Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Ex DH not getting 5 yr old DD to sleep until 10 on school nights

(106 Posts)
Piaffle Sat 19-Oct-13 10:44:21

Really don't know what to do about this. DD is 5. We share custody 50/50 and because of his job he has her on 3 school nights.

He is aware of all the research that says how much lack of sleep damages children. He thinks education is important but still does this.

When is is in a good mood he will agree she should be in bed for 8, so as to be asleep for 8.30. He never actually does this though and when he is in a bad mood he will claim that he never agreed that in the first place.

He is a good dad in most other ways and I think don't think a court would stop her living with him just because of this. I also think a custody battle would be more damaging for DD than lack of sleep .

It is parents' evening soon but I think it would be wrong to try and get the teacher onside with this as she would be getting involved in an argument between divorcing parents. He would be very good at making me look bad for doing that. He is very good at looking reasonable to the outside world.

Also it might be difficult as DD doesn't necessarily act 'tired' but it comes out in moodiness, whinyness etc.

I could cry. The days when I can't wake her up are so horrible, and I'm sure it's affecting her at school. He says any behavioural problems at school are because I have broken up the family.

I feel like saying I will not take her in on days when she is too tired, but again, I think that will make me look like the unreasonable one.

Is there anything you can suggest, I don't know what to do!

TallulahBetty Sat 19-Oct-13 10:56:00

What are his reasons for keeping her up so late?

georgedawes Sat 19-Oct-13 10:57:37


Piaffle Sat 19-Oct-13 11:00:06

Tallulah he doesn't have a reason as such, but he will play with her and chat to her at the slightest provocation, so in his words she 'just won't sleep'.

Piaffle Sat 19-Oct-13 11:01:02

I didn't realise you could do mediation for something like this.

georgedawes Sat 19-Oct-13 11:01:46

I think you can go to mediation for anything you want if you're paying. Good luck, sounds difficult

Euphemism Sat 19-Oct-13 11:01:47

I don't know how viable this is for you but when my ex did the same and my then 6yr old daughter was falling asleep in her dinner at night I told him that if he couldn't put her to bed at a reasonable hour on school nights then he would only have her on non-school nights. He was pretty angry but managed to start having her in bed by 9pm rather than the 10.30-11pm it used to be.
However our access arrangements were not 50/50 and she was with me the majority of the time, seeing him every second weekend from Thursday to Monday evening.
Lack of sleep is horrible for children and for the parent who has to deal with the tears and grumps that goes with it.

Piaffle Sat 19-Oct-13 13:31:59

Thanks for all your replies. I'll try talking to him again. It's so dispiriting though when nothing ever changes.

TensionSquealsGhoulsHeels Sat 19-Oct-13 13:40:31

I wouldn't rule out speaking to the teacher about it. There's no way that your DD being up til ten on 3 school nights hasn't impacted on many aspects of her ability to learn and behave in school. I think you should see what the teacher says about her overall, see if there are aspects that could be linked to lack of sleep and then broach the subject in a 'what do you suggest can be done' way, seeing as the problem could be pin-pointed at lack of sleep. It might take the discussion coming from her teacher for your ex to take notice of your concerns. Will your Ex have his own appt? Or will you be sitting in on the same time slot?

SPBisResisting Sat 19-Oct-13 13:43:36

How far aaay is he? Is it possible she sleeps in the car on the way to his house?

RafaellaNhaKyria Sat 19-Oct-13 14:03:49

I have a 50/50 custody arrangement as well. Frankly, when my ex was trying to dictate what happened in MY house on MY time with our child, I went a little wild and nipped it in the bud right quick. I truly do understand your concerns and they are valid, but when your ex is in custody of your daughter he is the one making those decisions. They may not be made as you'd wish, but unfortunately as long as she is not being harmed (and going to bed later than is wise is debatable as harming her) his actions and choices in his home are just that. His.

Please don't get me wrong, because I too get very pissed off when I speak to my daughter at 8pm and say something like "sweet dreams, goodnight" and she replies "oh I'm not getting ready for bed, we've just started watching a video". But I've had this shoe on the other foot, and when he tried to control and dictate what was happening in my home I wanted to lamp him and didn't stand for it.

Just last night we were at the high school homecoming football game (USA) and at 8:40 she said "ugh, daddy's going to call soon and he'll be mad I'm out and not practicing my flute/reading/etc". I had to remind her that when she is with me, I make the choices and she is not responsible for the fact I took us out to a game, and if he doesn't like it and gives her a hard time she may direct him to me for discussion. Because it's just not for him to fucking say what I do with her when she is in my custody.

I don't always agree with his parenting choices. He doesn't usually agree with mine. It's part of the reason we are no longer married. But I'm sorry, you really can't expect to dictate bedtime in his house, even if what you're saying makes sense. If you really think his parenting is detrimental to your child, joint custody may not be the best option for you.

