Mommy and daddy have different parenting rules!

by Laura
(Kalamazoo, MI USA)

Please, I need help! My son's father and I divorced shortly after he was born. He was living with me for the majority of the time until about six months ago (he is 2). I have been very diligent with our routine and having him sleep in his own bed. This was a absolute must have! For the last two years I have shown him what is to be expected at naptime and bedtime.

Usually, we read a book, rock in the rocker and then he gives me a kiss and we say "night night". This was perfect until he started spending more time with his father. His father allows him to sleep in his bed with him at nap and nighttime and gives him juice to fall asleep with!!!

I have spoken to him about this on numerous occasions and he doesn't care. At nap-time and at bedtime his father will stay with him until he falls asleep. At my house this has become a loosing battle. He used to say night night and wave to me and fall asleep. Now, he screams and cries until all hours of the morning.

He wont even take a nap anymore! The other night he got so upset that he threw up all over his bed. Last night, he got up around 1:30 (i got him to sleep, finally,at about 12:30) and we went round and round until I caved at 4:45 am! Then at naptime, It took me an hour to get him down and he was up 30 min. later.

I was so exhausted from the night before that I just let him nap with me and he slept 3 1/2 hours! I am going crazy! I am trying to keep my cool, but I work second shift and am so very tired! What can I do? It's not that I don't ever want him to sleep with me, nightmares and storms are great snuggle occasions, but I need my space too.

How can I keep my little guy in his bed? How do I do it so that he is not getting overwhelmed and stressed and the same for me. It breaks my heart him getting so upset and crying so hard he can hardly breath. Please help! What do I do?

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Toddler Parenting Question
by: Ingrid from Toddlers Are Fun

Hello Laura!

Thank you so much for sharing your situation. I am sorry that it has come to this...:0( Especially being that your toddler was on a regular routine before the divorce.

I wish that I could share with you a "Fast and Quick" fix, but, there isn't one. You are going to have to begin all over again. It is going to be hard and your toddler will fight you, but you will win!

Your toddler will eventually understand the "routine" when he is with Mommy. And then the "routine" with Daddy. Your ex is only hurting your child and himself by not adapting the same routine as you do. However, you cannot control what he chooses to do. You did the right thing by trying to communicate the issues with him and I applaud you for that.

You may have a screaming toddler and some sleepless nights BUT eventually the routine will be re-established. Explain to your toddler the "night night" routine with Mommy. You can offer small rewards for the routine being followed. Remember to PRAISE PRAISE and more PRAISE each time the routine is followed. It may get worse before it gets better, but it will be fine.

It does seem scary at times when our toddlers get so upset and they vomit, or cry hard. BUT, they do play on our emotions and try to obtain "their" way in the process. It is just like a tantrum, you cannot give in to it. It is sad that it is this way and I am sorry for your child. As you know structure is important and YES you do need your own wind down time at night and during sleep.

I wish you well and Please keep me updated..:0)

Ingrid Lee

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