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Bedtime issues

(8 Posts)
decaffeinated Tue 02-Aug-11 08:09:34

Hiya,

Sorry to launch straight in! Bit of background: 1 & 3 year old with DH of 4 years, plus 10 year old SD who comes to stay in holidays.

Now that she's 10, however, SD stays up later, and makes a real fuss at bedtime if she's told that her bedtime is earlier than ours - crying, and having a full-on tantrum. So much so, that in the end, by the time she's finished doing her thing, me n hubby are so knackered, it's bedtime.

We have a lot on at the moment, and need to have some time to ourselves to keep things moving along (house renovations, work amongst many other things).

I keep telling myself it's only for short periods of time - either 2, or 4- 6 weeks at a time, but I must admit I find not having any time to 'download' with my husband very difficult, and I get really annoyed!

Also, at 10, isn't it time to stop having tantrums?!

TBH I think I'd feel exactly the same if our kids were also up later, so it's not all about the step situation, but how can me and hubby get an hour or so a day of 'us' time into our day? Or is the reality that you just don't when you have slightly older kids?

It's affecting our relationship, as everything just boils up until we have a big row to clear all the things we should've spoken about days ago.

Reality Tue 02-Aug-11 08:14:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

stabiliser15 Tue 02-Aug-11 08:23:36

decaffeinated, I can sympathise! My 5yo DSD has always been very bad at going to bed nicely and we often spend entire evening dealing with her tantrums! I dont know about older kids and bedtime, but my attitude would be that you and your DH set bedtime for her and that's the way it is in your house.

My DSD would always be happy until bedtime, when a string of excuses would come along. When they didnt work, she would say things to DH such as "I need to stay up later because I miss you" and "DD gets more time with you than I do so please let me stay up with you" etc, which would escalate into sobbing about the unfairness of not living with Daddy and wanting long discussions and cuddles, and getting very worked up at any attempt to leave her to go to sleep. Initially DH pandered to it, and although I didnt agree, no one wants to see a child in that much distress and so we'd often spend hours dealing with either an angry or very upset child (or both), long phone calls to her mum etc. Once she got so worked up that her mum had to come over at 11pm.

After one too many of these episodes, DH realised he was probably not dealing with it well, especially because it became clear that it was all a bit of a ploy (DSD would only mention these issues at bedtime) and we re-thought our tactics.

DH now does what he always does with story reading and cuddles, and then he says goodnight and closes the door. No matter what DSD does, he wont go back up there, because it is all designed to get his attention. If she gets out of bed, screams, shouts etc, I deal with it. The first couple of weekends we had a real battle of wills where DSD was ready and willing for a showdown. After bedtime, I just kept putting her back to bed, telling her it was not a negotiation, and that she would do as she was told. I was patient and calm, and eventually, on each occasion, she gave up, because she realised that I would not, and nothing she could do would change that.

Since then, touch wood, we have had no issues at bedtime. I know your DSD is older, but perhaps the same tactics, but adapted, might work?

decaffeinated Tue 02-Aug-11 08:46:13

Reality, 'normal' bedtime is at 9pm (as it's school hols), but when she's staying up late it's 10-10.30pm (me and hub don't last longer than that as we're both knackered)!

With her mum, during termtime, bedtime is at 8pm.

We both feel that the 9pm bedtime is a very fair, very reasonable bedtime, and in her non-tantrum moments, SD agrees, it's just got into a rut, with DH getting more and more annoyed til in the end it's shouting (him), and tears (her) - none of which is much good for anyone.

Stabiliser - sounds just like our house - the issues, the 'it's not fair', all of it, in fact!! Some good ideas for dealing with it - will def discuss with DH, thank you!

brdgrl Tue 02-Aug-11 11:25:54

You've gotten sone good advice, and it is not an area I have any experience with - but I will say fix it now! I have two stepkids, 13 and 16 and they don't have a bedtime. Most nights, DSS stays up well after DH and I, playing video games in his room (another bad idea that was introduced long ago and now DH regrets) and DSD stays up wanting DH's full on attention until she's ready for bed, by which time he and I are usually knackered ourselves. So we don't get that time together in the evenings and it is very, very, bad for a relationship - especially a relationship with stepkids. It might seem to you like a battle not worth fighting now, and only a few weeks at a time...but if you let it go on, I am afraid you will find that it gets a lot worse when she is a young teenager, and it will be much harder to change it then.

WaitingForMe Tue 02-Aug-11 12:13:26

My older DSS is only six but we've recently had the beginnings of an issue as his 3yr old brother needs to go to bed before he's tired. What we decided on was a time that they had to be upstairs. So bath, story and cuddles for both and the 3yr old into bed. The 6yr old then goes to his room for an extra 20 minutes (this will be extended) where he's allowed to read or play quietly.

There comes a point where it's hard to dictate bedtimes but bedroom time shouldn't be unreasonable.

decaffeinated Tue 02-Aug-11 21:08:43

So... the shenanigans continue... am just about to pour a very large glass of wine!!!

SD hit DH earlier, as he wouldn't tell her about her surprise treat he has planned for her (he wanted to save it till the morning til he told her - a camping trip for just the two of them so they could spend quality time). Consequence of hitting = bed at 8pm as hitting isn't acceptable in our house.

Later we were sitting in the garden, she came out crying and saying could he just stroke her hair, just 5 more minutes, not fair she had to go to bed earlier. He refused and said she was being punished for her earlier behaviour and repeated for her to go to bed, so she shouted that she wanted to go home to mum, and threw a toy hammer at us, which narrowly missed.

I don't accept toy throwing so told her to do as her dad had said and go to her room (not often that I actually do get involved, but had enough of it today to be honest).

Now at 9pm (usual bedtime) - she's still up, still crying, and DH is up there with her.

sigh I just want an evening without high drama! I do realise I get them when she's not here, but that's not the point. I've known her since she was 2, and she can be the sweetest girl, but she really is her own worst enemy sometimes.

Arrrghh! Anyway, they're off camping tomorrow, so plenty of peace for a couple of days, and hopefully, it will benefit her getting some more quality one on one time with her dad.

Just needed to rant that one, now, where's that wine!

chelen Tue 02-Aug-11 21:18:30

Wow, that kind of tantrum is extreme! I think what Stabiliser15 said sounds like a reasonable way to go.

I would say this has to be tackled - even if only for a few weeks at a time that kind of conflict will just make you dread her visits.

Enjoy the wine!

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