futurestepmom's picture

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?

bittersweet's picture

Ok, well I have a 6 year old son (almost 7) and he doesn't even have his own room. Good thing I don't have my address on here or some of you might have social services at my door... I have 3 bedrooms, 2 girls who fight like cats and dogs and one boy who gets along with his mama just fine and it all works out. If I were to put the 2 girls in a room together it would be like armageddon! I say whatever works is what works. As long as he's not having sex with her then what's the problem? There are countries where everyone sleeps in one big bed together until they move out! Why is everyone so obsessed with sex?

tamz's picture

bittersweet, sounds like you do this by necessity. If you had four bedrooms would your boy sleep with you? If you have the choice (and some countries/ppl don't) then let your kids learn independence.

Scuba's picture

This is to "single dad". I was researching the other day and came across this posting. I am a divorced mother of a seven year old boy. I have day-to-day care and control and my ex has visitations every other weekend (plus any day after school). I guess you could say that it is a very flexible "joint custody" situation.

Here is my problem. My son (as stated before) is 7 years old. Here at home, he has his own room; his own independance. Every other weekend my ex has him.... they sleep in the same bed. While he TRIES to argue that he (my son) refuses to sleep alone, he FAILS to realize that a 7 year old is the BEST at maniplulating a parent. He seems to sleep JUST FINE in his OWN bed here!! My ex also claims that this is to better his "bond" with him... how about going to the zoo? How about having a picnic in the park? How about reading a story? There are plenty of things that can be done with a child to better a "bond"... this sleeping together crap... is NOT one of them! It is a show of insecurity on the PARENTS behalf. You see... when my son comes home after that weekend.. he has HUGE problems. He is now used to getting what he wants, when he wants it. It doesn't work that way in this house. My ex doesn't even have a bedroom for my son, and refuses to set one up! Oh yes.. he DOES have room in his house.

Everyone has different opinions as to what is right and what is wrong. This is just my experience... nothing more. I find it frustrating. I could maybe understand it if the other parent lived a fare distance from the other, but my story takes place in the same city.

As a Mom... it is my business to ensure that my son has structure and most importantly balance. Sleeping with a child when he/she is sick, or letting them crawl into bed after a bad dream for an hour; fine. But MAKING UP EXCUSES as to why your child HAS to sleep with you is hilarious!!!!! IT'S CALLED NERVES OF STEEL PEOPLE!!! Yup... your son/daughter is going to cry... HARD.... maybe even scream to try and get your attention. Go in, reassure them your still there and walk out. Stand in the hallway if you have to. Keep going back in as often as neccessary. Cry yourself. But at the end of the day, they WILL get used to their own room. And they WILL know that it is a SAFE place to be. A crying child will not hurt themselves... it only hurts you.

SnglDad's picture

To the posts above, and below me. I guess I don’t feel the need to continually respond to each new persons ideas. I have stated my experiences, and beliefs. Feel free to go back and read, they are still relevant. I have not, nor will I change my stance on this. As parents we are all entitled to do as we see fit. The differences between the sexes is quite well known. I think the absence of comments noting such differences between sexes has more to do with common sense, rather than political correctness.

A parents time with their child is just that. It is not a time for the other parent to dictate what they believe is best. Both parents are equal, and have a right to exercise parental autonomy while their child is with them.

tinkywinky's picture

I don't know if people are avoiding certain facts about this issue due to today's political corectness or simply nobody thought of it.

Some facts:
- in many countries children sleep with their parents as a matter of routine, yes...But culturs differ greatly and the perception of this is diferent in both, parent's and child's mind. In some countries people do things that are not approved in other countries etc etc...So one has to look from the perspective of some normative values withing the culture one is living in, as well as the need of a child...NOT a parent, the child.

- are we forgetting that there is a difference beteween men and women? I am sorry to bring this up, but there is a big difference relating to a child sleeping with a male parent. Napping during the day or on holiday etc is different thing. But actually sleeping together is another. Are we forgetting that things happen to men while they are sleeping? Wet dreams, erections and so on.

- how do you explain to a child that you pressed aginst them in your dream?

