Sleep Training With An Unsupportive Partner

Updated: Oct 4

“Help! I want to sleep train, but my partner doesn’t”

I have worked with a large amount of families in my Sleep Consulting career and within that large amount of families there is one trend that happens; 98% of the time one partner is skeptical of spending the money and sleep training. Now, it isn’t always the dad, but a majority of the time it is. With saying that; another trend within my career is how surprised the once skeptical parent is at the end of a consultation.

Having a supportive partner during the sleep training process but even more important is having someone willing to give it a try for the parent who is desperate for a change. Most times, the parent wanting to sleep train is the parent who is solely responsible for everything surrounding sleep. That parent is commonly the one assisting baby to sleep for naps, bedtime and through-out the night, that parent is exhausted and needs a change for themselves and their baby.

Unfortunately, some partners simply do not understand why the other parent would want to sleep train since it is “their job to tend to the child/children” Obviously this is not something I agree with, but it is something I have encountered. Often times one partner thinks the other should just be able to figure it out, but infant/toddler sleep isn’t as simple and straight forwarded as some may think.

How do you get your partner on board?

1) Figure out the reasoning behind your partner not wanting to sleep train so you can handle the issue straight on. If it is a situation of thinking one partner should just deal with it because that’s ‘what you signed up for’ than that is considered a lack of empathy. A)If you are struggling with a lack of empathy from a partner, I recommend being prepared for a serious conversation of splitting the duties surrounding sleep. If being sleep deprived is not a big deal to the unsupportive partner, simply let them know you will now be sharing night duties or completely switching roles. If the partner works, work around that. Whatever the reason is, be sure to have a plan in place before having this conversation. B) It is also very important in this situation to let your partner know how important sleep is for a person’s health. Be sure to remind this partner that not only is sleep important for adults and their well-being, but children also need to get an adequate amount of sleep for growth and development. Children who do not receive the correct amount of sleep through childhood are more likely to develop ADHD, learning disabilities, and more.

2) Not wanting to spend the money.

A) This seems to be the most common reason when I have two parents come to me and one is not supportive of the program. Before confronting this issue, it’s important to have done your research with a Sleep Coach and have your evidence on hand. Reviews, payment plans, conversations you have had, etc. I recommend having your partner speak with the Sleep Consultant on the phone or email to express any concerns he/she may have regarding the program you have chosen. Maybe you have tried confronting the issue and your partner still isn’t budging. This is where things get a bit messier. I cannot tell you what to do within your own family or marriage/relationship; what I can say is, if my mental health was dwindling and I knew a way to fix this that wouldn’t cause harm to anyone I would do so without the support of my partner.

If this is something you need to do there are ultimately two options;

1) Let your partner know you are planning to do this with or without their support. If your partner remains unsupportive let them know when the training will be taking place and find them a place to stay for 48 hours while the initial training process is happening.

2) If you do not want to express what you are doing, you will need to plan to start sleep training when your partner will not be home during sleep times for the first 48 hours. I am a firm believer in open communication within a healthy relationship. However, sometimes partners can have different beliefs and lack some empathy when they aren’t the sleep deprived parent. Whatever chose you make, be sure to stick with your choice if you feel it’s right for your family.

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