Any thoughts on a 5yo not feeling like her mama loves her if daddy puts her to bed? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 11-26-2012, 06:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am at a loss as to how to respectfully and lovingly help my 5yo daughter with bedtime.  We have coslept since birth.  We would get her to sleep (which was never easy...she fought sleep since day 1 and still does to this day), and then leave her in our bed to sleep until we came to bed.  She then asked for her own bed in her own room at about 3.  Most nights up until 4, my husband or I would sleep in there with her, or help her to sleep and then bring her into our bedroom when we went to bed.  She is 5 now, and for the past year, it has been a real struggle anytime I do not put her to bed.  She cries and says that she thinks that I don't love her and then cries for a while when my husband puts her down.  It breaks all of our hearts that she feels this, no matter what I say or do.  We have tried so many things to help...like I get her completely ready, read the book, sing, etc, and then go out while he takes over.  We thought that she would get better with this in time, but to be honest, it feels like it is getting worse.  

 

I get so frustrated, trying hard to not let her see it.  She nursed until age 3, and every night was me putting her to sleep.  Since then, I am still mostly at about 75%, but my dh and I really feel like he needs to do it on a regular basis, so out of a week, I do about 4, and him 3.  I am starting to feel like I should start doing it all again, to allow her to feel more secure in me, but to be honest, I just need some time in the evening once in a while.  I am home all day with her, we are starting homeschooling, and my husband's work schedule is crazy sometimes.

 

Any advice or ideas?

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#2 of 5 Old 11-26-2012, 06:53 PM
 
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I am going to say things that sound awful.

 

Sometimes, I don't think we do children any favors by taking their feelings too seriously.  I also think that children should be seen and heard and believed.  The challenge is that, in seeing and hearing my children (my son is 5, my daughter is 3), I do observe a lot of drama.  When I tell DS that he may not have bubblegum for dessert, the agony he describes to me is out of all proportion to what I know about bubblegum.  To hear DD express herself about the wrong pajamas, you would think I was going to strap her into a shock vest for the night.  I know for a fact, and by the trouble I have getting them out of the bathtub, that bath time is not a tragedy, but when I announce that it's bath time, I had better brace myself to be told that it's torture.  Occasionally, one of them will pitch a fit because they're sad that it's not Christmas.  Sympathy sometimes fuels the drama.

 

This is not about gum - bedtime is bigger then gum.  But it's not hugely bigger.  You are not leaving your child to be eaten by foxes on the Spartan hillside.  You are putting her in pajamas, reading her a story, singing her a song, and then leaving her with a loving parent.  I'm not sure what your partner is supposed to do at that point - hang out till she falls asleep?  There is no need unmet here, except your need, for a little time to yourself.  My answer, when we were going through this, was to say something bland like "I have to take care of some things downstairs, but I know your dad will help you out."  If Dad was rejected, he'd come join me.  Since five year-olds are capable of leaving the bedroom to use the bathroom, get themselves drinks, and otherwise cope with minor post-bedtime emergencies (missing bears, dead flashlight batteries), we'd hang out and prepare for DH to occasionally walk the kid back to bed. 

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#3 of 5 Old 11-26-2012, 07:51 PM
 
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Any chance you could work on bonding with dad by having them take a short trip together? My almost 5 and my DH now have a very close relationship, despite me having nursed him until he turned 3 and having been the one to put him down most of the time. I am quite sure that having gone on a couple of trips together has gone a long way to building the bond. It doesn't have to be long, or far, or fancy, but just the two of them, something special...just a thought!

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#4 of 5 Old 11-26-2012, 11:23 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MeepyCat View Post

I am going to say things that sound awful.

 

Sometimes, I don't think we do children any favors by taking their feelings too seriously.  I also think that children should be seen and heard and believed.  The challenge is that, in seeing and hearing my children (my son is 5, my daughter is 3), I do observe a lot of drama.  When I tell DS that he may not have bubblegum for dessert, the agony he describes to me is out of all proportion to what I know about bubblegum.  To hear DD express herself about the wrong pajamas, you would think I was going to strap her into a shock vest for the night.  I know for a fact, and by the trouble I have getting them out of the bathtub, that bath time is not a tragedy, but when I announce that it's bath time, I had better brace myself to be told that it's torture.  Occasionally, one of them will pitch a fit because they're sad that it's not Christmas.  Sympathy sometimes fuels the drama.

 

This is not about gum - bedtime is bigger then gum.  But it's not hugely bigger.  You are not leaving your child to be eaten by foxes on the Spartan hillside.  You are putting her in pajamas, reading her a story, singing her a song, and then leaving her with a loving parent.  I'm not sure what your partner is supposed to do at that point - hang out till she falls asleep?  There is no need unmet here, except your need, for a little time to yourself.  My answer, when we were going through this, was to say something bland like "I have to take care of some things downstairs, but I know your dad will help you out."  If Dad was rejected, he'd come join me.  Since five year-olds are capable of leaving the bedroom to use the bathroom, get themselves drinks, and otherwise cope with minor post-bedtime emergencies (missing bears, dead flashlight batteries), we'd hang out and prepare for DH to occasionally walk the kid back to bed. 

 

I completely agree. Also, what I think she is really saying is "I like it when you lie down with me. I'm used to it. I feel sad that you aren't lying down with me tonight.". I think telling her "I love you but Daddy is going to put you to bed tonight. I am going to do XYZ. Have a good sleep. I love you." and then leaving is the best thing to do. I don't think her being upset has anything to do with her "bond" with your DH, she's just bummed that she's not getting her own way.

 

The thing with AP is you need to remember that AP is really only for babies. By the time they are 5yo their needs are not the same as a baby, they understand that you are always there and that you don't completely disappear when you leave the room. The can reason and communicate. 

 

Also, crying while she is with her loving father does not in any way equal being abandoned or letting a baby CIO.


It's complicated.
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#5 of 5 Old 11-28-2012, 09:34 PM
 
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Agree with the other posters. We've found that alternating between parents works well overall. Depending on dh's schedule I would actually suggest tht he do it most nights or more nights than you. it is okay not to meet an older child's preference, especially when you are doing so in a loving way.
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