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Avatar universal

Should Father Be Sleeping With 11 year Old Son

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 amounts to about 50% of the time.

We have been dating for for over a year 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 son sleeps in the father's bed all the time except when I am visiting.

I addessed the situation early on into the relationship when I understood what was going on.  Recognizing that I was sleeping on the son's side of the bed,  I began to understand why the boy was resentful at bedtime with me, giving me the cold shoulder and continues to do so.  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 probably resent me and a year later, the son still snubs me at bed time.

I was hopeful that the situation would have come to an end with my initial discussion but a year later, the routine continues.  A recent visit to their home with a lapse of 1 day in between 3 nights revealed that the boy is still sleeping in the father's bed full time.   I am really concerned about the bed sharing and the negative impact this could have on the boy as well as my relationship with the father.  I would like to address the situation with the father in a constructive manner with some supporting medical advise.   The father explained the son gave previous girlfriends a difficult time and would bang on the bedroom door to get in at night.

In closing, could you provide some advise on what if anything needs to be done here.  Is it time for the father/son to separate their sleeping quarters?  Could these sleeping arrangements have a negative impact on the child's development and the parent/child relationship?    I sense that the child dominates the activities of the household but perhaps I am reading too much into the situation.  

Thank you.

4 Responses
535822 tn?1443980380
No you are correct the son needs to be in his own Bed and not sharing it with his father or you,Ask your boyfriend why, if his son has his own Bedroom ,its a habit,but of course he resents you and its not too appropiate for you to share with him either.He'll be in Puberty soon he needs his own privacy,if he doesnt like it he will get used to it.Have a chat with the Boyfriend and then tell him you will not share his bed whilst his son does.
Avatar universal
Thank you for taking the time to comment.  I am glad to receive feedback that validates my concerns, opinions and feelings.  I had a good conversation with the father last week about the sleeping arrangements.  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.  It's a bad habit linked to other inappropriate behaviour including manipulation and needs to be nipped in the bud right away.  

I explained this is a relationship deal breaker and hope that the father has the strength of character to break the habit and see good parenting skills prevail.   Many thanks.
152852 tn?1205717026
I just wanted to add my thoughts on this.  Regarding the cosleeping itself, if there are no emotions manipulating things (like the father wanting him to sleep there or the boy feeling afraid or insecure since the divorce, etc.), I would think that it would end naturally when the boy starts to go through puberty--he'll want his privacy.

The separate issue of you sleeping with his father and taking his spot in the bed is one I think you should rectify by not sleeping with your boyfriend in front of the child.  If the child goes to visit his mother and won't know you were there sleeping in the bed with his father, I think that would be ok.  But I think the father needs to handle this and if he wants to transition the son out of his bed, he should do that, but not because he's feeling pressured to do so--that will result in the boy picking up on his father's conflicting feelings about it.

If the father wants to get his son into his own bed in his own room, he should start by redecorating the son's room--make it a fun, comfortable place to be with similar bedding to dad's and calming colors.  And this transition should not in any way be related to you.  That's why I think you should stop the sleeping with his father in front of him.  He will resist if he thinks it's because you want him out of his father's bed.  Once the boy transitions to his own bed, maybe you and his father can get married and when you move in, get a new bed, new bedding, paint the walls, redecorate, put the bed in a different place in the room, etc.  (Maybe even change rooms if possible.)

All the best to you.
2 Comments
Wow. I understand your thought process but I also think that it is too coddling. At 11 years of age, with no disability, a child should have been sleeping in their own bed for YEARS at this point. There is always a time for snuggles, but the patents’ (parent’s) room is a private place. This is where the children were conceived and typically the only place that lovers can have their private time together. There is no need for a child to dictate every waking and sleeping hour of the adult. The child will not suffer for this, but become a more grounded, confident and independent person if the right measures are taken.
There are parts of the world where family bed is common.  For a variety of reasons.  In some countries, most can't afford more than one bed.  Really, research it.  I try not to judge.  I think most kids do want their own space.  My 13 year old basically now lives in his room.  :>(((  He was very into hanging with me until not long ago and then teen hit and bye bye sweet son.  LOL  He's still sweet but he wants his space and privacy. At 11, he didn't care so much.  But again, it's not uncommon in some countries for kids to cosleep with parents for a LONG time.  
535822 tn?1443980380
You handled it all correctly and the fact your boyfriend was open to your suggestions was good,Your boyfriend could always ask a councillor what they think or the Boys Doc,.They can do so many other things together its not breaking a bond he is 11years old, good to give him some independance.
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