Family Matters

step daughter climbing into bed?

My almost 7 year old step daughter atleast once a week tries to climb into bed with her father and I. I put my foot down right from the beginning with this because it was getiing out of control. She'd climb in stating she has a nightmare, yet she doesnt seem shook up, squeezes in and makes sleeping for myself difficult with her tossing and turning. i told my husband i have no problem with him going and sleeping with her in her room when this happens ( i have even done it before with her). But he just lets her do it. and when he does she starts doing it more knowing she can get away with it. Whenever it happens and i stand my ground i tell him that none of our children will ever do this, i never did it and it wont happen, i dont think its healthy. She tends to be a very clingy kid. god forbid him and i hug or sit on the couch together she HAS to squeeze in between. She gets TONS of love and attention from us but its never enough. We also bumped heads recently on her still drinking from a sippy cup. he lets her have it before she goes to bed and she falls asleep with it. not only is it rotting her teeth but it leaks all over her sheets that I end up having to clean! 

Re: step daughter climbing into bed?

  • Sorry about all the typos! doing this from my phone. Any advice is appreciated! I just feel that our bedroom is the only space in the house that i can have a moment alone. Not just for myself but for my relationship. Thanks again!
  • I need more info: Does she live with you full time? If not, how often do you have her? Also, how is her relationship with her mom? Do you have children of your own? Do you and your husband have children together?
    Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ~ Elizabeth Stone
    "Don't marry a man unless you would be PROUD to have a son exactly like him." ~ Unknown
  • we have her fulltime for the past few years. Her mother has not been in her life much at all. Ive been her mother figure. So yes she does live with us fulltime and always has since her father and i got together. as of now there are no other children, just her.
  • Hmm, that's hard. I have sympathy for her as I was terrified of the dark and would sneak into my parents room and sleep on the floor or get into bed with my little brother when I was little. I really was terrified, so I get where she is coming from. Nothing my parents did stopped my behavior until I eventally just grew out of it. I so remember that feeling of being so scared though. Please don't dismiss her feelings, it really is hard on her too, I have been there! :)

    Have you tried a nightlight in her room? Maybe work on finding something will be a self soother for her. A musical toy or a blanket. Just because she is older doesn't mean it won't work.

    I wish I had a magic answer for you. Just take her back to bed, turn the light on and show her that her room is just fine. Give her something to snuggle and go back to bed. Repeat as nescessary.

    On another note, you and your husband need to have a sit down without her around and get on the same page. Your husband giving in to her is sabotaging anything that you do to get her back in her bed. Decide on a plan together and stick to it.

    Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ~ Elizabeth Stone
    "Don't marry a man unless you would be PROUD to have a son exactly like him." ~ Unknown
  • Speak with your dentist about weaning her off sippy cup. Start with changing the milk to water, and then go from there.

    You have a clingy step child. It may not be the kid you want, but it's the kid you got. And you have to go into this from that starting point. You can try to force her out of the room cold turkey (which I'm sure many will suggest), but that would be a bad idea. It might fix the coming to your bed probelm but it's not addressing the root cause of why. So she won't come into your bed, but it will manifest itself in other ways.

    My recommendation would be to get a referral to a child psychologist to work on the underlying causes of her behavior.

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  • Eh, I wouldn't take "not seeming shook up" to mean she isn't really afraid.  Thunderstorms make DS nervous.  but last night, during a storm, he SEEMED perfectly fine. He'd make a funny face when thunder hit, but other than that, he was "fine".  He just wanted me to be there with him. 

    WOuld you let her sleep in a sleeping bag on the floor?  SO she can be in the room but not in your bed?  At lesat as a step towards her staying in her room?  not being in your bed might be deterrent enough to not come in at all, but you're also saying "your fears are valid and you can be near us".

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • these are good points that i didnt see it from. thanks! This kid is scared of NOTHING she actually makes fun of us for being afraid of things lol. its not fear. I truly think its an attention thing but i cant understand why. i mean to hear her story for the first time and see her maternal mother is not in her life it makes sense but idk. maybe therapy is a good idea? but like i said shes a very happy kid and gets a ton of affection and attention constantly and always did so its just strange to me. i feel like an evil step mom at times and it kills me because i see her as my own daughter. and shes 7, thats a little old to be drinking from a sippy bottle and sleeping in between your parents no? she always demands to be carried....from the car.....to the playground....up to bed. i just think enough is enough no
  • thats a ggreat idea thanks!
  • sorry i meant to answer the rest of you guys, she goes to bed without anyproblems. falls asleep fine and isnt afraid of the dark.
  • I was doing this a lot with my parents at about the same age (coming to their bedroom in the middle of the night wanting to sleep there).

    They eventually were really worn out and put a foam mattress pad underneath their bed. They told me not to wake them up anymore but anytime I wanted to come into their room to sleep, I could. I just needed to pull out the foam mattress and sleep there on the floor. I did that for a while and I think eventually I just stopped altogether, sort of naturally.

