Sleeping With Parents

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Should a child be permitted to sleep with the parents?

Sleeping With Parents

Some children seem to fall asleep okay, but at two or three o'clock in the morning they wake up and crawl into bed with their parents. Children like sleeping with their parents- they know that in the parents bedroom they are safe and nothing can go wrong. Allowing the child to continue this practice, however, will prevent the child from learning how to cope on their own at night and will infringe on the parents' privacy. Therefore, when children come into their parents bedroom at night they should be returned to their bed as soon as their presence is discovered. There may be protests and tears, but it is important that parents remain adamant that the child stay in their own room at night (after all, instead of coming into your room, they could wander around the house at night and hurt themselves, even going outside!) If parents are deep sleepers, they should use some warning device (such as a cow bell on the child's door) that will signal the parents that their night wanderer is leaving the room. Consistently tell the child that if they wake at night and cannot go back to sleep, they can read or color quietly in their room, but they are not to come out of their bedroom. It is important to praise the child every morning when they stayed in their bedroom throughout the night. Remember, while the youngster may tell you that they "are afraid" or "had a bad dream." they are also being manipulative and testing the limits placed upon them. Dr. Goldstein says: "When the child leaves their bedroom at night, they have lost the limits parents placed on them. It stands to reason that by returning the child to their bed at night, parents are taking another important step in teaching their child how to control themselves."

* Source: Bruce A. Epstein, M.D., All Children's Hospital



10/9/2006 1:10:27 PM
Amelie said:

I believe this is just one opinion. Many other professionals do not encourage such strict training. Personally, I have let my children sleep with me until they naturally wanted their privacy, and they turned out great kids.

9/30/2011 12:23:37 PM
Ana said:

I don't think children should sleep in their parent's bed every night, but sleeping for a little bit after a nightmare is comforting to a child. When my son comes in and is crying from a bad dream and needs a little cuddling to feel better, I don't think he's just being "manipulative." He is in need of comfort. I think that telling your child that you are in no way available to them once they go to bed would just create more anxiety and increase the chances of them waking up and asking for comfort. I don't think it's a good idea to ever tell your young child that they are without your support and not allowed even approach you for long periods of time. Maybe I'm taking the "tip" too literally, but it seems WAY too extreme to me.

5/2/2015 2:09:14 PM
Wendy said:

Yeah, I'd love to tell this "MD" that when he's afraid of something that he's just being manipulative and needs to be separated from the people he wants to be with and go sit alone. Sounds like he missed out on a few classes at school. It's so unfortunate when people like this discuss things they know nothing about.


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