My boyfriend, a single parent of 5 years, has a son that has just turned 11. He works shift work and is diligent about having his son stay with him whenever he is on his days off which is every four days for 3 days at a time.
We have been dating for 14 months and live several hours apart. A long distance relationship. We see each almost every other weekend and I am mindful to not take time away from father/son.
My concern...the father sleeps with his child when I am not there.
What is the negative impact to the child's development and my relationship with this man? I am concerned that they have this big secret...the child would surely not want anyone at school to know that he still sleeps with his father and the father is continually changing bed linen to keep them clean for my arrival, even when there is only a lapse of one day since we last saw each other.
I addessed the situation early on into the relationship when I felt it was interfering with the sons acceptance of me and I learnt that I was bedding down on the son's side of the bed. The son has his own bedroom which is quite nice. I explained to the father that as long as I was sleeping in the son's side of the bed, he would resent me and a year later, the son still snubs me at bed time. A year later, the routine continues...recently I was on business travel and stayed over on a Wednesay night and back on a Friday only to learn that the boy slept in the father's bed on Thursday. I am really concerned about the bed sharing. The father explained the son gave previous girlfriends a difficult time and would bang on the bedroom door to get in.
I don't know how to approach the topic with the father without upsetting him and sound controlling but my gut feeling is that it is socially not acceptable at this age for the son to be sleeping with the father every night.
Could you provide me with some adivse on how to approach this topic with the father that bearing in mind you feel it is also time for the 2 to separate their sleeping quarters. Could you provide some supporting comments...for example, could affect the son's ability to deal with woman as grows older, his identity, etc.
Sounds like the father might need to go see a counselor for help on how to approach this. My sister slept with my parents until she was about 8 and my parents finally decided she was too old and would just have to go sleep on her own in her own big girl bed (which was actually in the same room as myself and my other sister--the three of us shared the master bedroom). 11 is on the old side. At some point, there is going to be a very rough transition, but it has to be made at some point. It's harder when there are no other siblings to help, so he'd be on his own in his own room.
Thank you for taking the time to comment. I have since had a good conversation with the father about the sleeping arrangements and discussed the need for change. He agreed that the boy would be embarrassed if his friends found out....the father said he has just never really thought about it. I am hopeful the two will embark on a new path this week and break the pattern for both their sakes.
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