Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Stepmom Central Stepmom Central

8-yr-old SS wakes us up almost every night

Posted by on Jul. 18, 2014 at 3:34 PM
  • 53 Replies

DH and I have primary custody of SS, and we also have a 9 month-old son.  We've been married for almost 2 years now, and get along well about most everything.  However, there is a big point of contention that is becoming an issue.  DH stays in SS's bedroom until he falls asleep every night.  I think this may be detrimental to SS's development and independence.  (But I don't push because it is a fine line we walk as SM's, and I don't want to step on toes or hurt feelings).  HOWEVER, as a result of this indulgent behavior, whenever SS wakes in the middle of the night, he comes to our bedroom door, knocks and calls for his dad, and my DH immediately gets out of bed and goes to lie on the floor of SS's bedroom until he falls asleep again.  This is practically a NIGHTLY routine.  I am one of those people that needs sleep to be of any use to anybody, so I finally spoke to DH about my concerns.  DH did not take it very well.  He got very defensive and scoffed when I said it was a serious issue (which of course ticked me off because I felt he was dismissing my feelings).  He said he did not think it was a big deal.  I asked him when does it stop and if he was planning on doing this forever if SS keeps coming to the door and waking us in the middle of the night.  He said yes. 

I am torn.  I understand that he feels protective of SS and guilty because of divorce (4 years ago), but is this healthy behavior for an 8-yr-old?  I asked my SS straight out why he comes and knocks on the door in the night, and he told me "because I wake up and I can't go back to sleep without Dad in the room."  Should I set aside my desire for a full night's sleep?  Am I being selfish?  I really don't know what to do, and am beyond frustrated.

by on Jul. 18, 2014 at 3:34 PM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-10):
isaacsmommy68
by on Jul. 18, 2014 at 3:39 PM
2 moms liked this

Not normal. I can see if he was 4, but 8, he needs to fall asleep on his own. Maybe the child has a lot of stress or anxiety? Dad needs to walk him back to his room, tuck him in and go back to bed.

jules2boys
by Gold Member on Jul. 18, 2014 at 3:45 PM

Why not make DH a cot or bed in SSs room and let him just sleep there each night?  Surely he'll miss sharing with you, but in the mean time, you'll get a full night, uninterrupted sleep.  OR, teach SS8 another way to wake dad without waking  you?  Ear plugs perhaps?  I don't know how light of a sleeper you are but maybe that'll work but keep the baby monitor (if you have one) up higher so you'll hear THAT but not SS8? 

It's not selfish to want a full nights sleep (though perhaps unreasonable to expect it with a 9mo in the house?).  It's also not selfish for DH to want to comfort his son during the night if necessary. 

I suspect SS will outgrow this need soon enough though.  Maybe not soon enough for your liking (like last night) but I'd say, soon enough, he will.  He's 8.  By 10 or so he may have a different sleep pattern.  Maybe he needs to wear himself out a bit more before bedtime so he sleeps through the night?  What's waking SS8 each night?  Is it at the same time each night?  Getting up to pee?  Sprinklers outside?  The baby?  A dog barking?  A motorcycle or loud truck in the area?  (I know at night I am occasionally awaken by the train whistle but the tracks are about 8 miles from my home, and I can't hear it during the day, even when I can SEE the train and know the whistle is being blown.) 

Perhaps if DH sees you refreshed from a good nights (uninterrupted) sleep he'll GET why this is so important to you.  Surely there are other ways to comfort SS8 too?  Maybe brainstorm with DH to see if he's willing/able to come up with some things to try?  Otherwise, fix up a cot or bedding for him and let him and SS sleep all night, so you can too. 

laughnchica
by on Jul. 18, 2014 at 3:50 PM
1 mom liked this

Mmmmmm he is 8 years old. Well past time to need someone to sleep with him. It is also not right that DH says he will do this forever in order to get his son to sleep. If he won't stop, I agree with the idea that DH can sleep permanently on a cot or something in his son's room. I am sure that will get old for DH quick and he will make some necessary changes and you can get some sleep in the meantime....

momof2ex1
by Ruby Member on Jul. 18, 2014 at 3:50 PM
How often is your SS there? What's the custody schedule?

I can only speak from my mom perspective here. I have a son who is almost 7. While he tends to go to bed on his own, he does require a night light and being tucked in. There are a couple nights a week my son wakes up for whatever reason and he comes to my room. Some times he just crawls in bed with us and sometimes I get up and take him to his room. And then there are nights that he sleeps all the way through and still can't wake up in the morning.

It does frustrate my husband sometimes and this is a child we share together. He doesn't think our son should be waking up but quite frankly, I have no idea what is waking him up. Is it a noise outside? Does he get hot? Does he get cold? Does he have to potty? Did he have a bad dream? My goal as a mother is to get my son back to sleep so that I can go back to sleep. So if that means he crawls in to my bed or I get up to go comfort him, that's what I need to do as a parent. My husband's response is 'go get back in bed' - roll over and start snoring again. I can't do that. My son has stirred for a reason. I'm not sure why and neither does my son. Our house is extremely dark so I try to keep little lights to guide our way. We have no outside lights anywhere on or near our property. So it's pitch black. For a kid that can be scary.