Sorry but NO, a father should not sleep the night with their children, male or female once they become aware of their bodies which is about 3 up. If kids need comfort, of course a father should stay until the child is asleep and move to their bed. If a child moves to father's bed during the night, a father should wait till they are asleep either move them back or they themselves should move to a different bed. If that is not possible, a father should make sure he doesn't have a physical contact during sleep with a particular parts of his bodies.

- similarly with the mother, but not quite the same as far as the female children are concerned, when the boy starts being aware of his erections a mother should try to move him back to his bed. But again this is not the same as for the father as the involuntary bodily actions are rarely a problem with the mother.

Before I hear the outcry from the father, please remember that this is not a judgement but only the fact and if men find excuses all the time about "not being in control" of their actions during the night surely this will not change whoever is in the bed with them.

Just using common sense is all we need in very difficult task of single parenting.

2xstepmom's picture

tinkywinky, you are so right! I knew a family who allowed their 9 y/o to sleep with the father while the mother worked at night 3X a week. The father inadvertantly pressed up against the girl in the night and she told a teacher who called protective services. The father, who still swears he was sleeping soundly and completely unaware of what occured, got 2 years in jail. The girl was taken from the mother for 4 years while the family went through state mandated therapy. PLEASE, all of you co-sleepers be proactive instead of reactive and save yourselves a lot of possible heartache.

tinkywinky's picture

2xstepmom, you are absolutelly right. This things do happen and even from my personal expirience, first time when I went with my dad on holiday (I lived with mum) we couldn't find a hotel with two beds so we took a double bed room that was available. My dad never thought about it as obviouslly this is not something you think about. During the night I remember I "found" smething and thought it was a mouse in our bed as on the coast they had mice so that came to my mind first. My dad jumped out of the bed and just said he took the mouse out and he will stay in the chair "just in case" to watch the room. Needless to say he was upset, in shock and we discussed it when I grew up with some humor I must add. I asked my mum later in life if she ever talked to my dad about the sleeping arangements and she was stunned as this wouldn't be possible to discuss at my time (I am over 40 now) as my dad would probably be offended. It is just something dads should be aware of, objective and not take as offence.

SnglDad's picture

How did I know that something like this was coming along very soon? Your stance on this subject told me that you have, or believe you have had a negative experience while sleeping in the same bed with your father. I do not share your phobias, nor do my children. In fact, my children learned quite a bit while sharing the same bed with me. Because it is a time where there are few distractions we had great conversations concerning things that bothered them. I taught them songs, I taught them the planets, My youngest learned his ABC’s in that bed. We also had an imagination game where we pretended we were astronauts. The kids described the planet we landed on and the creatures that were there. There were no “mouse” problems, and no confusion between genuine love for my children, and intimacy. It is not the parents who allow their child to share a bed with them in a time of need that concern me. The people who always seem to oppose such an act by regarding it as perverse, give me the greatest concern. Your phobias are a window to your true self.

tinkywinky's picture

I think it is very difficult to bring a child/children alone and in the case of dads, it is even more difficult to establish any normal life. But in most cases, when we are single parents kids are our life. Still, what you are saying is great and it is normal, having songs, ABC etc etc...But this is sharing a bed while we are awake...When you actually sleep you can not possibly be in control of your physiological reactions as if you are there is something wrog. One of the tests, for eg, for many disorders including diabetis is "do you wake up with an erection"?

It is not a reflection on single dads and it is nothing to do with perversions or one's fear. I am a Psychologist, by te way with 17 years expirience in clinical Psychology and also a single parent, also come from divorced family. My parents are great and we all get on well (my father was a doctor and very amicable man).

So, no, it is nothing to do with fears, phobias etc etc. It is a fact, and unless you have special clothing or a medical problem this things will and do happen.

Please do not take it personally as this is not a reflection on dads, their parenting skills or anything negative. I a simply pointing out what may happen during sleep. Sleep, not before or after we are asleep.

Sorry if I caused you any offence. It was not meant.

2xstepmom's picture

And I have never slept or even laid in the same bed with my father, so no phobias there, sorry!!!