Anyone who has any regular interaction with children will tell you that every child is different.
That means what they need and how they need to be parented varies a little bit, too, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor aitasleeptrain completely understood that and was willing to accept that her sister parented her children differently than she did her own, including how they navigated sleeping hours.
But when her sister was impacting everyone’s sleep during an emergency visit, the Original Poster (OP) felt like she had to sleep up about their sleep training differences.
They asked the sub:
“AITA for telling my sister she is not welcome to sleep-train her son in my home?”
The OP was hosting her sister and children after a death in the family.
“My sister and I have very different parenting techniques, but it never bothered me prior. We have different lives; we both do what works.”
“This isn’t me s**tting on sleep-training before anyone accuses me of that.”
“My sister, her infant, and her toddler are staying with us for a couple of weeks. My BIL’s dad died and they’re staying in town for the grieving process.”
“He’s staying with his mom, but her place isn’t big enough for all of them.”
The OP and her sister had a difference in opinion about sleep training.
“Before they arrived, my sister told me the baby was still sleep-training, and she apologized for any noise at night.”
“I told her I didn’t want him excessively crying and that if that’ll be an issue, she should make alternative arrangements.”
“She said he’d be fine.”
“They arrived, and all was well, until she started his nightly routine. He fussed, as babies do, and started immediately crying.”
“She proceeded to check on him every ten minutes or so.”
“She’s using the Ferber method, so she checks on him every ten minutes to soothe him, and then picks him up at the hour-mark before redoing it all.”
“I was uncomfortable the whole time, and my kids nor myself slept very well. Even after he’d fallen asleep, he’d wake up a few times a night and cry, which in turn woke us up too.”
The OP set a new boundary the next morning.
“The next day I told her I didn’t want to deal with that again.”
“She apologized and said he’s usually down to an hour, which I then repeated I didn’t want to deal with.”
“That night she started up again and forty minutes in, I told her she either hold her baby and calm him down or I will. She left him for another ten minutes, so I went in and soothed him. She was upset because I was disrupting their progress.”
“He went down pretty easy after that but still woke up for a cry a few times.”
“The third night, I said from the start that I wouldn’t be listening to him cry. If she let him cry and didn’t tend to him within ten minutes, I’d tend to him.”
The OP reached the point of giving an ultimatum.
“I ended up soothing him most of that night, and yesterday I told her she either had to soothe him herself or they’d have to stay somewhere else because she wasn’t welcome to sleep train in my home.”
“She got upset, and asked where they were going to go.”
“I said I didn’t know. I suggested talking to my BIL’s family, or she could simply soothe her baby through the night like I do.”
“She was notably really upset but did soothe him last night. And no crying!”
“Still, things are incredibly tense, and our other sister (out of state) has told me I’m being inconsiderate. She’s just lost her FIL and is obviously struggling.”
“I feel bad, but perhaps not as much as I should. I mostly feel bad for my nephew, despite knowing this is fine, and I’m definitely messing up their sleep training journey thus far.”
The OP also clarified in the comments:
“My children are nine months, twenty-one months (one and three quarters), and thirty-three months (two and three quarters). So, three under three. Sleep isn’t optional.”
“I am hoping everything will calm down soon or we may have to look at other arrangements.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some agreed that the OP needed to think about the rest of her household.
“NTA. Yes, it’s her baby; yes, she can do whatever parenting style she wants; and yes, she is going through a very bad thing right now. But the biggest thing is this isn’t her house and her sleep training is affecting the sleep of YOUR kids.”
“You said you had young kids too. Young kids need their sleep for growth and being able to learn at school. If this keeps going, your kids are going to start struggling during the day.”
“Your sister’s baby is disrupting the household, so she needs to do whatever she can to soothe her child or leave and stay at a hotel.”
“If it was just you, then I would say get some earplugs and try to endure it a few more days while she is there. Drink some strong coffee in the morning. But sleep is extremely important for your kids.” – pfghost
“It’s rude to expect you can do that in someone’s else house. What I don’t get is you gave her plenty of chances. Why is her husband not with her? Where is he sleeping at his parent’s house? Why can’t they be there? That’s the question I wanna know.”
