How can I get my 12-year-old to sleep alone in her room?

Elizabeth - posted on 08/24/2012 ( 3 moms have responded )

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Brief history of our sleep pattern...My first husband passed away when my daughter was a year old. In my grief, I had her sleep with me in my bed until she was about 3. I then met my husband. She did well in her room most of the time. We put a big addition on the house when she was 5, her new room much bigger and down a longer hallway. This scared her, she didn't feel safe. She's afraid of my late husband's ghost. I've been struggling for YEARS with this. She slept in our room on a small bed, I moved the bed out and spent much time in her room sleeping. I just recently got her a tv, thought she'd fall asleep with that on, we put it on timer. She 100% wants to sleep alone without being afraid, but she struggles with it. She has NO trouble sleeping at friends and cousins homes, she just doesn't like to sleep ALONE. I'm completely at a loss on what to do. She's entering 6th-grade and I feel this will NEVER end!! It's frustrating for both of us. My husband is great about this too, but we're all really sick of the situation. She's extremely independant in all other aspects of her life except sleeping. I cannot relate because I had a sister in the room next to me growing up and my husband shared a room with his twin. Please help!!!!

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Rosanne - posted on 08/24/2012

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Hi Elizabeth

My daughter did not want to sleep alone also, so I had a linen closet that was in the hall way by her bedroom door. I would keep her door open and rearrange the closet over and over until she fell asleep. She would be able to see me from her bed and I told her close your eyes and go to sleep I will be working in this closet for a few hours so you wont be alone. A week or so of that and then we graduated to me being in the next room ( she couldnt see me but she could see that the light was on ) she would call out are you still there? I would reassure her that I was and to go to sleep that she is safe. Also a nightlite works great.

Jill - posted on 08/25/2012

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Have you considered a therapist?

I know that sounds short sighted and simple but Im not trying to be. It's just I don't believe a 12 yr old can get retained the way we train toddlers. I am a mother of 4 & 7 months pregnant with #5. I have children ages 17, 15, 14 & 6... I've struggled through sleep and bathroom issues too many times.... 

If your daughters sleep issues are related to grief, death, attachment & fear and if your grief helped train the attachment, there may be some early developmental connections that need to surface. Plus, having support for yourself and husband as you go through this could prove highly beneficial.

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Elizabeth - posted on 08/24/2012

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Rosanne,

Thanks for your info. She has 3 night lights and I've sat in the upstairs living room, by her bedroom, and read. That worked for awhile, but she has some crazy new fears going on. Maybe because she's going back to school? I feel like I've tried everything and it's just exhausting.

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