DP is a pushover

(44 Posts)
IslandLife Sun 24-Jul-16 17:19:27

I'll try to keep this as short as poss! I have 2 DSDs (8 and 12 - different mothers) they spend every other weekend with us, occasionally we have one at a time. In our old house when we just had the youngest, she wouldn't sleep on her own in her room - it's was quite far away from our room, up a different staircase and house was very old. We recently moved into a new house and made it clear way before we moved that she would be sleeping in her own room. We let her choose the decor, colours, pictures, colours, accessories etc... Filled it with her toys and she has a TV and DVD player. We moved in and she loved it, slept on her own for a couple of nights....then older DSD arrived and she wanted to sleep in the same room as her - they both like doing that. Now 2 months down the line, she will not sleep in there on her own. She makes up any excuse she can, cries hysterically. DP managed to get her to sled there once but she kept coming into our room until we let her sleep there. She will also go up to bed and then bring all her bedding into our room and sets up camp on the floor. I'm pregnant and have told DP that he needs to address this issue, but he always lets her get her own way as he believes that he shouldn't upset her as he only sees her every other weekend. I don't want this to still be going on when the baby arrives as she'll be upset that the baby gets to sleep in our room and she doesn't.

Am I right to want to get her into the routine of sleeping in her lovely room or should we just let her sleep in ours?? Sorry for the long explanation!!

KindDogsTail Sun 24-Jul-16 17:26:50

Can your H find out if anything at the house or elsewhere has frightened her? Are there ghostly noises or shadows, or upsets in her home life?

If everything seems OK, and this just is a new habit she is getting into, see if there is anything your H can do like get a special night light, read to her till she falls asleep, give her an incentive of some sort if she manages to stay the whole night.

IslandLife Sun 24-Jul-16 17:37:41

She sleeps in her own room when she's at home, and has her Mum's DPs DD stay about 2-3 nights a week. My DP always watches TV until he falls asleep (drinks me mad!) so she is used to that when she sleeps in our room. On the occasions she has slept in her room we have put a DVD on for her and set the 'sleep' mode so the TV will turn off after a short time. There's nothing scary that we can find, but she'll make things up...the other day it was a creaky floor, last night it was because the other side of the bed is scary (she has a double) and today she is saying she has a toothache so she's too ill to sleep on her own. But she always says she doesn't want to be on her own sad I am obviously not as emotionally attached to the situation so I can see through most of the excuses, but DP just feels so bad when she cries.

TimeforaNNChange Sun 24-Jul-16 18:37:30

he believes that he shouldn't upset her as he only sees her every other weekend.

And therein lies your problem. You and your DP have different parenting values. Neither of you are right or wrong, but as your DP is your DSD parent, he gets the final say in how he parents his DD - all you can do is decide if you are prepared to tolerate/accommodate it.

I vividly remember the first time my DHs DS came into our bedroom at night and wanted to stay. I didn't make a fuss, I just got up and left. I explained the next day that I wasn't happy to share a room with his DCs but if he wanted to, I would willingly sleep elsewhere.
DH decided to address the issue, and I never had to leave the room again.

ApocalypseNowt Sun 24-Jul-16 18:46:37

I'd usually say that DP has the final say as it's his DD. However, seeing as you are pg i'd suggest to him that's it's really worth getting this sorted before your baby comes along. Because at that point she won't be able to stay in your room....and if that is the point at which she's made to sleep in her own room she could feel very 'pushed out' by the new arrival.

swingofthings Sun 24-Jul-16 19:11:58

At 8, if she makes such a fuss over it, clearly there are issues with anxiety that needs to be understood. It's not about her being in her room for your convenience, it is trying to understand what fear this girl who is much too old to be scared in her own room is experiencing.

I think your DH needs to tackle this, maybe discuss with her mum and get to the bottom of it. In the end, I do understand that he doesn't want to see his girl distressed but the solution is not to say yes without trying to fix the crux of the problem.

