Oh Boy! Co-sleeping, often referred to as bed sharing, is one of those hot button issues that receives as much hostility from those defending their position as breastfeeding does. And for most parents, even those who swore up and down that they WOULD NOT allow their child to sleep with them, it happens almost accidentally. Sometimes it’s just easier to nurse a baby when they are in bed with you. Or a young child has fears at night so you lie down with them. Or maybe, you enjoy the extra snuggle time with your little one. Even more common, whether parents admit it or not is that allowing your children to sleep with you can be downright easier than fighting with a fussy toddler at bedtime night after night after night.

And for the record, ALL parents should know that everyone from the American Academy of Pediatrics to the Mayo Clinic are against co-sleeping due to the hazards that it can pose to your child. The question here is not for against bed sharing but when it becomes unnatural, wrong, or just plain weird. Is there an age where a child should not sleep with mom or dad? Does the gender of the child matter? Regardless of how it starts, and how you feel about it you know that at some point it has to end, right? But when? When are kids simply too old to sleep with mom and dad?

Let’’s see what the experts have to say about allowing children to sleep with mom and dad.

In March of 2007, the New York Times published a research article on this very subject. The article believes that an older child sleeping with parents does not do enough to maintain a healthy separation between adults and children. And obviously, a 10 year old in the bed is quite a hindrance to martial intimacy. In the study, it suggested that children sleeping with parents can be responsible for destroying a marriage and even confusing children about their sexual identity.

Should a pubescent boy who wakes up every morning with an erection, be sleeping next to his mother? Should a young girl, perhaps one that is budding breasts or entering menstruation sleep next to her father? Most people would agree that allowing a 10 or 11-year-old child to sleep with a parent of the opposite sex is wrong or somehow taboo in today’’s world. And outwardly, those who disagree with co-sleeping would likely be freaked out by such behavior. But to the family sharing the bed, all might seem cozy and completely non-sexual. However, it is slightly disturbing to understand WHY an older child would still WANT to sleep with their parents.

A study out of the University of Michigan showed that children who slept with their parents beyond the age of 2 many into the preteen years, were developmentally stunted and even faced years and years of sleep issues later in life. A poll conducted by Mothering dot come also showed that 40% of moms believe co-sleeping should end between the ages of 3 and 5, while 34% believed kids between 6 and 8 should be given the red light to the parental bedroom door. Around 24% believed that co sleeping shouldn’’t occur to begin with.

According to the Family Law Association, differences in belief on co-sleeping especially as older, opposite sex parents are concerned is often a point of contention. And since there are no laws surrounding an age when children shouldn’’t sleep in a parent’’s bed, this becomes grey area. Normally, when it is brought to the attention of a family law attorney psychological evaluations of the child are ordered to see if there are any issues of foul play involved. And subsequently, it turns bonding moments and co-sleeping into an issue of sexuality. Which for most people, it is not.

Bottom line is that at some point your child will NOT sleep with you any longer. Every family has a different arrangement and set up in place. There are tons of families who fall asleep in the same bed watching television every night. There are other families who keep the marital or parental door completely locked and off limits. What needs to be addressed are the issues that surround the co sleeping. If they are developmental in nature as it pertains to older children, then something needs to be done. If they are matters of convenience based on house size or bed availability then there might not be a lot of options. What is most important is being cognizant of how ALL the parties’’ involved parent, spouse, and child feel about the matter.

Still. And obviously, there comes a point in a parent child relationship when privacy should be respected and separation should begin. There also comes a time in a marriage where co-sleeping will greatly, if not gravely affect the marital relationship. So deciding when a child is too old to sleep with mom and dad becomes a judgment call.

From the outside, it might seem creepy for mother and son, or father and daughter or even daughter and mother and father and son to be sharing a bed into the pre-teen or teenage years. It’’s certainly not ‘‘normal,’’ at least as far as statistics show. But the closeness and ways that each and every family bond with one another are different, and every family has its own definition of what is right and what is wrong.

