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When The Other Parent Says 'No'

May 29, 2018


One challenge we regularly face is the circumstance where one parent wants to book in for professional support, while the other parent doesn’t. Usually, it is the Mum, the main care provider, who is sleep deprived, exhausted, desperate and down-right suffering through each day as she is struggling with a child who doesn’t sleep.

We find this situation very difficult to comprehend because the main care provider is reaching out for help, but is being refused the help and support needed by the person who really should care about them the most. The next most difficult reason to understand why the main carer is not supported in receiving help is, that we are always the last resort anyway. This means, the main care provider has usually exhausted all avenues of help. They’ve read books, articles, spoken to Mum friends or family members, sought help from a range of doctors, but to no avail. They finally realise that the issues aren’t going to resolve of their own and there are no straight answers to be found in books, so they contact us. The other parent should always know that their partner has tried absolutely everything they can to fix the issues, but are still struggling.

The main reason the other parent says ‘no’, is because of money. They think that seeking support for sleep is a waste of money, or for the cost, it’s not worth it. The main care provider is usually willing to do just about anything to get their child sleeping and get their sanity back, but since the secondary carer doesn’t understand the struggles, they’re hesitant to allow the booking to go ahead. Once clients work with us, a common phrase I hear is, “your help is worth its’ weight in gold”. We know how we can help, how life changing we can be and how successful our sleep plans are. Word of mouth referrals tell the considering carers that we can changes lives but the person who is not suffering isn’t willing to co-operate. 

It is difficult to know that we can help, but knowing that people are limited on asking for help is just heart-breaking for us. We’ve had to learnt disassociate our deep feelings from these situations as our hands are tied and no amount of emotion or verbal investment is going to help the main care provider get the help needed without the support of their partner. 

It would be great if both parents could get on board with understanding how poor sleep habits from a child can affect the child, the main care provider and the whole family. It would also benefit the whole family if both parents could understand US; sleep educators, our goals, our successes and how we can actually help.


Shereen is a Director and Lecturer at the Institute of Parenting Support Services and Director and Senior Educator at Early Childhood Parenting. She practices in Adelaide, South Australia. She is the mother of two beautiful children. You can reach her at 0419820474 or

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