My boyfriend sleeps in the same bed as his 5 year old daughter. He puts her in her bed every night (after an hour battle) but every single night she gets up and comes into his bed. When i sleep there, she crawls in with both of us but this is difficult for me cause i don’t get a good sleep and will sometimes end up on the couch. The other night she came in and was mad that she couldn’t be beside her dad because i was, so she whjned and punched me in the back until i left. Im wondering if this is harming the relationship between my bf and i that we don’t get alone time even in bed? And has she learned by kicking me out that all she needs to do is make enough noise and she can get what she wants? Am i being selfish to want this alone time with him? Is she learning that me and her dad’s relationship is not important if she can kick me out of my time with him so easily? (From Canada)
A: Everything about what is happening with the sleeping arrangements is problematic and not recommended. A five year old not staying in their bed as a regular practice in our culture isn’t healthy. There are a wide variety of strategies for helping the child stay, but the main thing is to not give in to her discontent and complaining. Of course doing this with compassion is essential, but this is important and necessary.
Although you didn’t mention it I am assuming you and your boyfriend are in a long-term relationship and you have been going out for over a year. If it isn’t then the wisdom of you staying over would need to be questioned, but assuming it is then your boyfriend has to make certain your bedtime together is respected by his daughter. Again, many ways to do this, but him allowing her to punch you without consequences until she gets her way is damaging to everyone.
I would say to give this about a month of effort. If, after that amount of time, there isn’t sufficient progress I’d work with a child psychologist, or other therapist familiar with children and blended families.
Wishing you patience and peace,
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral
Source: Parenting & Children