Maybe it won't wake you up so often if he isn't having to knock on the door. I know that everyone has their own preference but I as a parent cannot sleep with my door closed knowing my kids are on the other side. If the door is closed, they know to knock. So when knocking isn't necessary, we keep the door open.

I understand your need to get sleep but there are two others in your house who are also not getting sleep. So it's not like they are intentionally disturbing you.

If this is a weekend thing, maybe when the kiddo is over, dad can just sleep on the couch so that he is more accessible to his visiting child. I sleep on the couch a lot. Last night I slept in my daughters bed because she wasn't home. My husband snores and I can't fall asleep once he starts in. Kids are little for so long. They grow up and these phases go away.

If your husband is adamant that he is not going to stop laying with his son to sleep, then maybe some other arrangements can be made. Like leaving the door open. Or someone sleeping on the couch.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
PinkButterfly66
by on Jul. 18, 2014 at 4:00 PM

Almost all kids go through this phase.  Get an inflatable mattress for him to sleep on in your room.  That way, everyone gets sleep.

packermom4ever
by Still The Queen on Jul. 18, 2014 at 4:24 PM
1 mom liked this
I think many people have trouble sleeping alone once used to sleeping with someone, adults included. If we don't tell adults to suck it up and get used to sleeping alone we shouldn't do that to kids. They'll learn on their own.

I don't sleep through an entire night a lot. When my husband worw nights it takes me a while to get used to him not being here. I sleep better when he's in bed with me. My kids sleep together a lot in the same room.

Maybe you can try sleeping alone and you'll sleep better that way
pdxmum
by Ruby Member on Jul. 18, 2014 at 4:31 PM
2 moms liked this

Your infant doesn't wake you up?

aeELE
by Bronze Member on Jul. 18, 2014 at 4:34 PM
I agree with this.
There are alternatives. Maybe if you presented DH with a few he would see that you aren't trying to keep him from caring for his son, but rather preserving your health.

I also agree w Momof2- they're only little for so long.
DH lays with SS each night too, and I have a turn every so often if SS asks it of me. I also do all the middle of the night wake ups (SS tends to have nightmares during his growth spurts) as it's easier for me to gain my bearings- and I'm Not a morning person. But, my SS is 4 and only here 3/4 days a week.

And bless that 9 month old of yours who sleeps through the night! I can only imagine that will spark some jealousy. ;)

Quoting jules2boys:

Why not make DH a cot or bed in SSs room and let him just sleep there each night?  Surely he'll miss sharing with you, but in the mean time, you'll get a full night, uninterrupted sleep.  OR, teach SS8 another way to wake dad without waking  you?  Ear plugs perhaps?  I don't know how light of a sleeper you are but maybe that'll work but keep the baby monitor (if you have one) up higher so you'll hear THAT but not SS8? 

It's not selfish to want a full nights sleep (though perhaps unreasonable to expect it with a 9mo in the house?).  It's also not selfish for DH to want to comfort his son during the night if necessary. 

I suspect SS will outgrow this need soon enough though.  Maybe not soon enough for your liking (like last night) but I'd say, soon enough, he will.  He's 8.  By 10 or so he may have a different sleep pattern.  Maybe he needs to wear himself out a bit more before bedtime so he sleeps through the night?  What's waking SS8 each night?  Is it at the same time each night?  Getting up to pee?  Sprinklers outside?  The baby?  A dog barking?  A motorcycle or loud truck in the area?  (I know at night I am occasionally awaken by the train whistle but the tracks are about 8 miles from my home, and I can't hear it during the day, even when I can SEE the train and know the whistle is being blown.) 

Perhaps if DH sees you refreshed from a good nights (uninterrupted) sleep he'll GET why this is so important to you.  Surely there are other ways to comfort SS8 too?  Maybe brainstorm with DH to see if he's willing/able to come up with some things to try?  Otherwise, fix up a cot or bedding for him and let him and SS sleep all night, so you can too. 

Tinkerbellmama
by Platinum Member on Jul. 18, 2014 at 4:45 PM
Has SS always had trouble sleeping?

MDD doesn't sleep well, in fact she never has, EVER. It's awful. She'll be 8 in December. She stuggles with falling asleep and with staying asleep. She actually takes prescription medication to help her sleep and about 4-5 days a week she gets up and crawls into bed with DH and I.

There might be something more going on than a parenting issue.

Lack of sleep for me has been awful. I cannot remember the last time I slept for more than 3 hours straight. So, I totally understand your complaint.

I think a cot in your SS's room for your DH is a good idea.
KiwiMumto3
by Member on Jul. 18, 2014 at 4:46 PM
1 mom liked this
My BS8 does this. I didn't notice it because he shares a room with his brother, but his brother has just been away for 2 weeks for holidays.

Putting master 8 to bed the past 2 weeks has been a nightmare. I've had to lay in his room on his brothers bed till he fell asleep, a few times it didn't work, I ended up sleeping in the room with him. I hated it.

I'm not a soft parent, but when I attempted the tough route of trying to get him to fall asleep on his own... Total meltdown. That's not good for my boy. There's a difference between being fussy or difficult and having deep seated fears.

I don't know the answer, but I do know that it should be approached with more understanding and empathy. Try to find helpful and peaceful solutions that everyone can live with.

Good luck.
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)