futurestepmom's picture
futurestepmom

child sleeping with single parent

My boyfriend and I live 1,500 miles apart, adding to the distance issues in our relationship I have some concerns about his parenting style.  He allows his nine year old daughter to fall asleep in his bed and sleep there the entire night.  I feel he should take her into her room and let her sleep in her own bed.  I have known him for fourteen years, lived with him once for several years, I know there is nothing of a sexual nature in this, I know him very well and he is absolutley not that kind of man.  I do feel it is inappropriate for him to continue letting his daughter, who is now developing, to sleep in his bed.  Am I off base?



gail Hanson's picture
gail Hanson

He's about 4 years overdue for establishing that she sleeps in her own bed, unless he is from a culture where co-sleeping is the norm.  But people can be very defensive about what is normal for them. 

SnglDad's picture
SnglDad

 Yes, you are offbase, and overstepping your boundaries as well. Being a future stepmom, or even a stepmom gives you no rights towards the child. The father knows his daughter, and will decide what is best for her. The key to being a good stepparent is to support the parent, not attempt to alter the parent child relationship. Being that her parents have divorced she may need some time to cope with all that has happened. Sleeping next to her father is innocent and may be the security she needs to feel at such a time.

 While reading your post you stated that he allows her to fall asleep there and stay all night. Does she go to bed there ,or is she watching TV in Dad's room and falls asleep? She obviously feels safe with her father, and in these situations kids may not voice what they need but she is letting him know in her way.

  In my view the only thing inappropriate going on here is your need to dictate a parent child relationship from 1,500 miles away. Have your children never slept with you?

gail Hanson's picture
gail Hanson

Single Dad has a point about it not being your business.  Apparently you are invested in this family, but not to the extent of making it legal.  Does she feel like you abandoned her when you moved out? 

skfleener's picture
skfleener

No you are not offbase. You should, as a future stepmom, feel secure enough to talk to your partner about parenting style, especially if you are considering having children of your own with this man. Now, you have no business discussing it with the child. You aren't her stepmother yet, and even when you do become her stepparent, this is an issue to be discussed between adults. Also, most issues have to be addressed by the biological parent with the child, not the stepparent. As for the issue itself,  it is not a good idea on so many levels for any parent to be sleeping with their child, in the same bed, outside of unusual circumstances. (ie, sickness, some sort of trauma, etc.) If this is a case of simply not placing boundaries out of guilt or laziness or whatever, he is really doing her a dis-service. If she is still scared to sleep alone in her room at 9 years old, then he can sleep on the floor in her room with her, while she sleeps in her bed. Furthermore, it's just common sense that by now, a parent should be helping their child be independent and competent enough to sleep in their own bed. Finally, your concerns about her development are totally legitimate. If your partner (or anyone else for that matter) can't see why there would be concern about this, I would seriously question that person's judgement. Single Dad seemed pretty defensive to me in his response to you. If your partner responds the same way when you discuss this with him, you should take that into serious consideration. This may be his daughter, but the issue at hand is his parenting as a Dad and it's not going to work if you disagree on these kind of issues with your own kids.

SnglDad's picture
SnglDad

 You have either never been in a similar situation, or if you were , you learned nothing from it. I will raise my children as I see fit, and I hope this father continues to do the same. This is more a control issue than a parenting issue.

MOM2JJ's picture
MOM2JJ

I agree with skffeener, there obviously is a problem with guilt/boundries issues with this child.  I think single dad is taking this advice a little to personal.  As far as single dad saying there are control issues, there are, not with the poster but with the child controling the parent.  At 9, a child needs to be independent and sleep intheir own bed unless the child is sick, bad dream etc.  I have been through this myself and my daughter sleeps in her own bed unless something is wrong. 

SnglDad's picture
SnglDad

No, SnglDad is not taking this too personal, or am I? Maybe I am. As a parent who has been through this, and much more than I am willing to post here. I have a hard time with outsiders dictating what a child needs, especially when it is not their child, and they are 1,500 miles away. This stepparent to be did not even answer any of the questions asked of her, nor has she posted anything since her original post. If she were truly trying to find a solution to this I would hope she would put a little more effort in to this.

MOM2JJ, your reasons for allowing a child to share the same bed are quite interesting. You will allow a child to sleep in your bed if they are sick, had a nightmare, etc. What are the differences between a child who is in a physical type of distress, compared to a child who may be suffering from a type of emotional distress? Physical distress such as a cold, fever, coughing , or whatever physical symptoms a child may exhibit cannot be soothed, nor cured by sleeping next to a parent.

