08-16-2021 11:23 PM
My daughter is 12. She's recently went on a one month vacation with her dads side of the family(we are separated) Since returning home she's had a huge issue falling asleep and staying asleep. The first night she cried for hours and said she didn't know why she was crying or why she was upset. She later said that she was scared to stay home by herself the next day so I thought maybe that's what caused the anxiety that night but it has continued for a week now. Every night she either has to fall asleep on the couch next to me and go to her bed later at night or I have had to lay with her in her bed until she falls asleep. I’ve asked her all the heart wrenching questions that parents fear such as Did something happen while she was away or even in our home to make her uncomfortable, did someone touch her inappropriately and so on. She assures me nothing has happened and that she doesn’t know why she’s having such a hard time sleeping. Is this normal for a girl her age? My next step is to bring her to the doctor but I don't want to scare her or make it worse by bringing her to a doctor and forcing her to speak about something that's bothering her.
08-17-2021 04:31 PM
Hi @kweir and welcome to the ReachOut forums - thank you for sharing your worries with us.
I'm sorry to hear your daughter is having such a hard time with sleep.
It's not uncommon for young people to have issues with sleep, and there are some tips on supporting a young person with sleep issues here in case it's helpful.
I can hear that you're feeling concerned because your daughter just came back from a long trip away with her dad's side of the family. Has she gone on a big trip with them before or struggled with emotions or sleep after visiting her dad before?
Transitions and change can be tough on young people, so perhaps she just needs some TLC.
You know her best, so if you feel there's more to it than that, do you think it would help if she had someone outside the family to talk to (eg. a school counsellor)?
It sounds like this has been really worrying and stressful for you too - do you have anyone you can seek support from?
08-18-2021 01:20 AM
It was rather freaky seeing the header of your message in the list, because I'd logged in myself with the same issue with my 15 year old daughter. She's also been having trouble sleeping, and I come to you as one who is struggling for help, explanations and answers rather than a pathway forward. My daughter was recently in hospital and then ended up on a heart monitor for a month, which turned out okay but she's had a lot of stress, and I don't know about you, but we live in Greater Sydney and have been in lockdown for about 6 weeks now. The university of Sydney held a webinar recently about covid and young people and almost as a side point, they mentioned that people in transition were affected most were people in transition and of all age groups, young people are probably at the greatest time of transition. I don't know if that's why your daughter isn't sleeping, but I don't think anyone around me is really what I'd call "okay". One of my introverted friends said that she's even wanting to say hello to strangers when she's out walking her dog now.
I also come from a family of nightowls and covid isolation and lockdowns have exacerbated my own difficulties and I'm now getting to bed between 1.00-3.00am. I'm a writer/researcher so it's also quieter for me to work at night.
I used to be quite regular here in the forums, and we talked about connecting with your children by going for drives and doing activities where you're not giving them direct eye contact so it doesn't look like you're trying to interrogate them. This can provide a good opportunity for them to open up. Board games are also good. The Voice and the Olympics have also lured our son out of his room. He's 17.
I went to some talks at the high school nd they addressed some of the things which an really stress developing teens out, and which still fall into what seems to be a fairly broad category of "normal teenage behavior". There was one young man who was refusing to go to school because the hair on one leg had grown suddenly but not the other and he didn't want to be seen like this in his school shorts. There are things going on in their minds that we could never even contemplate. I could say the same, by the way, about my own mind. I guess the important thing is to maintain connection and that she knows she is loved.
I don't know if that helps but I do care.
08-18-2021 01:17 PM
I really like the ideas and thoughts you shared @Birdwings - these are certainly challenging times, especially in lockdown. You're so right when you say it's hard to know what goes through our young people's minds sometimes, but it's inspiring to see such loving and devoted parents doing their all to support them in any way they can.