Some years ago my partner, A, and their spouse, B, separated, and now their daughter, O, lives with A and me.
At the time everything was of course incredibly stressful for all involved, but in the intervening time (and with alot of work from us) resulting issues were mostly dealt with and things started to settle down - however the relationship between B and A is hostile at best, there is alot of resentment and bad feelings still.
Recently there were some serious incidents between B and O, and O is worried sick about how they will treat her, what they will say, what questions they will ask when she next has to have contact with them. She has good reason based on past track-record of B to assume that these things won't be friendly.
The result is that O can hardly sleep before 1 or 2 AM each night, as her contact time with B looms. We are trying to figure out a solution to the problem, and I think we will, but until we come up with something she is exhausted each day and stressed due to her lost sleep.
The things we've tried to help her sleep are:
- talking about her problems with her, offering appropriate advice
- listening to her and validating how she feels
- calm music, audiobooks
- making her feel safe so she can talk openly about how she feels
- making it OK to be awake, to avoid stressing about not sleeping (which was an issue before)
- warm milk, hot water bottle, night light
- night rescue, a bach flower remedy
Given how much stress and worry O is under, and that our efforts to reassure her have been proportional to that, is there a way that we can help O deal with her worry and sleep more easily?
We tried something new over the weekend, taking advice from some of the answers here. In the evening, after dinner we had 1 hour of quiet play and talk time, we played card games and fooled around mostly. O talked about her worries during this time and we responded as we would normally, and reassured her that. Then I filled up her hot water bottle, made sure she had her night light and some calm music to listen to, and gave her some night rescue ( a herbal remedy for worries and repetitive thoughts ).
And the result was a good nights sleep - not a peek!