6 year old still sleeping with parents

Dburgueno74 - posted on 08/28/2014 ( 7 moms have responded )

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I view this as a huge problem. My 6 year old stepdaughter still sleeps in our bed. Her father will not tell her no and makes absolutely no effort to even try to get her to sleep on her own. He's gone 4 days a week and home only 2 days so you can imagine my frustration. I have 3 older children and they have never co-starred a bed with me. I didn't mind so much when my stepdaughter was 3. Now I think she's a little old to be in the parents bed. That is our sanctuary, yet my husband feels otherwise. She cries, he gives in. The child has no structure whatsoever. He won't even make her go to bed at an appropriate hour. There are lots of issues with this. Please help!!!!!

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Serena - posted on 08/28/2014

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You need to speak to your husband, it is extremely important to get her out of your bed immediately! My son slept in our bed until he was 3 and that was WAY too long. Find out other FUN solutions for her sleeping in her own room; pictures on the wall, fun night lights, etc. If you make her room the way she wants it cute, girly, and tell her she is being a big girl! Makes a huge difference!!! IF YOU make things sound fun and exciting she will absolutely want to sleep in her own room. My husband and I weren't in the best area of town when my son was sleeping in our bed, but when we moved to a different house and part of town I rushed him into his own room but it was a little easier he had a baby brother who bunked in the same room for a couple of years. He did wake up for awhile at night and come into my room and I would ALWAYS usher him back to his room to sleep in his own bed, plus I was grumpy by being awoken in the middle of the night by him and not his younger brother, but he picked up fast that sleeping with mom and dad was not an option any longer. So, put your foot down with your hubby and daughter and tell them it is no longer acceptable or you will be suffering forever! Or it will seem like forever anyway.....hope this helps and stay strong.

Chet - posted on 08/29/2014

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It's hard to explain the situation if you aren't completely clear on the problem yourself. You keep throwing dramatically different issues into this!! Your original post was only about sleeping arrangements.

Bed sharing isn't necessarily a problem. Not getting enough sleep is a problem. If there are schedule issues that are causing your step daughter to not be properly rested I would approach the issue from that angle. Where she sleeps is secondary at this stage. First solve the problem of not getting enough sleep and/or making sure she wakes up at a time that is appropriate for getting back to school.

Is there anything stopping you from getting your step daughter to sleep at the time her mom would like? If you suggest she come to bed to hear a story or listen to some nice music together will she go along with that? If you make bedtime a special time that she looks forward to she may be happy to have you put her to bed even if her dad won't do it. Our girls didn't resist bedtime, even as toddlers and preschoolers, because they loved being read to so much and I'd read for a long time.

Really, the same goes for meal time. If scheduling is your strong suit and not her dad's, and you want to support the schedule her mom is attempting to establish, then you could just serve meals when you think they should be served.

I'd like to add too though, that you might want to consider cutting this child and her father both a little bit of slack. If she's going back and forth between your home and her mom's, and her dad is away for work a lot of the time, it sounds like the responsibility for her care is being handed around a lot.

You also sound pretty sensible, so it's surprising that you'd marry someone who would be keen on sabotaging his ex over his chlld's need to wake up for school on time. I wonder if part of this is just about a dad who doesn't see his daughter much and who wants the time he has to not be confrontational, and if some of your step daughter's challenging behaviour is about difficultly dealing with the transitions. Families where one parent travels for work often struggle with the disruption when the travelling parent comes home. They want those days to be nice, but instead they're chaos.

Acceptable levels of nudity and modesty are extremely individual. I'd leave the bathroom issue alone as long as both dad and daughter aren't uncomfortable, and as long as your step daughter doesn't have issues with respecting other people's privacy. It's fair for you to insist that she respect your need for privacy in the bathroom for example. If's fair for your other children to insist on their privacy too. There is no particular reason kids can't see their parents naked after a particular age as long as neither feels awkward... but definitely work on boundaries with other people if she isn't respecting the boundaries they set.

I absolutely understand the issues that go along with hugely permissive parenting, and if your real question is "how do you live with a permissive parent when you're a stricter parent?" this is my answer :

1. Pick your battles. Some of the stuff doesn't matter, or isn't worth the fight. Plus, it's often good for kids to have a parent who is more relaxed and one who is more strict. They balance each other out. They demonstrate different ways of doing things.

2 .Take the lead on stuff that matters. If bedtime really needs to happen a certain way, take responsibility for bedtime.

3. Consider yourself fortunate that permissive dad is only around two days a week. Some parents are struggling with a permissive parent who is around all the time, and who openly mocks or shames the stricter parent in front of the kids.