    Maybe something like that would work for her? 

    imageimage
  • you know i think Im gonna run this by him and we might try it. sounds like a good idea. I really believe its more that she wants to literally be in the bed with us...like touching. strange but i will give it a try! I was always against kids in the parents room alltogether to be honest. i just don't think its a place for the kids whatsoever. i mean when we first got our house she was doing this then it lead to her just hanging out in there. i mean i got out of the shower one day, walked into my bedroom in a towel closed and locked the dorr got naked and she was in our bed watching, as if she was taking a nap in there. theres no reason for it. she has a flat screen tv, ipad, you name it in her own room. 
  • First, I applaud you in being firm with your efforts.  Although I believe her feelings should not be ignored, I also feel that it is not unreasonable to feel that she should sleep in her own bed.  You are the adults here.  Might I suggest a "sleepover night."  It goes like this:  You sleep in your bed all week and on say Friday night, you can sleep with Mom and Dad.  Make it a movie night where she picks the movie or a book night where she picks the story (whatever she enjoys).  You might even have special PJs for the night which you and her shop for.  You might start with 2 nights per week then go down to one as she becomes more confident.  This way she feels included and there is a reward for being independent all other nights.   At some point, you can maybe switch one of the nights to her room and you guys can have the sleepover in her room.  After awhile, you actually begin to pleasantly anticipate these nights.  Good luck!
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  • image kearesable:
    First, I applaud you in being firm with your efforts.  Although I believe her feelings should not be ignored, I also feel that it is not unreasonable to feel that she should sleep in her own bed.  You are the adults here.  Might I suggest a "sleepover night."  It goes like this:  You sleep in your bed all week and on say Friday night, you can sleep with Mom and Dad.  Make it a movie night where she picks the movie or a book night where she picks the story (whatever she enjoys).  You might even have special PJs for the night which you and her shop for.  You might start with 2 nights per week then go down to one as she becomes more confident.  This way she feels included and there is a reward for being independent all other nights.   At some point, you can maybe switch one of the nights to her room and you guys can have the sleepover in her room.  After awhile, you actually begin to pleasantly anticipate these nights.  Good luck!

     

    Actually,when children became an adult like than every one must have his/her own privacy.So that,you can't disturb anyone neither mother nor parents.

     


     nappies
  • Hello,

    I agree with your points. I think your husband is the real isue here. It is often the biological parent that causes these issues between the children and the parents. If you love your daughter like your own and her biological mom was never around, I'm sure the childs loves you right back. It's your husband that needs to give you the authority to set rules and have her follow them. I also am not a fan of children sleeping in bed with us. (i have two kids 5 & 7) It's not healthy for your marriage or the child. she needs to learn to be independent and you need your own private space for your husband and yourself, if she's not afraid of the dark and only does it for attention despite all the love and affection given, she's probably just doing it because she can. Talk to her nicely, while walking her back to her room. repeat it all night if needed and it should only last a few days. Pickup a few books on the topic. Books really help me get the point across with my kids.

  • After my DD falls asleep, one of us just carries her back to her room. No big deal.
    My darling daughter just turned 4 years old.
  • Gah.  I wrote you this long, nice reply last night, but then a dumb thunderstorm knocked my power out for 10 seconds and erased all my writing!

    In short, what I have discovered about being a parent is that GUILT is the great enemy of good parenting decisions.  When we make decisions that are guided by guilt, we are doing whatever makes US feel less guilty, but that's not always what's in the best interest of the child.  I think your husband is feeling a little sorry for his daughter, and letting his guilt do the parenting.  As a result, he allows her to get away with behaving like a much younger child in many ways.

    I have found that a good thing to do when I'm feeling guilty about something with my kids is to teach them something that will help them.  Teaching my child is like giving a gift to them, which makes me feel less guilty.  But it also helps them become more independent and better able to handle their own lives.

    So, what do you and your H need to teach your daughter in this situation?  You need to teach her strategies and techniques that will help her stay independent at night.  Like you, I am firm on kids sleeping in their own beds.  Here are some things that have worked with my own kids to help them be independent at night:

    --night light

    --reading books about this topic

    --structuring and limiting parent-child visits at night (My son used to call us into his room over and over again at night.  Going in to him made him call even more the next night!  So we said we would come to him one time each night.  When he called, I would stand in the hallway outside his room and ask, "do you want this to be your 'one time?'"  He would have to decide.  He would usually save his 'one time' for later.  After a few nights, he learned that he could handle going back to sleep without us.  Since your SD is used to coming to you, you might set a limit of one 30 minute visit per night, after which you'll tuck her back into her own bed.  If she shows up in your room, ask her if she wants to use her visit now or save it for later.) 

    --making a list of happy, positive things to think about when she wakes up. (This sounds so goofy, but it really helped my kids!)

    --getting a reading lamp and allowing her to turn her light on and read if she wakes up.

    Basically, you want to talk about this with her during the day, and come up with a plan for how she can learn to be more independent.  You don't want to be dealing with this when she wakes you from a dead sleep at 2 am.  You want to have your answer ready.

    I would deal with the sippy cups in a similar manner, and I would pull the plug on that behavior asap.  "Big girls don't use sippies, but you can have a small water bottle on your night stand in case you get thirsty."  She might have trouble falling asleep if she's used to "sucking" on her sippy cup to doze off, and that might make your night-waking problems worse for a few days.  Assure her that her brain will learn to a new way to fall asleep in just a few nights.  She can try counting, cuddling a favorite toy, imagining a scene from a book or movie, etc. instead of sucking.  Sucking = baby habit.  Other ways = big kid habit.

    You might want to tackle these two sleep-related things one at a time, though.

    I would deal with the clinginess and wanting to be carried in a similar way.  Tell her she's getting too big to be picked up and carried LIKE A BABY all the time.  Maybe come up with one special time of day when Daddy will carry her.  A good time might be right when he comes home from work or when she's getting ready for bed.  Otherwise, let her know that big kids can still be close to their parents by holding hands, sitting next to each other on the couch, talking, etc.

    This way, instead of just taking away all her old habits (sleeping in your bed, sucking a sippy to sleep, needing to be carried like a baby) you're helping her replace them with new, more grown-up habits.  You don't have to be guilty, because you're still meeting her needs, but you get rid of these inappropriate, immature behaviors that have become problems at age 7.

    Come visit us on the Bump's School Aged Children board if you have more questions or problems! 

     

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