How do I get my 5 year old stepdaughter to stop manipulating her father?
My fiance has two daughters (ages 5 and 6). Both seem to like me. The older one likes me quite a bit more than the younger one. I have been a part of their lives for one year now. Lately, the younger daughter has started doing everything possible to get Daddy's attention. She asks to be picked up and held all the time. She interrupts people when they are talking to her Daddy so that he has to turn his attention to her and she cries constantly to get his attention. At night, she consistently wakes up at 2:30 am and wants her Daddy to come lay with her. After he checks on her, he tries to come back to bed but she just cries more until he finally has to put her on the couch downstairs and lay with her there so that she won't wake the whole house up. It is getting unbearable. She does this every single night. It is really starting to affect my fiance as he is not getting a good nights rest at night and we are not getting to spend nights in the same bed anymore. He is still in the process of an extremely messy divorce that has lasted for 15 months now so he coddles both of the girls whenever they are here. He has 50/50 custody with his ex so the girls are here 3-4 nights a week. This is not going to be a healthy way to start our new life together. Any suggestions? Thanks!
Remember these children are his and he alone needs to practice some tough love. Until he puts his foot down, the picture won't change. Read Dr. Ferber's book on sleep issues and work with your fiance to move in the direction of the sleep pass. Each child gets one pass to have dad's attention with limits each night. Once the pass is used, Dad is not coming back until morning and they are expected to be in bed. Stick with it. According to Dr. Joyce Brothers who has also commented on the "divorce year" your living with him now is confusing to the kids. Start fresh when the divorce is final and your the new step mom.
Wayne Yankus, MD, FAAP
expert panelist: pediatrics