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Out of ideas with this one

(14 Posts)
BlancheHunt Sat 06-Apr-13 13:57:45

I don't know where else to post this so I am putting it here in order to get a balanced viewpoint.

I live with my partner and my son who is 7 years old. My partner has a daughter who is 10, almost 11. We have been together for five years and have lived together for just over a year. I have name changed as my partner knows my user name on here.

Anyway for the last two months or so, when my partners daughter stays over (three times a week), she has been waking during the night and comes into our bedroom crying and saying that either she has tummy ache or that she has had a nightmare. This happens every time she stays with us.

My partner takes her back to bed and lies in bed with her to calm her down and then an hour later she comes in our room again, crying. He then takes her downstairs, puts the tv on and stays with her until two or three in the morning. Then he takes her back to bed and stays with her until around 5am when he comes back to bed with me.

As you can imagine we are all tired out.

My partner has taken her to the doctors and there is nothing physically wrong with her.

Last night was horrendous. We were woken up three times and each time she said she either had tummy ache or had had another nightmare.

I am sympathetic and want to support my partner but I am exhausted with all of these wakings. My son is also knackered.

My partner is a bit (a lot) of a disney dad. Last weekend he put her on the sofa with a blanket and sweets and there she stayed all day. I don't agree either with letting her get up and watch television until 2am. He fusses around her constantly, which I don't think helps the situation.

He will not take any suggestions on board and thinks that I am criticising him and his DD, which I am not but this needs to be addressed. Her mum says that she doesn't do it at her house.

This is getting me and my partner down and I am just looking for some advice about what we can do.

MissyMooandherBeaverofSteel Sat 06-Apr-13 14:02:23

Does she get one on one time with her Dad while she is staying at yours or do you all do things as a family? Could it be she just wants a bit of alone time with him?

BlancheHunt Sat 06-Apr-13 14:07:44

Yes they do spend lots of time alone. For example my son is with his dad today and my partner and his DD have gone to the pictures together. My son usually spends Saturdays with his dad and they will go off and do stuff together. Then we all get together at dinner time and spend Sundays together before she goes back to her mums at around 6pm.

purpleroses Sat 06-Apr-13 15:12:33

Sympathies - my DD (9) is a bad sleeper and for the first few months after we moved in with DP and kids she was awful - much like your DSD - waking us up every night, often more than once. She had previously climbed in with me quite often if she couldn't sleep but DP wasn't comfortable with that (and nor was there enough room).

A few things that have helped:
- Taking her back to bed, and settling her, but never giving any other quality attention in the night - they may been reassurance, but anything more than that and you're just giving them an incentive to wake you up
- Telling her that it's normal to find yourself awake at some point in the night, but you just have to lie quietly until you fall back to sleep again. At her age it is NOT OK to go and wake other people who also need their sleep just because you happen to find yourself awake. Not unless you're actually sick of something. I think some people get this wrong and try to "teach" a child to stay asleep, which obviously they can't make themselves do.
- Letting her listen to stories and music on MP3 player if she finds herself awake at night.
- Taking her to GP who suggested a warm bath, cold bedroom, and if that doesn't work half an antihistamine to help her sleep. The antihistamine definitely does help - and if you're all ending up shattered because of her not sleeping well would be worth a try.
- Not eating too late - that could be one explanation for differences between your house and her mum's (other than attention-seeking, which is also likely). If you eat late she could end up with uncomfortable tummy in bed. I try to make dinner no later than 6.30pm.

Why is your DS getting woken? Can you put him in a different room?

BlancheHunt Sat 06-Apr-13 16:00:45

Thank you for your responses. I agree that she shouldn't be taken downstairs to watch television either. Last weekend we both got up with her (I usually leave it to my DP to deal with but I wanted to see what happened when she was downstairs) and within minutes the crying had stopped and when asked about her tummy ache it was like she had to be reminded that she had experienced this pain. I can't explain it but if she is allowed to get up and watch tv every time then surely this reinforces her getting up?

The crying is loud, more like sobbing, and it's not a big house so he wakes up too.