“You know your child doesn’t sleep the night so why do all that when there are other people in the house? Kids no less. As for the other sister, let her come and deal with it.”
“You have every right to have a say in what goes on in your house. Honestly, she wouldn’t have been there after the second night with me.” – Electrical_Builder50
“I tried the Ferber method for a night, approximately 40 minutes in total. I came in for the final check and my baby was sweating.”
“After that, we just cut out the Ferber part and resumed our normal nighttime routine. Then we had a nasty time with teething, then a cold.”
“So he’s a year old and we still co-sleep. Both of us sleep 10-12 hours a night, and I get to go to bed at 8:30! It’s so cool.”
“Do I wish he would sleep in the beautiful crib I bought? Absolutely. But this is what works. I have a happy baby.” – SauteedMushroom2
“This isn’t a parenting technique, it’s child abuse. Babies can not self-soothe. They are babies. They physically need their parents when they cry, and abandoning them even for 10 minutes at a time doesn’t ‘teach’ them anything other than that they can’t trust that their parents will be there when they cry.”
“When their cortisol levels were actually measured, it was found that they never decreased when the babies stopped crying. It’s incontrovertible physical proof that the babies aren’t self-soothing, they’re just giving up.”
“It’s a horrible myth that needs to die.”
“Just to hammer this home: Poor hospitals used to have much better outcomes for babies, especially edge cases and preemies, than rich hospitals.”
“Why? Because the rich hospitals had all the best machines and equipment in the world, while the poor hospitals had nurses holding the babies to care for them.”
“Babies literally need love and attachment to live. Even animals will choose a warm cloth doll to cling to rather than a wire cage that provides milk. They’d rather starve to death feeling the warmth that reminds them of love than live without it.” – Shadowex3
“Life comes with disruption, like the death of his grandfather.”
“I personally find sleep training abhorrent, but the worse offense at this moment is OP’s sister crapping all over her boundaries about a peaceful nighttime for all.”
“Consider if it was toilet training for an older child: we’ve decided this is the week Little One MUST use the toilet (because we say so, nevermind who died or if the family is split up weirdly) so little one is just going to piss on your furniture. How dare you question my parenting?! Don’t be so selfish with your precious sofa.”
“(Except I would value my night’s sleep even higher than a fancy sofa. You can clean furniture and carpets… OP is never getting that night’s sleep back.)”
“NTA.” – MoonOverJupiter
But others thought the OP could be more considerate, given the situation.
“YTA, mostly because regardless of what parenting methods she uses it was insane of you to think you could have a 7-month-old baby stay at your house and think you wouldn’t be interrupted by crying. If you allow a baby to stay, you do it expecting you will hear crying.”
“I absolutely HATE sleep training, by the way. But I also know it’s not something that is very good to break the schedule of, and also, babies cry.”
“You have three, so you know every baby is different. And even a normally not crying baby could get sick, or be anxious/uncomfortable in a new environment.”
“It does suck and to be honest, I’d be spending all my days complaining in a group chat to all of my other sisters about this b***h and her baby she is torturing and be glad when they were gone, but I wouldn’t say anything to her.”
“And for what it’s worth, I don’t understand if she’s going through rough times, why she doesn’t want to cosleep with her wee soft baby and cuddle it through the night for her own selfish reasons, but she gets to make her choices, lol (laughing out loud).” – violentbaudelairegt
“YTA. What is she supposed to do? Is she supposed to stop sleep training her toddler for a few weeks and then mess up his entire sleep development because you can’t wear earplugs?”
“I watched my sister sleep train, it’s not easy on the parents either. But apparently, you know parenting best and can’t be patient with your sister and nephew.” – iwillsitonyou123
While the subReddit could empathize with the sister’s family going through a lot right now while grieving the sister’s father-in-law, they understood that boundaries still needed to be respected.
As some pointed out, if the OP had only been upset about losing her own beauty rest, that would have been an entirely different problem. But since she had children who were barely older than her nephew, that changed her motivations and the situation significantly.