What do you think? Is there a certain age when children should no longer sleep with their parents?

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45 COMMENTS

  1. I have a 10 yr. old daughter who loves to sleep with my husband and I when we let her. We are a “snuggle” family. Even if we’re watching t.v., depending on the day, you might find all three of us piled up beside each other. My husband works out of town every once and a while and my daughter and I like the comfort of each other through the night. She has told us before, that it’s not fair that mom and dad always get to sleep by each other and she’s got to sleep alone. Hmmm… She’s got a point there, I guess. But, I don’t think as she gets older, she will want to share her space. So, I think this May last at the most till she’s around 13.
    But, when I was growing up, my best friends dad would occasionally let his younger daughter sleep with him and as a kid, I thought that was strange because my relationship with my father wasn’t healthy. So, I had a hard time understanding that bond between them. But, I only knew my friends father to be a very good man, so I trusted it was not a bad thing.
    So, I think it depends on so many veriables, the child, the parents, the back grounds, reasons…
    But, I do think it’s best to let family’s bond in ways that are natural to them.
    Thanks

    • I agree with you. My almost 10 year old has been sharing a bed with me since birth. He had a crib but it was never used. My husband, (his father) wound up sleeping in my sons bed. This has been the norm since. To my family, this is ok because it’s all they know, but to any outsiders, they look at it as if it were child abuse.To me they have a guilty conscience. After my nephew was born, he was cosleeper until about 11, I always said there’s no way I would do that! lol
      Anyway, We are in the process of buying a house and I think there he will want his own bed. But if not, that’s ok with me. He is an only child. This bed we sleep in has been “his” too, and I feel when he is ready to move on, he will. I somehow don’t see him sleeping with Mommy in high school. (He is in 5th grade now.) I am all for co sleeping. I don’t see anything wrong with it.

  2. Ok then you are one weirdo! Some people don’t have a clue of what the word Structure for a child means! I bet when he does NT want o shower that’s ok to he will when he feels like it in his lifetime. Probably won’t want to take out the tray or Ave any responsibility either! Really?
    We wonder why our society is so messed up?

    • Actually, he is a very well-behaved, independent child and he does do chores and has redponsibilities. I don’t need need to defend myself to you. lol

    • Just give us a break…and no, my child doesnt sleep with me…but cant stand judgemental people …wondering if you guys are so perfect and yoyr lives are so perfect….

    • I agree these kids don’t know any other way and they won’t change as they get older
      This is habit and routine
      When a child is young and they wake up afraid, then console them
      Teach them everything is ok
      Stay with them until they fall back asleep in their Bed

      Forming good habit or forming bad habits
      That is what this is

  3. I think passing judgement on someone else’s family dinamic is more disturbing than a child sleeping with their parent. Shame on you Connie for attacking her like that. Your delivery was just wrong!

    I personally have a almost 9yr old daughter & I am going back and forth with this situation as well. I have one child and as much as I love the extra room in my bed on the nights I put her in her room, I also find myself missing that snuggle time with her. How I see it, this “window” of time is going to grow smaller & smaller as she gets a little older & than I am going to be missing it that much more! I say….do what makes you & your family comfortable! There isn’t anything I enjoy more than snuggling with my daughter!

    • Love your comment Amy…well done you…i have got a little girl too and ocassionally we sleep together…i love being close to her, giving her hugs and feel her breath on my face. I know she grows up and i will never ever get the chance to hold this little human being in my arms the way i do it now.

