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HELP! 10 yr old son wont sleep on his own
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curousity posted:
I am in desperate need of help. My 10yr old son refuses to sleep in his own room. Basically he has never slept on his own. When he was a baby it was his father's idea to allow him to sleep with us. I tried to force my son to sleep on his own when his father left but he always ended up back in my room. (its been about 7 years) I have tried many things to get him to sleep on his own, but nothing seems to work. Everytime he goes to his father's, his dad tells him that there is no reason our son should not be sleeping in my bed. Which in a way encourages my sons behavior. I really, really need help. I now have a relationship in which my significant other has been staying over on some nights. My son threw a fit when I told him he simply cannot sleep with us. In the end he made a bed on the floor and slept there. I have spoke to him about it and he refuses to talk about it. He gets angry and clams up. When he does talk about it the only thing he says is that he is scared. I try to convince him there is nothing to be scared of, but he does not believe me. Please help.
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Lainey_WebMD_Staff responded:
Hi Curousity,

Because your son says he is afraid, have you consider allowing him to redecorate his room? It might make him feel better to help paint or add some new pictures and even bedding. Your son might also benefit from speaking with a counselor to find out if there are other issues. WebMD has an article: Parents Get Your Bed Back that can give you more ideas to help your son ease his fear. Let us know if anything works, or you need further help.
A two-year-old is kind of like having a blender, but you don't have a top for it. Jerry Seinfeld
 
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Roy Benaroch, MD responded:
This is a bigger problem than a 10 year old that's scared of the dark.

First, he never learned to sleep alone. Then, his father took off, and he's been in your bed ever since. If he's scared (that's too simple a word, but it'll do), he's scared of abandonment, and losing mom -- either by your leaving, or by your sharing yourself and your bed with someone else.

Although you mean well, I am doubtful that your telling him he has nothing to be scared of is likely to help. His defenses and way of looking at himself and your relationship are deeply ingrained. I suggest you talk with your pediatrician about a mental health professional (likely a psychologist) with experience dealing with pre-teens. I don't think there will be a "quick fix", but I do think addressing this now, rather than waiting further, will in the long run be healthier for him and you and your own continued adult relationships.
 
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Indiaguerita responded:
I agree complete with Dr. Benaroch.

And I also wanted to add...a good pediatric behavioral psychologist will help you and help your son work through these issues together. The psychologist will set up a plan for you and start the process of moving him back to his own bed. And he/she will also work with your son on his abandonment issues.

Good luck.

-LJ
 
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Indiaguerita replied to Indiaguerita's response:
Also...his father has to get on board with this plan and quit sabotaging your efforts.
 
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mariela11 responded:
Have you compromised with him? I would tell him that he no longer can sleep in mom's bed but that mom can sleep in his bed. I would lie down in his bed with him until he fell asleep. Then leave. When and if he wakes up I would take him back to his room and repeat. It helps if he gets to decorate his room. Maybe getting a fancy night light?
 
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An_222110 replied to mariela11's response:
I had a similar problem with my son. When I would no longer allow him in my bed, he would drag his sleeping bag into my room and sleep on the floor beside my bed. He even got to the point he wanted to put his sleeping bag beside my bed before bedtime "just in case" which was every night. I told him if he was scared, had a bad dream, etc to come wake me up and I would come to his room and stay with him but I did not want him sleeping in my room anymore. Nothing worked until I turned the lock around on his door and told him if I woke up and found him on my floor again I would lock him in his room the next night. He never slept on my floor again...Today he is happily married with a happy baby of his own who sleeps in her own bed! Unlike "his" mother who let "her" baby sleep in the bed with her, his baby has slept in her bed since she came home from the hospital.
 
