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11 Year old child sleeping with mother
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11 Year old child sleeping with mother

I have been married to a wonderful woman for about two years now and am very much in love with her.  Generally we communicate very well and are quite attentive to each other and our family.  She has an 11 year old daughter, an only child, who I also cherish and with whom we spend good quality family time and individual time.

On occasion, while working different schedules, our 11 year old daughter sleeps with my wife.  She has slept with her three nights this past week, which is far more than normal.  I disagree with this and have mentioned it many times to her in discussions.  It has begun to bother me   I feel that 11 is too old to be doing this.  Our daughter has a beautifully re-decorated room of her own with all new furnishings that she picked out.  We made sure that she had the best of everything before we did any further remodelling in the house.  Her room is safe and quiet and not very far from ours.  

This has also diminished my intimacy with my wife, shattering my picture of the marital-bed.

I am asking this question, because this is my first experience with parenting and because we are expecting our first child together this winter.  Is it just me?  Am I not grasping a necessary bonding step at this age? or Am I justified?

Thanks
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Dear John,

I think it is fair to say that the majority of child development/child mental health professionals would suggest that it is unusual for an 11-yr-old to be sleeping with parents. This does not promote sensible autonomy for the child and can, as it is in your case, interfere with the marital relationship.

Now there are certainly some parents who permit children to sleep in the parents' bed. But this is a deliberate, philosophically-based decision that parents sometimes make, and they do it in concert. That is not what is happening in your family.

Sometimes, when a parent permits a child to sleep in their bed, it meets the parent's need for closeness, companionship, etc. Is it possible that your wife is avioding intimacy with you via the girl's presence?  Is there a chance that either of these scenarios is happening in your family? If so, it definitely should stop.

The fact that you and your wife are not on the same page about this is enough of an indication that you should do something about it.  The matter deserves some calm, thoughful conversation between you and your wife, whatever the case.
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