Tough love – update #3

15th October 8.15 pm

I have to say, I think we have had some progress here these past couple of nights.

It hasn’t been perfect, and the ride is still decidedly rocky, but I’m hoping to see some more positive effects from our tough love tactics.

To be honest, tough love sounds so feeble now. When you consider the amount of angst that I felt, the strain of dealing with guilt, of letting my girl down (I know it’s a ridiculous statement, but those of you who have done this, knows of my plight), now I feel more positive that we will crack this problem.

Lily herself, who must have listened in on a few conversations about her night time antics, said the other day to Allan, that she wanted him to help her fix why she couldn’t sleep. Bless her. I’m sure she’s fed up with the stern repercussions and lack of empathy that she gets when she wakes several times a night.

Last night she went to bed with the usual story or two, a kiss and a cuddle.

She woke once prior to us going to bed, but was settled very quickly. She was a bit hot and sweaty, so maybe had had a bad dream.

After that she only woke once, at 1 am. She came through to our room, and I walked her back to her bed. A couple of minutes later she was shouting to go to the loo (I had already asked her if she wanted to go). Allan who was having trouble sleeping any way got up and took her then settled her back to bed. Again, he gently reminded her to stay in bed, or the consequence would be that the stair gate would get shut. She went to sleep straight away. Allan does get better responses than me, which is testament to his consistency, and my lack of of it.

I have to say that the next time she woke was at 5.30 am, which I mistakenly read through sleepy eyes as 3.30 am! So, I put her back to bed, telling her it was not morning yet! To give her her due, she stayed until 6.15 am, when Allan got up with her, and let me have a lie in until 8.30 am. It was heaven.

Tonight, as usual she had her normal bedtime routine, and she was asleep within minutes of me leaving. She was also quite happy that the cat had taken it upon himself to sleep in her room by her bed.

I feel less stressed these past couple of days, but I have had a couple of wobbly times, where I’ve cried through frustration from dealing with her negative behaviour, which is fuelled mainly by lack of sleep. I’m sure sleep will recuperate me eventually. I must look tired, as my 9 year old neighbour popped in this evening and remarked how tired I looked!

I’ve got to put some make up on tomorrow!!

16th October 6.45 am

Given that I’m not much of a morning person, the tiredness I’m feeling right now is normal, and by mid morning I shall be feeling and looking amazing! Well, we can all dream can’t we?

Lily had a little wobble last night.

Prior to us going to bed she woke 3 times, but give her credit once again, she remained in bed, and called for me from there.

The only other time she woke was around 12.30 am, and was very quickly back to sleep, after only a quick visit from me.

Our tough love tactics, in truth, haven’t been very tough at all, despite expecting to deal with screaming and tantrums throughout the night. We haven’t used the stair gate once, and it’s presence has been enough to keep Lily from getting out of bed several times a night. She has taken on board what we have explained to her and dealt with it so well.

Many will say that we will damage Lily’s emotional development by being so harsh, setting harsh boundaries and ignoring her woeful pleas every night, several times a night, but I say we won’t. We love Lily. Parenting is separate from loving your child. Loving them is the easiest thing you will ever have to do. It’s the parenting that is the hard part, knowing what to do for the best, even if it means doing things that go against what your heart tells you.

14 thoughts on “Tough love – update #3

  1. Giving your child the opportunity to learn to self-soothe is one of the best things you can do. It does feel terrible to say “no” and put her back to bed, but that’s all about how you feel, not always what’s best for her. You’re preparing her to be a balanced person. Keep it up!

  2. I truly believe that it hurts emotional development when boundaries are not set. Children need and crave the routines we set up for them. If you think about it, even most adults want/need to know where the lines are drawn between right and wrong. It’s just more comforting.

    • Thank you.
      I read a post last night that contradicted my methods, although some of the advice the writer was given made me squirm a little! I cannot believe that running to my child each and every time she wails for me is setting her up for a well balanced life.

  3. When my daughter was four she mentioned something she wanted to do while I was driving. I told her “No.” She replied with “But everyone else is going to.”

    I pulled the car over to the shoulder, turned off the ignition, and turned to face her. I told her that while it would be very easy to give into her every whim and desire, in the long run it would make her such an unpleasant person she would probably not like her own company and most certainly no one else would want to be around her when she grew up. However, because I loved her so much, and wanted what was best for her in the long run, I wasn’t taking the easy way out. Her eyes wider than I’d ever seen before (or since) by the time I finished.

    A short time later we were at a park. She ran over with a friend and asked if she could do something. I said, “No.” She turned to her little buddy and said, “My mommy loves me enough to tell me no.” With that they happily ran off to play.

    • Thanks Katie.
      The girl is spoiled rotten with love, and the doubters who would say she will be damaged emotionally, are so wrong!
      We are seeing some improvement and Lily herself is chuffed to bits when she realises she has stayed in bed! x

  4. Are we on different pages or what? Hehehehe.

    You know I just don’t really agree with the concept of self soothing and all that, I reckon kids get there their own way in time. And while they are getting there I’m going to give all the cuddles possible in the world ever- and yep, get told I look tired a lot! Ha.

    But you know my thoughts, so I shan’t go on 😀

    I think it is important to recognise that all us mothers ever do is the thing we think is very best for our kiddos, eh? I can see how much you love and care for Lily and I wish you your family all the peace in the world x

    • Thank you for your honesty. As you say, we all have our own opinion about the way we raise our children, and neither would I tell you that your method is wrong. As long as we are doing whatever we do for our children’s sake. I will never claim that our methods are right for everyone. Lily is loved, you are right, and she knows it 🙂
      I have no issues with having different opinions to others, and welcome a little scuffle from time to time 😉
      Take care x

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