Caught in the middle it seems?

xcentriqueApril 1, 2012

This is my first time posting here, didnt know where else to turn and hoping some people here can give me some advice.

I have been dating a man for a year and he has an 8 year old daughter. He does not have custody of her but has full rights to see her anytime. She comes over once a week for a few hours after school and usually on the weekends either for a day or to sleep over.

Now here is the issue....

She wont sleep on her own. She never has been made to sleep in her own bed, not here at her dads or at her moms either. So now enter me into the picture and call me crazy but i just dont see it right that an 8 year old should be sleeping with her father, or sleeping in the same bed as us!!

Last night I finally said enough is enough. She came to bed with us to watch a movie, but I had spoken to my boyfriend earlier and we agreed that she could watch the movie but then sleep in her own bed. So after the movie was over and he told her she had to go in her bed she threw a fit, crying...the whole bit. They were in the bathroom brushing their teeth and i over heard the whole conversation. Basically he told her...

"You need to sleep in your bed, Ill sleep with you there, but if you go back into daddys bed my girlfriend will bed really mad and go sleep on the couch and that will cause daddy problems"

When I heard this I was fuming....

So what does he do he lets her walk back into our bedroom...and thats when I said "I cant sleep in a bed with all these people!"

So she went to her room when she heard me say that...and he called me a cry baby and said I made the situation worse and I should have helped me when I knew he was having problems getting her to bed.

I told him its not my place to tell her what to do, but I dont see how its fare that I should have to go sleep on the couch just so she gets her way and is happy. Its not my fault that he and her mother never enforced proper sleeping rules. I am sooo mad about this.

I just dont know what to do...I feel caught in the middle of this whole situation.

Was I right to stand up and say "No shes not sleeping in here?"

She was gonna let her come crawl back into bed just to stop her crying...and I dont see how this possibly could fix the problem?!

Or maybe I should just sleep on the couch from now on when she comes over?

Help!!! Im so frustrated!!


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I forgot to add, my relationship with his daughter is amazing. She and I have got along really well from the moment I met her. She loves to do things with me all the time. She often gets upset if im not here and will want to go home to her moms if she knows I am at work and wont be home until later.

I also wanted to add im mad that he would say its ME who will get mad if she sleeps in our bed. Like thanks a lot for making me the bad guy. What is he trying to do ruin my relationship with his daughter so she hates me for enforcing rules??? I live here full time...that has to account for something????

    Bookmark   April 1, 2012 at 1:01PM
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No more movies in bed. No more three sleeping in a bed. The child is 8 and she needs her own space. Who does she sleep with when she is at her mother's home?

Watch your movies out in the main living area room (whether it be family room, livingroom, whatever). Set a bedtime and let your boyfriend enforce it. When the time comes BF and/or you and BF can take child to her room, tuck her in and that is where she sleeps.

Why does child refuse to sleep alone? I'll assume she has her reasons (whether is stems from 'just because she never has' to afraid of the dark, to _________ fill in the blank)

Without making this about 'I will sleep on the couch if you give her her own her' , quietly sit BF down and discuss with him that this child is eight. It's not about a kid getting her own way, it's about a child who needs to have her own space and privacy. What is he going to do when child is ten? Now thirteen?

You BF is a chicken sh*t for putting this all on you. it should not be about 'it will cause problems between GF and I' or 'GF will be mad' is about what is best for the little girl. I would imagine the child would feel embarrassed to pieces if she thought all her litle friends knew she must sleep with Daddy and/or Mommy every night.

BF needs to sit down and talk to the child about boundaries and one's privacy and how everyone needs their own space. It's ok if child is afraid the first few times she sleeps alone, new experiences can be scary, but there is nothing to be afraid of. He's right down the hall blah blah blah. Perhaps he can even leave a small night light on.

His goal has to be to get the child comfortable being in her own room by herself, not blaming you, not even putting your feelings against the 8 the kid belongs in her own bed. It would not matter if you and BF were both her bioparents and a married longterm family do not belong sleeping night after night in their parents bed. Since it's been going on for years, it will take a bit to break the need and habit, but Bf needs to understand he is not being 'kind' to the child by letting this continue. It's his job as her parent to help raise her into a self confident well adjusted person, so far neither the girl's mother or father is doing a very good job on that point.

Can I ask why child does not want to come over unless you are home? Is there more going on here than a little girl just not wanting to sleep alone?

    Bookmark   April 1, 2012 at 3:31PM
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"Its not my fault that he and her mother never enforced proper sleeping rules."

And you are not married to her father, right? What is that teaching her?