  4. When there is a sleep-over, how does a co-sleeping middle school child (11,12?) explain to his/her friend that they will be going to sleep with mommy while their friend sleeps alone? Or does the other child get invited into the bed too, only to return home the next day & tell his/her parents??
    Or, on the flipside, how does a co-sleeper go to a friend’s for a sleepover? Or camp? Or on a trip with a friend? Do they ask to sleep withtge friend’s mimmy? Or the camp counselor?
    Ohhhhhhh, MAYBE they just don’t get to do those fun childhood things!!
    Why do none of the pro co-sleeping paents discuss developmental, psychological, emotional impacts (present & future) on the child? Privacy, independence, sexuality (exploring their bodies, realizing their parents need their private intimate alone time) being able to COPE with being alone.
    Do u cuddle, wake up wrapped around your 12 year old? 9, 8, 7 year old? How are they supposed to learn boundaries and also explore new & different things? Aren’t you afraid they’ll live with you forever because they know no other way? You are parents & your children’s brains aren’t fully develpied until their 21. Why are they chosing? Guide them, parent them, they are looking to you for that!!!!
    Wow, where does the line get drawn??

    • I agree. I’m so tired of hearing parents say that their kid will decide, I’ve even heard this about potty training, after I told the mom we put my 6month old on a baby toilet once a day she scolded me. Her son was 3 and just “wasn’t” ready to try. I made it a fun experience where I would sing to him a cute song and after the song he would get off. He is almost 2 and dose great on the toilet. We have a ruitinee bed time. We read to him which he LOVES, then we sing him a song. After that we turn off his light and one of us stays with him 5-15 minutes depending on what we think he needs for that night. We’ve made it so he can’t close his door by accident so if he needs us he’ll get up and come to us. Which hardly ever happens. Children need love, nurturing, and structure. My son wakes up happy. And he knows hee loved Even with the rules.

      • Honestly thank you ! I see my son every second weekend and he lives with his father and when he is with me he sleeps in the same bed. You have opened my eyes to see that its not healthy and your right if he needs me he will come to me. I guess I just feel like I am missing out so I cherish the time we have together but your absolutely correct. Hes not a baby any more and I cant keep treating him like one

    • As a father with a co-sleeping child in the house (not by my own choice and I strongly wish it were not true) I might have some insight.

      Our co-sleeper sleeps with other kids when they are around instead of with Mom. Camping or any overnight outside of the home is hard for him as he gets anxious about sleeping.

      Our son does have boundary issues in my opinion and is severely dependent on his mother. I’m not sure which came first: the dependency or the co-sleeping. He has a hard time in school both academically and socially due to lack of independence.

      By the way, he is eight years old now and not showing any signs of reversing any of the above mentioned trends.

  5. What if your child has or goes on sleep-over, goes to camp, or goes on a trip with a friend’s family??? When they stay at Grandma’s, does she let her pubescent grandson stay in bed with her???

  6. I have family member who sleeps with HER 15year old son. He can’t sleep over at people’s houses Cuz he needs to sleep with his mom. His sister Even feels uncomfortable ^& her marriage suffers. Their needs to be limits

  7. I see this situation with my sister and her almost 13 year old son. The rest of us in the family think it’s totally weird and that my sister and her husband are doing major damage to my nephew. The kid has his own room, so they call it his room, but all his belongings are still in their room and he is afraid to sleep in his room. I think it’s just about the weirdest thing ever and I don’t understand. When he has friends over for a sleepover he sleeps in his room and pretends that that is his room the whole time. Which tells me that they know it’s weird and I don’t want the friends to find out. I mean come on what gives already? The teach my nephew zero responsibility, he has zero tours, he’s not an independent thinker, & I think it’s all because they don’t force him to grow up at all. They think it’s cute that he still wants to cuddle, but I think that baby part of life is over, and it’s time to prepare him for being a young adult already. You’re almost 13 years old, and it’s time to grow up a bit. And he hasn’t even learn to sleep in his own bed yet?! It’s crazy, and super weird, & I believe ultimately damaging to my nephews near future.

