Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Sharing Bed with Children

In our country, it is a common practice for parents to sleep in the same bed with their children. It is also the norm in many other cultures, and not just because of limited space. It is common in Japan, for example, where they emphasize the nurturing aspects of family life.

Children sleeping with parents is a universal practice, but it is more common in cultures where children are given a special place in the family. In most underdeveloped countries, it is logical to assume that it is their custom to do so because of the limited space in their homes. It is an emotionally healthy experience for both parents and children. Especially for today's busy families, the family bed may be the only place I can settle down for quiet bonding times with my child. For working parents it gives us a chance to bond a little with our children and to retrieve some time to be close and cuddle with our child. Physical contact is very beneficial to both parents and kids.

On the other hand, children sleeping with parents has its own share of drawbacks, especially in couple's relationship. No spontaneous sex. I'm worried that our lovemaking will wake our child. Its kind of natural form of family planning method, but seriously, it deprives couples privacy and bonding time. In some cases, parents use the family bed to avoid serious marital problems. As long as the child sleeps between them, it tends to mask the serious pitfalls and gives a false sense of security in a marriage.

However, this arrangement has to end at some point in our child's life. When the child starts showing signs of independence with night-time routines, it is perhaps the right time weaning them. Interestingly enough, sometimes its us parents who delays the weaning, unwillingly to give them the eviction notice. Separation anxiety can go both ways. If we fail to wean our child it gives the impression that we lack confidence in our child's capacity to cope or fend for himself. Some moms chose a time they think is best to move, and others prefer to leave that decision to the child. If its parent-prompted, it may require plenty of patience and time.

Getting our kids out of the bed is a long goodbye-emotional, sometimes painful, and liberating at the same time. But moving out need not signal an end to the intimacy established through bed sharing. It simply means replacing it with other nurturing and bonding activities.

1 comment:

Mom of Four said...

gosh! i just posted about sleeping arrangement yesterday..and now, i am reading your post, hahaha!!
anyways, great post...no matter how hard it is to sleep with our children, i still love the idea of they would hug me and cuddle with me and i can feel them right next to me..when they grow older, they would sleep with somebody else, and wahhhh!!! i will be longing for my babies..