My 4 year old was diagnosed with SID six months ago. He has never had a normal sleeping pattern. He has always fallen asleep in his own bed but comes into my room to sleep in the middle of the night. For 2 years I woke up 2 or 3 times a night and carried him back to his own bed. Now, I can't wake up when he comes in so I don't notice until some time before I have to wake up anyway. I read about "the family bed", before, I thought sharing a bed would be bad for my son, but since reading that, it is simply a societal, cultural expectation, in other countries parents wouldn't dream of seperating their children in other rooms to sleep. I still talk to noah about staying in his own room, and even using bribery and stickers, but I no longer force the issue. How much damage can "family bed" cause??
Cutural factors are extremely important in the socialization of children, and transposing a cultural norm from one context to another is not always useful. Having said that, it can't be predicted that the practice of the Family Bed will be harmful to a child. As a general rule, in our culture we generally recommend that children fall asleep on their own and in their own beds. That's not to say that parents who encourage a different approach are wrong. Ultimately, parents have to decide what they think is best for their family.
Each of my three children shared my bed most of the time for the first couple of years of their wonderful little lives. My "baby" who is now four still comes in and sleeps with me and my husband a few nights a week. I too have read good and bad about "the family bed", and what I have come to figure out is these simple facts: My kids are growing up way to fast. I do and will take every opportunity I can to hold, snuggle, and be close to them as I can.(those times are becoming more rare every day.) For those times that all of us parents have when we just look at that most precious, wonderful little face and cry for hours, I can simply lay right there in my own bed and cry myself to sleep! But most of all just enjoy that your child is still young enough to want to even be close to you let alone sleeping with you. Remember "it seems he was just born yesterday" and by tomorrow it will seem that he is 18 and moving out. Love them as much as you can while you still have the chance!!!!!!
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