Am I being really mean? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 20 Old 01-28-2014, 03:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My 8 year old daughter has been staying up until 9:00 each night, which of course turns into water-bathroom-just let me finish the chapter so more like 9:10-15.  I think it's too late, and tonight I told her her new bedtime is 8:30.  Much crying and arguing ensued, of course.  

 

The thing is, it's more about me than it is about her.  I homeschool her, so getting up for school isn't really an issue and she gets up at a reasonable time for us - about 7-7:30.  The real issue is that in the evening I am just so DONE.  Between homeschooling an intense and demanding child, and taking care of my two year old (also somewhat intense and demanding), I am really tapped out at night.and by 9:00 I am tired.  (I'm tired by 8:30 too, but somehow it seems more reasonable, like there is still some evening left for me.)

 

So my question is not so much whether 8:30 is a reasonable bedtime, because I know it is, it's more about me switching it on her for my own benefit.  When I put it that way it seems pretty selfish.  Does anyone have any thoughts?

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#2 of 20 Old 01-28-2014, 04:51 PM
 
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In my family, we had an afternoon "naptime" all the way through high school.  or atleast, I (the oldest) was in high school.  Then we were younger and there were still at least 1 of 4 children at home all day with my stay-at-home mom, it was quite literally a naptime.  There was only one rule though, Mom was allowed to "sleep" on the couch while we watched whatever current favorite tv show was on at that time.  So it was more of an enforced, tv-induced quiet time BUT my mother got her mid-day break and the four of us got to nap or otherwise chill and recharge.  Even when we were all in jr and sr high school we still came home and would watch tv for a half hour or so when we weren't doing after school sports.  it's the perfect way to take a chill break and helped everyone get through to bedtime in a reasonably pleasant manner.  

 

With my children, I often come home at five to hyperactive children in the winter because they're indoors ALL DAY LONG which is really hard for farmer kids and my inlaws often are making sure they're not killing one another which means the TV has been playing TV ALL DAY LONG and my kiddos have been watching at least some of it even if it's grown-up tv shows and not disney whatever.

 

The solution is often to send them to their room for playtime IN THEIR ROOM ONLY because otherwise I would explode and there never would be dinner of any sort.  They're usually happy until I call them back down for dinner and then they've often calmed down a little too.

 

Good luck!


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#3 of 20 Old 01-28-2014, 07:42 PM
 
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I do not think it's selfish. Mama needs to be recharged and happy in order to help to run a happy household!

If you are worried about being selfish, you can instill an 8:30 to bed and 9:00 to lights out. That gives her a half hour of reading time and still allows you your down time.

 

But I wouldn't feel guilty about it. You homeschool and are there for your kids all day. She gets enough Mummy time.


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#4 of 20 Old 01-28-2014, 08:23 PM
 
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Nope. Not mean.

My kids get up early, and really still need 12 hours of sleep. So, finally, I told them that I was.going to subtract 12 hours from their wake up time and that is bedtime. Lately, we have had lights out at 6:30 or 7. I need time, and they need sleep, so, there it is. My 6 and 8 year olds objected at first, but they fall right to sleep, and everyone has been so happy and nice all day since. Including me. Because I can't be up with big kids until 9 or 10, then up with the baby multiple times at night, and then up with the big kids at 6:30a. By the way, they aren't allowed to wake me up in the morning either. I guess I'm mean, too, but something had to give.
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#5 of 20 Old 01-29-2014, 12:15 AM
 
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i generally lay down the law as a last resort.

 

what is it that you really want?

 

would you like her in bed by 8:30 and do whatever she wants silently in her room without disturbing you? or do you want lights out at 9 pm?

 

i dont know. 8:30 can be a little early for some 8 year olds. 

 

i would sit and talk with her. put it from your perspective. that you need peace and quiet from 8:30 onwards. 

 

give her the boundaries. you want lights out by 9:30 or 10 or whatever you feel is appropriate. 

 

you want her in her room by 8:30 and these are the things she is allowed to do in her bedroom. 

 

could that work?

 

being 8 letting her have some autonomy is important for her. just as much important for her to understand mom needs a break. 


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#6 of 20 Old 01-29-2014, 12:51 AM
 
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I think it's fine to set rules that are for the benefit of the parent.  But why don't you just tell her you're going off duty at 8:30 and you don't want her making noise or asking you for things after that time, without setting any requirement about whether or not she's in bed or has her light out?

