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Mom Balks After Husband Claims She’s ‘Abusing’ Daughter By Forcing Her To Self-Soothe At Night

Girl screaming with her eyes covered.
RapidEye/Getty Images

No two parents are in complete agreement on how to raise their children.

Including spouses and co-parents.

Even though they may be sharing a home, sometimes spouses have a fundamentally different view on how to raise their children.

While some are willing to compromise and meet halfway, others are much less flexible.

Redditor dismomof4 and her husband were struggling over how to deal with a newly developed problem of their daughter’s.

Unfortunately, both of them had completely opposite views of what they thought was the best course of action.

In fact, the original poster (OP)’s husband went so far as to call her methods “abusive.”

Wondering if this was actually the case, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I the A**hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:

“AITAH for removing my daughter from her bed at 3 am?”

The OP explained how what she thought was the only way to solve her daughter’s newfound problems utterly horrified her husband.

“My (34 F[emale]) daughter (7) has been having a sleep regression issue for the last sixish months.”

“Basically she gets up 2-5 times a night.”

“Almost every single time, she tells my husband and me that she wants us to tuck her back in physically.”

“She shares a room with two of her three siblings (not ideal and will be changing).”

“Whenever my husband gets up with her, the behavior gets more frequent.”

“In my eyes, this is because he goes all in.”

“Doing things like singing to her, cuddling her, talking to her, instead of placing her back in bed and going back to sleep.”

“She basically gets a ton of attention with him at night, and it makes her get up more.”

“I’ve tried to explain this to him, but he dismisses it, so I usually get up with her to try to curb the behavior by giving minimal feedback and just putting her back in bed.”

“My daughter came to me at almost 3 a.m. and asked me to ‘cover her back up’ I was admittedly short and irritated.”

“I took her back to her room and told her she was a big enough girl to cover herself with blankets. We’d practiced this and talked about it, so it wasn’t like I was expecting her to do it herself out of the blue.”

“She refused.”

“So I told her goodnight. She began full-on screaming at the top of her lungs and crying.”

“I tell her that I’m going to count to three, and she can either stop screaming or we can go downstairs.”

“At this point, she’s woken her siblings and I’m trying to contain the situation.”

“I count to three. She’s screaming more.”

“I lift her out of bed and lead her by the hand to the stairs.”

“At this point, my husband is up.”

“He tells me he can handle it.”

“I tell him I’m taking her downstairs to talk to her and to keep her from screaming where everyone sleeps.”

“He tells me to stop.”

“I tell him he’s undermining me and to back off.”

“He does step aside but follows me downstairs and is cooing to her the whole time and bringing her water.”

“I repeat that I can handle it and to please leave us to talk.”

“He refuses.”

“I do manage to talk to my daughter, explain that she can’t scream like that and that she needs to be a big girl and cover herself with her blankets at night.”

“My husband hovers over my shoulder.”

“I take her back to bed, she does cover herself up, and we leave the room.”

“He immediately turns to me and tells me that I was abusing our daughter.”

“That I can’t convince him that what I was doing wasn’t abuse.”

“I try to explain, but he ignores me and marches downstairs to the couch.”

“I try to talk to him again, and he just insists that I’m abusing our daughter.”

“I was admittedly short with her, but besides leading her downstairs by the hand, I did not touch her, and I don’t feel I was overly mean in trying to enforce her tucking herself in when she finds herself uncovered in the middle of the night.”

“So, AITA?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

The Reddit community generally agreed that the OP was not the a**hole for taking her daughter out of her room to teach her a lesson.

While some did understand the OP’s husband’s decision to comfort their daughter, they agreed that the OP had every right to be a bit more firm with her and was in no way being abusive for doing so, in spite of what her husband said.

He should be an Olympic long jumper with leaps like that.”

“That’s f*cking wild.”

“NTA.”- Graves_Digger


“You 100% have the right approach, and as someone who’s spent years working with kids, you’re right that he’s encouraging her.”

“Your husband was undermining you, and that’s absolutely not okay.”

“However, it seems he has pretty strong views on how to handle this (and is clearly quite affected by her being upset, which in itself is not a bad thing, but his response to you was bad), so I feel like you’re going to need to sit down and calmly get on the same page with this.”

