Lately, more and more kids are cozying up to their parents in bed and staying that way, night after night. Do you think that the co-sleeping trend is a good thing? Experts say it’s time for these children to move out of the king-size and into their own beds!
It seems that the latest parenting trend among mommies is a little thing called co-sleeping, when family members — that’s including you, Dad! — share the same bed. Many argue that this method, also referred to as the “family bed,” is a great bonding experience and wonderful for women who are nursing. But experts say kids should sleep in their own bed. Some parents disagree. Are you one of them?
Child psychiatrist Dr. Carole Lieberman tells HollyBaby.com that it’s OK for kids to spend the night in their parents’ bed every now and then. “It’s all right once in a while, such as if a child has had a bad nightmare or a tummy ache, but even then this should be limited to children 4 to 5 years old or younger,” Dr. Lieberman says. “And it should not be allowed to become a habit.”
Celebrity parents like Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, as well as Kourtney Kardashian practice co-sleeping and say that it is a wonderful family experience. “That means everybody crawls into our bed,” Angelina says of what the Jolie-Pitts call “family sleep.” “And we actually have a giant bed … Everybody flies in and we watch a movie. It breaks all the rules.”
The more accepted rule seems to be that parents can and should cuddle with their little ones in the early stages of life — also known as attachment parenting — as it forms a bond between parent and child. But once the kid hits a certain age, snuggles should be limited to before bedtime. “I have no problem with attachment parenting or co-sleeping,” Dr. Lawrence Shapiro tells the New York Post, “up until 18 months.”
What seems to be the bigger deal in this so-called sleeping arrangement is the effect it has on a marriage. “Usually it is the mom that wants to have a child in the bed, and dad doesn’t,” Dr. Shapiro says. “Some dads feel like they’re literally displaced.”
Dr. Lieberman tells HollyBaby.com that allowing your children to sleep alongside you and your husband too often could eventually cause major problems in your marriage. “It is extremely damaging for couples to allow their children to sleep in the marital bed,” she says. “Not only is this psychologically unhealthy for the children, but it is a symptom of problems in the couple’s relationship and it makes these problems worse. When a couple starts making excuses for why their child needs to sleep with them, it is really a cover up for one or both partners not wanting to be intimate with the other. It means there is trouble in paradise.”
So HollyMoms, what do you think? Do you co-sleep with your children or do you feel like this trend needs to fade out fast?