Just about to lose my mind...six year old sleeping problem

You're on Page 1 of 2
Go to
  • Hi all..please help..have a six year old child, (middle child of three) who will NOT go to bed. we have tantrums and screaming, and crying for HOURS. she tells me she hears voices in her head that tell her they are going to eat her and suck her blood. I am a mental health professional, so all of a sudden Im thinking she has pediatric onset schizophrenia... Conversely she may just be trying to manipulate her way out of bed.. when she told me she was hearing voices, I got her headphones and a relaxing water CD..and half hour later...she still cant sleep but is saying nothing about the voices. I have no idea what to do with her..this is after a full day of outside play so she should be drop dead tired...
    I have had enough..please help me.
    kimmip
  • Hi Kimmi! Welcome to FamilyCorner!

    My son is almost 10 and has gone through similiar bouts of not wanting to go to bed.

    If you think that you have ruled out any real health problems, I would work on the routine at bedtime.

    Have you tried a bath before bed to calm her down?

    How about a snack before bathtime, the bath and then story time? After storytime, try the headphones again. Is it dark and quiet enough in her room?

    You might have to do the "tough love" routine and for a few consecutive nights silently take her back to her bed and put her there....time after time until she falls asleep. That's rough, I did this for about 4 days with my son when he was around 3.

    It still concerns me that a 6 yr. old could tell you indepth that voices are talking to her. To err on the safe side, I would still recommend a complete check up with her doctor.

    I hope that things get better fast at your house.

    Please keep us updated to let us know how you and she are doing.

    Hugs,
    Tami
  • Hi Kimmi,
    It never hurts to get a checkup and any recommendations from your doctor.
    My 11 yr. old granddaughter used to talk about voices and people trying to kill her-although mostly she would say these were dreams she was having and she'd get pretty graphic in her details. Hopefully she's not having these dreams anymore-at least she hasn't talked about them. She does have some nights where she says she can't sleep and she'll come into the living room while I'm still up and lay on the couch-usually with her gameboy.
    Her sister is 4 and she doesn't usually have problems sleeping but she will wake up and not be able to go back to sleep easily. Usually those nights are the ones where mom did not read a story before going to bed, or at least there was no quiet time with mom before sleep.
    Has this been going on for awhile, or has it just started happening??? If it's just started is there anything new in her life that she's anxious about?? Hope you get it solved soon. I now how draining it all can be.
    Take care, Pam
  • Kimmi, it sounds like, as a mental health professional, that you understand your possible options. If your DD is trying to manipulate you, there are some psychological tricks that you could try. You could get her a special night light, that is magic, of course, and tell her that the light will stop the scary voices. What about an MP3 player to put on her hears? You could also get her a special stuffed animal that would help her not feel alone. You get the idea. If she doesn't get any better after doing all that you know to do, I agree with Pam, aka Trekmom in taking her to see a doctor.

    Neither of my children ever talked of voices. But, both of them had night terrors. My DD broke a front permanent tooth from tripping over a vacuum cleaner while having a night terror. My DS fought sleep until he was 6-7. He hated to take naps or go to bed.

    One other thing that I just thought about. I used to read him really boring adult books to help put him to sleep. Everything else was too exciting for him to listen to. You could read him a self-help book, the Bible, or any other book that would be over his head. You could even try hypnosis, if you know how to do it, to help her relax, comfort her, and get her mind into learning how to think different mode at bedtime.

    Good luck!
  • I appreciate all your feedback so much
    you guys are awesome..thanks for replying to me so fast...i was thinking that relative to her stress level, yes she has a pretty high stress level. I am a mother of three, 10,6 and 11 mos. My husband is a police officer..need i say more. We have alot of stress directly correlated to his stress levels and his shift work.
    I noticed last nite that after I allowed her to come out of her room..after HOURS of putting her back to bed and revisiting the screaming and yelling...she told me the voices arent there when she is with someone and they never tell her to do things, I tried to explain to her that everyone has a conscience that speaks, but it wasnt working at one in the morning.
    Both of my eldest kids have been showing me signs of their heavy burdens and I have just been so burned out. I am finishing my masters, running this house, working and have the police "single mom" syndrome. I really appreciate yous lending an ear, my mind starts to work overtime and think the worst sometimes. Not to mention the fact that I am sans support system here where I live.
    Kimmip
  • Wow. You do have a busy life.