4. Frame things up with your husband like you're on the same team. Point out issues (Suzy needs to be awake by 7am for school) and give him space to suggest solutions. When people feel criticized their natural response is to defend themselves. and to defend what they're doing. Don't come to him with parenting things he's doing wrong, point out actual developmental, behavioural or social shortcomings that you and he need to help this little girl through together.

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Dburgueno74 - posted on 08/29/2014

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If you thought this situation was funny you are jackass and shouldn't be on this sight at all Anonymous.

Dburgueno74 - posted on 08/29/2014

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It's very hard to explain to someone who isn't in the same situation. Her mother is trying to get her on a schedule for school purposes and trying to get her out of the spoiled stage. My husband fights it every step of the way. For every bit of progress that's made with her, he does the opposite purely for the fact that he doesn't like his daughter's mom. I think that's wrong. Everyone who knows us can see exactly what's going on with this child, and trust me there is nothing normal about this situation. The only time she acts the way she does is when daddy comes home from work. She knows what she can get away with and daddy won't put his foot down and say no to her. I think that's an issue. As far as the bathroom thing goes, I do not find it acceptable for a 6 year old girl to see a grown man naked, or a grown woman either. My other two children are both boys and it's not even acceptable for her to walk in the bathroom with them.

Chet - posted on 08/29/2014

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A lot of the stuff you're complaining about are differences in parenting style, and not things that will necessarily wreck a child for life.

Our kids don't have a set bath time. They get baths when they're dirty. We also have a very open door policy on the bathroom. It's a long story, but the short version is that it works for us. And our kids are okay. Every teacher and specialist at their school will tell you so.

When I was growing up we didn't have set mealtimes. My dad worked shift work. Sometimes we'd eat early as a family before he went to work. Sometimes we'd eat late as a family after he got home. Sometimes me and my brother would eat together and my mom would wait to eat with my dad when he got home really, really late. Not all families have set meal times. It's okay. It's just hugely annoying for people who do have set meal times.

You don't know that your step daughter is regressing because of how her father treats her. None of the things you're concerned about are uncommon. Children often go through phases of having tantrums, and they often go through phases of wanting to sleep with a parent.

For the tantrums, you need to figure out what a child is trying to say and help them learn to express it or cope with it in a better way. For the sleeping arrangements, that isn't necessarily a problem. Some families are happy to bed share. It works for some people even when kids are school aged.

This isn't to say that kids don't need structure and boundaries, but so far you haven't given any examples of how this little girls is failing to succeed and how it can be traced back to specific things happening with her dad. If she has friends, gets on okay at school, is able to participate in activities, is getting enough sleep, is eating a balanced diet and has the capacity regulate how much she eats, etc she's probably fine.

Dburgueno74 - posted on 08/29/2014

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My husband and I have been together for 31/2 years, married for one. He has been getting progressively worse over time, the older his daughter gets. His actions towards her are causing her to regress. Like I said, she is 6 years old. She has started throwing tantrums again, which she hasn't done in a very long time. She was sleeping in our room, but on the floor. Now she refuses to even sleep there. He gives her no structure whatsoever....no bathtime, no set bedtime, no set mealtime, let's her pretty much do whatever she wants. I have an 11 year old and a 15 year old of my own and they most certainly have boundaries. My husband even still lets his daughter go into the bathroom with him while he does his business. I've tried to talk to him about this, but instead of taking a step back and seeing things from my point of view he gets defensive and accuses me of trying to tell him how to raise his daughter. Even his daughter's mother agrees with me on this. It's very concerning to me because the only person this will hurt is his daughter and he's too selfish to see it. I honestly don't know what to do.

Chet - posted on 08/29/2014

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If there are a lot of issues I would tackle one at a time. Too many changes too quickly is likely to generate a lot of resistance and very little change.

Many parents start by transitioning kids to a mattress on the floor or to their own bed next to the family bed. Some parents let the child fall asleep in the family bed, and move the child to their own bed once they're are asleep (with the child aware that this will happen). Some compromise by laying down with the child in their own bed until they fall asleep. Some insist that kids start out their own bed, but promise kids can move if they wake up at night (to the family bed, or to the mattress on the floor).

There are people who feel that bed sharing is completely wrong with children, or with children past a certain age. I'm not one of them though. Sleeping alone is something fairly modern for the human race, and it's something that, even today, only happens in certain parts of the world. Humans evolved sleeping in groups, and some kids feel that need more strongly than others. My preference has always been to help a child feel comfortable leaving, but not to push them away.

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