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to think it's unusual to start co-sleeping when your child is 9?

(49 Posts)
mendimoo Wed 17-Aug-16 23:03:39

My DN is 9 and co-slept with her mum (my sister) until she was 2. Her dad worked away Mon-Fri and was often out/in the spare room at weekends and they separated when she was 18 months old. EXBIL was very abusive to my sister and had very little to do with DN. To be fair to him, he has maintained contact but also he has said it's so he can keep tabs on my sister and disrupt her life.

ExBIL has had a new partner for three years. For the past six months or so, when DN visits at weekends/in holidays, his GF sleeps in DNs room and DN sleeps with her dad. My sister is not happy with it as ExBIL is a heavy drinker and has sleep apnoea - DN is always completely shattered after contact and my sister thinks she'd get far better sleep in her own room.

She also thinks it's inappropriate as DN is beginning puberty and thinks she needs privacy. If he'd always co-slept and it was a difficult habit to break then fair enough, but to start it at her age seems strange in my sisters opinion. She always worries that he's Similarly abusive to his new partner and could be using their DD as a pawn in a game as not many partners would be keen on being kicked out of their bedroom for their stepchild.

I'm torn. I co-sleep with my 7 year old often but then I always have done. What do you think?

ThisUsernameIsAvailable Wed 17-Aug-16 23:07:53

Wait. She has a room but instead of sleeping in it dads gf does and your niece sleeps in her dads bed?

Yeah that's weird shock

DefinitelyNotAJourno Wed 17-Aug-16 23:16:47

No. It's not normal. Speak to social services.

Stylingwax Wed 17-Aug-16 23:21:06

No that's weird.

mendimoo Wed 17-Aug-16 23:21:48

Correct, Username. I'm confused because I've read threads on here before where people have said it's totally normal at all ages but to start it at this age doesn't sit right with me. Especially when she sleeps alone at home just fine.

Missgraeme Wed 17-Aug-16 23:26:08

Has she actually spoken to dn about it?
Sounds like he is trying to maybe gonna use the fact to tell authorities that he has such a close bond with his dd they Co sleep.

ColdTeaAgain Wed 17-Aug-16 23:26:47

Wouldn't sit right with me either. It seems weird because it is weird. She has her own room and doesn't usually co sleep so why the bed swapping?

I think your sister needs to get some advice on this asap.

theothermcoy Wed 17-Aug-16 23:27:18

That sounds weird. Who suggested the co-sleeping? Your DN or ex-BIL?

MarkRuffaloCrumble Wed 17-Aug-16 23:27:33

Definitely Speak to social services?! Are you for real?

It's her DAD - he doesn't see her for most of the week, they probably miss each other and is house is unfamiliar - she may well feel left out being alone in the other room knowing her dad is just next door and I'm guessing his GF doesn't want to share a bed with them both so takes herself off for some peace!

My DP's DDs often end up sleeping in his bed and my DD used to share her dad's double with the DSs in another room.

At 9 she may well be starting puberty, as is my DD but if she is happy to share her dad's bed that makes no difference - he's not going to suddenly pounce on his own DD because she's starting to grow up!

Do you think this negatively about all men or just divorced ones?

Nataleejah Wed 17-Aug-16 23:31:41

It might be innocent, but it completely inappropriate

ColdTeaAgain Wed 17-Aug-16 23:33:39

The house isn't unfamiliar if she goes there regularly at weekends.

WombOfOnesOwn Wed 17-Aug-16 23:34:02

MarkRuffaloCrumble, you're just dead wrong.

Something like 1 in 5 girls is sexually abused, most commonly by their father. Very, very few -- vanishingly few -- 9 year old girls cosleep with their father. The average age of first abuse for girls is 9.9 years old in the United States, and I would guess that it is similar in the UK.

I would say it's far more common for a girl to be sexually abused by her own father than it is for a girl to cosleep with her father for any reason. Statistically, I find the odds that this girl is being abused to be quite high. Call social services.

ReActiv Wed 17-Aug-16 23:37:29

My daughter is the same age and sometimes sleeps with me. Maybe once or twice a fortnight. I don't call it co sleeping though. I just suggest if she wants to sleep in my bed tonight e.g. if we've just been snuggled up watching a movie and she looks ready to doze off. Or she'll sometimes ask around dinner time, "Mum, can I sleep in your bed tonight?" because she apparently prefers my bed and my room to hers.