IslandLife Sun 24-Jul-16 19:48:34

I'm glad I'm not being unreasonable wanting this to stop. This baby is my 1st, so I've no parenting experience, hence why I'm here asking advice. DSD is very headstrong (both her parents are!) and is far too used to getting her own way when she's here! I don't think there are any serious underlying problems, although I can't be 100% sure. I think she just knows how to wrap Dad round her little finger. I really want her to feel involved and just as special as the new baby. I think I may change my 'this has to stop now' attitude to 'we've got a few months to get this sorted'. Wish me luck!!

Lunar1 Sun 24-Jul-16 20:29:13

Ask him to take her back to her room each time but stay with her till she drops off again. Not ideal at 8 but it would be a start.

swingofthings Mon 25-Jul-16 12:42:21

I don't think there are any serious underlying problems, although I can't be 100% sure
It's normal for a 3-5 yo to be scared of being in their own room and seek parents' bed, it is not normal at 8, so my first thought would be that there ARE underlying issues. It might not be anything severe, but enough to unsettled her.

When I was exactly that age, I went through a phase of being petrified to go to bed in my room because I'd heard some horror story on the news about a kid being kidnapped and murdered and they didn't know who did it. That triggered me being persuaded someone was going to come and get me. My room was the closest to the front door and that made it worse.

I never told my mum though because she was going through a difficult time, suffered with depression and most importantly sleep problems so kept it for myself. That meant waiting for my mum to go to bed, hours after I did, and getting it up to put a piece of paper in the lock as I thought that would hold back the intruder and I would have time to go to my mum. Then I would make myself wake up before her to take it off as I thought my mum would make fun of me if she saw it. The only time I felt ok was when there was a storm because somehow I'd convinced myself that a kidnapper wouldn't pick a stormy day to do so.

I got over it on my own after a few months, but really looking back, it wasn't right that I went through this on my own, so when I became a mum, I made it clear that I would never tell them off if they got scared at night and came to my room.

Of course you might be right that there is no reason for her to act as she is but being a manipulative headstrong girl, but in doubt, I think her father should definitely try to get to the bottom of it.

ClaudoftheRings Mon 25-Jul-16 14:26:11

We had this when DSS was 8. It might be something about that age - imagination grows or they are just more sensitive.

He used to make up different reasons but in the end it turned out that he just didn't know why he felt that way and was making up things to try to normalise it.

DH had lots of kind chats with him during the day and then took him back to bed every time he got up in the night and stayed with him until he went back to sleep. It was hard on DH and it did go on for a while but it did sort itself out after 3-4 months.

I think DH also put a selection of teddies 'in charge' to keep an eye on DSS as a comfort thing. We thought DSS was too old for that sort of thing but it did seem to help. I think DSS just grew out of it.

Hope you fix it soon.

breezybeach Mon 25-Jul-16 20:22:07

Actually

I do sympathise you are pregnant
Yes I do

But she is still a very little girl at 8'
I think she will just grow out of it
I have a Ds 9 and DP has 3 dc 9,7,5 . It is like musical beds when we are all together . We have gone out to the garage to "do the funky monkey "

She only stays at her dads every other weekend
You don't want her to feel pushed out by new baby !
And little girls and their daddy's etc etc

Keep persevering but gently? You already are I know and you are doing lovely things .
You will get there in the end

My Xh s fiancé is pregnant . Ds likes her , I think she is very sweet with him . But he exhibited some pretty stressed out behaviour when he first knew about the baby coming . Felt threatened .
Could it be that ?

Cosmo111 Mon 25-Jul-16 22:37:28

Could she be abit clingy because of a lot of the changes in her life, she had a half sibling from one past relationship then she's now got you who's pregnant with another sibling. Plus a house move seems to be an awful lot of change going on in her life in such a short space of time and she's struggling to deal with so many changes at once.

