Ok, I'm writing about my cousin & his wife. They're relatively newly married (less than 2 years), expecting a baby, and she has a 6 yr old. My cousin has a 13 yr old who is w/ his mom most of the time.
The 6 yr old is distressed about all the changes: new home, new father figure in his life, new baby coming. He's also had to move very recently and his mom is trying to find a new job.
When the little boy goes to sleep, he's scared. He does not want to "disappear" in his mom's life. He doesn't go to sleep well. He wakes up FREAKED out. My cousin won't let him sleep on the floor of their bedroom because he's not related to the boy and he feels uncomfortable.
Mom has taken to sleeping with her little boy just so he feels safe and secure. Cousin is not happy. Mom isn't either - she feels torn between the 2 and nothing is going to make everyone happy.
I love my cousin to the ends of the earth, but as a mom, I'm really feeling for his wife here.
Do you guys have ANY suggestions?
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Perhaps your cousin is worried that he may not get alone time with his Wife, however, children's needs always need to come first. Perhaps they can work out a compromise, where the child spends part of the night with them and part of the night in his own room, or can sleep with his Mom on certain days of the week, etc? Perhaps a baby monitor or some form on intercom, for when the boy sleeps in his own room?
And your cousin IS related to him- he's his Stepfather.
It sounds like your cousin is fuzzy on the difference between inappropriate behavior, and something that could look like inappropriate behavior if given the right spin. Having his stepson sleep on the floor, with his wife present as well, during a traumatic time in the boy's life, is not inappropriate. Sure, a particularly uptight stranger who doesn't know him might think that was a red flag, but he can't let that stop him from good parenting.
I would suggest to him that once his stepson is safely snoozing away on the bedroom floor, it will be easy for him and his wife to have their own time in another part of the house.
Step mom to Malakie, Cameron , and Aurelia
Thanks, guys. That's my thinking and mom's, as well. Perhaps this will help her feel better about it. I love my cousin, but he is a stubborn one...
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I have been co-parenting with my partner since the kids were little, so they were sleeping in our room when we got together. Trust me, if a kid falls asleep in a room they feel safe in, they're less likely to wake up than in a room where they don't feel safe, which will interfere with "business time" more than letting them sleep in the same room. As a non-bio parent, it is your job to make this kid feel like they are as much a part of the family as they always were, and suddenly making them do something they're not comfortable with is not going to help the situation, regardless of "what other people think". It is not weird for a 6 year old to sleep in a room with a parent and their partner, or a parent and a cousin, or a parent and any other person the parent knows and is not a threat to the child or anyone else. Obviously, violent or otherwise volatile people shouldn't been in close quarters with small children, but otherwise, I don't see how sleeping on the floor is any different than sleeping in the same house as people who aren't your parents. The risk is the same regardless of the room of the house. I don't get the reasoning on this one.
Especially with a baby on the way, they need to figure out how to divvy their "alone time" and sleeping with the kids. Sounds like your cousin needs to step up and be a parent to this kid with his new half sibling on the way. The only way to do this is to be a real family and not hold back.
(gender)queer vegetarian artist co-parenting DDs 14 & 11 with DP and TTC little peanut #3
In the core family I didn't mind my children co sleeping occasionally, I thought it was nice and cozy, especially for the last baby.
When my exH and I broke up, the children would still come from time to time to sleep/camp in my room, especially the little fellow who was around 6 that time.
Things completely changed when I seriously dated my SO, who also allowed his daughter (6 at the time)who he has 50% of the time to co sleep with him!!She also was allowed to wake him up anytime during the night and made him to get ot off bed to do craft and games in the dark if she felt like it.You may get the picture, she was ruling his world, acting like a very entitled mini-wife.
When we started having regular sleepovers with our families, problems started to occur.Whereas my little fellow was having no problems sleeping in his room and bed, is daughter was far more resistant and made life absolute hell for month.
Being overcompensated and babied all her life she was not prepared to give up her status that easily.
We had attempts of all kinds, letting her sleep with us half of the night at the beginning which made me feel completely uncomfortable, him following her to co sleep with her in her bed, he sitting and coddling her half of the night .
It was completely insane to a point where I was telling him that it has to stop entirely and he needed to put his foot in the door or there is no adult rs possible.So he started working on it and insisting that she sleeps in her room and in her bed.She tried making up deseases and to manipulating him to feel guilty but he finally with a lot of talking and praise she stays now in her room.
See , that 6 year olds fears can be serious and the adjustments are hard, but co sleeping is difficult in a step family and not necessary helpful.
It would be better for everybody involved to create a reliable safe pattern at night, install a night light and maybe a invest into a special "big boy" toy as a reward for staying in his room.When he wakes up, mum should go and comfort him quickly but not getting dragged into spending the night with him.The little boy needs to learn that he is very safe and loved but also has to accept that his mum needs to sleep with her husband at night and not with him.The earlier he understands, the better for every member in the family.If he understand that his "fear"is recognised but not rewarded with extra attention during the night, he may manage to let go of it soon.
I understand him being uncomfortable with his stepchild in his bed-I would have been uncomfortable with that too and I'm sure it is a tricky situation for mom to balance. However, I don't think there should be a problem with the child sleeping just in the room-i.e. a mattress at the foot of the bed or a sleeping bag or whatever. If he is not even willing to allow that, than I can't say I would do anything different than what the mom is doing. Kids come first and I don't see how it is fair to a small boy to insist that he just magically adjust to all the big changes going on his life. I worry, though, how the mom is going to handle it when she also has a new baby to care for at night? I hope your cousin relaxes a little bit between now and then so everybody can sleep well at night.
My older son was 5 1/2 and just starting to spend nights in his own room while I was pregnant with my second. I was so happy when he decided he wanted to start co-sleeping again not too long before my little one was born. I hated the idea of him alone in his room while the rest of us were being all bondy in our bedroom. Now they are 8 1/2 and 3 and we're still all happily co-sleeping. I am thinking that both of them will start sleeping in their room (at least for the first part of the night) after my little guy weans, which probably won't be too long from now. Anyhow, he had not had all of the upheaval that your cousin's step-son has had, but I do think that adding a baby to the family can be pretty traumatic for the older child. I think co-sleeping went a long way toward convincing him that he wasn't being displaced.
I think your cousin should really try to suck it up and let his step-son sleep in their room. I feel for him, too, but I also think if he makes an effort to get over it, he will be able to feel okay about it and it may go a long way to making them feel more like they are related.
Jayne, sewing up a storm mama to ds1 9/03, ds2 2/09, and 2 sweet furbabies.
|Step Family , Blending Families , Blended Parenting|