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to leave DS crying for an hour

(20 Posts)
Notsosuremummy Sat 28-Jul-07 22:21:51

I'm truly not sure if I was too harsh this evening or not. I don't have many RL friends who are Mums so I sometimes feel I loose perspective on how to do things. I'd appreciate some honest opinions.

DS is 3. He's a good boy. He's usually very good at going to bed but he's going through a bit of a patch at the moment.
DH is not here tonight. I'm on my own. I put him to bed at 7:15. First he wanted socks on. I put them on. Then he wanted water. I got him water. Then he wanted a wee - wee. I took him to the toilet. I tucked him up again and told him I was going for a shower. I thought he was settling. Straight when I got out, he was up and complaining he was hungry. I told him that night time wasn't a time for eating and took him back to bed. He kept getting up and complaining. I kept calmly telling him no and putting him back to bed. I decided to try going downstairs to see if he would settle if I was a bit further away. He just stood at the top of the stairs shouting, "I'm hungry" and "Mummy, Mummy". He was swinging on the stair gate. I could hear it creaking so I went up and shut it and said "Back to bed" one more time. Then I just stayed downstairs. I decided I'd just leave him to settle. He basically tantrumed/cried and shouted my name for an hour. He said all sorts:

"I'm hungry"
"I'm cold"
"I'm hot"
"I need a tissue" etc. etc.

At the beginning, I was thinking that he would settle soon. As time went on, I was thinking that if I went up, it would just show him he could get his own way so he'd make a habit of it so I just sat there and cried. Finally, after an hour (at about 9pm) he stopped crying and said, "Mummy, it's night time. You should be in your bed" in a matter of fact and calm manor, before climbing into bed and falling asleep.

I feel horrid and guilty. So, what do you think? Was I too harsh?

binklehasflipped Sat 28-Jul-07 22:23:04

I personally think you did the right thing altough, I know its heartbreaking to do it.

UCM Sat 28-Jul-07 22:25:28

Nope, in my house I would have tied DHs dressing gown cord to his door and the newel post. Thus listening for this shite for a limited time.

However, I am letting him stay up a bit later at the moment. This is so we don't have to get up at 5am. I am reading 3 stories a night. The ONLY BLOODY reason for this is DD. She is only a baby, so I am trying to stop him making noise.

WinkyWinkola Sat 28-Jul-07 22:25:56

No. He knows you love him. He knows you want the best for him. He was just trying it on a bit to stay up later.

Well done you for being so calm and patient and ultimately, loving because you didn't lose your rag. You were consistent. He more than likely won't do it again and if he does, he won't do it for as long.

It's an awful way to spend your evening. Don't waste any more time feeling bad. You're a good parent.

filchthemildmanneredjanitor Sat 28-Jul-07 22:26:54

mmm-not what i would do. you made yourself miserable just for a principle.
if it was me i'd have brought him downstairs on the condition that he lie on the sofa witha blanket wrapped round him. it's not a school night-he doesn't have to be up early tomorrow does he?

i think we sometimes make life hard for ourselves for no real reason...

MorocconOil Sat 28-Jul-07 22:30:46

You did exactly the right thing.

You're not horrid. You are not harsh. He was trying it on, and you have done the right thing and set him a boundary.

Go and reward yourself with a glass of wine

cba Sat 28-Jul-07 22:31:26

could he have been hungry? not saying this to make you feel bad, but my two boys love a snack before bed and do not settle without it.

binklehasflipped Sat 28-Jul-07 22:31:41

I think bringing him downstairs would be counter-productive tbh

3andnomore Sat 28-Jul-07 22:32:11

would your lil one wake up early anyhow...or would there be a sleep in allowance, so to say?

cba Sat 28-Jul-07 22:32:13

oh, and they will still have supper/snack even if they have only had tea / dinner 30 minutes prior.

swtb Sat 28-Jul-07 22:34:18

Not only did you do the right thing but you should give yourself a big pat on the back for being so patient with him.

From what you said you didn't shout, threaten or bribe him.

You went back to him at least 5 times - all with good reason (how were you to know whether the socks/drink/wee were going to lead to him settling or not until you tried it?)

