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After my daughter was born, everybody started holding her during naps and letting her fall asleep while being held. I finally convinced everyone to stop, and she slept on her own until she was six months old. But she’s now 1 year old, and for the past four months she has refused to sleep in her own bed. When we had her in a different room, she wouldn’t even go in there during the day, let alone at night. Now her bed is in our room, six feet from our bed, and she still won’t sleep in it. But when she goes to spend the night with relatives she sleeps fine in a portable crib or playpen. We’ve tried those at home, with no luck. How can I get into her own bed?
You have been challenged to a battle of wills. And if you blink, you will lose.
Some children are genuinely afraid of sleeping alone. But your daughter’s behavior with relatives suggests that is not her problem. As such, I won’t suggest strategies for making the bed more appealing or easing her into the room gradually. Your daughter is perfectly capable of sleeping in her own bed, and probably in her own room. She simply chooses not to do so, and you have allowed her to set the rules.
Your problem has a simple, three-step solution. Loud and irritating, but simple.
1) Put her in her bed at bedtime and leave her there. If she screams, she screams.
2) Put her in her bed for each and every naptime and leave her there. If she screams, she screams.
3) Accept the fact that you and your husband will not get much sleep for a few days. But think about it. Would you accept a week of sleeplessness in exchange for 17 years of silent nights?
Given that many children routinely sleep in the communal family bed well into adolescence, you cannot assume this problem will go away on its own. Instead, you must put a stop to it. Babies may scream for astoundingly long periods of time. But when they get tired, they will go to sleep. They’ll get angry, but eventually they’ll tucker out. And after a few nights of this, most will simply get used to the idea of sleeping in a bed.
After she wakes up, cuddle her and spend time with her. If possible, change only your conduct during sleep periods and keep the rest of her routine the same. Just be firm about the bedtime and nap rules, and she’ll adapt.
After you reach an equilibrium with the girl and her bed, you can use a similar strategy to move her into her own room again.
All my kids tickle torture my 13-year-old whenever I am not looking. She begs them to stop, but they won’t. They do this as a joke. What do I do?
Give them a reason to stop. They obviously enjoy tickling the younger sibling enough to ignore any protests from the victim. And so far, while you may not find the conduct funny, in your own way you have been treating it like a joke. It’s time for you to step in and establish that you are not amused.
If you have not told them in no uncertain terms not to tickle the child, do so now. If they persist, make the consequences severe enough to cause them to reconsider. Ground them. Take away their allowances and cell phones. Restrict their access to the television, computer or gaming systems. If you spank, this type of rebellion and cruelty would certainly represent a spanking offense.
Your older children are being mean for no reason other than to amuse themselves. Shame on them. But if you do not take steps to stop them, and thus fail to protect your youngest child, shame on you.
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