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What to do about my step daughter who won't stay in her bed?

We live with my in laws. It sucks but we don't have a choice. Anyway my SD is 5, and sleeps with them every night.. And no matter how many times we tell them not to let her, they end up giving in because she whines. And then the next day she comes to me with that "haha I got away with it" attitude and says "I slept with grammie and papa last night" grinning from ear to ear. So I told her were going to switch her and her brothers rooms, so that way her room is next to ours in the basement and I can keep an eye on her. She says "i'll just go to Grammies room when your sleeping, and you won't know!" What the hell! I don't know where she got this attitude from, but its extremely frustrating. She acts like a teenager and shes only 5! So, what should I do about this? We have tried rewards and sticker charts, with no luck! FYI her mom is not in the picture, hasn't been for 2 years, so hubby and I have full custody.

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Anonymous

Asked by Anonymous at 10:43 PM on Dec. 2, 2015 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

Answers (11)
  • Don't engage in a battle. Find an unruffled way to respond to comments like that (you can get mileage out of saying "Ah," or "Oh..." or "Hmm" if you are at a loss & your head is exploding), rather than acting on the reaction it triggers in you and the impulse to shut her down or "best" her.

    When she "announces" that she slept with her grandparents last night, she is communicating that she thinks YOU think this is a big problem. THAT would be what I would focus on (that she thinks this is a battle she's waging with ME) and my focus would be on correcting that specific issue by taking the element of struggle OUT of the equation. So that instead of focusing on resisting me, she'd be focused on her own feelings & needs. This won't immediately address the issue of whether or not she's going to her grandparents, but it will help to take the struggle out of it. Upping the ante will NOT relieve that compulsive aspect of the dynamic!
    girlwithC

    Answer by girlwithC at 12:05 AM on Dec. 3, 2015

  • I agree with girlwithC. I suspect she's doing it more not because the grandparents allow it but because you make such a big deal of it. I'd ignore what she's doing.
    gdiamante

    Answer by gdiamante at 1:08 AM on Dec. 3, 2015

  • I would ignore it too. And not really respond to her announcement of it. Focus on being a real family where she and her brother get the individual attention form each adult that they need and deserve. This might become a non issue if you and your husband are on the same page and down play it. You need to tell the grandparents to down play it also. Lots of times kids go for the negative attention when they really need more positive attention. GL
    silverthreads

    Answer by silverthreads at 1:17 AM on Dec. 3, 2015

  • Why are you dealing with her about this and not your hubby (her father)?
    Dardenella

    Answer by Dardenella at 2:06 AM on Dec. 3, 2015

  • I would stop fighting with her about it. You guys are not going to live their forever. So she will stop then. Sense the in laws won't stop her their is not much to do about it.
    If their is a bathroom in the basement with your bedroom I would just lock the basement door leading up to the main floor.
    louise2

    Answer by louise2 at 8:46 AM on Dec. 3, 2015

  • You already have engaged in a struggle over this (telling her what you'll do to stop her, which prompted her counter-response of how SHE will get around that) so it will take a lot of demonstrating the opposite in order to correct that dynamic! Don't expect her not to push; expect her to NEED to push in order to prove to herself that it is NOT an area of struggle with you.
    To do this, let go of incentives & retaliation and let it BE. Not that you're happy about it, but that you accept that it happened. (You're not engaging in warfare & tactical maneuvers to gain control & force surrender.) When she makes her announcement, don't ignore HER; ignore your impulse to react. "Ah, you slept in there. How was it?" or "Did you sleep well? I'm glad you slept well." Care.

    Correcting a dynamic when things have gone off the rails always starts with the adult (both recognizing what's happened & taking responsibility for correcting things.)
    girlwithC

    Answer by girlwithC at 9:12 AM on Dec. 3, 2015

  • Look at the big picture. She's sleeping, they're sleeping, your sleeping. Really what's the big deal? She won't do it forever. And trust me as the parent of a 20 year old, there are much bigger problems to come.
    mompam

    Answer by mompam at 11:02 AM on Dec. 3, 2015

  • I agree with those who said her dad should be dealing this problem, and I do think it is a problem. The problem is not that she is sleeping with her grandparents; the problem is that she is rebellious, and that will only get worse without intervention. So he better deal with it now!
    NannyB.

    Answer by NannyB. at 9:45 AM on Dec. 4, 2015

  • Our dd climbed in bed with us several years and we TRIED to stop it. She just never liked sleeping in a room by herself. Finally when she turned 5 enough was enough. She was getting BIG & boy does she toss & turn. What finally stopped her was she wanted to show Daisy (Her bottle baby calf) at the fair. Told her she couldn't because she wasn't a big girl. Only big girls who could sleep in their own bed all night could show cattle at the fair. The first week she started out in her bed but about 3:00 she climbed back into bed with us. Next week it was almost 6:00. The 3rd week she was in her bed pretty much all the time. She's 7 now and still doesn't like to sleep alone but will do so. There are some nights she'll still get out of bed and sleep on the couch which is next to our bedroom but that's it.

    By the way she's 7 now and still showing calves at the fair! Next year will be feeder calf & then a steer! (1300 lbs!)
    baconbits

    Answer by baconbits at 4:02 PM on Dec. 4, 2015

  • Actually I disagree. This is a stand of who is on whose "side" and does step mom have any right to tell her what to do. It is setting a bad precedent to now back down. Your DH needs to step up to the plate on this and back you up. Get a lock way up high on the door so she can not possibly unlock it. and possibly alarms that will scare the crap out of everybody if she leaves her room. Yup it is over the top but she has proven that she will go over the top to show you that she is number one in the household and calling the shots.
    Dardenella

    Answer by Dardenella at 12:08 AM on Dec. 5, 2015

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