Issues with DSS and mornings - not sure if I'm being mean, need advice!(23 Posts)
I'll try and give the situation as fully as possible. DSS (8) stays with us from Fridays for the weekend, every week. School holidays are 50:50. DH and I also have a DD who is 2.
DSS is great and we all get on really well. There is, however, an issue with mornings but DH and I have very different views on what to do about it and I genuinely don't know if I'm being mean about it or if DH is going a bit soft on DSS in refusing to tackle the issue.
During the week when DSS isn't here, DH and I both have to get up at 6:30am for work, DD wakes at 7am (ish, sometimes slightly before or after). At the weekend we don't work so we take it in turns to get up with the kids and therefore get one lie-in each. When it's just us and DD, she'll naturally wake up somewhere between 7:30 and 8am but we are finding that DSS is waking up much earlier, for example he was up at 5am yesterday and today.
There is a backstory to this - DSS has had issues with bed wetting and for a while we had to keep a diary of everything - drinks, time of trips to the toilet but now we don't need to. Except DSS is now waking us each and every time he goes to the loo in the night, including early mornings. This morning he went twice between 5am and 6am and also managed to wake DD at 5:15 for the third morning in a row, meaning she's mega cranky as she's so tired. DH got up with them this morning and he's tired too.
DH is refusing to ask (or let me ask) DSS either to stop waking us up to tell us about his toilet visits or even to try and move around the house more quietly when he does get up to go to the loo, as he has a tendency to really stomp on the stairs which are above DD's room which is what's waking her up.
I know this sounds ridiculous but this is impacting on the whole family each and every weekend. None of us are getting enough sleep and DD is just not able to cope with being woken up so early so spends each weekend being quite tearful and difficult as she's not used to being so tired. It's not helped either by DSS constantly disturbing her when she's trying to nap as well so she's missing nap times at the weekend a lot.
I'm seriously considering spending some weekend overnights at a local hotel with DD just to get us out of the way of this situation. Again I know it's not the end of the world but I just feel it'd be so easy to resolve but DH refuses to do anything about it
Swap their rooms round?
Or just tell DH you're going to ask DSS to tip toe round the house at night.
Swapping rooms won't work as the other room has the bathroom on top of it so it'd be even louder
I have said that to DH and he has basically banned me from saying anything about it. It sounds really irrational but I think that DH is convinced that if we change anything about the current night-time set up then DSS will start wetting the bed again. He's only been dry for the last few months having never previously had a dry night before that. DH is therefore very reluctant to change anything that he (correctly or not) feels would lead to DSS regressing and undoing the progress he's made.
I can see his point tbh. given that it is just three mornings I think you are being a bit precious. if your dss goes back to wetting the bed surely it will be much more disruptive for you all. What does his mum do? Surely she is also being wakened early. I would imagine she won't be too impressed if he is set back by the routine being changed.
He's 8 - that's old enough to show consideration for others. He can go to the loo quietly. Surely he doesn't have to wake you up to announce 'I need a pee'.
Being exhausted every weekend will impact on everyone.
If DH thinks this is all fair and reasonable then I suggest they sleep together. He can get up each time with his son, and teach him to be quiet and considerate of others. You and DD get to sleep properly.
This is why I wasn't sure if I was being mean. Basically I'd be happy with him just walking up the stairs much more quietly and taking himself straight to the toilet instead of coming via our room to wake us up to announce the fact he's going to go to the toilet. I'm not sure if that'd mess things up which is why I posted here.
I think at home the toilet is next to his room so he doesn't wake anyone with loud stomping and he has a baby brother there which means his mum is often up anyway. I'm not sure if he goes into her room to announce his intention of going for a wee or whether it's just something he does to us.
Why does he need to wake you up to tell you he's been to the loo? That seems unnecessary, he's old enough to go alone.
Honestly i don't think there's anything wrong with asking him to try to be a bit quieter during night time visits.
could you insist if DH won't say anything to him, then when he hears him getting up, he's to get up with him, and then you take DD into your room so the two of you can snooze quietly?
i can see why he doesn't want to say too much to him in case he regresses, but i can't see how a 'SS, if you get up to go to the loo before anyone else is up, can you try and be quiet as DD is still sleeping and she's only little and needs a lot of sleep' can possibly harm! that's hardly a change to his 'routine'.
i presume if he was 'your' child, you'd be allowed to deal with this in a way that means everyone is considered, but because he's not 'yours' you have to put up and shut up and DD has to suffer? not fair IMO. is your DH generally a bit Disney?
a solution needs to be found that means everyone's needs are considered, not just SS's. your DH is not being very fair
honey I think he'd got used to it as when he was being seen by the enuresis nurse, there were lots of charts etc to fill in to identify drinking and toilet habits so that she could work out what the issues were and the best course of action. So he did have to make DH aware during that time so that DH could chart it when we got up in the morning. But it's a habit that has just stuck and DH is not wanting him to break it.
Possibly the issue could be that the enuresis nurse concluded that DSS was awake whilst wetting the bed and was choosing not to get up and to wee into his pull-ups instead. The minute the pull-ups were taken away he had one accident and then nothing at all since then. DSS has been very open about the fact he was aware he was weeing and didn't want to get out of bed but now he has to as he doesn't wear pull-ups any more. So...DSS has got used to the praise of "well done for getting up" and DH is maybe worried that without that instant praise at the time of waking, DSS will start wetting again? I don't know...
