My boyfriends kids won't sleep through the night or by themselves. Help?

Carly - posted on 12/03/2012 ( 12 moms have responded )




My boyfriend's six year old won't go to bed by herself, she cries and screams, he says she has seperation anxiety.

His three year old will go down if he tries, most times he puts her in bed with him and moves her.

She usually wakes crying either from bed wetting (which also involves screaming) or because of a bad dream or just because he is not there with her.

We've been together for over a year, the only thing he has done to fix the problem is instead of them sleeping together he now puts a matress in the lounge and gets them to sleep there while he sleeps on the couch.

He has custody 50/50 and says he can't do anything because, 1) nothing works, 2) their mom lets them all sleep together and 3) because one will wake the other up if he tries to get them into their own beds.

Now he also says that it's too hot to put them in their own beds and so in the lounge they have airconditioning.

When I sleep over, he wants to sleep with me in the bed - but I can't if they're all in there - I can't sleep or stay asleep because there is not room and the kids often make noises (its hard enough to sleep with him snoring away!)

So instead when I'm around he tries to get them into their own beds, fine for the three yr old cause he moves her in after she's asleep, bad for the six year old cause she will scream and cry, so she goes to sleep on the floor in the room or he has to take her into her room and sleep with her.

If he wakes up he will come into the bed again with me, but the kids will wake crying.

I tell him just sleep with them if you don't want to do anything about it.

And when I suggest getting help he tells me he has been parenting for 9 years cause his ex had two other kids and he knows best.

I get told they will grow out of it, but all the reseach says it will be a long time, especially for the three year old. I dont know what to do. I know there's things that he could do to help it, but I don't think I can go through year's of being woken up by the kids every night. He says I'm selfish and am trying to drive his kids away, am I? Is this normal?


Amy - posted on 12/04/2012




I am not seperated from my husband and my 6 1/2 year old son and 2 1/2 year old daughter do not sleep through the night most nights. Neither of them will go to sleep on their own, in the past the more I've pushed them to be independent the clingier they have become, I figure its something that will come with time. If it bothers you don't stay over while the kids are there, if your boyfriend really wants them sleeping on their own it will have to be his decision.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 12/03/2012




Maybe he WANTS to sleep with them, and you are making him feel like he is not suppose to. Yes I think you are being selfish. But you are not these kids parents. So the fix? Don't sleep over when the kids are there. See? Problem solved. You have only been with him not even a year. His kids are 6 and 3. He has been parenting them longer than he has known you, and yes he does know what is best for his kids. Sounds to me like you do not have kids of your own, and that makes it very easy to criticize other parents when you have not lived through it with your own kids.

It is not your place to do anything. Certainly not your place to tell him how to handle his kids. He is normal. It sounds like you feel you are more important than his kids, so yes he is right. He feels you do not understand and are trying to tell him what to do with his own kids.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 12/04/2012




I don't think he should just do something when you are there. It will make the kids worry when you are around. He may honestly want to do something, but really not want to. I know what it is like to want to change sleeping habits, but find comfort in what is happening. I know that may not make sense, but it is true. He may like the idea of having nights a bit more freed up, but at the same time finds comfort when he is sleeping with his kids. Being right there for them.

Jodi - posted on 12/03/2012




"I dont know what to do. I know there's things that he could do to help it, but I don't think I can go through year's of being woken up by the kids every night."

I agree with the other ladies, BUT if I could just address this comment. Even if children DON'T co-sleep, they can spend years waking you at night. My daughter didn't stop waking us regularly at night (due to various reasons) until she was about 6-7. I would suggest that if you can't go through years of being woken up by kids every night that you don't ever have any children, because unfortunately that just goes with the territory.

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Ev - posted on 06/08/2013




Its not about the research and what it says and how well what the findings say work. Its about the kids once again and their needs. How long has the mother and father been apart? How bad was the break up of the parents? If things were bad during the break up and splitting of the family, it will be found in the kids reactions through the day and especially at night. They have just lost the world they have known where their mom and dad were in the home with them. Kids at these ages do not have the words to express how they feel so it comes out in a lot of other ways such as the screaming and waking in the middle of the night or all night long. Also, there might be other ways that the kids act out such as fighting going to bed unless the parent they are with goes with them. During other times of day or evening they may act out in other ways such as melt downs, fits, and refusal to do things they would normally do.

Coming into the scene, you do not know all the details of what has gone on before you came and only know what you have been told. Dealing with kids who have gone through a tough time is not easy and needs some understanding. The suggestion of coming to stay over when the kids are not around is a feasible idea and not a bad one. At least he would be able to give you all the attention you want. But if you are going to be around for the long haul, be prepared to share the time with the kids when they are there and everything that goes with them. As they grow older and can understand more so of what is going on it will get easier for them and they will eventually sleep all night in their own beds. But until then, you will have to put up with what is going on.

Dove - posted on 06/08/2013




Nicola.... I know several happily married families that have family beds and also single parent homes where the kids do sleep on their own, so... your theory is quite flawed.

Nicola - posted on 06/08/2013




Carly, Hope all is well and you are able to see this comment.

It sounds like your bf is having a hard time following through with his goals. Often when single parents sleep with their kids because they are lonely or miss having the "x" around. Think about any family you grew up knowing, if they had a traditional family kids were in bed separated and sleeping at a certain time, no questions asked. Single family homes don't have consistency like traditional families and single parents find themselves subconsciously trying to make up for family shortcomings by overcompensating in a variety of areas. I'm not making this up, it's empirical data that is in every "step" book or co-family guide. My advice would be that you two both hold each other accountable for whatever goals you may have in this relationship. If he keeps mentioning a desire for his lil ones to sleep alone but takes limited, or ineffective actions call him out on it and let him know that you won't accept it just as you would not want him to except some sort of ineptitude in other relationship areas. Sorry for my sloppy post, I hope this helps.... And PS I would get the hell out of there if I was you! Just run. Find somebody with no kids that you can potentially start a "fresh" family with instead of being the nobody in the relationship as you are currently. Let him find a girl with kids and then everyone can be happy.

Carly - posted on 12/03/2012




The only thing I can say to that is he told me he wants them to sleep in their own beds, and he said he has tried everything.

He says he would like to be able to put them to sleep and do stuff around the house etc, but can't because they won't go to sleep until he does.

So it's not just me telling him how to handle his kids, its me wondering if he's just telling me what I want to hear - or if I should try and help.

I'm wondering if other people have had trouble getting kids to sleep on their own after a seperation.

And because I don't have kids I am wondering if it's normal for them to do what they are doing - crying and screaming when asked to go to bed - or waking up everynight and crying until he sleeps with them?

I am also wondering if he should be trying to change things just when I am around?

Shouldn't he be either doing what he usually does or if he does want it to change wouldn't it be better to try and get them into their beds when i'm not around too..

If he had of said he wants to sleep with them then I would not have posted the question.

That's all.

[deleted account]

This says it all for me:

"It is not your place to do anything. Certainly not your place to tell him how to handle his kids. He is normal. It sounds like you feel you are more important than his kids, so yes he is right. He feels you do not understand and are trying to tell him what to do with his own kids. "

Carly - posted on 12/03/2012




Thanks for the advice. Yes we have been together for 16 months now, so just over a year. He has also asked me to marry him. But if I feel like this now about the co sleeping maybe I should step away.

Thanks for the advice.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 12/03/2012




Some parents co-sleep long term. Some parents don't. Sounds like he wants to do it, and once again that is not your place to tell him otherwise.

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