  8. I was FORCED to share a bedroom AND the bed with my mother for many years after my parents divorced. I am the daughter. I found it disgusting, morbid, humiliating and so horrendous that now, at almost age 49, I am still shocked I was forced to do so. My brother had his own bedroom with a door he kept closed and locked. I was forced to sleep with our mother for years and she chronically beat me, humiliated me and forced me to be the household slave, too. I was given meager food while my brother was fed like a king. If he even mowed the lawn once per year, that was all he did and you would have thought he’d painted the Sistine Chapel over how she raved over his efforts. Meanwhile, I cooked and cleaned every day from age nine onward and to this day, I resent all I was forced to do under complete tyranny, PLUS I couldn’t even have my own space. The very IDEA she thought it would be okay for me to share her bed and the bedroom with her instead of finding a rental with three bedrooms.

  9. I would love some input on this situation. I had a boyfriend, who is 32, and has an 11 year old daughter. He also has a 9 year old son. But his daughter feels the need to sleep with her dad every time they are at his house. He has 50/50 custody of his children, so it’s not like he doesn’t get to see them. We have only been dating for 5 months, and when I would stay over there not to long after we got together, he would even let his daughter sleep with us. Just Because she wanted to. I even told him I felt uncomfortable, and yet he did nothing.. his son would try to sleep with us too, but he would tell him no, but never his daughter.
    There has been tines where he has taken off all his clothes to change, or just got out of the shower, and didn’t even ask his daughter to leave the room So he can change. He would be naked, showing it all in front of his 11 year old daughter.. it was so incredibly uncomfortable for me to be in there while she is in there and he is naked, and it was no big deal to either of them. she looked at him and then looked back at the TV like it was nothing.. I honestly find their relationship to be a little weird. It’s an unsettling feeling I have.. I mean, he was a great dad , and that’s why I liked him in the first place, because I also have 2 children. It was always weird, but I never said anything.. but one night, while me and my kids were over his place to stay the night, my 7 year old daughter started crying and not feeling good, and asked to sleep with us. This was the first time ever she even asked to lay in the same bed as us, so I didn’t care, but when he came in the rokm, he got upset she was still in the bed with me, and wasn’t going to sleep in the other room. When u said she is sleeping with is, he said no and that she needed to sleep elsewhere. I told him about her not feeling good, and that his kids, especially his 11 year old daughter had slept with us nemerous times, but my 7 year old daughter couldn’t!!!! I was baffled..
    Not only does she see him naked, sleep with him, but she also doesn’t have any chores at his house, because he makes his son do it all, and when he would talk about doing things, and going olaces, he would always say he needs to bring his daughter, but never his son..

    Is it me, or is this a little strange?? Advise, and/or comments would be great.. but please nothing rude!!!

  10. Sorry to add more, but I forgot to add this.. she is NOT able to sleep with her mom and her moms boyfriend because she is too old, and also has to do dishes, sweep, and do other chores at her mom’s, as well as her little brother… I just don’t get why her dad is this way?!?

  11. This is abusive, period. Everything you described is inappropriate to the max. Many people talk about ‘people in other countries’ but last time I looked those same people lead very ‘American’ lives. This whole topic has me shaking my head. Get out of that relationship, from my outsider opinion, it couldnt be more clear that something is very wrong, additionally he does not show you, your requests, or your children the respect of a ‘bed mate’.

  12. I feel bad for the kids they should learn to sleep on there own. What if you want to have sex with the other parent? That is right you can’t because the kid is in your bed. This is what is wrong with the world today we let the kids do what they want an the parents are divorced quick because of this.

    • Umm I’m 10 and I’m reading this because I don’t know if I will grow or not so that why there no reason to say that

    • Really… Really? Doug, you must not have a lot experience with the world then, parents can have sex with each other outside of “bed time” and away from their child(ren) at the same time. We let children make their own decisions because we’re not narcissistic control freaks who lusts over the idea of creating a “mini-me”. So no, it’s not the cause of “what’s wrong with the world today” as there are too many other factors to list on why divorces happen more often nowadays. But aside from that, it’s an awful argument to your initial point(Which should’ve been completely left, in all honesty).