Sometimes we need to put distance between us and the crying child or we may "lose it" and make it worse. I've been in the same situation a few times with DD2.

It's not as if you had your DH at home tonight - if he had been able to go up to DS, DS may well have behaved differently.

You sound like a very good mum to me.

Tomorrow is another day - remind him how much you love him in the morning and say no more about it would be my advice.


FrannyandZooey Sat 28-Jul-07 22:35:18

Personally when ds was 3 we never let him get out of bed and come downstairs but would always go up to him if he called, and try to deal patiently with his requests. I wouldn't feel comfortable with leaving a child to cry for an hour, myself.

We used to be up and down stairs quite frequently when he was just 3, but as time went on we made a deal with him that we were tired too in the evening, and that could he please only call out 3 times. Some nights he stuck to it and some nights he didn't, but we felt we were working together towards what we wanted to happen rather than trying to force him to get to this stage of independence before he was ready.

i think it is hard when your dh is away, and also hard when we get bombarded with messages about being tough on children or else they will turn into brats. I think you should trust your instincts - if you feel it was a little harsh and that you aren't totally comfortable with this, then you are probably right, really.

elesbells Sat 28-Jul-07 22:35:20

pmsl @ UCM
I would have tied DHs dressing gown cord to his door and the newel post.

cba Sat 28-Jul-07 22:35:21

you know your child best.

Sidge Sat 28-Jul-07 22:36:57

Blimey you are more patient than me, and I am pretty patient!!

An hour is a very long time to listen to a wailing toddler, and for a 3 year old, being ignored for an hour probably felt like 10.

Is his daddy normally around at bedtime? If he's away then your DS may have been feeling a bit insecure, hence the faffing around.

I wouldn't have brought him downstairs but I would have gone up and said something rather firmly. Maybe offered some extra cuddles and another story but then he really must lie down and go to sleep, or at least stay in bed.

filchthemildmanneredjanitor Sat 28-Jul-07 22:38:19

am i the only soft touch then?

maybe he just wasn't tired/ready to go to bed?

UCM Sat 28-Jul-07 22:38:56

ellsbells, I have done this when I have sent him to his room, am not joking, when he drives me to the point of killing him of course, and although I have smacked, I couldn't have smacked him at this poit, I would have killed him, so that is what I do.

Have only had to do it twice, <<sighs and breathes again>>

Notsosuremummy Sat 28-Jul-07 22:46:44

Thanks everyone. A glass of wine does sound good. I think I'll go and do that.

We have to be up at 7 tomorrow to go to a surprise party up North and he is a very active fellow so I don't think the sofa thing would have done the trick. Too tempting for him tto get up and play. Perhaps I could have just gone and silently sat with him though. I've done that before. I don't know. I'll stop dwelling on the whole thing now I know the people aren't completely horrified . You know, sometimes you just get paranoid.

DH is here except for a couple of times a week, which DS is used to. He didn't mention him once so I'm not sure it was that.

I really don't think he was actually hungry. He had a late and fairly big tea. It could be that he wasn't tired, thinking about it now. We've been out all day running around so he slept in the car on the way back for over an hour. He doesn't usually sleep in the day these days.

Hopefully he won't try it on like that again but he probably will. He's as stubborn as I am

bcsnowpea Sat 28-Jul-07 22:47:38

You sound really strong. I'm terrified of when my ds reaches that stage, but I'm glad I have your story as a guide.
I remember being a bit older than this, 5 maybe, and doing pretty much the same thing to my dad. I know I was just faffing about, I didn't want to go to bed where I would miss out on all the fun stuff adults must obviously get up to when they put kids to bed .
Well done, you set your boundaries and you stuck to them.

agnesnitt Sat 28-Jul-07 22:49:35

Sounds reasonable. It may just have been one of those nights where he decided to test the boundaries, three is an age where that becomes so enticing for them. The fact that he changed his story to try to get your attention suggests to me he wasn't being overly honest with you

Well done on staying calm, the chances of him suffering any lasting harm from this are minimal.


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