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Sleeping arrangements(27 Posts)
Looking for some advice or guidance please:
In short I have been split up with ex for nearly 3 years, we have 7 year old son
After we split ds has always slept in the same bed as his mum
In my house with ds we sleep in same room but in bunk beds
For the last couple of months ds has now been wanting to sleep in my bed, which I have said no it’s better to sleep in your own bed son
The reason he says this is because he likes to have some one next to him
It’s gotten worse over the last few weeks where he is crying now at night and doesn’t want to stay with me because I won’t let him sleep in my bed
I went to pick him up recently from ex and he wouldn’t come with me unless I promised he could stay in my bed, ex was not being particularly helpful and supportive and was in fact trying to encourage it
I waited outside almost an hour and could hear ds crying about not wanting to come with me, it was pretty heart wrenching stuff
I felt I had no choice but to promise ds he could sleep in my bed otherwise I wouldn’t have had My son that weekend
Obviously now that’s made matters worse for the both of us
I’ve been trying to get him to talk and open up to see if there is anything else behind it but nothing so far
I have also tried to encourage my ex to see if she can try and get him back in his bedroom at her home but no joy on that front
My ex also stays round her mums a lot and sleeps over which I don’t think is helping ds and his routine, he’s effectively staying in 3 houses over the week which must be confusing for ds
I’m trying to think of the best way to take this forward for my ds, I don’t want him to feel like this About staying with me but I also don’t want to just let him do as he wants
Should I just let him stay in my bed or would that be setting up further problems down the line?
Your thoughts would be most welcome
He is only young he is clearly feeling sad. Just let him sleep with you until he feels ready to be a big boy how long will it last a year or so?
Oh he's still very little, really. I think this is a pick your battles situation. He needs the extra comfort right now so there is nothing wrong with him sleeping in your bed if that is what he needs. I'd be saying the same if you had him full time, with or without his other parent there. He will move on from this stage.
Not a lot you can do about policing how his other parent behaves either, and it might erode goodwill if you try.
I would think DS needs to have the same sleeping arrangements in all the regular family locations ( your house, es’s house, grandparents’ house).
Children need consistency and routine so they feel safe and know what to expect.
And there’s no greater gift to give your child than to make him/her independent. Nothing worse than a grownup who can’t get themselves to sleep without company because their health will suffer due to disrupted sleep.
But, some cultures promote co-sleeping with children for a long time and in some frequent instances co-sleeping is the only option because of lack of space.
Assuming the above paragraph doesn’t apply here, and assuming your DS is raised to become a functioning independent adult in this country, then you need to have a serious discussion with your ex.
Her reason might be to comfort DS but also to comfort herself, because they both feel safer that way. But in doing so, your ex is limiting and delaying DS’s path to independence. He is far too old to co-sleep, in my personal opinion, but this will only be rectified if your ex understands it is important and gets on board with a consistent plan to wean DS of sharing the bed.
Until she agrees, there is nothing you can do. DS gets what he wants (big tantrum and heart breaking crying).
Obviously your ex has been very careful to be extra gentle and accommodating to DS because, naturally, she’d worry he might be affected by the parental separation so she is overcompensating as much as she can or the way she can.
If you feel strongly that DSshould sleep alone in his own bed (same room or separate room) you need to have a very serious discussion with your ex about it as tell her why it is important and what are the lng term implications. Obviously he won’t want to share a bed with his parents when he will be 14, but, by then, he may well find it very difficult to fall asleep and have a proper rest on his own. And it may well be like that for the rest of his life (there’s no guarantee he’ll find a partner for the rest of his life or that their jobs won’t mean lengthy separations due to travel). And teenagers absolutely need their sleep. Your ex needs to get on board with this, you both need to use the same setup and you need to talk about it to your DS and explain he is a big boy now and can have his own bed and space and be grown up about it. But don’t shame him by saying his friends might laugh at him if they knew he shared a bed with his parents.
You need to be consistent.
As for the exact method, I don’t know if there are any books on the subject about older children. But try to leave a light on, or soothing music, or a favourite toy so DS can devise his own way of getting himself to sleep. If you fall asleep together then you leave, I suspect that would be quite upsetting for him as he might feel abandoned or scared. He needs to fall asleep alone, on his own. You can either be in a separate bed reading a book or in the next room watching TV, as long as knows where you are. I imagine that even if he does fall asleep, he would wake up and seek company. That’s when you need to be calm and patient and take him back and start again, don’t just give up out of sheer exhaustion.
I hope you’ll find a solution to this, it doesn’t sound easy at all.
Honestly don't worry about it. Loads of kids co-sleep with a parent at that age, but none of them wants to once they become teenagers, and of course it doesn't cause them any difficulty getting to sleep. My oldest is in his twenties now. Many of my friends' kids co-slept regularly as under 10s. I don't know of a single one of them who had sleep issues as a teen! Teenagers are mostly pretty good at sleeping as long as they're not on screens all night. It's what they do.
Children are perfectly capable of understanding that there are different sleeping arrangements in different places and the move to a new location is a cue to behave differently. Don't try to tell your ex what to do. That really is not going to help. It's her business and I think you trying to persuade her to behave differently will just cause bad feeling.
