Cultural difference catches parents off-guard about co-sleeping

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz  November 7, 2012 06:00 AM

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Hello,
I am an Asian mom living in the US with my husband and our 4-year-old son. Every night, I sleep with my son. This is normal behavior that both my husband and I understand. Recently my friend who is here for a long time told me this is not normal behavior for Americans. She said it will make my son unhappy and that I must stop. Is she right?

From: Susan, Chicago

Hi Susan,

Your friend is right. In American culture, children typically learn to sleep independently. I guess that's mostly because Americans value autonomy and independence so much.
But lately, more and more American parents are doing some form of sleeping with their child. It's called the family bed or co-sleeping. (In the interest of safety, because American beds are so soft and have so much bedding, the baby doesn't literally sleep in the same bed, but in a co-sleeper which attaches to the adult bed, so there's no danger of an adult suffocating the baby).

But even in homes where parents co-sleep, sooner or later they put an end to it, usually before the child is 3.

Why then? The longer you wait, the harder it will be for a child to get used to new sleeping arrangements. That's the technical side of the problem. Perhaps more important is what I think your friend is trying to warn you about: other children may tease your son. That's the potential emotional down-side.

Most of them sleep in their own beds, typically in their own rooms. If they find out that your son still sleeps with his mom, they will consider him a "baby" and could call him names. That probably will make your son unhappy. This kid of teasing usually doesn't happen with 4-year-olds, but it gets more and more likely as they get older.

Here's the approach I suggest for making him transition from your bed to his own:
Find a corner of your room where he can sleep in his own bed, mattress or sleeping bag so he's no longer in your bed, but still in your room. Do that for days, or weeks, depending on how smoothly it goes.

To move him into his own room, you may need to do the reverse: Create a corner of his room where you sleep so that you are both still in the same room, but not in the same bed. Depending on your child, you may need to do that for only a few nights, or for weeks of nights. Depending, you can move to the next step: stay in the room with him until he's almost asleep, then leave him alone, checking up on him every five minutes, then 10 minutes, until he is able to fall asleep without needing you in the room.

If I'm making it sound easy, I apologize. It isn't. The typical kid will pop in and out of bed; need water and backrubs and who knows what else; will beg you to stay with him, and cry and cry. It will break your heart. This is a process. It takes time and effort and patience. If you goggle "weaning from co-sleeping," you'll find lots of advice and personal stories. Read through them before you start. Here's the best advice I can give you: Don't start until you're committed.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
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26 comments so far...
  1. There's no reason to think that your child won't move to his own room. I don't think there's any hard-and-fast rule about stopping by a certain age. You have to do what works for your family--and be confident in your parenting decisions. I think that the American culture is against co-sleeping, as is American business (recent studies claiming that co-sleeping is so unsafe were completed by crib manufacturers).

    Our older two--10 and 7--slept in our room until ages 3 and 4.5 (or so), respectively. Occasionally, someone will end up in our room still. They are happy children, who like having sleepovers elsewhere. They are comfortable, well-adjusted, and love their own rooms (and the autonomy that comes with them). They are attached to us as parents, but not unduly so--they are comfortable with themselves. Co-sleeping is what worked for us, and still works for our youngest. If it is no longer working for you, by all means change what you're. But, don't do so because of some artificial deadline or timeline, or from outside pressure. That will make all of you unhappy.

    Good luck!

    Posted by Beth November 7, 12 10:24 AM
  1. I am not a fan of this advice at all - it seems very judgmental. Change your family routine so your kid doesn't get teased down the road? How about this instead, for everyone: teach your children not to tease others for differences in culture, family life, etc. etc. Everyone is different, and your way is not the best way. Good grief.

    It is none of anyone's business, including the so-called "friend" who had dire warnings about an unhappy child (which is wholly anecdotal and not necessarily true, btw). There are plenty of Americans who co-sleep with their children. My advice would be to find an attachment parenting group near where you live or online for support and advice.

    Kids grow up, and do not stay in the family bed forever. We co-slept with our children as infants, and now we get a once-a-week visit from our 3 year old. It works for us, and I would love to hear someone try to disparage me for it.

    Posted by Denise November 7, 12 11:28 AM
  1. Good grief. If it's working for the mom and dad, whatever! Chances are the kid will turn out fine.