A nightmare can cause a mild emotional distress and it may bring the child comfort to sleep next to a parent. This may not cure nightmares, but it will help the child to cope with whatever fear they have. This is a time to lay and talk about the dream they had. Usually talking about our fears openly makes them seem not so scary. Most kids are not aware of this, but they desire security more than an Xbox 360.

A child who is missing their other parent because of death, divorce, or illness may seek the same type of soothing as a child who has suffered a nightmare. To sleep next to the remaining parent who can talk with her and allow her to attain whatever level of security she may need in order to get back to her previous sleeping routine, I would argue, is healthy. Parent and child bond even more. This daughter knows that her father is there for her, and hopefully, she will always feel this way. It’s too bad that some people would choose to assert control, rather than exercise common sense.

The love a parent has for their child will compel them to do what is in that child’s best interest. Much to the dismay of the step mom to be, this father is doing just that. I applaud him for doing what he feels is right for his daughter. MOM2JJ, you were right about one thing in your post, I was taking it personal

MOM2JJ's picture
MOM2JJ

Yes Singldad, you are personally attacking the poster as well as myself because you seem to have some personal hangups which may be the reason why as a parent you seem to find it okay to have a child sleep with you  or think it is okay for the child to sleep with the father.  Children need to have boundries.  A child should have a room of their own and a bed of their own to sleep in.  There really is NO reason why that a child should think that they should share a bed with a father OR mother on a daily basis.  There is nothing wrong if a child might have a bad dream once in awhile and want to sleep with you because they are scared.  I think you did not understand my post or ignored twhat I wrote about my daughter sleeping with me.  She does not sleep with my every night or even often.  I SAID that once in a great while......I can't even remember now because it has been such a long time that my daughter had a bad dream and I let her come in bed with me because she was scared.  Please donot change my words around to justify having a child sleep in bed with you every night because I don't agree with that at all.   It just contributes to separation problems that might make you feel better but is not healthy for the child! 

SnglDad's picture
SnglDad

Voicing my opinion and opposition to the original poster, and yourself is not a personal attack. I am not one who feels a need to respond to every post on this website. I do however, respond to posts where I believe my past experience may be helpful to someone. In this case I fell back on my own experience in dealing with a one year old and a three year old who had their mother torn from our home due to a traumatic brain injury. During her year long stay in the hospital I had many sleepless nights with two young children missing their mother. Before finding out that my wife would never recover, or be able to return home, I enlisted the help of a well respected child psychologist with 36 years experience in the field, who specializes in loss. I wont tell you his exact advice due to patient psychologist privilege and ongoing litigation. I will say however, that I did follow his advice and did what was best for my children. I would argue that he may have a tad more insight in this field than yourself. My children now sleep in their own rooms and are very comfortable doing so. They are well adjusted and secure individuals. There are no separation anxieties. Most weekends my kids either have friends over to stay the night, or will stay the night at a friends home. I guess their separation anxiety hasn’t bubbled to the surface yet. I make no apologies to anyone for doing what my children needed me to do in order to cope with such a traumatic event.

In your latest post you make it seem almost perverse for a parent and child to share the same bed, unless it falls under one of the categories of your special conditions, then it’s perfectly fine, how hypocritical. You also tell me not to change your words around. Right after you change them around yourself. In your first post you never used the term “once in a great while” as you claim to have done. I think we can just agree to disagree. I was just giving my opinion based upon first hand experience, rather than ideas, and ego.

MOM2JJ's picture
MOM2JJ

Quite the contrary Dad, I am the last person who is a hipocrite.  Obviously, you seem to have personal hangups about being a single dad which seems to respond to this post as well as okaying this behavior.  I will not apologize for my daughtere coming in my bed  once in awhile if she has a bad dream.  There are many children who have normal sleeping habits who do this.  This isn't anything new.  What the poster has said about her boyfiriend's sleeping habits with his kid/kids does not sound very healthy for them as well as her boyfriend.  I think you are taking personal experiences that you have had makes you condone what the poster's boyfirend is doing as ok.  Since you and the poster are both single dads you seem to sympathize with the father by using your personal feelings by okaying this behavior.  It really is not okay for children to be sleeping with their father on a regular basis and not having normal sleeping behavior.   You are right about one thing, we can agree to disagree :(