step-mum in need of ALOT of advice!!(13 Posts)
hi, first time on here..
i feel i need to give a back ground of whats happened so far to where we are now, so im sorry, its gonna be a long one!..
until dd was 18 months old he lived with his mother and her partner (though me and dh were unaware that she even had a partner or of anyone else living there).
we got a phonecall from the hospital when dd was 18mo that he had sustained bruises to the head and face and were in no way accidental (luckily we had been away for 5days therefore were out of the frame). the mother insisted she didnt know where they came from, said he fell, blamed her partner etc. dd is now 3years 9months old. last month dd's mother was found guilty of causing the injuries herself.
he was removed from her home when it happened, still has supervised contact twice weekly (only 5 hours a week(mums choice). this does not appear to affect him and he is happy to see her for the allowed times.
when this happened myself and his father worked away during the week therefore he stayed with his paternal grandmother.. this is where the struggle begins..
it was only ever meant to be a temporary situation for him to stay with grandmother, unfortunately she got her claws in pretty deep and found every excuse not to move him (my dh has the HUGE problem of trying to keep everyone happy). she said things like, 'hes had a huge trauma, it wouldnt be right to move him' and 'he needs me around constantly'. to begin with we went with it and moved to her house and continued to work through the week until we found alternative jobs/accommodation etc.
there have been all sorts of problems since she has been a full time carer, his behaviour, sleeping, independence and lack off learning anything.
she would not tell him off for being naughty/hitting etc, when we were there and tried to enforce discipline, he would run to grandma where she would over ride us. she refused to take him to nursery, he was massively falling behind. we managed to get him off his dummy, turned our backs and she gave it back after 2 weeks! we got no say in his up bringing, as she decided everything was her choice.
oh and she was also charging us £300 a month just for him, though we payed for his food, clothing, days out etc. this was on top of £300 each a month.. coming to £900 a month. clever woman, no chance of cutting work hours or getting a family home with them types of bills.
we have managed to save and moved in to our own place 6 months ago, we also no longer work away and i have vastly cut down my hours to care for dd, though grandmother still wants £300 a moth for odd bits of childcare!! in an effort to stop him from moving with us she then said if he had spent time with me he had night terrors and made himself physically sick from stress!! (i need no reassurance in knowing he loves me greatly, it is plain to see). when that didnt work she said he was allergic to cats(we have 2), she said he had been to the Drs, but they cant test for allergies till he is 5?!?!?! also, from what we have seen he is just fine.. basically, the woman is mental lol
we have moved dd in slowly, asking where he wants to sleep that night etc, he has now made the choice to live with us. he now goes to nursery 6 hours a week. we have got a handle on discipline(sort off), he is finally learning some manners, hhe is learning to count(can only count to 3 mind). he is turning out to be a wonderful child, which was hard to imagine possible when he was living with grandma
the main concern at the moment is getting him to sleep alone AND in his own bed.
we let him fall asleep with us (on the sofa or in our bed) then put him in his own bed(now he is used to the house). we would really like him to go to sleep in his own bed but he wont budge, i have tried bargaining with him, but he says he doesnt like treats/toys/sweets etc
in the night he wakes up 6/7 times, each time i take him back to bed, telling him to stay first time and silently after. the first 2/3 times he gets out of bed and comes to our room, after that he stands outside the doorway. when hes back in bed, he doesnt cry hysterically, he sobs, its heartbreaking, it can go on for well over an hour, falls asleep for 20 and back up..
i am looking for advice on the sleep but also anything else that you have any advice would also be great!!
im realising i needed a moan!! lol so sorry for the long post but please help!!
Do you have any kind of residency order that states he lives with you? Is there anything stopping the grandmother removing him from nursery? I would make sure that's in place.
As for the sleep issue... Can you do it in steps, starting with him in his own bed, in your room?
I would be very gentle with the sleep issues. Can one of you sleep on a mattress in his room for a while? He has been through so much, your poor DSS (Dear StepSon)
he is in our full custody by law but we dont feel it would help, as i said shes crazy and god know how she would react, i dont think it would help the family to point it out. though, it angers me that the most damaging things have been from his grandma. yes we did that, we have tried him in out room separate bed and us in his room, he has no problems with that. its getting to the final steps that have been the first isue, we couldnt believe how well he was coping tbh. poor boy <3
If it was me, I would just sleep in his room until he is properly settled, however long that took (I know it's very non-ideal/tiring though).
He is lucky to have a very caring sm.
I agree that things are a little different for him and it wouldn't be a great idea to try sleep training at this stage. I would sleep in his room with him, at least for a while. Whatever it takes to make him feel safe and settled. And you sound like a great sm btw.
thank you we have been trying that for approx 2 months now, when is the time to say enough is enough?
I think the right time will be when he isn't scared any more, so I would try another month and then see where you are.
Two months isn't enough clearly.
It may be a matter of many more months, maybe even a year or longer.
Have patience. He will sleep on his own in his own room eventually.
Do you have a comforting bedtime routine in place? (A routine of events that happen the same every night -- bath, brush teeth, loo, reading a familiar story, singing a nighttime song, some cuddles, etc)
Does he have a night light?
Does his door stay open?
Do you reassure him that you are very close by if he ever needs anything?
The more hours you put in now the better. Think of it as an investment.
Could you perhaps try staying in the room with him until he's asleep then leaving, then once he's used to that very gradually start leaving a little bit earlier (so next step would be when he's almost asleep, then when he's settled down and trying to sleep and so on) until you get him into the routine you want?
My DS had some really bad trouble with sleeping in his own bed at about the same age (his biological father was emotionally abusive to him on the nights he had him and it made him really insecure for ages, even after contact stopped) he had a favourite cuddly toy which we 'charged up' with kisses and cuddles before bed time, each night we'd say the magic words iggledy wiggeldy zappy, store this love for Little Dannan and make his dreams happy then me and DH both had to kiss the toy and give it a hug, then when DS was feeling lonely in his bed it could give him mummy and step-dad cuddles. (if one of us wasn't going to be there at bedtime we had to do the spell earlier, and if DH was working away or DS was going to grandma's for a few days we'd adjust the spell to say store x days worth of love). I know it sounds really stupid but it worked, he did only grow out of it just before Christmas though and he is 9 and a half.
Good luck, it sounds like you are doing everything right and are a great step-mum, bedtime can be tricky with any child so given how much he's been through it will just take time.
Danann that is such a clever idea - storing that away for my DS
Yeah we have the routine of bath, teeth, loo, cuddles and story. We spoke again today and I asked what would make it nicer for him, he said door open and all of his (and my) teddies in bed with him, to be honest I think he has worn himself out, I went in to him at 7 this morning and he was sat on the end of his bed, been grumpy all day but I haven't let him nap.. He's been asleep, in his own bed for 4 hours now!! Hopefully this is it now(wishful thinking!)
Can't wait to have him settled so we can think about giving him a little brother or sister(he is forever asking when we can buy one!!)
Oh and my dh was brave today and told the grandmother to back off, she was surprisingly reasonable
Thank you for all the advice and hopefully onwards and upwards!!
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