Need Advice Fast.


New Member
I am a single parent of a 4 year old girl and a 5 month old boy. My daughter has refused to go to bed for the past year or so. She won't stay in bed, she won't go to sleep. She has complete meltdowns where she won't do anything I tell her to, no matter what the consequence is. I feel as if I have tried everything! I put her in time out, spanked her, even put her in a corner once. I have told her, if you get up again, I'm taking away all of your toys. (Wasted a lot of money that way.) No matter what the consequence, she doesn't care!

Does anyone else have a stubborn, defiant 4 year old girl?? Any advice?


Well-Known Member
Lots of us do, but they are like that for different reasons. Has she ever been evaluated? How is her development? Is it on time? Did she walk/talk on schedule? Can she communicate well? Is she sensitive to food, fabric, light, sound? Do you have any mood disorders or substance abuse on the family tree on either side?
My son used to throw his time out chair at us if we put him in it. He's doing really well now at 14, but we had rough going at first. He didn't sleep for the first two years we adopted him. In fact, he'd walk right out the front door at night so we had to make sure we had locks he couldn't control. At her age, in my opinion, the best you can do, diagnosis and intervention-wise (and it probably won't be 100% accurate) is to take her to a team of experts called a Multi-Disciplinary Evaulation. They do them at university and children's hospitals, and they can at least point you to areas that may be causing her behaviors. If she needs extra help, they will tell you where to go. My son had two of these--and they never did get his core problem 100% right, but they were able to pick up trouble spots and get him help in school, which he desperately needed. I don't think he'd be doing so well today without his early interventions. You may also want to contact a developmental pediatrician, but at age four, I'd go with the MDE first. Either that or a neuropsychologist, who basically does all the work that the MDE does.
In the meantime, as far as her going to bed, I would adapt the "pick your battles" approach.

In other words, is your child sleeping in her own bed worth the meltdown that ensues while trying to enforce it (especially when she usually ends up somewhere else anyways?) I say, let her pick where she sleeps. It is much more important THAT she sleeps than WHERE she sleeps. I'm not saying roll out the red carpet and she can do whatever she wants. I mean, if she needs to sleep with you, allow that. If she is more comfortable on the floor, let it happen. If she crashes on the couch, leave her there.

In the grand scheme of things, this is not so bad.

We have a book that we recommend around here called "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene. It covers the "picking your battles" concept. Get your hands on that book, and follow up on the evaluations.

Welcome to the board.


New Member
I, too, have a very tempermental 4yo girl who had been having major meltdowns over sleeping alone for about 6 weeks. After meeting with a counselor a few times, she was diagnosis with-ODD & we are awaiting an MDE with a local behavioral pediatrician. In the meantime, the "silent back to sleep" method actually worked for us. It took some time & was extremely frustrating but, once we decided that it was in everyone's best interest for her to sleep in her own bed again, that was how we did it. But, that's something you have to decide for yourself, like Big Bad Kitty mentioned... it may not be a battle worth fighting.

I'm not qualified to give advice, but I do offer my heartfelt prayers. Hang in there, take each day (or night) as it comes... and, make sure you have a lot of support, personally. It's so much easier to handle a difficult child when you have an encouraging circle of support! Not that it's ever "easy"... just that it's so much harder when you go it alone.
Flutterby, of course you are qualified to give advice! If something worked for you, by all means, share it!

You, like everyone here, are a warrior mom.


New Member
Liquid melatonin, in the 1mg/dropper form.

The ONLY thing that would allow my oldest easy child to sleep. She's now up to about 2.5 mg/day, but without it she would be up all night, every night, (and she was!)


My stubborn, defiant 4 year old is now 12, but been there done that with bedtime. She just did not require as much sleep as most. My son slept 10-12 hours a night at that age, difficult child slept 6 at the most. For my sanity, she had to be in bed by a certain time, but she could color, read, etc until she fell asleep.


New Member
GNC sells melatonin in 1mg cherry chewables. My 4 year old takes them on the advice of both the pediatrician and the psychiatric. They are AWESOME!