My ex-husband still sleeps with our 8yo daughter in his bed
Typing this, my 7-year-old is currently curled up right beside me in bed, fast alseep – as he is most nights these days.
Most often, he starts the evening in his own bed, but somehow always ends up in mine at some point during the night.
And while a part of me has just conceded to the fact that such is the life of a mother, I am also trying to enjoy it as much as possible, knowing that one day, this will end, and he will happily go back to sleeping in his own bed, in his own room and not need me in the same way anymore.
And until then, I am taking every snuggle opportunity, trust me. And most people would, I think.
However, not all parents are comfortable with certain sleeping arrangements.
An Australian mum recently reached out to lifestyle site Kidspot.ie to reveal that her ex-husband still sleeps with the former couple's eight-year-old daughter in his bed – every weekend the child spends at this house.
And this, the mum argues, makes her a little uncomfortable.
"Sleep in your own bed!"
I’ve kept telling her to sleep in her own bed… but she says “Dad says to mind your own business," the mum confesses.
"I feel she is getting too old for this now? What should I do?
Also speaking to the online magazine was therapist Laura Mazza, who reveals she believes the mother's triggers around this can be many.
"Do you have reasons to suspect your ex would cause harm to your child," she writes.
"Or do you have a specific routine of your child sleeping in her bed that you feel may be compromised when your child goes to her dad's? Do you worry she will become too dependent on sleeping with an adult?"
Keeping the lines of communication open is vital as well, she reminds the mother.
"Try to have a calm and open conversation with your daughter," Mazza writes.
"Don’t force her to communicate and make sure you don’t appear to be judging what she’s saying either, as this can cause kids to shut down. Let her know that you are a protective and safe person in their life with whom they can share anything with. Listen without investigating (leave that to the authorities, as you can jeopardise an investigation) and let them know that they are not in trouble."
It is also important to keep in mind, the therapist argues, that we all tend to parent the way we are parented.
"For your ex, he may have bed-shared with his parents until he naturally grew out of it, and for you, perhaps bed-sharing wasn't a part of your childhood. So it is expected that you will have different views on what is appropriate and what isn't."
Mazza also recommends speaking to the child's father – her ex – and ask about the reason for having their daughter sleep in his bed when she is doing sleepovers.
What do YOU think? Is it appropriate to have an eight-year-old in the bed? And where do you draw the line?