    Posted by TW November 7, 12 12:08 PM
  1. I think it's good that your friend made you aware of this cultural difference, but just because you're aware of it now does not mean you have to conform.

    Posted by geocool November 7, 12 12:11 PM
  1. "...every night I sleep with my son."

    Although it's none of my business, I am curious about where your husband sleeps. I think that's why many people are negative about cosleeping- because of how it might affect a couple's closeness and alone time.

    Posted by just_cause November 7, 12 12:34 PM
  1. Ohhhh...Denise, you are my kind of momma! I love it.

    Posted by Michelle November 7, 12 12:36 PM
  1. I have to agree with Denise. If that is your cultural tradition, why change it because you moved? I also agree that we should teach our children not to judge or tease other kids. I would also add to teach our kids that teasing may be hurtful but it is born out of misunderstanding and poor unbringing.

    I am not an attachment parenter or co-sleeper but I certainly would not go around telling my "friends" that their parenting style is not *normal*. Get some new friends that aren't so judgemental!

    Posted by Carla November 7, 12 12:44 PM
  1. I agree that this response sounds pretty judgemental, as if NO parents in America EVER let their children sleep with them. Personally, I need my sleep way too much to do it, but it doesn't mean it's not an option for other people. The writer didn't ask for advice on getting her son out of the bed, she asked if her friend was correct that this is abnormal behavior that will make her son unhappy. No, it is not abnormal. Might not be as common as where she comes from, but not unheard of.

    Posted by Fram November 7, 12 01:09 PM
  1. If God had intended attachment parenting, he'd have given us pouches like kangaroos.

    You do need to start thinking about a transition. Only the most hard-core, ideological co-sleepers think it's a good idea once they are school age.

    Posted by di November 7, 12 02:04 PM
  1. In many other parts of the world and in many other cultures this is totally normal. Think of it this way - if I move to a culture where co-sleeping is the norm am I required to do it? What if I don't want to? I think this advice is off the mark. If this is the way you were raised and it is "normal" for you, what is the harm? Many families co-sleep and their kids are happy, well-adjusted, and just fine. Honestly I really don't think my kid or his friends discuss where they are sleeping at home. I imagine if a kid says "I sleep with my mom because that's how we do it in the country we come from," half the kids will go home and ask if they can sleep in mom's bed too.

    Posted by Larisa November 7, 12 02:11 PM
  1. I'm incredibly surprised by this answer for a few reasons. First of all, bed-sharing DOES often mean that the baby/toddler/child sleeps in the same bed with the parents. Some people use co-sleepers, some don't. You can debate the safety of what people do, but you can't say that they don't do it.

    Secondly, how culturally insensitive and judgmental can you be? Different strokes for different folks. Fear of teasing should be taken seriously, but there are plenty of ways to deal with that if and when it becomes an issue. Besides, it's not clear to me at all that fear of teasing is what the "friend" had in mind when he/she said the LW "must stop".

    All that said, if the LW would like to stop co-sleeping with her son, the advice given seems reasonable to me.

    Posted by Susan November 7, 12 02:29 PM
  1. Not one of your best responses, Barbara. Lots of good comments from the posters though.

    Posted by Rachel W November 7, 12 04:44 PM
  1. As an American mom of an Asian daughter, I say give your child what they need to make them feel secure. My daughter didn't go to sleep without my husband or I until she was around 10 and was NEVER teased. We didn't stay with her the entire night, but would go back if she woke up and called for us. Today she is a well-adjusted, happy kid.

    Posted by Mary November 7, 12 05:17 PM
  1. I have a somewhat similar issue in that my 4-year-old goes to sleep easily but ventures quietly into our bed somewhere between 3-5am each night. He's smart enough to just lay right down and go to sleep so sometimes we don't even realize he's there until morning. It doesn't really bother me, and in fact, we find it kind of sweet to wake up to his smiling face each morning...but I DO wonder if I'm setting myself up for issues down the road. No siblings, so I do guiltily fall for his reasoning of "I was just lonely"...

    Posted by jane November 7, 12 05:39 PM
  1. Terrible advice and NOT 'typical' of Americans. I co-slept and did not use a side car, my children slept in our bed and there are MANY families like mine. There is no set age to stop. Do what feels right for you and your family.