  13. when my son has sleep overs, they set up camp in the livingroom. He has no problem sleeping away from me. He also has no problem sleeping outside of our home. He is just used to and comfortable with going to sleep w Mommy while we are home. That’s all he’s known since birth. The reason he doesn’t tell his friends is because in reality, it is none of their business. (p.s. 9 out of 10 of his friends have or continue to cosleep. Parent’s talk.) Some kids still sleep with a stuffed toy or a blanket, they don’t let their friends know that either. Why not you ask? These are little things that children carry with them for security. None of these things hurt, beat, molest or abuse, so I really think you people who are so against it should use all your time and energy to find out who is causing real harm to their children and try to make a difference in that child’s life. And if it still bothers no, no-one said you have to accept it. But be respectable or keep your 2 cents to yourself.

    • Can you spell denial? I don’t have my own child i need to worry for. I had a friend who was wondering if this was wrong or right, decided to surf the net and see what other parents and docs say. After reading everyone and the article…ummm i say be a parent not a friend. Teach your kids boundaries otherwise you’ll have hell to pay when they are a teen. Dealing with this early on can prevent future social problems. I have nephew who slept in his parents bed for years. He ditched school and was a bully when he went. Has major hatred for women. He is now 20 and cant keep a job. Just does what he wants when he wants and no respect for authority. Reading this article makes me wonder if his parents put their foot down then, maybe my nephew could wound up with a better outcome in life. Im baffled how some of these moms & dads are willing the play russian roulette with the future of their child.

  14. I am in a relationship with a man that still does the co sleep and shower thing. They always sit together, hold hands together, sleep, shower, when at restaurants, she makes sure her seat is touching, her body touching. Eating from his plate.
    On the flip side, he is a great dad and attentive to her every call. But as his partner, i am on the outside.
    I am lonely. I walk by myself, sleep in another room, sit by myself. They go on dates and eat out. From my side, i am heartbroken and alone, from their side, they dont even notice i there.
    Example: a family ski trip for five days
    He and his almost 12yr old share a bed and a room. My kids and i in another room. On the ski fields, them two can ski alone together for many hours before he realizes he hasnt seen me for over 3 hrs. Meanwhile, i skiing on my own. My kids older teenagers, doing their own thing. I do spend a little time with my kids, but they developing into independent adults in a couple yrs.
    Even meals they attached to each other. Did i mention we been in relationship nearly 2.5 yrs. Its upsetting, forgive me for wincing!

    • Hi Belinda. Does your partner know how you feel? It may be that he doesn’t. (I am in no way taking sides.) However, I just feel that looking on the positive side, he may feel that because he is that way with his daughter, that you are that way with your kids, and not even realize that you feel like an outsider. He may also feel very secure in your relationship and may just assume you share the same feelings.
      I personally would try speaking with him about how you feel. If he is a good man that cares about your feelings, he will understand and try to make adjustments to make sure all those who are close to him, his partner (you) and his kids, feel loved and appreciated.
      I wish you much happiness.

    • I have the same situation. She’s 11 his 56. They use to had showers together. He turns on the water get her pjs.I sleep in the other room because I toss and turn. He holds her hand.I walk behind them. Kisses her on the head softly 4 times. Touches her every time he goes past her. I just get the sex. Call him sexy when he gets dressed up. Lays on top of him on the lay back chair. He tell her for my ears only. I want you to stay in your bed tonight dads tied. Then tells her to come into bed 30 mins later when I have gone into the other room. He thinks this is OK. I think its sick. They act like boyfriend and girlfriend. Not dad and daughter. He has got her every second weekend. He sees her every second day.

  15. In our case the mother is a child therapist & during the divorce began sleeping with the oldest from 10 yrs to almost 13. Now that the oldest has been turned against her dad & his family she has begun sleeping with the youngest daughter who is now 11. Now the youngest is having sleep issues & gets up at all hrs of the night, sometimes refusing to go to slerp at all. It should be noted neither girl had problems prior to sleeping with their mom. It isn’t healthy &. Just another way to alienate them from their dad. PS: the mom has anger issues & was a spouse beater.