Lots of families practice a family bed. There is nothing wrong with it. He can change the rules at his house, of course, but he can do so with a little more sensitivity to her feelings. Did you know the situation before you moved in?

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 11:30PM
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So for the past year, how has this been handled? Has she been sleeping in the bed with both of you? Dad has let this go on too long and shame on him for making you look like the bad guy. I agree that Dad needs to establish a bedtime routine for her while she is visiting.

Does she have her own space in your home? Maybe you both can fix up a little area meant just for her with some cute sheets or quilt/cover, a cute little night light etc. Establish a little bedtime routine for her too.

I miss those nights when my kids were younger and I tucked them into bed. Those 5-10 mins we shared were very special. We would sometimes read a few pages from a book, talk about our day, shared a kiss & hug and then I always said my cute little bedtime saying before I shut the light off. Maybe you & dad can try some of these ideas?

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 10:46AM
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Her sleeping in the bed is not your biggest problem.... when you say,

"Like thanks a lot for making me the bad guy"

THAT is your problem... and it's very easy to become the scapegoat for him because he doesn't want to give her boundaries.

I find it hard to believe the mom hasn't complained to dad about it. I would not like my daughter to sleep with her dad & his girlfriend. So, were there other girlfriends before you came along? How many women does this child get to see in daddy's bed? Does she also sleep with all of them? How about at mommy's house? Does mommy sleep with anyone? I find it completely inappropriate.

As Susan said, some people have a "family bed" but when a marriage splits and the parents have a new partner (or a string of new partners), the kids need to be in their own room. Also, the fact that YOU are not comfortable with it and he should respect that. At what point is he going to put her in her own room? When she goes off to college? 8 is getting up there where it's too old to be sleeping with daddy. But, I still think him placing the blame on you is the biggest problem of all. I have been made into the bad guy in my home & any possibility for a relationship with my SD is gone. There are lots of differences in my situation but the similarity is that my DH would play out that he would say yes, if it weren't for me... or when I would place a boundary on her, he would apologize to her that I did that.... but still enforce it when I'm around. She has a different set of rules when I am not there, which only makes things worse between us.

You are not married to this guy and you don't have to stay in a relationship if it's not right. A guy that doesn't support harmony in his home... well, he won't have harmony in his home. That's his choice and you have a choice to be a part of it or NOT. It gets stickier once you marry him or have a child with him.... the more ties, the harder it is to walk away. He may be a great guy but people are who they are and don't usually change, unless they want to change... so you have to decide if you can live with the negative things and him throwing you under the bus to save himself is a huge negative, in my opinion.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 11:39AM
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I also wanted to add im mad that he would say its ME who will get mad if she sleeps in our bed. Like thanks a lot for making me the bad guy.

Watch out if this becomes a pattern.Scapegoating you won't do you or his child any good.Although it is convenient for him.She's eight,she needs to sleep in her own bed.

�"You need to sleep in your bed, Ill sleep with you there..

no,he needs to sleep in his own bed,let her have her own space,teach boundaries.

So she went to her room when she heard me say that...and he called me a cry baby and said I made the situation worse and I should have helped me when I knew he was having problems getting her to bed.

He made it a bad situation from the start.
This could be the beginning of everytime he has to parent his child,enforce a boundary,say no to something he will assign blame to you ,someone or something else because he doesn't want the child upset with HIM.It has little to do with what is best for the child.It's whats best for him.

It could be a long lasting pattern that worsens with time unless he can recognize it and stop very soon.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 12:06PM
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Exactly! DAD is not doing his job as a parent.

If he wants her to sleep in bed - ie the family bed thing -- fine. Some families do that, and it's a choice he can make. But then he needs to own that choice and tell you to back off.

Or if he decides DD is too old to sleep with him and that he'd rather sleep with you, then he needs to own that choice also, and enforce it with his daughter.

But either way, DAD's got a decision to make, and he needs to make that decision, own it, and enforce it

Letting his daughter have her way if she makes a big enough fuss will teach her only one thing -- make the fuss BIG ENOUGH to get her way.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 2:56PM
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Hahaha my FDH tried the same when we first got together, he also made me the bad guy a few times. I remember once he told the skids when we were having dinner: "Don't chew with your mouth open, you know Yabber doesn't like that".

I was NOT impressed and we had a few arguments over it. For me it worked best to have a serious talk to him about it afterwards instead of in the heat of the moment. Someone called that 'strike while the iron is cold'. My FDH did see that I was right, he was just simply scared to step up and be 'the bad guy' himself. But he came around and he's not like that anymore. He just needed to realise that the kids will not hate him forever if he'd discipline them :-)

Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 9:28PM
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