I am my wits end with my 6 year old stepdaughter, she lives with us for half of the week but every night we have the usual battle with bedtime. She finds it very hard to fall asleep and although she goes to bed at 7.30pm every night she usually doesn't actually fall asleep until after 10pm.
Often she refuses to stay in bed and will keep coming down stairs - sometimes between 7 and 10 times a night, asking for drinks/cuddles etc.
We have instilled a rigid bedtime routine - bath, hot milk, story, cuddle but none of it seems to be working.
In the night she wakes usually about 2 times and comes into our room which of course wakes us up and then gets into bed asking for cuddles off her dad.
I feel like I have done so much reading and research on this but am just not getting anywhere. My partner, her dad, has a very close relationship with his daughter and has practically brought her up for the past 5 years single handed - he allowed her to sleep in his bed every night until he met me and I am afraid this has instilled a lot of bad habits and created a rod for our backs.
He is being very difficult at the moment and whenever I try to suggest something he takes it as a direct attack on his skills as a parent.
I have asked him, when she comes downstairs to simply pick her up, without talking to her and to take her back to bed- he thinks this is too clinical and cruel - he doesn't seem to get that by cuddling her every time she comes down or gets into our bed at night he is encouraging that behaviour.
I understand that she may be feeling insecure - possibly a delayed reaction to her parents breakup an all the subsequent changes in he life. Generally she is a good girl but I feel my partner is not disciplining her enough and panders to her every whim - possibly because in some misguided way he feels sorry for her...?!
I don't know what to do anymore - I love him dearly but his refusal to let me co parent is driving me crazy. I am a teacher and so feel equipped with a lots of good skills and the common sense to help him bring his daughter up well. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to take the place of her Mother. We are hoping to start our own family but I'm afraid that if her behaviour is allowed to continue, unchallenged we are simply storing up problems for the future.
Any advice would be gratefully received x
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