If you don't want to let your DS sleep in your bed, how about putting his mattress on the floor next to yours, as a compromise, and to get him used to a bit more distance? Or say he can have the bottom bunk and you'll have a mattress on the floor. Just gradually increase the distance.
He is far too old to co-sleep, in my personal opinion, but this will only be rectified if your ex understands it is important and gets on board with a consistent plan to wean DS of sharing the bed.
So 7 is too old to share a bed with another human.
But 27 is fine. And 37. And 77. And so on. Expected, even. But 7? No. Far too old.
I would let him stay in your bed, otherwise you will alienate him. He's still little. Personally I think it's a little old but not awful, the thing is if you can't get your ex to agree with you there is no point trying to hold the line at your house.
He isn’t telling you what he needs, please listen.
Thank you everyone for your thoughts
I’m not so against him sharing my bed now and again, it’s great to wake up with him
he’s been sleeping on his own in my home for over 2 years, was just trying to get to the bottom of why he has changed and what’s the best way of helping him
I did this until the age if 5. The only thing that helped was moving house and giving me a new bedroom. Obviously not achievable for most. However, he will grow out of it but your ex must work on this with him.
We let our eldest do this, or rather I did, and my husband (her dad) didn't want to, said it was unhealthy for her etc. She still wouldn't sleep in her own bed at 13! We never encouraged it with our youngest and she has always slept alone and will therefore go to friends for sleepovers etc no problem. If I could go back and change things it would be allowing it in the first place, our eldest is now 18 and still struggles to go to friends houses etc, biggest mistake we made in my opinion and you are making a rod for your own back I would say.
Large cuddly toy? We gave ds a large tiger for Christmas when he was little and suddenly, our bed became much less attractive. But that might just be him. He is nearly 16 and still has a large cuddly seal in his bed. But shh don't tell anyone!
He's just feeling insecure OP. Loads of kids do...and like to be near their parent. My youngest has only just ditched us and she's ELEVEN!
She only ditched us because she's so bloody tall... it was like sharing the bed with a small woman!
Me in the middle and DH on one side then her on the other...horrendous! It was ok when she was 7 or 8 though. Just let him...bless him.
I think 7 is too old to be sharing a bed. My partner has a 7year old son and he has recently stopped asking to get into bed with us, but the reason behind him wanting to get into bed was because he was scared in his own bedroom on his own. He would come in with ailments or just cry and say he wanted his mum.
I don’t think the mum is helping at all. At 7 I think she should be encouraging him to sleep in his own bed or at least putting him back in his own bed when he wakes up to get out and to lay with him until he goes back to sleep. He needs consistency and she’s not helping. Why does she need to stay at her mums during the week? Is it every week?
Heartburn what? Do you think something weird happens when a child reaches 7 that renders them unsuitable for a parent to share a bed with them?
Why 7? Is 6 ok in your book? As I said in my post, my DD stopped at age 11 of her own accord. She's fine. So are we.
I think 7 is too old to be sharing a bed. My partner has a 7year old son and he has recently stopped asking to get into bed with us, but the reason behind him wanting to get into bed was because he was scared in his own bedroom on his own.
Do you not see the irony in your post? Presumably you’re older than 7, but it’s okay for you to share a bed with someone, but not a frightened little boy trying to deal with a lot of change. That’s pretty fucked up to me.
I'm with you OP at 7 no child should be sharing a bed with a parent unless poorly. Cuddles in a morning are a different thing. Your ex needs to nip it in the bud now and I would speak to her about it. My three have always slept in their own beds and mainly always slept through the night.
I never said anything weird would happen nor did I insinuate the child would not be okay? Children need routine and IMO 7 year old is too old to be sharing a bed with an adult when they have a bed in their own room and routine is key to helping them stay in their own bed and overcoming any fears they may have. I didn’t say tel them off and shut them in their room and have them self comfort, I said it would be an idea if the mother put the child back in his own bed and lay with him until he falls back to sleep.
It’s no wonder he doesn’t want to sleep in his own bed at his dads if his mum allows him to sleep in her bed at home. She isn’t helping him overcome any fears or anxieties he has about staying in his own bed so the OP can continue this at his house.
Why are you so obsessed with a young child - still emotionally immature and often irrational - needing to sleep alone when fully grown adults are expected to sleep together? Do you really not see how little sense that makes?
I just can’t get my head around the concept of an adult finding comfort in bed sharing but a child being expected not to have that And forced to sleep alone “for their own good”. How does that even work?
Ds is 7 and still sleeps in with me - he says he gets lonely on his own, and I figure if he needs that comfort then why would I stop him?
He goes on sleepovers okay (because he has company) and is a really well adjusted, happy kid.
As you can see from your responses people are pretty split on whether this is okay in their book. His mum is on one side of the coin and you are on the other - pick your battles, is it worth dying on your sword over this?
Both of my sons would sleep in my bed but it naturally comes to an end when they start feeling like big boys and want to be in their own bed. I don’t think it’s anything to worry about.
My dc both want to sleep in my bed - I don't let them both at the same time or I'd never get any sleep but they can take it in turns. They are 6 and nearly 10. They are quite happy to go to friends houses and sleep wherever they are put. Let's face it he won't be wanting to sleep in your bed at 13 so just go with it if that's what he feels he needs right now. You can always revisit in a few months and use some sort of reward system
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