Dec 3, 2012

Is it healthy for your eight year old son to sleep in your bed?

If it is an occasional occurrence and only happens when he cannot fall asleep because of a nightmare or sounds in the house, it is not a big thing. It takes a while for children to traverse between their own bed and their parents’ bed to feel comfortable and get into a routine. Some kids even return in the middle of the night to their beds. They want to sleep on their own and be independent. Creeping in with mom and dad is only a temporary thing. If it is not a temporary thing and the child insists on sleeping in his parents’ bed, it becomes a different matter altogether. 

Getting older
 Children over the age of three or four should only share a room with a same-sex sibling. Girls should be with girls, and boys with boys. Girls should not sleep with their father and sons should not sleep with their mother no matter what the circumstances. The real problem though is why little Johnny or Mary can’t fall asleep. Do they fear the night? Does something happen when it becomes dark? Are they hyper, anxious, troubled, or afraid? Is there something else bothering your child – something you don’t know about and should know? Do you have a visitor or a relative staying overnight? Is the child’s routine disturbed, or is it just plain fear fearing fear? 

Silence speaks louder than words
When you speak to people today who have had the benefit of therapy after being abused, you are shocked when you learn for the first time how an old grandfather or an uncle had seduced one of them when they were young and how the kids had been forced to keep silent.  The files of social workers and therapists are full of grim tales and details of men and women talking about how they had been touched and fingered in the past against their will. They were kids once. When you meet them years later you don’t know what their stories are but know that it has to do with sex and abuse. Maybe little Johnny has a secret and is afraid to go to bed because the man will come to his room. Who knows?  Parents today have to be more careful with their children than before. When a child is silent and does not want to sleep alone he is usually afraid.

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