Wdigin2this Mon 25-Jul-16 23:31:16

Same old story, DF feels guilty that his DC don't live with him, so when they stay over, he DisneyDads them...just in case they won't want to come next time!
This rarely turns out well, because if you criticise, you're the bad guy and he indulges them even more. They soon cotton on, make more demands, get away with more.....it's a vicious circle!
But your new baby will become part of that picture, soooo does he parent him/her properly, but still Disney his other DC, or does he Disney all of them, so you'll end up with 3 spoiled kids........either way it's not going to be easy, unless you can both agree on a parenting statgedy which applies to all the DC, whether they live full time or part time with you both!
Good luck!

swingofthings Tue 26-Jul-16 07:52:39

Same old story, DF feels guilty that his DC don't live with him, so when they stay over, he DisneyDads them...just in case they won't want to come next time!
Why do you always jump to this conclusion? As a resident mum, my reaction to the situation would have been exactly like OP's OH, so nothing to do whatsoever with guilt, let alone being a disney parent or certainly not concern about them not wanting to live with me.

It's not because a father decides to take the soft approach that they are a disney parent. Very often it is because you do believe that children, especially when faced with emotional change, actually do need to be listened and provided with reassurance.

My step-mum was exactly like this, always on at my dad for being stricter and not such a softie. I was a manipulative conniving child but looking back, I can say that I was a child who probably needed more emotional support and reassurance than my friends who had their mum and dad at home. Thankfully, my dad ignored her and continued to be a gentle caring dad and oh surprise, I grew up to be a well-adjusted and caring adult, who now has a good relationship with my step-mum.

Kids are not perfect and some times have emotional needs we don't always understand. I do totally get it that it is much harder to comprehend these needs when you don't have the parental bond, but that's why it is especially important to let the parents deal with them, because sometimes, listening to your instinct as a parent is the best thing you can do for your kids.

TimeforaNNChange Tue 26-Jul-16 09:01:39

that's why it is especially important to let the parents deal with them,

Neither is it unreasonable, as a stepparent in a marriage/relationship to say "the way you are choosing to parent isn't working for me/my DCs."

There has to be compromise. Just like DCs in nuclear families who are destabilised when a new baby arrives, or the family moves house, or a parent gets sick, it is not always possible to provide the ideal for one child without failing to meet the needs of others in the family - so, compromises are made to minimise the damage to one DC while at the same time, minimising damage to other members of the household too.

That's why I made a stand very early on in my relationship with DH. I was not prepared to accomodate his parenting style - even though it may well have met his DCs needs at the time. I have DP a choice - share his bed with me, or his DS, but not both.
I was criticised by many (including DHs ex) for "making DS feel rejected" by climbing out of bed as he climbed in - but I have just as much right to maintain my own boundaries as DH has to parent in the way he chooses. If they are not compatible, then the relationship has no future.

Heavens2Betsy Tue 26-Jul-16 11:08:58

Totally agree TimeforaNNchange.
The needs of one should never outweigh the needs of the rest.
If OP were asking how to get her own DD to sleep in her room there would be endless suggestions but because it is her DSD then it is seen as unacceptable.
When DP and I got together I refused to let his DD in our bed. I told him if she wanted to sleep with him they could get into her bed and sleep there!

IslandLife Tue 26-Jul-16 12:16:55

It is a tricky one! I try not to get involved in 'parenting' DSD. We have a great bond and tbh she is quite an easy child, she just wants someone to play with and doesn't really want to have to amuse herself. She does know that I don't like her sleeping in our room though, and thankfully DP does agree with me.... And he understands that it will be more of a problem if he lets it carry on until the baby comes along....20 weeks will fly by, I'm sure! I quietly said to her that if she didn't want her room anymore then we might have to let her sister have it as it is the best bedroom and her sister is very jealous that she has it! Cue a serious thinking face! smile

swingofthings Tue 26-Jul-16 15:46:18

I agree too TFC that it is about compromise. There is such a huge difference in how the situation can be handled without saying 'of course darling you can still sleep in our bedroom because we wouldn't want to upset you would we'? That's why it is about trying to understand and trying to encourage her to be in her room without her feeling that the only reason is because her step-mum is not happy about it and baby to come needs are to be more important than hers.

