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How do I help get my 11 year old step-daughter to sleep alone?

8 answers
3 years ago
My fiance and his exwife have been divorced for 9 years, 8 of the those years we have been together. I love their daughter as my own. However she still, at 11 years old sleeps in the same room with her Father at his house and in the same bed with her Mother at her house. I am not a Mother myself but know that this behavior is very unhealthy. His exwife does not cooperate with him to make her sleep in her own room, they have joint custody so it is difficult to try to set down rules when half the week they are forgotten. We are planning on moving in together in the next few months and then getting married, she has a beautiful room of her own in my house, she plays in it and loves it, but will not sleep in it. I have read many things and most advice is tough love and stick to your guns and let her throw a fit if she is going to but don't allow this behavior any longer. The second part of my question is how much do I get involved being the step-mom, I want to support him as much as possible but do not feel this behavior should tolerated any longer. Any advice?

answers (8)

3 years ago
You cant change what happens at her mother's house, but you can surpport your future husband in his attempts help his daughter take this important step into independence. if she didnt help pick-out her bed at your house, and if your financially able, let her make that change. it may make the bed more special to her, thus making her want to sleep in it.also concider having a sleep over with some of her friends. help her set everything up in her room and create a environment where she will feel comfortable. it is probably just a bad route she has gotten into and needs a little help breaking it. i assure you that she just needs a little push toward independant sleeping an peer pressure from a friendly sleep over can do just that.hope this helps :)
3 years ago
I think the sleep over idea is fantastic!  Also- has anyone asked her why she feels the need to sleep in her dad/mom's bedroom?  Maybe understanding her hestitation to sleep alone would help you guys come up with solutions that would address those issues specifically?
3 years ago
you can't control what her mother does at her house. that's out of your hands. this is very unhealthy behavior, and it needs to stop. she's 11 years old. she needs to be sleeping in her own bed, and in her own room. simple as that. like you said, it's about tough love, and not giving up. stick to your guns, and when she throws a fit, say, "look, you are 11 years old. this has gone on WAY TOO LONG. you need to go sleep in your bed. i don't want any backtalk, or whining. just go to bed." hope this helps.
3 years ago
Flowerpetal, no one should take any advice from you. Wasn't your 13-tear-old-daughter having sex? Did you tell her "ur being stupid, stop having sex?" How did that work out?As for the real question...my parents had the same problem with my sister. It started out because my sister had terrible night terrors as a very young child, and she was also prone to sleep-walking. She became afraid of the dark because she was afraid of going to sleep and having nightmares. So she ended up in mom's bed. My dad ened up on the couch a lot because there just wasn't enough room in his own damn bed! From about the age of 8-9 she slept on a sleeping bag on the floor because my dad said she couldn't sleep in bed anymore. He said, sleep in your bed or sleep on the floor. So, she choose floor. I think by the time she hit puberty she started sleeping in her room. No one wants to snuggle with their mom when their getting boobies. I wish they would have just told her, tough nuggets! Sleep in your own damn bed. But they didn't:(
3 years ago
Thank you everyone for the advice, I know it is going to be difficult at times and we may have to "re-do" it every other weekend, but we can only control what happens in our house with our family. Maybe she will realize she is too old for this and stop doing it at her Mom's on her own. She has been to therapy and she says she doesn't want to sleep alone because she worries that something is going to happen to us and she has nightmares. My fiance, I love him to death, but can sometimes be a big push over. I spoke to him about this last night and we decided that whatever it takes we will make this happen and work together as a team. Eventually this routine will be broken :)Thanks again everyone it was really helpful!!!!
3 years ago
Thank you everyone for the advice, I know it is going to be difficult at times and we may have to "re-do" it every other weekend, but we can only control what happens in our house with our family. Maybe she will realize she is too old for this and stop doing it at her Mom's on her own. She has been to therapy and she says she doesn't want to sleep alone because she worries that something is going to happen to us and she has nightmares. My fiance, I love him to death, but can sometimes be a big push over. I spoke to him about this last night and we decided that whatever it takes we will make this happen and work together as a team. Eventually this routine will be broken :)Thanks again everyone it was really helpful!!!!
3 years ago
I think with her being 11, too it will be easier to talk with her about it because she is able to understand. I think the thing to work on is maybe easing her anxiety a little bit about nightmares, etc. When I was little I was afraid of fires. I was so scared our house was going to catch fire while we were all sleeping. My grandpa was a fireman and he helped us come up with a "fire" plan in case it ever happened. Eased my tiny mind! Maybe if you could talk about what she is scared of and then try to resolve it that may help? Good luck. It's good that you care about trying to do this in a constructive way. You sound like a good step-mom.
3 years ago
I think that is way too old to be sleeping with her parents. My fiance has an 11 year old and a 7 year old. The 7 year old always wanted to sleep in our bed when she was here, but I decided it needed to stop after her 7th. birthday. I know part of the problem was her mother allowing her to sleep in her bed with her at home. We tried discussing this with her, but she wouldn't talk about "what she does in her house". I just asked her why she felt she needed to sleep with us in our bed and we basically figured out that she felt less comfortable sleeping somewhere else when she spends most of her time sleeping at her mom's house. I would be gentle about it. If you are too harsh or too pushy and telling her stop being a baby you're 11 years old, chances are, she'll feel that much more uncomfortable and needy. It may help to make it a gradual process. We allowed her to make her room at our house her own by picking some things out for it. Then we all slept in her bedroom. She slept in the bed and we slept on the floor a few times when she came over. We gave her a night light and we started sleeping in our own room at night and let her keep the night light. Now she sleeps alone in her room without the night light. I hope this helps.

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