My step son is sleeping over for the first time - HAVE QUESTION

Linda - posted on 05/20/2016 ( 9 moms have responded )




So my step son is four, and he is spending the night for the first time with me and my husband in our home. Our plan was to let him sleep with us since it is a new surrounding and I want him to feel safe, but his mother said she does not allow that at home and not to do it. I cannot tell if this is a tug-of-war (me not wanting to abide by her rules) or if I feel that strongly about him feeling safe and loved in my house. I am too close to the situation to be able to say for certain one way or the other but for whatever reason I am upset about this. I don't want to ignore her demands since it will determine how often we get him, but I don't want him to feel scared sleeping in a new house for the first time. When he comes here I want him to feel safe and loved, not afraid. WHAT WOULD YOU DO? Maybe a conversation with her letting her know why I want him to sleep with us the first night?


Dove - posted on 05/20/2016




She may not want him sleeping w/ you guys because it could make it harder for her to get him to sleep at home... or she may have other reservations about it. Yes, the child's comfort comes first and this is his father as well, but the mother's wishes should be respected as much as possible.

I don't know how long you have been w/ your husband, but I do know that the first time my son had a sleepover w/ his dad (he was 2.75)... there's no way in hell I wanted him in the same bed as his stepmother. There is a LOT of history there though and none of it good. Thankfully in my case my son has older sisters and all was well.

I think your plan to have him in his own room is a good one. Perhaps his dad can sit by his bed until he falls asleep if he's having trouble.

If she is not 'letting' him have reasonable visitations he might want to take it back to court to get visitation time in detail.

Michelle - posted on 05/20/2016




It sounds like she has him sleeping in his own room at home and doesn't want him to get used to sleeping with someone else. It's that simple.
I would be the same. When a child gets used to co-sleeping it's hard to get them back in their room.
If you want to make him feel "safe" then a mattress on the floor in your room could be the solution.
Have you ever had a toddler in your bed? I'll tell you now, you won't get any sleep if you do!!!!


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Rita - posted on 05/22/2016




Not a good idea. All you have to do is leave a nightlight on for the first few nights if needed. I think you are making it more than it needs to be. Don't worry so much you'll be fine. All he needs is love and he will feel safe.

Raye - posted on 05/20/2016




At this stage, I would say not to set a precedent of co-sleeping unless you're prepared to let him sleep in your bed every night until he's 18 and/or moved out. Because once he gets used to it, it will be a fight to get him to change, and it could change his behavior at mom's too (which she will be very upset about, and rightly so). He can and will get used to a new place. Having dad cuddle him in his bed if he's scared would be a good idea. That's what my husband does... now...

After his divorce, my husband let his kids sleep in bed with him because they (the kids and he) were lonely. But after I came in the picture and both of us adults wanted some alone time, it was very difficult to get the kids (especially the younger boy) to sleep in their own beds. Several years later, they're mostly ok with their own rooms, although my step-son still often wants to either sleep with us or sleep in his sister's room (which their mom allows but we don't on school nights because they stay up talking/arguing and don't get good sleep). So this is definitely something that can cause issues across households. Nightmares, storms, etc. can be an exception, but the rule should be sleeping in their own room.

My sister allowed her kids to sleep with her (and her husband slept on the couch) up into their tweens. I don't agree with that at all (or other behaviors that she allowed them to get away with). And her kids are still needy people, now. So, I feel it's best to teach them early to be more independent and comfortable sleeping on their own.

Ev - posted on 05/20/2016




I agree with Dove on that. Dad should be asking for his regular visitation. What is his visitation according to the plan? I do know that 18 years ago once my friend gave birth to her last child and third, her lawyer got it set up she have total legal and physical custody, that she determined the visitation to once a month and certain holidays, that he contacted the courts before planning any out of state trips and had information for both her and court when he did so he could take his kids out of state for visits, and some other things too besides the child support. But that was back in the late 1990's. And their relationship was not good and he did not want more than the first kid they had. Over the years his visitation times became less and less. Now none of the kids want much to do with dad. Graduation was this week for the youngest and it was the first time the 3 had been together in one place of her kids. And this most likely will be he last time they will see their dad for a long time.

Linda - posted on 05/20/2016




She has full custody and basically decides when he can come. I think I need to keep in mind that she may be scared that he will like it here, and not be aware that she has fears that her son will like being here with us. This is a tough balance (step parenting) when I raised my children and quickly get defensive when someone questions my parenting. I will keep that in check when I interact with her (that she has fear and I have defensiveness/fear). I have decided to see how he does on his own, with the doors open, and worst case (if he can't sleep), we can all camp out in the family room :o). This way I am not directly ignoring her instructions, but I am not leaving him alone. Thanks for taking the time to reply and give me another perspective

Sarah - posted on 05/20/2016




First, this is really between your husband and his ex, but he gets to parent the way he deems fit when he has his child. Just as she gets to parents as she deems fit when she has the boy. Does the child sleep in his own room at home and do you have a bedroom prepared for him? Were you planning on having him in the bed with you or on the floor or a cot? Maybe play it by ear, and see how he feels at bedtime, if he seems ok then let him sleep in his own place and tell him that your door will be open if he needs anything. has there just been a change in a custody ruling, why has he night overnighted before now? Just curious.

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