  16. My stepdaughter is going on 6.she comes on weekends still requesting to slept with her dad and I.sge states she’s afraid though she shares the bed with her sister in my son’s room where there’s 2 nightlight. To top it off my apt is railroad style,so it’s as if we all share a room.everytime it’s water work and begging. I strongly disagree on letting her.I think she’s to big and we won’t sleep well getting kicked by her all night.

  17. I was 10 years old when my mom Lolita Bronson from Fresno California that’s her name asked me to start sleeping with her my mom had just divorce my dad I suggest you don’t do it things start happening . It will be times when your mom thinks you’re asleep and she started masturbating and whether you realize it or not she is rubbing against you stuff like that happens my mom started to molest me I still actually attracted to her and I’m 50 now and I’m still sexually attracted to her

  18. My gf 9 year old son always wakes us up in the middle of the night as she goes in his room to sleep with him. Yes I do find it unusually unfortunately I can already see signs of anxiety for the kid maybe even insomnia. MY 9 year old daughter also sleeps at the house on the weekends and has no problem sleeping by herself and has never gotten up in the middle of the night. I know for a fact this is depriving the mother sleep which is NOT good at all

  19. my mom and dad still makes me sleep with them and I’m thirteen I keep hiding my erecting think.i tried my best explaining them still the want me to sleep with them.please somebody help

    please please please help help me

    • Tell your parents you love them but you are growing up and need your space. Be assertive and consistent but not emotional. They need to get it. You’ll be OK. We were all screwed up by our parents and there us always therapy. But of course the earlier you set your boundaries the better off you will be. It’s too bad you have to be the grown up in this situation, it should be their job to set healthy boundaries but you have yourself and your life to think about so just do that. Best of luck.

  20. You people are sick. Like the article says. I understand if the child is having a nightmares or is physically sick. At a certain age enough is enough. I see most of you are women and you think it’s “ok” it my child and how dare you judge me. Stfu and stop thinking about yourself. It does mentally affect a child. I also have proof myself. A mother let her son sleep with her till the age of 13. Now the son cant sleep. At all unless its with his mom or another woman. Hes 19 now. He still has the same issue. He cannot sleep without a woman next to him. I know this is true because I lived there for years. And it made me sick. Listen women, if your lonely, buy a dog. Don’t damage your children. Create that separation in bed. It’s just weird and not normal.

  21. May be a bit of a late response, but I can’t help but notice a lack of input from those who have slept with their parents when they were “too old” to be doing so; so I decided to throw in my own piece. Also I’m sorry if this is a double post, it didnt seem as though the last one got posted.

    My dad was a single parent and had to raise me by himself. Sadly he wasnt always able to be at home when I was little. Until I was about 12 I would often sleep over with a friend of his when he was away for work. He didn’t want to me to be home alone during that time. My dad’s friend, was a really awesome and nice guy, as was his wife. They would let me sleep in the guest bedroom, we would play together, or occasionally go out to eat. When my dad was home though I would almost always sleep in bed with him, anytime he was around really I basically attached myself to his hip lol. I loved my dad, and cherished every bit of time I got to spend around him when he was off work.

    I’ve never had issues with responsibility, I had chores to do when I was little and made sure to do them, and do them well. I don’t have issues sleeping by myself at 22, but it is easier to sleep with someone there. But isn’t it always?? Lmao it’s a comfort thing, of course it’s easier to sleep when someone else is with you, we’re humans, and humans are pack animals.

    When I was 13 he got a different job and started working from home, we had a whole lot more time to spend together. I still always tried to sleep in bed with him, and occasionally he would me. Sometimes he would have a “friend over” or would just tell me I had to sleep in my own room because he needed some adult time. I left for uni when I was 17 and up until that time, sleeping in bed with him was very normal for me. We would cuddle up and watch tv, I would lay my head on his chest and dose off so quick. Even slept with him durring holidays when I had plenty of time away from uni.