BlancheHunt Sat 06-Apr-13 16:06:21

I have suggested not asking her millions of questions about what is wrong when she wakes up and just quietly taking her back to bed and soothing her in a gentle way until she goes back to sleep. Unfortunately I am told that I don't understand and that I need to leave it to him to sort out. Which would be fair enough but it's been going on for weeks and is affecting the whole household. I have zero experience of this. My DS sleeps like a log and always has done, which doesn't help me when I am trying to help.

DontmindifIdo Sat 06-Apr-13 16:14:06

How about telling your DP that you think that while watching TV might be easy, it's actually stimulating her so she's less likely to go back to bed, if he wants to do something until she's feeling sleepy, she doesn't go downstairs but back to bed and he'll read her a story quietly - point out 'his way' isn't working, she's still being up half the night.

So agree that, and then say to your DSD that if she wakes up in the night, she's not goign to watch TV as it's not going to help her sleep. Also have a drink next to her bed as well.

Does she get the same tummy aches at home? It might be worth your DP talking to his exW about how she deals with night wakings.

BlancheHunt Sat 06-Apr-13 16:25:47

He has spoken to his ex and she isn't doing it there. He is very, very defensive and protective over his daughter and takes any advice badly. I have suggested that watching television will only wake her up more but he is still doing it. I absolutely don't want to overstep the mark here and have tried to leave it to him as much as I can but we are all shattered. I work full time and so does he, the children are off at the moment but school starts again soon.

DontmindifIdo Sat 06-Apr-13 18:27:29

I think you've got to say that his way isn't working, point out she's not doing this at her mum's house, so what his exW does works, and what he does doesn't. Suggest the TV is banned in the night. Stories, quiet cuddles etc but not going downstairs.

I think he's being very unfair on you and your DS, I'd be really angry he's refusing to deal with this when he knows it stops the whole family sleeping. he's being selfish as well, his DD needs her sleep, by refusing to address it, he's lowering the quality of her life, I'd pile on the guilt that he doesn't seem to care about what's best for DD just what's easiest for him. (Sometimes you've got to be cruel to get through to people they aren't being a good parent by pandering to what their child wants, a child her age doesn't know what's best for her)

BlancheHunt Sat 06-Apr-13 18:51:36

They are home now. Apparently she has been fine all day, no pains or anything. However for some reason he has decided to let her stay up until we go to bed to tire her out. Which wouldn't be too unreasonable but he has put her on the large sofa with a blanket over her and we have all got to watch her choice of tv (American teen comedies) until we go to bed. My DS, DP and I are all squashed up on the small sofa. Excellent. None of this was at her request so it's him that I'm a bit annoyed with.

DontmindifIdo Sat 06-Apr-13 19:00:16

Take him into another room and (very quietly) read him the riot act.

Give him a choice, he stops forcing you all to dance to his DD's tune and actually deals with her mystery illnesses and incapability to sleep in this house, or once she's gone back to her Mums after this visit, you both start looking to live apart again - and he can spend the next 5 years having no sleep on her visits, but at least you and DS will get a decent night's sleep.

He's pandering to it. This is entirely his fault. Just because she's your DSD is no reason for you to be expected to live like this.

DontmindifIdo Sat 06-Apr-13 19:01:33

oh, and either she's ill and should be in bed at an early time, or she's fine, in which case she can stop lying on the sofa and being a drama llama.

BlancheHunt Sat 06-Apr-13 19:07:07

I agree with what you are saying. She is a lovely girl and I really like her. But he does this all of the time, about everything. We have very different parenting styles and it does cause problems from time to time. When she arrives he bombards her with questions about what she wants to do, eat, etc. If I was her then I wouldn't be able to breathe for all of the questions. He adores her, no question but he wants to entertain her constantly. It wears me out sometimes.

WakeyCakey Sat 06-Apr-13 19:52:10

I can write your OP minus the DS.
My DSD is 12 and its only just seemed to stop!
I actually found that it fizzled out by me getting up to, even of it was just to hover DSD wouldn't be ill anymore.

TV was no longer needed and crisis would be over.

I have posted before about my DP is a mental Disney dad, she has a late bedtime, breakfast in bed, fizzy drinks to send her to sleep, he carries her to bed if she asks, I have become very good at detatching from it all because she is so spoiled!

I love her completely, and she loves me, but she knows that I won't put up with her shit, so I hover until she stops trying and it definitely works!

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