    I am shocked by how judgmental, backwards and off base the advice given was. Sounds like it was given by a person who has little current real life experience raising a family.

    Posted by Laurie H. November 8, 12 02:53 AM
  1. I read this column a lot and I am routinely shocked at the horrible advice that is given. Are you really instructing a mother to conform to supposed "american" parenting so her son wont get teased by other kids??? Really??? My stomach hurts. I really hope this mother reads the comments and not the advise of this so-called "expert". Yuck!

    Posted by Sara November 8, 12 11:01 AM
  1. As an American parent who is moving to Europe within the next year, to a country where co-sleeping is the norm, I will not conform to that standard. Our daughter is in her own room and perfectly happy with that. Moreover, WE are happy with that. Just because I'm moving to a place where our preferences go against what is considered "normal" for that culture does not mean that our daughter will be teased because we don't co-sleep or that anyone will even know for that matter.

    I can't understand, Barbara, why you recommended what you did. America doesn't have a cultural norm when it comes to co-sleeping anymore. Seriously. American parents are all over the map.

    The friend in question here sounds like she's either a) of the same ethnicity and cultural background as the LW and has heard a lot of negative comments on this practice in America so is trying to help her friend "assimilate" better - misguided though that advice may be or b) is an American who doesn't agree with co-sleeping and is trying to influence her immigrant friend to become more of what *she* perceives to be as "American".

    But I would hope that when *we* move next year, you don't exhort me to take up co-sleeping because it's the way it's done in my new location!

    Posted by anonymouse November 8, 12 11:48 AM
  1. Do what's right for you and your family. Sure, maybe the kids will tease, but really, they would only even know if they were all discussing sleeping arrangements. And while yes, every night is not common practice in America, many kids do occasionally sleep in their parents' bed. So I don't think kids would see it as that unusual.

    If you see that your son is unhappy with this arrangement, then it's time to change. But that should come from him, not your friend's assumption of him.

    Posted by mm November 8, 12 12:09 PM
  1. American kids sleep on their own in America not only because we value independence but because we are an extremely wealthy nation. Here as in very few parts of the world, even say in Europe where there is much less space, we have the luxury of offering a room to each child. But now, take a step back from middle and upper classes. If you visit U.S. inner city homes where five, six people live in one-room apartments, co-sleeping is the norm there too. It's all so subjective, economic, and, absolutely, cultural. I don't think the tone of the answer was supposed to be offensive, but it did come off that way and also too absolutist and simplistic.

    I hope the mom chooses to do what works best for her family.

    Posted by momof2 November 8, 12 02:48 PM
  1. So glad to see the comments here lean toward doing what is best for the letter writer. Many, many parents in the US sleep with their children - either in bed or in the same room. It makes no sense to move your child to another room unless either you or the child want the change to be made. Not because some future friend of the child may tease him. This was horrible advice.

    We have co-slept with our toddler son (he is on his own mattress, butted right up to ours) since day one. I couldn't imagine sleeping any other way - I love knowing he is right there and safe with us. When it stops working for him or for us, he will move. Until then, we'll enjoy the snuggles and our happy little guy.

    Posted by CF November 8, 12 03:42 PM
  1. I feel the need to defend myself!
    I was looking at this question through the lens of the LW who, I suspected, was wanting two things: 1) to understand the American cultural norm around co-sleeping; and 2) to know how to make a change if she wanted to. I also assumed that the friend of the LW, who said it will make the LW's son unhappy, was also an Asian mom and that both moms, as newcomers to America, want very much for their child to fit in in their social milieu. I did not mean to imply in any way that she NEEDS to make a change. I do say, very clearly, that more and more American parents are co-sleeping. Like Momof2, I hope the LW chooses what's best for her family.

    Posted by Barbara F. Meltz November 8, 12 04:12 PM
  1. I too am surprised by this response. I don't think there is a cultural norm in the US anymore that says that co-sleeping is abnormal or wrong. I've seen studies that have reported that more than 25% of families with infants co-sleep all or almost all of the time and that up to 2/3 co-sleep at least some of the time. To agree with her friend's assessment that this is not "normal" and "must stop" is terrible advice. I really am surprised at how dated and out of touch this response seems.

