has fallen asleep if his oldest sister (who is 21) will lay with him.  She tries to come and stay with the younger ones every 2-3 months so we can have a date night.

As for physical activity, he is the original energizer bunny!  He goes non-stop from early in the morning-often waking up around 6 no matter what time he goes to bed.  And that is in spite of his ADHD meds.  And no, changing meds wouldn't help-we have been through several trying to find a good fit.  The one he is on is the best for schooltime and we have to let it wear off at some point.  The extended release ones just made it worse at bedtime so he is on one that wears off around 4 or so-which makes evening challenging, but I can handle it way better that his teachers could.

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