If you are a parent, you have probably experienced one or more of your kids sneaking into bed with you at night. You may also already be a mom co-sleeping with son by choice. Surprisingly, many families practice co-sleeping. According to The National Sleep Foundation (NSF), “there are as many as 24% of parents that have their children sleep in their bed for all or at least part of a night.” However, when your kid has grown older, one major problem arises when people would question whether it's normal for mom and boy in bed, or dad and daughter in bed toghter.
Mom Co-Sleeping with Older Son – Is It OK?
If it is a normal family practice to co-sleep with your son, there will be no negative psychological issues encountered. Studies show that in places where co-sleeping is a normal practice, there is no difference between kids who sleep alone from kids who sleep with parents. The only difference is when parents use co-sleeping as a means to “give in “ to children who have trouble sleeping on their own or it is not part of normal cultural practices. Then there does seem to be some emotional impact on the child.
If you are a mom co-sleeping with son that is much older, it may be time to have a talk with him about why he will not sleep in his own bed. Sleeping on his own will help him learn to be independent. Also, if sleeping with your son satisfies your own emotional needs you both may benefit from you finding another support system. As your son grows, he will want to be more independent and having to care for your emotional needs may cause some rebellion.
Here Is One Mom’s Story:
Sharon Lampson co-slept with her 9 year old son up until one year ago. Co-sleeping ended with the birth of a new baby. She noticed her older son was beginning to change about what he wanted affection wise from his mother. Sharon tells us, “He won’t let me give him a kiss or hug in public, but will still allow us to cuddle at home without any issues.”
The spirit of the story is that it’s totally a different thing between showing affection in public and cuddling or co-sleeping at home. As long you and your child feel it’s ok and there are no strange physiological and psychological issues involved, it’s perfectly fine. You son will grow out of the habit of sleeping with you when the time comes.
Our Expert’s Opinion:
“We don’t feel there is any problem with cuddling with a 9 year old boy in bed once in a while. It is also acceptable to allow them to sleep with you when they are sick or upset,” according to Janet Morrison, a psychologist from Toronto who works with kids, teens and families. “There really isn’t any harm in sleeping with them at this age, but you may want to start teaching them some independence.”
If you’re a mom co-sleeping with your older boy and becoming uncomfortable with the situation then maybe it is time to move him to his own bed. “Your child will pick up on your discomfort and may become upset or confused,” she warns mothers. “When cuddling or sleeping with an older boy, take a good look at whether it is his or your own needs being met. If your older boy is sleeping with you because you don’t want to be alone, then the situation is not healthy for your child.”
Mom Confesses to Co-Sleeping with Her Son
One mom states that her son is about to turn 7 years old, but is still sleeping in bed with his parents every night. At first, these parents were not proponents of co-sleeping at all.
It all started when dad was out of town for work. Mom would bring her son into bed once in a while just for fun. They would watch movies and eat popcorn and it was only occasional. Then dad began to be gone for work for longer stretches of time and mom would allow her son to sleep with her every night of the week, for days and even months on end.
What happened was this little boy became accustomed to sleeping in his mother’s night and it turned into a habit. While mom puts him to sleep in his own room at the beginning of the night, he crawls out of bed and sneaks into mommy’s bed during the night. Even when dad is home, he is still allowed to crawl into bed with both of them.
The parents now admit that they look forward to him coming into their bed and they sleep better when he is there with them. They understand he is better off in his own bed, but they are not ready to force the issue.
In this case, he is an only child and the parents do not plan on having any more kids. Mom and dad really want to have as much time with their little boy as possible, while he is still little. They understand that their little boy will one day shut his bedroom door and want nothing to do with mom and dad. They choose to enjoy these snuggles while he is still receptive to them.
Mom and dad feel that if next year rolls around and he is still co-sleeping with them that is just fine. They don’t feel there is any issue with their young son wanting to be close to them at night. So in conclusion, people question the appropriateness of mom and boy in bed toghther, there's no big problem as long as there's no pyschological and moral issue attached; the kids will grow out of (or get embarassed about) it eventually.