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Working through pouting, ranting, tantrums of 5yo DD - HELP!

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Please help me to respond better....


Tonight my almost 5yo, who has recently needed to fall asleep in my bed with me (and asks to be moved to her bed after she falls asleep), lays down and can't stop fidgeting, talking, making noise, etc. after we'd done our bedtime routine and settled in for our usual bedtime (with me and nursing little brother).  About 7-8 times, I asked her to please be quiet now and try to sleep, it's bedtime.  Finally I told her, still calmly, that I've now asked her a number of times to be quiet and go to sleep and, as she is still not listening, I am beginning to get a little angry.  She continues to play around with her body (kicking or sitting up) and making noises, seemingly out of spite.  And so I start to get angry.  


She says she just has one more thing to say, so I reign in the anger and allow it.  She tells me to promise her that I (not DH) will come help her fall back asleep in her room (after I've moved her) when she wakes up in the middle of the night (which she always does).  I tell her I will do the best I can, that if her brother wakes up at the same time then either papa will need to come or she will need to wait for me.  She tells me she doesn't want DH (bc he's usu grumpy in the middle of the night).  I tell her, then I will call out to her that I hear her and wait just a minute-- and she needs to wait quietly for me then.  This sets her off. 


She starts to go into the "I hate you, mama" and "fine then I'm just going to sit up and not sleep.... but I'm so tired" and "if you don't listen to me, I am going to yell really loud until you come to my room when I call", etc etc.  All good stuff like that!  :( 


I know somehow I'm supposed to not engage in this conversation at this moment-- she's tired, she's probably feeling jealous & needy because of her little brother's nursing -- and I try to stay calm and bow out of the conversation, steering it back to the task at hand:  going to bed now.  But, I can't seem to make this work.... I try simply saying goodnight and being quiet but her pouting and thrashing about continues.  I get to my wits end and get stern with her.  That throws her into another rant about how mean I am and back to the promise she's requesting, etc. 


WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO BE DOING????  How do I diffuse this situation and get her out of her poutiness & tantrum?  How do I get her to listen??


BTW, what ended this tonight was DH coming into the room (thankfully ready to be kind and deal with DD) and asking her the situation. After we both told him, he just said to her, "are you ready to go to sleep?" and she said "yes, with you, Papa".  This was good but he's not always available or quite as patient as he was tonight.  And, I'm afraid we'll have issues with her middle-of-the-night wake and she'll be screaming because I didn't come to her right away as she asked.


Sorry for the long post.  I run into this same nighttime issue and similar scenarios during the day quite often lately.   Any ideas are much appreciated!!!!

post #2 of 6


 Hi!!! I wish I had better advice to give you. All I can think of is that something is must be bothering me her such as adjusting to a new sibling. Try to spend time talking to her during the day about her feelings. Try to spend time just with her when possible. As for as bedtime goes, it sounds like having her in your bed and moving her to her own bed is not working. Even though it is going to be challenging and won't work right away, give her lots of reassurance and read books in her room and lay down with her in her bed. At first you may need to wait till she is asleep and than leave. If she wakes up during the night offer her reassurance but be consistent with getting her back in bed and try not to get into a conversation when she is overtired. How was her sleeping before the birth of her brother? She may feel jealous since he is up at night nursing. I am sure being overtired does not help her mood. Best of luck and hope you get some sleep.

post #3 of 6

This might not work for your family but we don't push the kids to sleep in their own room.  We are probably way too laid back about sleeping!  Most nights I have a nursing toddler on one side, and my 3-year old sleeps cuddled on my other side.  My five year old (she's almost six) also sleeps with us.  Is there any way she can sleep in your room?  I know this would not work for all families, but it does work well for us.  We have never had any nighttime battles. 

post #4 of 6

After our baby was born we moved the older two kids (ages 5 and 7) out of our bed too.  It was just too many people.  For a few months we tried to have them sleep in their own beds on the other side of the room, but they too would wake up in the middle of each night, scared.  What ended up working for us was to move one twin bed so that it is adjacent to the big bed, and have both big kids sleep there.  At first my daughter wanted to climb back into the big bed, in the middle of the night, but I was firm with her that she couldn't do that, and I'd hold her hand over the side of the bed and tell her sleepy stories until she fell back asleep.