TimeforaNNChange Tue 26-Jul-16 16:00:12

That's why it is about trying to understand and trying to encourage her to be in her room without her feeling that the only reason is because her step-mum is not happy about it and baby to come needs are to be more important than hers

Yes. But that's a parents job. If a parent came onto MN and asked for advice, then that is the advice I would give.
But to a step-parent I say "you are perfectly entitled not to want to share your bed with your DSC, you are not a wicked stepmum if you choose not to."
Its not up to the OP to decide if, and how, to address this issue. But if her DP chooses chooses not to - then he is not wrong either - but he cannot demand that the OP concedes.

swingofthings Wed 27-Jul-16 09:18:56

Yes. But that's a parents job.
Which is why my first words were 'this is for your OH to tackle'. Of course he can't demand OP to stay in bed when his daughter join in although I think the issue is about sleeping in the same room rather than same bed, but same thing. Saying that, it is not reasonable that OP should move bedroom to accommodate, so if dad doesn't want to deal with the matter, it is for him to go and sleep on the floor in his DD's bedroom. Would hope that this would prompt him to work with his DD to understand the issues and not make this a long term, even medium term solution.

AGruffaloCrumble Wed 27-Jul-16 09:28:21

She's only a little girl. This situation needs to be handled delicately rather than just pushing her back into her own bedroom. You shouldn't force her just because you are pregnant as you could be doing some really damage as she is obviously incredibly anxious. Obviously it's not ideal but you need to let her parents handle this between them.

AGruffaloCrumble Wed 27-Jul-16 09:30:27

if dad doesn't want to deal with the matter, it is for him to go and sleep on the floor in his DD's bedroom
I would suggest this to try and get to the bottom of her anxieties. Maybe it will show her there's nothing to be afraid of and then slowly your DP can move back into your room.

BrandNewAndImproved Wed 27-Jul-16 09:36:25

I'd let her sleep wherever she wants to. She won't been camping on your bedroom floor forever and tbf it's not every night.

IslandLife Wed 27-Jul-16 10:35:25

Gruffalo - I'm not trying to force her out because I'm pregnant! As I said before, I want her to start sleeping in her room so it becomes the norm so that when the baby arrives, she feels like the big sister and she won't feel pushed out because the baby gets to sleep in our room.

Brandnew - if we let her sleep where she wants, she would stay on our floor for the foreseeable future, so that's really not an option!

Tbh I don't mind her being in our room, apart from the reasons mentioned above, and I don't find it inappropriate for her to be in our bed (her mum doesn't have a problem with it either), but being pregnant, I'm tossing and turning and boiling hot all night anyway so me and her do not sleep well at all. DP sleeps through ANYTHING!! The couple of times she's come into our bed, I've gone and slept in another room. Anyway, it seems to be going in the right direction, last night DP put her to bed in her own room and she didn't make a fuss and only came into us once and was put back to bed. I thought about rewarding her, but didn't want to make a big thing out of something that should be routine.

TimeforaNNChange Wed 27-Jul-16 17:05:33

bransnew - why should the OP accommodate her DPs (and his exWs) parenting choices if she doesn't agree with them?

It's no wonder there is conflict between households if a stepparent is expected to "put up and shut up" no matter what parenting decisions are made. The OP has just as much right to object to her DSC sleeping in her bedroom as the DCs parent has to allow them to. It's then up to the couple to agree between them how both of their needs can be met - whether that is sleeping apart or returning the DC to the bedroom.

It worries me that so often, stepparents on this board are advised to suppress their own needs and feelings - that's a fast route to resentment. Far better for the adults to bring things out into the open and discuss them in order to ensure that everyone in the family feels valued.

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