My daughter has also started puberty. I don't see what that has to do with anything? She no more self conscious about her body now than she was when she was teeny tiny.

Maybe my situation is different though because I'm single so not having to kick a partner out of bed to accommodate my daughter.

But i think the important thing here to establish is what your niece wants. She might like sleeping in with her dad. She might not care that she's started puberty. The partner might not care that she swaps bedrooms with her stepdaughter every now and then (might actually be a relief/more quiet for her if the partner has sleep apnoea?)

mendimoo Wed 17-Aug-16 23:38:08

DN was reluctant to mention it to her mum. Not sure whose idea it is but DN complains about his snoring so it doesn't seem that she's that comfortable with it. The first few times it was because his partner was ill and needed space but even still there's another spare bedroom and a sofa so no real reason for DN to have to give up her room.

He may well miss her MarkRuffalo but snoring next to her isn't the best way to demonstrate it hmm

mendimoo Wed 17-Aug-16 23:41:45

There always seems to be an excuse as to why it has to happen. First the illness, then because DNs room was being decorated and his partner was better suited to the smell of paint because it could be dangerous for DN (!), then because their DS was ill and DNs room is closer than ExBILs...

MarkRuffaloCrumble Wed 17-Aug-16 23:41:56

I know about abuse within families only too well.

However, I don't see that obvious bed sharing, with other people informed, is a very good indicator of this. If there were other factors causing concern then it might be relevant, but as I said, I know of two very lovely men who love their DDs in a completely appropriate way who are happy to share their beds with them.

If my DS (11) wanted to sleep in my bed for whatever reason, as his parent it wouldn't even cross my mind that it was inappropriate but he snores so I wouldn't let him

catkind Wed 17-Aug-16 23:42:00

Has your sister talked to DN about it? What does she think? In a normal family I'd think a request for own space would probably come better from the child than from the ex, or it will sound like the ex is accusing him of things. But that may not work if the DN is not confident to ask her dad, or if she actually likes cosleeping.

My husband is a bad snorer, poss sleep apnoea (he refuses to get checked), and I won't sleep in the same bed as him myself. So I'm wondering if the gf usually sleeps in the other room and they are just slotting the child into their usual sleeping arrangement.

ReActiv Wed 17-Aug-16 23:43:13

If DN is unhappy and uncomfortable about then it should absolutely come to an end. And if her parent still insisted on sharing a bed with her during visits when a) she didn't want to and b) there was a perfectly good bed of her own in the other room then I would be very concerned indeed.

Blacksheep78 Wed 17-Aug-16 23:43:26

He has form for being abusive.

He hasn't co-slept until she started puberty.

She is shattered after a visit.

How many red flags should there be?

catkind Wed 17-Aug-16 23:45:23

x post I see you/sister have talked to DN. Would love to know if the gf and the ex actually share a room when DN isn't there. They might not want to admit it to the ex if they don't?

hobbster Wed 17-Aug-16 23:46:23

I found out last year that my DD was being abused by her father from the age of 9. She slept in his bed. His new wife slept in spare room.
He was abusive to me hence our separation. He is abusive to new wife.
Your OP gave me shivers.

mendimoo Wed 17-Aug-16 23:49:19

Yes they do usually share a room. My sister has collected DN in the evenings before and DN has seen ExBILs partner going to bed in that room.

DailyFaily Wed 17-Aug-16 23:50:01

What does your DN say about it? I'm just wondering if she suggests that she instigates it and is happy with it, or if the BIL is enforcing it, or something else entirely. My DS (7) never Coslept as a baby but recently has come in with me sometimes - for us this entirely due to some family upheaval we've been having. Could there be tension there and the DN is feeling insecure (or, of more concern, could she be acting in a way to protect the GF from abuse - I.e. Is her being in with her dad preventing him from arguing with GF). Either way I'd be gently trying to get DN to open up about what has changed and I guess, with his history of abuse, I would always be concerned that that was being repeated in his new relationship and that DN is witness to it. Another possibility is your sister talking to the GF to get her take on why it's started all of a sudden? I don't think it's weird to Cosleep but I agree that it's strange to have started so late and with no apparent reason.

ColdTeaAgain Wed 17-Aug-16 23:50:58

Exactly Blacksheep.

Timetogetup0630 Wed 17-Aug-16 23:51:37

I think it's weird too.

And how long before the girl decides she doesn't want to sleep over at her Dads any more?

Please talk to her.

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