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5-y-o girl sleeping with single dad?

(25 Posts)
PlumpKitten Mon 24-Nov-14 15:56:11

My friend's 5-year-old daughter splits her time between Mom and Dad.

Recently, the girl complained to Mom that she felt uncomfortable sharing a bed with Dad. There were uncomfortable details - like the fact that he would not allow her to leave. There was no sign of abuse - but my friend (and I) find this eerie.

At Dad's house, the 5-year-old does not have her own room or even her own bed. Technically, she is to sleep in Dad bed, and he sleeps on a foldout sofa in the living room. But in reality, they sleep together.

Before, when she had the occasional "sleepover", it was OK. But now that this is a full-time custody situation, it seems inadequate.

Is it appropriate? At what age is it not appropriate?
Is there a law that a child should have basic personal space (like his/her own bed)?
Is there an age limit at which governments advice against opposite sex children-parents co-sleeping?

Moniker1 Mon 24-Nov-14 19:18:13

'uncomfortable' is a grown up word for a 5 year old.
What did she mean by this?
As long as she was getting her sleep I wouldn't have thought it would bother her, the DD.

BitterHoneyGreenNight Mon 24-Nov-14 19:20:55

I think it's fine. Are you American? Co-sleeping in the way you describe seems to be much more of an issue there than it is in the UK.

Purpleroxy Mon 24-Nov-14 19:25:16

I am sure that the co sleeping guidelines say a child must have their own space if they wish to use it. My ds coslept until he was almost 8 but he had a room with a bed and toys and books from when he was 2.

Having said that, I'm sure if I got divorced, my dh would happily plonk 6yo dd in the bed beside him and she would be fine with it.

Starlightbright1 Mon 24-Nov-14 19:28:50

Leave to go where if she has no bed elsewhere?

I don't find what you have said Eeerie. I moan if my DS ends up in my bed no one bats an eyelid because I am female.

Bowlersarm Mon 24-Nov-14 19:29:38

I shared beds with my DSes until they were about 10. Most nights were like musical beds. Would you start a thread if it was 5 year old DS sharing a bed with his mother?

If the girl is truly 'uncomfortable' herself then she shouldn't be put in that position. But I think you sound like you aren't looking at it through her eyes.

gingerbreadmam Mon 24-Nov-14 19:33:03

i think theyre might be something about them having their own bed. the only reason i say id a family member once had dealings with ss and weekly reviews and im.pretty sure him having his own bed was one of the requirements. he did share a room with his mam but she had to have another bed in there for ss reasons if nothing else. if i remember rightly,it was a while ago though and my memories not the best.

Goingintohibernation Mon 24-Nov-14 19:33:36

I don't think there is anything wrong with a girl sharing a bed with her Dad if she wants to, but she should have her own bed to go to if she chooses. Do you know why she doesn't have a room?

pregnantpause Mon 24-Nov-14 19:35:16

Uncomfortable? If a five year old describes themselves as unfirotae surely the only was to take that is literally- he's taking up the bed or rolling over and it's not as comfy as usual. I don't think five year olds use the descriptive ' uncomfortable' in the context you are implying. If my 3 year old or my 6 year old said she was uncomfortable ( which neither would say- uncomfy , perhaps) it would mean they are lying awkwardly or there's a lump in the bed. It would not mean they have felt misgivings over the situation they find themself in.

But no it's not odd. At all. I'm sure her dad would prefer she had her own bed too ( toddlers are awful sleep partners, they're all arms and legswink) but obviously for some reason- space, finance etc it's not possible.

molesbreath Mon 24-Nov-14 19:37:42

Bed swapping and sleeping with one parent is normal behaviour in our house.

Is there something in particular that you haven't mentioned which is making you feel this way ?

newname12 Mon 24-Nov-14 19:41:07

Maybe he "won't allow her" to leave because it's bedtime and she should be in bed sleeping rather than wandering the place?

I was away recently and my 6 year old dd jumped at the opportunity to sleep with her dad. She simply prefers company to sleeping on her own. She'd have been in with me just as quick if dh were away.

Unfortunately after a split the chances are both parents can't afford new family homes. They have to make do. If he's in a 1 bed flat she can't really have her own space.

Could he have access in the family home while mum moves out? Are there any other alternatives? Less maintenance so he can afford a better place? I think your friend needs to discuss with him how they are going to work it so she has her own space, if they are going to share custody.

AliceinWinterWonderland Mon 24-Nov-14 19:42:22

I think it would depend on what specifically the 5yo has said. I'd be surprised if my 5yo came out with "uncomfortable" in that context. He might say "creepy" or "icky" or maybe "gross"... but uncomfortable? hmm Is that Mum's description perhaps?

I don't see where it's any different from a 5yo sleeping in the same bed as his mum. And since my 5yo ds seems to regularly climb into my bed and steal all the covers in the middle of the night, I really don't see what the problem is.

