I am the stepmother to a five year old, I have no children myself. The little girl spends half her time with her dad and I, and half her time with her mother and stepfather. We have a routine; teeth, snack, drink, hugs, books.... sometimes its easy, other nights she whines and cries until 'daddy' gives in. I never do, I tell him not too... but he always does. It drives me crazy! & I feel bad for the little girl because she was a broken household and so many people have been in and out of her life at such as young age; but when does it stop... Is there always going to be the excuse, "She just misses her daddy." "Her mom doesn't pay attention to her" It's always excuse after excuse. I just want her to go to bed when it bedtime. any suggestions??
Well, I have to say that most young kids don't go to bed easily all the time. Even at 2 my son sometimes goes down with no fuss, but more often then not he fights it. My 4 and 7 year old nephews do the same thing.
The routine and consistent bedtime are good. Unfortunately, the only way the whining will change is for daddy to not give in, and of course maturity (a long way away). There will always be nights where she whines and complains about it, but it's important to be firm (not angry) and consistent.
Also, do you know what the routine is at her mom's house? If it's not similar or if the whining/complaining allows her to stay up there, then she knows it works. It's so hard when kids go back and forth like this, especially if mom and dad are not on good terms and not communicating. Consistency in a child's life is so important, and it would be great if the routine could be the same at both parents house.
It's not excuses the way adults make excuses. Its a young child who is going to do what she has been taught is acceptable. She has learned this by the actions she is taking working. She's just doing what any normal kid her age would do.
Well, this is a pretty common problem with young kids which she still qualifies for. I can't even tell you how many kids and parents I know that don't love bed time. I took a school sponsored parenting program------ weeks long and you know what a major issue that every household had? Bed time! Also morning rush hour in the house was another time that parents and kids clash. So, don't isolate this to her and understand that it is normal.
My own boys will also balk at bed times sometimes. Here are some things I do, Plan ahead! Don't start anything that may have to be interrupted that she might be unhappy about. If she watches a program, slip in and turn the show off as soon as it is over so she doesn't see what is on next. That kind of thing. It does sound like you have a night time routine pretty set. Maybe have one other short book and offer her "ONE more story" or 5 minutes. But once that is up, then time is up. You or her dad don't have to get mad, just tell her that you don't want her to be tired the next day as not getting enough sleep makes us all grumpy and that's that.
My husband can't get my kids to go to bed and he is an active dad and with them a lot. But his style is one that just doesn't always get the results that I get. I'm not a super strict mom, I just am the boss.
Anyway, it sounds like your partner has a soft spot for her and wants to deal with this differently than you and that is really the heart of the issue. She's just being a kid----------- but your partner isn't agreeing with your assessment about this bed time thing. Either just let him deal with it or try to reach a compromise with him. good luck
Whether or not the child is the genetic offspring of both parents, any couple will usually find that when a child wants more attention at bedtime, one parent is more likely to hug the child and the other is more likely to take a hard line. If you have a baby in the future, you'll probably look back at this complaint some day when your child is acting up at bedtime, and shake your head and smile.
My only suggestion is, when talking to her dad about it, be sure to take a sympathetic and constructive tone even if at first you have to bite your tongue and simply pretend you feel sympathetic to the 5-year-old. Arguing about it (especially if it comes to hissing annoyed remarks at him when she is doing it and he is trying to comfort her) will only escalate tension between the two of you, which is entirely useless. The only constructive thing to do is to come at it from the point of view of being genuinely interested in helping the girl manage her fears and loneliness. Never let him conclude that you would just rather she go to bed because you don't like whiny children who manipulate by crying and it annoys you. If any of that tone creeps in, he will just think you are unempathetic to a little child who needs protection in the world, or he'll think you are jealous. Don't let any such thoughts gain a foothold in his mind.
A lot of stepparents write in on this site with questions along these lines, almost invariably "that little brat gets away with murder and my spouse lets him," not "how can I better understand what a child goes through when his two main stabilizers in the world, his mom and dad, are no longer together, and what can I do to help make his life more certain?" Even with this great of an attitude, a stepparent is not going to solve bedtime, but at least your husband will welcome you as an ally if you take this approach, instead of a hostile observer ready to pounce.
I had this problem with my daughter for a few weeks finally I told her we were not gonna whine and cry anymore that when it was bed time that was it. I got firm with her and that was it now at 6 I don't even have to tuck her in she finds me gives me a kiss and hug and goes and puts herself in bed. Too bad being firm didn't work on her behavior at school tho
That is part of the problem- at her mother's house they have a dog & she has a younger sister. At our house "she is alone" in her big girl bed. That is part of the issue why dad feels he always needs to run to her when she cries, or has one more question, wants one more drink, etc. Mom doesn't have set times/ rules, such as we do. I could handle once in a while, but its more often than not. One week thou she is ok, the next week she is crying nightly.
Sometimes, I just think, it's gotta end eventually, right?! Like she's not gonna be crying & making a fuss in like 3 years... LOL
Thanks for your input; I try & stay netrual with a sympathetic and constructive tone as much as possible, but a reminder sometimes is def. nesscary.... I feel for this little girl because I know how hard it must be with two houses & two sets of rules; I wish her mother were more reasonable that we could discuss things like this with her!
What her mother is or does really isn't the point. When I was a kid, I stayed at my grandma's sometimes in the summer, and we went to bed by her rules and did it her way. Even at 5 a child is old enough to accept that different places are run differently, and they can accept that easily. Don't let your annoyance with the ex make the kid into a flash point for you. She is not her mother, and her problems are not her mother acting up.
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