Piaffle Sat 19-Oct-13 16:08:53

SPB just a mile away, so definitely not that.

Raffael That's a very interesting perspective. And of course, I'm not a perfect parent by any means, and if he were to start telling me what I should do when I have custody then I would go mad.

Thing is, she's struggling to 'click' with a group of friends, even though she's very outgoing and gregarious. I can't help feel that her moodiness due to being tired isn't helping this.

The trouble with mediation as an idea is that he agrees with me, then doesn't do it. And this would be impossible to 'police'.

I keep trying to remember that people have worse problems with co parenting. smile

Spirulina Sat 19-Oct-13 16:29:54

How do you know he's keeping her awake til ten?

Piaffle Sat 19-Oct-13 16:37:37

Because when I ask him what time she's been getting to sleep, he tells me. And I don't think he's lying just to wind me up.

Isetan Sat 19-Oct-13 17:00:03

As long as you make a big deal of this he will either continue or esculate this in a pathetic attempt to demonstrate that you can't tell him what to do.. Ignore it, I know it's hard and I have been there but as co-parenting battles go this ain't one you're gonna win.

My 6 year old daughter goes to bed at 7:00 pm on school nights but she rarely falls asleep at this time. I have to regularly tell her to go to sleep and stop babbling with her stuffed toys and often it's 9 or even 10 before she falls asleep. As I said, infuriating as his selfishness is, making a deal of this will only increase his twatishness.

Isetan Sat 19-Oct-13 17:05:09

Oh and I would not waste my time on mediation on this particular topic. This isn't about him disagreeing with you, it's about him getting his way on a subject that is important to you. Ignore him and he might just stop being an idiot.

Matildathecat Sat 19-Oct-13 17:36:00

Is there any chance at all that you could 'coach' your dd to say 'I'm tired now daddy'?

May be worth a try..

RandomMess Sat 19-Oct-13 17:38:33

Let him do a full week of school nights and put up with the whining?

KeepCoolCalmAndCollected Sat 19-Oct-13 18:35:52

Agree with Matilda, and perhaps a special treat at the end of the week if she carrys it through? (Obviously without his knowledge).

A friend of mine's ex-husband is an out and out fatist, and when he has their 4 year old DD he allows her to help herself to anything in the fridge and larder on her terms how often she likes (she loves food, so you can imagine), because he wants her to 'love' him. No kidding!

Isetan Sat 19-Oct-13 19:32:53

Matildathecat, your suggestion will only drag a small child into a disagreement between her parents and that is no place for a child. Frustrating as his behaviour is, this isn't a battle worth having as the likelihood of it escalating into something that could easily eclipse the original issue.

BasilBabyEater Sat 19-Oct-13 19:44:54

Selfish, irresponsible bastard.

There's nothing you can do about it, if he chooses to be a twat he's allowed to be. The only thing that might work is if the school gets concerned about her behaviour/ concentration, in which case tell them to speak to him, but tbh it has to get to a very bad level for them to raise it as an issue, in which case the damage has already been done.

Sorry you're having to tolerate this.

Piaffle Sat 19-Oct-13 19:52:47

He is open with her that he is putting her to bed too late, in a 'ooh, isn't Daddy naughty' sort of a way.

I have tried saying she should ask to go to bed at 8 (one day when I was at my wits end and genuinely considering not taking her in to school) but immediately realised my error (so don't flame me!) as I was basically continuing my argument with him using her as a mouthpiece. Which is obviously wrong.

I think you're probably all right that I should ignore this as it will only cause him to dig his heels in.

Piaffle Sat 19-Oct-13 19:57:02

Yes, selfish. That exactly sums it up. He wants to play and chat with her so he keeps her up, even to her detriment. And it's kind of like he uses it as proof of what a good dad he is that he enjoys her company so much.

Like I say though, there's worse behaviours. Though anyone with a young DC I'm sure will back me up that lack of sleep isn't the trivial thing it might sound.

SleepyFish Sat 19-Oct-13 20:24:42

I don't think it'd do any harm to mention it to her teacher and ask if they think it's having any negative impact at school. If the teacher thinks it is then you have professional back up. Will he be attending? If so I would try to speak to the teacher in advance.

Piaffle Sat 19-Oct-13 20:49:38

We're going in together. I have thought about speaking to the teacher in advance - I'm just really conscious that it could make her feel uncomfortable, without necessarily getting him to change his behaviour.

All the stuff I think is due to tiredness he would say is due to DD being upset that we are no longer a couple.

I am sure some of it is that, she is more clingy than she was for instance - but I'm sure a lot of it is that she isn't getting to bed until 10.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now