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9 year old co-sleeping (breaking away)
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9 year old co-sleeping (breaking away)

9 y/o little girl co-sleeping with her mother (and my girlfriend), and will absolutely not settle for her mother not being in bed with her until SHE falls asleep.

It's more than a temper-tantrum that she throws, if she even SENSES that it's not going to happen (I've witnessed it with my own 2 eyes). It's outright TERROR. There seems to be a deep-seeded fear of abandonment there, although we can't quite figure out why.

Any words of advice to break the cycle? We both know it's not her fault, and understand that positive reinforcement is the way to go, and not negative, so anything you've got... I'm all ears.

I won't go into detail about the why's, although I'm sure it's fairly important to know the history (if you've got some words of wisdom, please PM me for the full story).
9 Comments Post a Comment
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5914096_tn?1376655554
I think it is going to be difficult giving you sound recommendations and advice if you do not elaborate on the why's.
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13167_tn?1327197724
This is really no different probably than extinguishing a phobia - which is actually not all that hard to do.

I'm trusting this is truly fear on the girl's part and not some very  strongly driven desire to control her mother,  that has no fear component to it.

To extinguish a phobia,  you just very calmly go through the steps that will be taken,  and they will be slow.  

First night (tonight) will be exactly the same as usual.  I'll stay there til you fall asleep, I promise.  Tomorrow night,  I'll sit in a chair in the room and won't leave until you fall asleep,  I promise.  Do that for several nights.  Now I'll sit outside the room where you can see me,  until you fall asleep.

This may take a couple weeks,  and she may have setbacks along the way but if it's fear, it should extinguish itself.

On the other hand,  I think it would be a very good idea to seek counseling for her for whatever this "history" is that you're reluctant even to post on an anonymous bulletin board.  She probably needs help with that.
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1310633_tn?1289313024
Excellent suggestion... She's going to give it a shot this evening and see how it goes.

To elaborate a little: the girls father (g'friends ex husband) DRILLED into both children (there's an 7.5 y/o brother that seems to have escaped this little 'curse'), that when their mother left him, she abandoned THEM. The reality, is that he is a controlling, manipulative, egotistical, narsicist and she left HIM because she could no longer tolerate the abuse, but as is often the case in divorces, he put the children directly in the middle, rather trying to shield them from the situation (long, drawn out, ugly custody 'battle'). Still, whenever the opportunity arises, he tells that over and over (both children have related stories of how "mommy isn't ever coming back, is she" and "you took mommy away from us, didn't you" sorta stuff) that they'll be lucky if they ever see her again.

Never would she abandon or leave her children. She was simply trying to escape an abusive, thrice married previously, airline pilot that never really grew up.

Sorry if that was a bit choppy. It's hard to put 14 years of relationship history into a concise little easy'serve short story!

Needless to say, I'm none too fond of this person. That said, I ask that they text him and call him, and don't talk trash about him or call him names (which isn't reciprocated, as I have a nickname that he uses for me that the kids have told me about... "the parasite").

Does that she'd a little light?
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973741_tn?1342346373
Was this mom out of their lives for a period of time though?  For whatever reason??  

I will tell you that when mom decides that a child needs to not sleep with her any longer when it has been providing some comfort to them both because she has met a man, well.  I think that is really hard on a child.  I personally think that spending the night with a boyfriend should happen on nights that the kids are at the other parents house until a couple is officially married.  I'm not very modern in this regard but I see so many women bring men into their home and into their kids lives (and men too) and then it doesn't last and the whole family has to go through a huge break up.  It's just so hard on kids.  

I am not sure if this is the woman you have mentioned previously in the other forum, but if so----  don't think for a minute that how you met isn't part of this problem.  THAT would make any child very insecure.  

I think this situation is much more complex than simply a child trying to sleep with their mom if it is the same woman.  I would tread very lightly.  

good luck
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13167_tn?1327197724
I share specialmom's concerns.  Did she,  in fact,  leave them?

I know you love your girlfriend,  and hate this ex,  but from a child's perspective if she did in fact leave and leave them with the ex,  and take up with you,  that's abandonment.  

I know full grown people who can't get over that kind of abandonment by their mothers.  

When you say,  "never would she abandon and leave her children",  did she,  in fact do that?
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1310633_tn?1289313024
She left her EX, and moved into an apartment, by herself. Throughout the course of the divorce, she shared custody with the now-EX. She was never out of the picture, ever, unless it was at times when it wasn't "her turn" to have them.

I have my house, she has her apartment (even now).

The divorce took 22 months, and in that time, I was around the children 4 times (and that was right at the very beginning of the process). We felt it was better to not confuse them with my presence.

Were they aware I existed? Yes. Did they know that their mother was spending time with me during the times that they were with their father? Yes.

As for the direct question of did she abandon her children? Absolutely not. She left the house of her abuser. She could not take the children with her, as he would have called the police and called it kidnapping (he threatened her with that nugget, in an attempt to get her to stay).

I guess what I'm hearing from everyone, is that she and I completely mishandled the situation, and the children will be jacked up for the rest of their lives because of what we did, not anything that their a$$hole of a father has done to them.

Cheers guys!
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13167_tn?1327197724
elemenoh,  we don't know you.  All we know is what we are reading on an anonymous internet forum.   And the experience we have with life.

From the child's perspective,  she abandoned her children to be with you.  

I know you are very defensive about this,  sorry.  It's upsetting that since he's such a monster she left her children with him without her protection.  

If she "left the house of her abuser",  she left her innocent helpless children with him without her protection.

I know you're very interested in her,  but I think it would help for you to take a very deep breath and look at what she's done.  What SHE'S done,  not what she tells you her ex who she abandoned her kids to has done.

Best wishes.  None of this is your fault.
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13167_tn?1327197724
BTW,  just for her information,  when a woman calls the cops and says she needs to leave an abuser and wants to take her kids with her temporarily,  it's almost always allowed.   The father wouldn't be allowed to call it "kidnapping".  There's something else going on here,  and I suspect you're too enamored with her to see this situation clearly.

Again,  best wishes.
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1310633_tn?1289313024
Forgot to mention that she's been sleeping with mommy for quite a while now. LONG before I came into the picture. Like, since she was able to climb out of the crib.

So easy for everyone here to Monday-Morning-Quarterback this situation.

Should never have asked. Knew it would bring the judgemental's out of the woodwork.

If I'm a bit defensive, please excuse me. Standing by and watching a loved one be abused is a tough pill to swallow.

Some of the things this animal has done to her and the children, I wouldn't have believed if I hadn't seen/heard it with my own ears. I didn't know men like this existed. He's less than a man, actually.

Thanks for the words of wisdom on my ORIGINAL question, about the co-sleeping thing. The only reason I provided background information, is for help on THAT topic. Wasn't really looking for advice on what we SHOULD have done, or how we SHOULD have handled the situation.

What's done is done. What to do about it NOW was what I was after, but me thinks me asketh too much.

Done with this. Back to CE where it's safe.
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