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#7 of 20 Old 01-29-2014, 06:36 AM
 
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I think it's fine to set rules that are for the benefit of the parent.  But why don't you just tell her you're going off duty at 8:30 and you don't want her making noise or asking you for things after that time, without setting any requirement about whether or not she's in bed or has her light out?

I have done this with my kids.  We have gotten a bit more relaxed as they have gotten older but I do an "in bed and reading" policy for the evening.  It has worked very well.  My girls share a room (for now) and my son has his own room.  They are 8, 10 and 12.  We get ready for bed around 8pm.  I read them a chapter or two from a book we are reading.  Then I tuck them in.  It's usually around 8:30 by then, yes, even for the 12 year old.  They can read or draw or do rainbow loom.  They are not allowed to be on media (unless it is a book on a kindle).  With my 8 year old and 10 year old, I try to enforce a lights out around 9pm.  I don't know they ever make it that long.  Sometimes they don't even read.  My 12 year old may end up reading or doing homework until 10, but usually he's asleep around 9 or 9:30.  

 

I explained to them that the evening was my time with dad and that I hadn't really had a chance to talk with him that day.  They completely understood.  They do stay up later on the weekend when they are not in school.  :)  So no, I don't think it's being mean to make a policy that benefits you, as long as you are up front about it.  I think it's easier to get cooperation from children if they understand why you need to do something.  We've been doing this for YEARS and it's routine now.  


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#8 of 20 Old 01-29-2014, 09:26 AM
 
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I do not think it's selfish. Mama needs to be recharged and happy in order to help to run a happy household!

If you are worried about being selfish, you can instill an 8:30 to bed and 9:00 to lights out. That gives her a half hour of reading time and still allows you your down time.

 

But I wouldn't feel guilty about it. You homeschool and are there for your kids all day. She gets enough Mummy time.

:yeah


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#9 of 20 Old 01-29-2014, 09:59 AM
 
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I'm still reading the other responses, wanted to chime in with my own experience since I have the same issues and we homeschool as well.

 

You are not being "mean", but I think that a little part of you is trying to alert you that the appropriateness of this approach is waning for your eldest.

 

My girs are 7 and 9, and it seems that bedtime has always been the time to get revved up, buddy-buddy and playful (after a day a fighting, being bored "all the time because there is nothing to do").  I did end up putting my foot down and started the bedtime process 1/2 hour earlier, to give them time to do their bedtime "chores" without me their keeping them on task.

 

That's one issue, and once we instituted it (after much crying and protesting) they discovered they really liked it.  We don't stick with it much, but now they understand the trade-offs and are more willing if we start picking up our old habits.  It's Start-late-and-stay-on-task, or start-early-and-dilly-dally.  We also have more time to chat when the lights go out.

 

Regarding the next issue, "me time" I'm afraid I've just given up that battle to some extent, BUT I remind them that in order to start staying up later, they need to find calm, quiet pursuits that do not require me to help (much) or referee.  I don't mind that it would interfere with "adult" move time, I just want a time when I can kick back and read and stop being "mommy" for a while.  So far, no takers.  I do not have a toddler to complicate things.

 

I think 8yo is old enough to talk about this with her.  You can suggest things like reading or sketching in bed.  I also think she's old enough to trial a later bedtime.  *Trial* a later bedtime.  Can she be self-sufficient and quiet?  Can she get her own water and use the bathroom without asking for company (that question is not a nonsensical one!)  Can she click off her light at a reasonable time so she can be refreshed and alert and pleasant the next day?

 

The reason I tend to think in this line is that soon she *will* be old enough to need a later bedtime and you *will* need to find a way to feel recharged without the kids needing to be in bed.  Whether that will be sooner or later, who knows?  But it *will* happen.

 

Also, ask yourself if your homeschooling is taxing you during the day.  What down time are you able to take for yourself?  Nevermind, 2yo!  :wink  However, I would definitely examine your daily schedule to see where you can ease up a little, if possible.  I have 2 very demanding and intense kiddos as well, especially my eldest 9yo.  It helps that we do not have a curriculum-intensive homeschooling style.