Are you American? Co-sleeping in the way you describe seems to be much more of an issue there than it is in the UK.

Not sure what being American has to do with it. Co-sleeping is well known in the US as well, and I've certainly known about it since dd was an infant (she's 29) and I'm American. hmm

RhinestoneCowgirl Mon 24-Nov-14 19:43:30

My children are 5 and 8 and sleep in their own beds. But when DP is away for work they are clamouring to be allowed to sleep in with me.

Liara Mon 24-Nov-14 19:48:01

My 5yo and 8yo sons love sleeping with me.

But it is uncomfortable. They move far too much and have bony elbows (I probably do too).

QTPie Mon 24-Nov-14 19:54:48

I would ask why she feels "uncomfortable". Also really think that she should have her own space and her own bed - so that she has choices.

DS (almost 5) wants to be cuddled to sleep by me, in his bed, most nights and ALWAYS ends up in our bed at some point in the night (between 12 and 6). There is nothing wrong with that. But it is all his choice. Whenever he doesn't want/request to be cuddled, then that his is choice.

treaclesoda Mon 24-Nov-14 19:56:26

My house is like musical beds too. My 8 year old thinks nothing of climbing into bed beside dh if I'm not about.

I would find it strange if the adult wanted to share a bed and the child didn't though.

Micah Mon 24-Nov-14 19:57:58

Yes, maybe she means uncomfortable as in not comfy- I know when dc is in with me it's about as uncomfortable as it gets, it's like sleeping with a giant, wriggling octopus.

Maybe her dads said he's "uncomfortable" on the sofa bed, so that's where she's picked it up from?

Madamecastafiore Mon 24-Nov-14 20:01:32

Uncomfortable would mean not enough room etc for a 5 year old, not uncomfortable in the sense you mean.

Would you have such an issue if it were a girl sharing with her mother or a father with his son?

Upandatem Mon 24-Nov-14 20:01:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BitterHoneyGreenNight Mon 24-Nov-14 20:03:53

Not sure what being American has to do with it. Co-sleeping is well known in the US as well, and I've certainly known about it since dd was an infant (she's 29) and I'm American.

Thanks for the confused Alice. I'm American too as it happens. And if you read what I said, I specifically said in the way described by the OP, ie, an older girl co-sleeping with her father not co-sleeping per se.

I guarantee that if the OP posed the same question on a US-based mainstream site (not crunchy) the vast majority of replies would be that it was incredibly inappropriate. THAT is why I asked.

Oakmaiden Mon 24-Nov-14 20:06:23

Wow - this is almost identical to another thread that was posted a week or so back. I will see if I can find it for you - it may help...

Oakmaiden Mon 24-Nov-14 20:10:01

Different aged child - and I didn't read the entire thread, but there might be something helpful here: www.mumsnet.com/Talk/_chat/2235453-Looking-for-advice-DC-and-adult-sharing-a-bed

Degustibusnonestdisputandem Mon 24-Nov-14 20:16:01

Our 3 year old DTDs are forever climbing into bed with us, some mornings I leave before DH and they cuddle up with him for a few hours smile. Just wished we had the space and money for a much bigger bed!

I used to share the bed with either of my grandmothers until I was well into my teens (probably 16 or so I think), but this was after both grandfathers had passed away so obv not the same thing.

AliceinWinterWonderland Mon 24-Nov-14 20:37:35

Bitter In your opinion it would be seen as inappropriate. I will have to disagree with you though. I don't think it's inappropriate at all. Pretty sure my ex boyfriend in the states didn't have anyone question when his 4 and 6yo daughters climbed into bed with him at night when they spent the weekend with him. My sister never had any questions when her dd or her 2 sons slept in with her.

I think we'll have to agree to disagree as I think being American would have nothing to do with it.

MiscellaneousAssortment Mon 24-Nov-14 20:59:45

Cosleeping is absolutely not an issue, and no, there are no laws about when parents have to kick their children out of bed.

It's about being sensible, and looking at what else might be happening or the cues that raise alarms.

There is an unwritten rule in the UK that a child must have their own bed, and I think it can be a 'red flag' if the child has no space to sleep. But realistically there is no law, otherwise the government & councils would then have to provide housing to meet stringent requirements about who shares with who, how many rooms and how much space is necessary to put a bed in etc etc.

I think it's interesting that in our society we get very 'uncomfortable' if a child doesn't have their own room, or a shared room with siblings of an appropriate age and gender. This is a very modern thing, and is very culturally specific.

In many, many other cultures it's the norm to have multiple generations sleeping in the same space.

Sorry I digress smile

Point being, 'uncomfortable' if from a child means too hot, prickly sheets, daddy snores etc. If the word has been used by an adult to summarise various incidents which ring alarm bells, then those individual occurrences need to be explored fully, and without a generalized squeamishness about a father sharing sleeping space with his very young daughter.

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