    In no way would I ever consider my dad to have been abusive, but I do feel it is something people are very quick, and not to mention wrongfully, judge. I used to call him daddy when it’s just us, but I had to try hard not to though when other people are around because of the kind of looks I get. We were very close, and I absolutely adored my dad and am extremely grateful for everything he’s done for me and for all the time we got to spend together.

    I don’t feel hindered by the action, and I feel it just brought us closer. Only time I ever felt weird for it was when others would mock me simply for it being different then what they knew. Learned to keep it a secret from others growing up, still had sleep overs, or would go to others houses and slept fine in their rooms or on the couch.

    Hell if anything, if I were given the chance to do it again, not only would I; but i would have held him even tighter. I would have ignored the stares, would have disregarded the judgments. He was my daddy, and the time we had together will always be kept very close to heart. You shouldn’t pass judgment on others just because it’s different from what you did.

  22. My 9 year old daughter lives with her grandmother and her husband which is in no way related to her by blood and he was gone for most of her young life so now that he’s back my daughter has grown close to him it makes me uncomfortable she tells me that she loves when her grandma falls asleep on the couch and she gets to sleep with her grandpa for the night. I want to address this with her grandma I find it so inappropriate that a grown man would allow this. Of course I would never want to sexualize anything but I know how men CAN wake up (not always) and it creeps me out to think he’s waking up with my daughter. I even want to confront him myself and tell him can you please not sleep in the bed with her and make her go back to her room.

  23. One would assume that coupling sweeping argumentative statements with a smattering of recognisable industry bodies would suffice DeBora? To start sighting specific references would imply a level of due diligence the author was clearly not interested in pursing. And why would she? Her job with this piece was clearly to throw a cat amongst the pigeons and then move on the next quick easy target for thrills and pocket change. It says in her online bio she has her name attributed to ” thousands” of articles. One would assume she pumps them out on a plethora of topics for the joy of antidotal writing. Sighting actual specific references and then debating them in a literary review fashion would be … oh I don’t know …. responsible?

  24. My wife lets my eight year old step-son sleep with her. I get home from work late at night and have to remove him to his own bed at circa 2 AM every night. I feel my personal space is violated. My step-son resents me because when I am gone he gets his way; when I am home he feels I take his place. I also don’t think it is healthy to keep interrupting his sleep every night to move to his own bed.

    This topic at times becomes a heated argument between my wife and me. I feel she never had the patience to train him to sleep in his own bed. As long as I have known her she has had trouble telling her child “No” to anything, and any child will instinctively want the attention of both parents focused on him or her instead of each other. (I have seen this to vary depending on the personality of the child but it is generally true.)

    To make matters worse, when we have a disagreement she will move her son back into our bed knowing that it gets under my skin. This usually involves waking him up from his own bed to move him and also puts him right in the middle of the disagreement. Why should a child be made to wake up to a disagreement between adults and then find himself at the center of it?

    My wife will not compromise and will not set a deadline to move her son permanently into his own bed. When he was 4 I thought surely this can’t last much longer. Wrong.

    I have read a lot of information that is available in print and on the web regarding co-sleeping. Everyone has a different take but the commonality is most agree that whatever arrangement is made needs to include input form both parents and the best outcome will be determined by each unique situation.

    Our situation gets more complicated in that the child still shares parenting time with his father who has no good intentions for our family. I have read about legal problems in this area including criminal investigation. For this I will never sleep in the same bed as my step son and if necessary I will move to another room to sleep.

    This issue has almost ruined our marriage in the past and still might one day. What have I not yet considered to help resolve this issue? Should I allow is to break up my marriage and be better off alone?

  25. One other interesting piece of information that most experts on the topic miss is how the control or lack of control of children affects their disposition later in life. Jim Penman writes about this in his book Biohistory. He approaches the topic reasonably, not saying which is the best parenting strategy, and simply states the observed effects.

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