“Right now your daughter has good cop/bad cop parents, and she’s quickly going to learn how to manipulate her dad at your expense.”- THROWRAhickory


“But you’re husband sure is.”

“He really doesn’t respect you, and the abuse accusations are out of line.”

“Does he coddle all kids like this or just the 7-year-old?”- BmoreArlo


“Your husband needs to quit enabling this behavior.”

“It’s very disruptive!”

“And seven is plenty old enough to take care of their own needs at night.”- Batticon

“Sleep regression is usually a term used with babies and toddlers.”

“Your daughter is clearly having sleep disturbances which are often caused by anxiety or a change in schedule.”

“Given the number of awakenings, I’d lean more toward anxiety.”

“Other than a not-so-new baby, are there any other big changes in her life?”

“Regardless, I’d recommend checking in with her pediatrician to rule out any underlying physical cause.”

“You and your husband clearly have different approaches to parenting: you’re taking more of a behaviorist’s approach and refer to your husband’s parenting as ‘coddling.'”

“It’s possible to find a compromise such as telling your daughter, ‘Hop back into bed, pull up your covers, and I’ll give you another kiss good night.'”

“Smooth the covers, give her a kiss, tell her you love her, and you hope she has a good sleep.”

“Being tucked in again seems to comfort her and make her feel safe.”

“Maybe that’s what she needs right now.”- y3s1canr3ad


“OP, you’re doing the right thing here.”

“You’ve isolated the issue (being that she has a 9-month-old sibling and wants attention).”

“You hold your ground knowing that this behavior is unacceptable, and you don’t let your partner guilt you into backing down from what you know is best for your daughter.”

“Excellent work.”- MasterpieceWeak4517

“Hey, the great thing here is the solution is SO simple: your husband gets to deal with her EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.”

“He wants to play coo-coo baby in the middle of the night, let him!”

“Turn over and go back to sleep.”

“The sleep issues with your daughter will resolve in time.”

“Sleep well, momma!”

“NTA.”- MissyInAK

There were some, however, who did find the OP’s methods too harsh, feeling that she would likely only make her daughter’s issues worse and not help them at all, while also feeling that she was being inconsiderate of her husband’s feelings as well.


“Your husband saw something in that moment that concerned him, and he asked you if he could take it from there.”

“My husband and I do the same thing if either of us feels the other has crossed a line or is at risk of crossing a line with our kids.”

“It’s so much easier to see the escalation happening when you are outside the situation than when you are in it.”

“There is more than one way to hold a child’s hand and lead them down the stairs.”

“It could be done patiently, gently, and firmly – or it could be done in a way that makes the child feel frightened, angry, and hurt.”

“Having two parents in a household can be such a blessing in stressful situations because one can tap the other one out when they notice things escalating.”

“Your husband was trying to do that, and you refused to let him.”

“That is why he hovered.”

“I would have done the same thing if I felt my spouse was being too harsh and they wouldn’t step aside and take a few moments to calm down.”

“It’s super humbling to be told, ‘Hey hon, why don’t you take a break and I’ll handle this from here’.”

“My husband has said that to me, and I immediately felt defensive, but once I’ve had the chance to calm down and reflect, I am always grateful that he did.”

“I do the same thing with him on occasion.”

“He won’t even realize that he’s yelling (thanks, amygdala!), but I can hear it, and I can see the expression on our kids’ face.”

“Create a system for tapping each other out (ours is, ‘Hey hon, can I talk to you for a sec?’ – followed by a whispered, ‘you need to take a break, I’ll handle this’ in the other room.)”

“Agree to follow it no matter how vehemently you feel you weren’t out of control.”

“Have the argument with each other later if you have to.”

“Better to risk adult hurt feelings than risk abusing a child.”- Obvious-Caregiver703

It’s fair to say that neither the OP nor her husband are in the wrong in how to solve this unfortunate issue.

But perhaps rather than each try their own method, they might both have more success if they have a long talk with their daughter and figure out what has caused her sleep regression.

That way, they both might come up with a method that pleases both of them.

Wishing this family, every single member, better rested nights ahead.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.