    Posted by Jen November 8, 12 08:21 PM
  1. Barbara, I'm sorry but your defense still does not work and for you to have agreed with Momof2 is just sad as well. Yes, Momof2 eventually says in her response that she hopes LW chooses what's best for her family. However, she is also being sickeningly classist, racist and materialistic! It's gross to me that she would use reasoning’s like: "we are an extremely wealthy nation", "we have the luxury of offering a room to each child", " take a step back from middle and upper classes. If you visit U.S. inner city homes where five, six people live in one-room apartments, co-sleeping is the norm there too. It's all so subjective, economic, and, absolutely, cultural."

    I live in an upper-class neighborhood, have friends that live in upper-class and middleclass neighborhoods that have co-slept (sharing beds) with their partners in the beds with them as well. So please don't throw class into the mix. Also, please educate yourselves on this topic before you feel the need to share your uneducated opinions. This is all just sad to me. Between Barbara's response and later "I feel the need to defend myself!" start of her comment and Momof2's ridiculous comment, I am excited that my child who co-slept for almost two years is an amazing strong, brilliant, loving and kind six year old that would never judge people in the manner in which both of you have. She was never teased and yes, I heard from others who didn't necessarily agree with co-sleeping but I knew I was doing what was right for my child and it definitely shows. I am a proud mother!

    Posted by Laura November 9, 12 08:28 AM
  1. I love your comment Laura - and totally agree.

    Slightly off topic but I nearly wrote in my first response about the one-room per child phenom before Momof2 mentioned it. My daughters share a room, and love it - they both sleep better for it, and it's something that I think is important for them. The response I've gotten from others, kids and moms included, sometimes make me think there should be an ETIQUETTE advice column for parents. We did not make the decision based on our finances, our race, or anything else. We made it based on our family, just as we did with cosleeping!

    Posted by Denise November 9, 12 09:27 AM
  1. Laura, you are so off-base. I didn't ever say that the only reason to co-sleep is that you can't afford not to. I only said that it's unwise not to consider the fact that sometimes there is no choice, so talking about what the majority of people do can be hurtful or non-productive. Good for you that it was a choice and worked out well. But it seems sad to me that you can't consider the many varied reasons that co-sleeping happens.

    Posted by momof2 November 9, 12 12:03 PM
  1. I have 3 children and the oldest co-slept for the first year or so. The other 2 did not. In hind sight I did an injustice to my marriage during the co-sleeping years. Our days are so busy with the children that bedtime is usually our only alone time to talk, cuddle... Just something to think about if you are considering co-sleeping.

    For the LW, whatever works for your family. It couldnt hurt to offer your child his own room and let him decide.

    Posted by my3sons November 9, 12 01:16 PM
 
26 comments so far...
  1. There's no reason to think that your child won't move to his own room. I don't think there's any hard-and-fast rule about stopping by a certain age. You have to do what works for your family--and be confident in your parenting decisions. I think that the American culture is against co-sleeping, as is American business (recent studies claiming that co-sleeping is so unsafe were completed by crib manufacturers).

    Our older two--10 and 7--slept in our room until ages 3 and 4.5 (or so), respectively. Occasionally, someone will end up in our room still. They are happy children, who like having sleepovers elsewhere. They are comfortable, well-adjusted, and love their own rooms (and the autonomy that comes with them). They are attached to us as parents, but not unduly so--they are comfortable with themselves. Co-sleeping is what worked for us, and still works for our youngest. If it is no longer working for you, by all means change what you're. But, don't do so because of some artificial deadline or timeline, or from outside pressure. That will make all of you unhappy.

    Good luck!

    Posted by Beth November 7, 12 10:24 AM
  1. I am not a fan of this advice at all - it seems very judgmental. Change your family routine so your kid doesn't get teased down the road? How about this instead, for everyone: teach your children not to tease others for differences in culture, family life, etc. etc. Everyone is different, and your way is not the best way. Good grief.

    It is none of anyone's business, including the so-called "friend" who had dire warnings about an unhappy child (which is wholly anecdotal and not necessarily true, btw). There are plenty of Americans who co-sleep with their children. My advice would be to find an attachment parenting group near where you live or online for support and advice.

    Kids grow up, and do not stay in the family bed forever. We co-slept with our children as infants, and now we get a once-a-week visit from our 3 year old. It works for us, and I would love to hear someone try to disparage me for it.