    Hugs to you.

    We are here to lend an ear at all times!!
  • Quote: you guys are awesome..thanks for replying to me so fast...i was thinking that relative to her stress level, yes she has a pretty high stress level. I am a mother of three, 10,6 and 11 mos. My husband is a police officer..need i say more. We have alot of stress directly correlated to his stress levels and his shift work.
    I noticed last nite that after I allowed her to come out of her room..after HOURS of putting her back to bed and revisiting the screaming and yelling...she told me the voices arent there when she is with someone and they never tell her to do things, I tried to explain to her that everyone has a conscience that speaks, but it wasnt working at one in the morning.
    Both of my eldest kids have been showing me signs of their heavy burdens and I have just been so burned out. I am finishing my masters, running this house, working and have the police "single mom" syndrome. I really appreciate yous lending an ear, my mind starts to work overtime and think the worst sometimes. Not to mention the fact that I am sans support system here where I live.
    Kimmip
    Bless your heart. I didn't know that your DH was a cop. What type of police officer is he? (Vice, traffic, etc...) I know that is one of the MOST demanding and stressful careers out there with a high rate of suicide and divorce. Do you think that you working on your Master's could also be a contributing factor to the children's stress levels? I know that I go to school full-time and it is extremely stressful. I know people who have children who go to school and I don't know how they do it. What are you getting your Master's in?

    Something that I used to do with my children that they still find to be a comfort, and I wonder if "comfort" is something that your kids need? Anyway, I would set aside 1 day a week or every 2 weeks, depending on the age and the need, to do something special. This was mommy/son or mommy/daughter time. The other members of the family were not invited. When the kids got older, and I would forget, my kids made sure that they reminded me that I hadn't made that special time with them. We had family time and we had parent/child time. I wanted my children to know that they were special as family members as well as individuals.

    Also, I am a person who has suffered from severe insomnia. I believe it stems from childhood. Here are some things that I believe that will help your DD. Never do anything stressful in her room such as homework, punishment, etc... I think that if you allow her to have time-out in her room as you might do with a normal child, it might reinforce her fears that bedtime and the bedroom is a bad or scary place. What about allowing her to have a mother/daughter slumber party in her room? This may sound silly, and maybe it is, but you could invite her voices to join in the fun. Bring some sandwiches, cookies, and other goodies. You could plan some fun activities that would start out being energetic and end up relaxing to help your DD relax and sleep. You could each other foot massages, paint toenails, and etc... That would be some relaxing activities that might help her relax enough to go to sleep and yet be fun.

    If her voices only come when she is alone, what about having her go pick out a stuffed animal or doll to sleep with her?

    I sure hope you get things worked out soon. I am sure you are about to lose your ever loving mind. Also, don't forget about the other children who aren't having as severe a problem. I have a DS who has Tourette's Syndrome and I would find myself spending a lot of attention on his problems at the expense of my DD, whom I would forget. I had to remember to balance the attention of both kids and not just the one who was having problems. Good luck!
  • my husband has been a police officer for almost 15 years and we have been married for 12. He currently works in patrol and is becoming more hypervigilant on a daily basis. Ironically enough Im finishing my masters in forensic psych and I focus on police and family and research in those areas. Thats probably the only way we have been able to stay together due to that fact that I have been so..i dont know how to explain it.
    come bedtime i am so burnt its just everyone get in bed...there is no story, there is no lengthy ritual, its so hard, the 10 yeard screams her stomach hurts and is going to puke, the 6 year old is hearing voices and the baby wont sleep anywhere but with me in the bed. DH works permanent seconds so I am the end all be all.
  • Kimmi, interestingly, I got my BA in psychology with my minor in forensics. I will start grad school on the 27th to work on my clinical Masters degree so that I can end up working as a forensic psychologist.

    I know that is it so difficult to make logical decisions when we are emotionally in the situation. Feel free to PM me if you need to talk at any time. I know it has GOT to be difficult to be married to a police officer, have 3 children, and go to school full time.
  • i hope to start my phd in community psychology in aug 08...thanks i think i will pm ya