Could you have some sort of chart by the bathroom door, that he could use to indicate he had got up. Perhaps then he could "show" dh in the morning and get loads of praise then?
I do understand where your dh is coming from but i don't think its sustainable.
I think you can deliver it in a positive way eg ''DSS as you've done so well we think you're ready to go to the toilet without telling your Dad in the night'' (I consider before 6am to be night time!) and at 8yo your DSS is old enough to recognise that it's still really early and everybody is sleeping and that he needs to be quiet.
Does he have a clock in his room? Maybe you could get him one if he doesn't. If it's before 7am he doesn't wake Dad up, after 7am he can.
I think you need a bit of compromise there. Is there no way that you can get DH to ask him to tiptoe to the bathroom? DSS and DSD used to get up super early an then wake DS 12 up - who has always been a late sleeper at weekends (I had to wake him at 1130 this morning!). Everyone was getting cranky and it was rubbish for all of us.
The DSC (6&8) now have a rule that they can go to the loo, but they have to keep quiet and go back to their rooms to read (specified after they started rattling Lego at 5am!) until 7am. It is not an unreasonable or damaging lesson for any child to learn that just because they are awake doesn't mean that everyone else has to be.
He was trained to tell you and now you want it to stop.
He has been dry for 2 months - which is not long in the scheme of things, can understand why your DP is worried about reverting back to type.
From what you say, he was using this asa control mechanism.
Why not suggest a reward if he manages to pee and not disturb anyone for the next month - you are going to have to give him a incentive to change, after drumming inot him that he needed to tell in the first place.
I think loupyloo has it. As a positive 'ready for the next step' approach might make him feel very grown up
as someone who has an 8 yo dsd who wets I am torn on this. if the telling someone is keeping him dry then I am sorry but I think his needs trump yours and dd's as it is only a couple of days. however the stomping is unacceptable and that does need addressing but nit in a negative way. perhaps you could make it a challenge of see how quietly you can walk?
if it is make or break on the telling you he is going then would dh compromise on dss having a note book and a clock in his room so he can write down the time he goes to the loo maybe and then dh can check it in the morning?
You've had some good advice here, OP. I think the idea of him keeping a chart of his own to log loo trips and not disturbing you is a great compromise and will hopefully give him a sense of achievement so he does not regress. You may need/want to couple it with
bribes rewards. Maybe each successful weekend builds up to a cinema trip/new toy each month?
The suggestion of a clock is a really good one. When DSD was 7 she kept coming into us really early on weekend mornings. We eventually worked out it was because she did not know what time it was. We got her one of these and it solved it straight away.
The stomping is separate and it's perfectly reasonable to request that it stops. He probably has no idea he is doing it.
If none of this works or your DH flatly refuses to let you suggest it then I'd go with the idea of making your DH get up.
This is very difficult to live with and you have my sympathy.
This has been one of the hardest parts of being part of a stepfamily.
My dp saw nothing wrong with his kids being up at 5am every morning and waking each other up. My ds went from having 12 hours sleep a night to having 7 after we moved in. I was exhausted and so was he.
My dsc grew up and it has naturally sorted itself out. Dsd4 still wakes early but it's more likely to be 6:30 before I'm disturbed rather than 5 and she's quiet if she does get up. We've also moved house and she has to use the downstairs bathroom which helps.
With hindsight I should have been firmer. my own ds was taught from much younger than 8 to be respectful about waking others. Your dp needs to support you on this.
You're not being unreasonable. You don't have to be "nasty to dss to sort this out. firmer
I agree with the positive affirmations approach. A few words to DSS in context will move it on to the next stage, as I sense that following his recent progress your DSS probably needs to be nudged forward so it isn't an "event" anymore, it is just normal.
Another thing that could help is to give him his own clock, then you can tie things together, time, events and actions.
Along the lines of "we're so proud of you, you're very grown up now you go to the loo/toilet all on your own. Well done. And remember that grown ups know that before 7 o'clock we walk very quietly so we don't wake each other up. So when you've done the loo, just get back into bed very quietly. Now you're so grown up you don't need to tell us each time".
If I remember DSS at that age we used to play a game of seeing who could walk furthest without it creaking. You could turn it into a game!
Oops sorry xpost! The clock was mentioned earlier
I did this as a child , actually right up to about 10 or 11 , I always went and told my Dad that i was going to the loo, no idea why , well with hindsight I do know but at the time it was just what I did .
With hindsight i know that I was really frightened by being the only one awake in the house, at a younger age I would definitely have wet the bed rather then get out if no one else was up, it just freaked me out .However I wasn't able to explain it .Even at university if I had to get up in the night to go I would run to the bathroom and run back .Mad I know but we all have irrational fears .
Have you got some plug in nightlights so it's not dark too?
Definitely positive reinforcement, move onto reward for not waking anyone else up before 7am.
My Ds did this, and it was because he was scared getting up in the night, in the dark. Our bathroom is downstairs, his room upstairs. Problem solved by having the hall light on low dimmer, and night light in his room.
My 4 year old knows not to wake anyone until 7am so I don't think it is unrealistic to expect of an 8yo. Obviously rule out any underlying issues like fear of the dark, but he could quietly wake your DH rather than stomping around waking everyone.
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