 

What time does your toddler go to bed?  Maybe after he (?) is in bed, you can have some close snuggle-and-talk time.  Treat her like the big kid she is and is becoming.  Maybe she want closeness, and you could trying reading in tandem quietly for a while.  Or talk about how demanding a job it is to be the homeschooling mother of an active 2yo, and maybe she would love to tell how much she is annoyed with her sibling, and how much of your attention she loses because of him..... 


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#10 of 20 Old 01-29-2014, 10:18 AM
 
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But I wouldn't feel guilty about it. You homeschool and are there for your kids all day. She gets enough Mummy time.

Some kids would argue otherwise, especially the "intense and demanding" ones.  Enough mummy time for the average kid, never enough for the intense one.  Whatever choice the OP makes-- and I don't think it would be mean or selfish to choose the earlier bedtime-- I think that seeing this from the perspective of a high-needs child is important.  My high-needs child would see this as a rejection of her--that I would need to push her aside so that I can be happy again.  Ouch.  Worded that way, it smarts.  That doesn't mean that I wouldn't choose the early-to-bed option, but I can't go by what a "normal" child would accept, because I can almost guarantee it wouldn't work for us.


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#11 of 20 Old 01-29-2014, 11:53 AM
 
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I agree SweetSilver. We have a high needs child too. And even at 4yrs old she cannot spend 30sec alone. 

However, I personally do think it is good for children and adults to get a break from each other. It helps us to recharge. A high needs child may not agree that it is good for them, but I would still think it is. The same as my HN child doesn't agree with other things I do that is good for her, like limiting screen time and sweets or getting her to brush her teeth.

 

However, I would NEVER say to my child, whether they are HN or not that I need a break from them in order to be happy. I would definitely put it another way. I would probably say that we all can benefit from some quiet time/extra sleep/whatever and I would like her to help cooperate to achieve that goal. 


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#12 of 20 Old 01-29-2014, 01:12 PM
 
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However, I would NEVER say to my child, whether they are HN or not that I need a break from them in order to be happy. 

Neither would I and didn't mean to imply someone would, but a child might interpret it that way no matter how kindly we put it.  That was what I was trying to convey-- what the child is *hearing* in their own minds, not what is actually being said.  And it has taken my girls a long, long time to even come close to hearing what I'm really trying to say when I ask for down time.  For some reason, my need gets interpreted as "I don't love you, I don't want to be with you" when that is absolutely not what I mean.  And yes, my daughter could use some alone time as well and I look forward to the day when she discovers that, truly, in her heart how helpful it can be.

 

Anyhow, this might be getting too far away from the OP's particular situation and too much into mine.


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#13 of 20 Old 01-29-2014, 02:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone for the insight.  

 

SweetSilver, everything you said made a lot of sense.  And yes, for my daughter there is pretty much never enough mommy time, she even told me a few months ago that she feels we don't spend enough time together, despite the fact that we homeschool!  And yes, it would break her heart for me to try to explain my need for a little child free time, she would not understand it in any way other than as a rejection of her.  So despite the fact that my introverted personality is taking a bit of a beating from all this togetherness, I am very careful not to ever phrase it that way to her!

 

In terms of bedtime, I actually don't care what she does in there as long as she is well rested and leaves me alone.  But she needs the boundary of a specific bedtime  - if I let her read or do her own thing, she pushes the limits every time, and I can't relax for the evening until the lights are out because she needs this or that or she doesn't turn the light out because she "forgot".  

 

After my initial laying down the law last night we did eventually discuss it more.  I framed it to her as me wanting our evenings to go more smoothly in general, and her getting a little extra rest being a part of that.  She was pretty receptive, especially when I let her pick some family activities for us to do after the little one goes to bed.  

 

When (if??) she becomes more independent and matures a bit I have no problem with loosening up on bedtime.  I am still figuring out homeschooling and how to make it work for us, and I don't mind admitting that it is really taking a lot out of me.  Also that I really enjoy my kid free time, and I am still adjusting to having way less of that.  I also am trying to let go of the idea that if I could just find the right parenting technique my kids would be less intense and high needs, when in fact I think it's just a personality thing (at least for the 8 year old, I still have hope my toddler may mellow out eventually!)

 

Thanks again for the comments! 

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#14 of 20 Old 01-29-2014, 09:30 PM
 
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I agree with what some of the others have said- what about telling her she needs to be in her room, in bed, by 8:30, but she can choose to do whatever until 9:00 and at that point it's lights out? Seems like a fair compromise for all.