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Sf5grabn responded:
The EX likely tells the boy it's okay because he knows this restricts you in any relationship! Does your son sleep with him when he visits? Your EX "should" be supportive of getting his (and your) son out of your bed unless, of course, he enjoys your restriction! IF so, he cares little for you and less for his son!! Ironically, I have the same situation in reverse. My sig. other has allowed her now 10 year old son to sleep with her since he was born! Initially it was due to her EX she did NOT want sleeping with her. Several months ago, I asked this similar question as the male sig. other on Web MD and the answers I received astonished me! Apparently, many women and some couples allow bed sharing with a child or children (at least those who responded) with or without their spouse who also lives there and feel it is perfectly normal! I feel this is NOT good for the child, especially a 10 year old, and will prove detrimental to this boy's self esteem, minimize his ability to be self assured, and perhaps cause psychological problems in the near future. One must consider that in 7 or 8 short years, this 10 year old boy will be leaving home for college, work, etc. He either has, or will very shortly, reach puberty with all the ramafications that entails. Additionally, when his friends spend the night on a sleepover, where are they to sleep? It cannot be in the same bed with the mother as other parents doubtfully would approve. Would you? This situation has caused some thus far minor problems in our relationship, and I fully expect yours! Adults must have some privacy in the bedroom even if it is just to talk about things personal.....not to mention any male female intimacy. I'd be quite interested to know what your sig. other says about your situation with your son! As the male counterpart in my situation, I feel this is absurd, and with marriage a definite possibility, would not allow this to continue. Unfortunately, I do not have a definitive answer for getting the child out of his mother's bed. However, it must be done for the child's sake as well as the mother's! In my situation, this child isn't afraid of the devil himself EXCEPT when it comes to sleeping......and even then he isn't afraid but where he wants to be! I cannot help but believe a few nights being "afraid" in his own bed would reinforce the fact that there is nothing to be afraid of! This may sound brutal to an extent, but necessary! Possibly some "relaxiation" tapes or CDs would make it less spooky especially with a night light or two on all night. At 10 years old, boys want to be "good and brave soldiers" and find a great deal of personal pride when they know they have been! To be proud of oneself is crutially important to a 10 year old! Perhaps Boy Scouts may help as they have extremely well protected camping trips. I find it strange that this child has no problem sleeping over at another boy's house without Mom. Have you found the same to be true? This tells me that if he can do it there, he can do it at home. Where in lies the difference?
Reassurance that you are just in the next room and can hear him should he need you possibly would minimize some of the "possible" feelings of abandonment he may, or may not feel. Reinforce his sleeping in his own bed with pride and praise of what a brave young man he is!
I fully understand what you are going through, just from the male point of view, but would be most appreciative if you would reply to my username above as to how things are going with your son and I shall do the same. I am emphatically not attempting to be personal, but it seems we have the same problem in different directions! GOOD LUCK TO US BOTH!!
 
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Boyzmomee replied to Sf5grabn's response:
I agreed with you over there and I do here.
 
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Sf5grabn replied to Lainey_WebMD_Staff's response:
Hello,
I responded to you three (3) weeks ago (sf5grabn) and am wondering what, if any, changes or progress you have made with your son. As I am in a similar situation, ANY headway you've made or suggestions that have worked will be GREATLY appreciated!!
Thanks and hope to hear from you!!
 
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Sf5grabn replied to Boyzmomee's response:
SOUNDS AS IF YOU HAVE SOME UNIFORMED SERVICE UNDER YOUR BELT! THANKS BROTHER BLOOD!!!
 
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Sf5grabn responded:
I responded to you some three weeks ago (sf5grabn) and am wondering what, if any, changes or progress you have made with your son. As initially stated, I am in a very similiar situation so ANY headway you've made or suggestions you may have will be GREATLY appreciated!! Hope to hear from you soon! Thanks!!
 
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deedeemo responded:
I have the same problem and do not have an answer but would aalso like some help==desperately. In my case, my husband died of a long term illness. My son was young and states he does not remember. I tried a child psychologist but nothing worked and the psych threatened to report me to authorities. I truly have tried. If I fall asleep, he sneaks back in. He is afraid of terrorist, tornados and anything else he has seen on the news. He is in boy scouts and does sleep overs at others homes just fine. We can even have kids spend the night and he will sleep in his room with them. I feel like such a failure and just hate the situation. My family just berates me and tells me how terrible I am but I do not know how to stop this. We even decorated his room giving him ownership in the room.
 
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Elizabeth_WebMD_Staff replied to deedeemo's response:
Hi and Welcome deedeemo,

I am sorry you and your son are going through this. It does not sound like you had a good experience with the psychologist, please talk with your pediatrician about a referral to another.

Please know that you are a great mom, reaching out for help obviously shows this!

Even though this article is geared toward younger children, I thought you may be interested in it -

Parents, Get Your Bed Back

Please let me know is this is helpful,
Elizabeth (parent of 6 year old who comes into their room almost every night!)
 
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wishingforchange replied to Sf5grabn's response:
I seem to have the same problem with my bf, his 10 year old still sleeps with him and has been going into his own bed lately but my bf still has to go into his room to get him to sleep.
I wish I understood this


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