We also have a rule that if the big kids want a parent to lie down with them until they fall asleep, there is no talking, thrashing, kicking, playing, etc.  If that happens, the parent leaves the room and comes to check on the kids every few minutes.  It helps to leave a dim light on if we do end up leaving, so that no one gets scared. 

post #5 of 6

My girls are closer together in age.  Your situation sounds similar to mine but with more vocabulary!  DD1 was just so upset at the existence of her little sister.  For a long time I put them to sleep in separate rooms, but the days just got so weary and bedtimes so long and frustrating (I, too, lay with them to fall asleep) and we were all exhausted.  I had been carrying her to our bed when DH and I were climbing in.  We had always done this, even before little sister, but now she was placed next to him, further away while I slept close and nursed DD2.

     I finally decided I had to heal this, and I took some advice from an attachment parenting book and took a few steps back. (This was when DD1 was 4, DD2 was 2).  We all went to sleep in my side of the bed (two queen futons crammed together--we have a big room!) where everyone could stay put all night.  And for the first few nights I went to bed with them, too, and stayed there.  Resigning myself to bed with teeth brushed and closed eyes and letting the girls fidget a little really calmed me.  I consciously let go of any urge to scold.  Yes, I became a bit groggy and dull with too much sleep for a few days, but the trick worked.  Soon I was able to creep out of bed after they drifted off.  And we did heal, quite a bit.  Later I discovered a terrible wheat allergy was causing some of the daytime rages she had been having, and that helped, too, finally helping us have normal days.

     I'd be lying if I said all was perfect and rosy now.  I still lie down with the girls (6 and 4 1/2) while they fall asleep.  And if they are hyper, I get crabby.  I still often feel like I'm Angry Mama, and this can be hard after a hard day.  When things are too energetic I remind them that if they demand I stay with them while they fall asleep, I demand they are settled and quiet while I sing a few songs. "If you want to fall asleep on your time, and keep your eyes open as long as you like, then I can leave and let you have that time."  Just saying this usually quiets them down.  If one resists my attempt to settle her down, we count down from 3 until she has to lay down in another bedroom until "the other little girl can fall asleep in peace and quiet."  If it comes to that she (usually DD2) has to lie down with daddy, but no one WILL fall asleep because when push comes to shove they are staunch allies and cannot do without one another.  But at least when she does come back in she is quiet and mindful and that will last a few months!

     Now, if they can't fall asleep, it's more because it's Solstice Time and the light up here doesn't begin to fade until 9:30, or some other normal reason and not because they are vying for my attention.  And that!  They are still needing to feel the attention is equitable during the day.  Part of the problem is just my oldest girl's personality.  Sensing that eventually this bedtime routine will be a great time for talking quietly, I've let them have a few "last words" and they can sing the first song with me softly.  Any more than that at this age and they get more awake instead of sleepy, but I want to set the foundation for what might evolve into a sweet time one of these years.

     When they fall asleep, they stay asleep.  They don't cry out and fuss unless they have aches or tummy trouble or a cold.  We all sleep very well.  If things do get bad again with bedtime, with me feeling like Angry Bossy Mean Mama at bedtime, I will eventually just call it a night and say goodnight to DH when I haul the girls off to bed.  After songs I just close my eyes, hush them occasionally and let myself drift.  After about 2 or 3 nights, they drop off more quickly and calmly again.  Then, once again, I'll have a few weeks of relative ease at bedtime.  I'll get at least an hour, sometimes 2 with DH and we'll get some sleepy snuggletime on his side of the bed before I retire to right smack-dab in between my sweeties.  I love snuggling with them (DH is not snuggly at night and is particular about his covers) and I feel that this does so much to heal any troubles we are having, without our having to say a word!



post #6 of 6

I agree with a pp that you should try to get these things discussed before dd is over tired. Emotions run high when people are tired even for adults. I imagine it's difficult for your dd to process her feelings (esp sib jealousy) when she's over tired.


I also wanted to add that we try very hard not to say "you're not listening" when the child is actually listening but rather not doing as we've asked. I feel children find it confusing when you say they aren't listening when what you really mean is they aren't obeying.

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