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#15 of 20 Old 01-30-2014, 10:32 PM
 
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KCC the main issue about hsing that many dont realise is how much we dont factor in taking care of ourselves. some of the wise women in my life asked me what i was doing for myself just before i started hsing.

 

but i wanted to talk to you about 'together time'. i think you and your dd are talking a different language. in her language i am presuming what you call as time together is actually work. doing hm, studying, whatever task - for her is not time together. time together is downtime. time to bring up big issues. i know this is tough, but if you could somehow find even 15 minutes with her - and her alone doing what SHE wants to do - or really nothing at all - THAT is what she means time tog.

 

she is at a v. sensitive age. 8 is the age of consciousness developing. she needs you more emotionally. in a way where SHE FEELS you are completely there for her for those few minutes. sometimes its just some quiet time cuddling and silence. she has GREAT emotional needs now.

 

having a 11 year old i will say my dd needs me now even more than she has ever needed me before. when i wasnt there she came close to a mental breakdown. 


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#16 of 20 Old 02-02-2014, 06:17 AM
 
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I am an introvert as well and even though my 6 year old is in school all day as I am (I am an assistant teacher)I need my downtown also..When I pick her up from school at 3:30 I am all hers untill about 6:30...Then we do bath and cleanup....she is laying down and in bed by 7:30 8:00at the latest...I lay with her...She goes to sleep and I get my much needed alone time for a couple hours before I go to bed..

Your not being mean or selfish...You are taking your DD needs into consideration but you also need to take care of you..Then you can be your best for your DD...And putting a child down for bed at 8-8:30 is not being mean..espesially since you all are getting up to homeschool by 7-7:30 am...Whether she wants to admit it or not she needs her sleep too...
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#17 of 20 Old 02-06-2014, 11:28 AM
 
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I have an autoimmune disease and am the only parent at home 90% of bedtimes. Bedtime is firm, because I need my sleep or I get sick. So no, I don't think it's mean at all to have firm bedtimes. I often head up before my 8 year old is totally settled in for the night. My 13 year old is up, but I tuck and snuggle by 830, after that if I'm still downstairs it's a miracle. If there's fire or death they are free to wake me up, but overall they need to keep it down and get in bed at bedtime.
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#18 of 20 Old 02-15-2014, 10:03 AM
 
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No, and I am open about it with my son. 8:30 lights out because the day is over! Sleep for the kids and chill time for the grown ups. I hope if he has kids of his own, he also learns to set boundaries for his own time and for his children's behavior. We also say, we have to live in our house as a family, and we have to live in the world as a community member. It's not all about one person all the time. 

 

Parenting (active) can be a 24 hour a day job if we turn it into one- and mom and dad need time together, enough sleep, and downtime to read and relax. 

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#19 of 20 Old 02-17-2014, 07:26 PM
 
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This thread is exactly what I needed to read tonight! I've been doing 7pm bedtimes with DS (3.5) for awhile now (we start the routine at 7- depending on how long it takes to get PJs on and teeth brushed, and how many stories we read, he's asleep between 7:30 and 8.) DS definitely needs his sleep- if he's asleep by 7:30, he usually sleeps until 7:30 am. But honestly, the early bedtime is mostly about my sanity. By 7, I'm done. I find that I lose my patience much faster and my sense of humor goes out the window. DS is pretty high needs and requires constant engagement throughout the day. I'm much more of an introvert and need some time in the evening to decompress without anyone talking to me or asking me for something or pulling on me. I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels this way!

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#20 of 20 Old 02-23-2014, 06:25 PM
 
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 Some of these ages are hard- 3 was a hard year in our house in regards to DS's high maintenance. I think these are the years to lay the groundwork for some things that that kids won't be very good at until they're a bit older.

 

It happens pretty fast- we're reaping the fact that we have never been insistent on any clearing up, so we have a DS7 who acts like a DS3 whenever he's told to pick up after himself. 

 

Bedtime was an area where we were consistent and fought the good fight at a young age, so it's not much of a problem. The "need for stimulation thing" is something to consider as kids grow to an age where they should be largely occupying themselves without a screen. For us, it's a work in progress and getting better, but we basically had to say "if you cannot find productive activities some will be found for you (i.e. chores)." 

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