    Posted by Denise November 7, 12 11:28 AM
  1. Good grief. If it's working for the mom and dad, whatever! Chances are the kid will turn out fine.

    Posted by TW November 7, 12 12:08 PM
  1. I think it's good that your friend made you aware of this cultural difference, but just because you're aware of it now does not mean you have to conform.

    Posted by geocool November 7, 12 12:11 PM
  1. "...every night I sleep with my son."

    Although it's none of my business, I am curious about where your husband sleeps. I think that's why many people are negative about cosleeping- because of how it might affect a couple's closeness and alone time.

    Posted by just_cause November 7, 12 12:34 PM
  1. Ohhhh...Denise, you are my kind of momma! I love it.

    Posted by Michelle November 7, 12 12:36 PM
  1. I have to agree with Denise. If that is your cultural tradition, why change it because you moved? I also agree that we should teach our children not to judge or tease other kids. I would also add to teach our kids that teasing may be hurtful but it is born out of misunderstanding and poor unbringing.

    I am not an attachment parenter or co-sleeper but I certainly would not go around telling my "friends" that their parenting style is not *normal*. Get some new friends that aren't so judgemental!

    Posted by Carla November 7, 12 12:44 PM
  1. I agree that this response sounds pretty judgemental, as if NO parents in America EVER let their children sleep with them. Personally, I need my sleep way too much to do it, but it doesn't mean it's not an option for other people. The writer didn't ask for advice on getting her son out of the bed, she asked if her friend was correct that this is abnormal behavior that will make her son unhappy. No, it is not abnormal. Might not be as common as where she comes from, but not unheard of.

    Posted by Fram November 7, 12 01:09 PM
  1. If God had intended attachment parenting, he'd have given us pouches like kangaroos.

    You do need to start thinking about a transition. Only the most hard-core, ideological co-sleepers think it's a good idea once they are school age.

    Posted by di November 7, 12 02:04 PM
  1. In many other parts of the world and in many other cultures this is totally normal. Think of it this way - if I move to a culture where co-sleeping is the norm am I required to do it? What if I don't want to? I think this advice is off the mark. If this is the way you were raised and it is "normal" for you, what is the harm? Many families co-sleep and their kids are happy, well-adjusted, and just fine. Honestly I really don't think my kid or his friends discuss where they are sleeping at home. I imagine if a kid says "I sleep with my mom because that's how we do it in the country we come from," half the kids will go home and ask if they can sleep in mom's bed too.

    Posted by Larisa November 7, 12 02:11 PM
  1. I'm incredibly surprised by this answer for a few reasons. First of all, bed-sharing DOES often mean that the baby/toddler/child sleeps in the same bed with the parents. Some people use co-sleepers, some don't. You can debate the safety of what people do, but you can't say that they don't do it.

    Secondly, how culturally insensitive and judgmental can you be? Different strokes for different folks. Fear of teasing should be taken seriously, but there are plenty of ways to deal with that if and when it becomes an issue. Besides, it's not clear to me at all that fear of teasing is what the "friend" had in mind when he/she said the LW "must stop".

    All that said, if the LW would like to stop co-sleeping with her son, the advice given seems reasonable to me.

    Posted by Susan November 7, 12 02:29 PM
  1. Not one of your best responses, Barbara. Lots of good comments from the posters though.

    Posted by Rachel W November 7, 12 04:44 PM
  1. As an American mom of an Asian daughter, I say give your child what they need to make them feel secure. My daughter didn't go to sleep without my husband or I until she was around 10 and was NEVER teased. We didn't stay with her the entire night, but would go back if she woke up and called for us. Today she is a well-adjusted, happy kid.

    Posted by Mary November 7, 12 05:17 PM
  1. I have a somewhat similar issue in that my 4-year-old goes to sleep easily but ventures quietly into our bed somewhere between 3-5am each night. He's smart enough to just lay right down and go to sleep so sometimes we don't even realize he's there until morning. It doesn't really bother me, and in fact, we find it kind of sweet to wake up to his smiling face each morning...but I DO wonder if I'm setting myself up for issues down the road. No siblings, so I do guiltily fall for his reasoning of "I was just lonely"...

    Posted by jane November 7, 12 05:39 PM
  1. Terrible advice and NOT 'typical' of Americans. I co-slept and did not use a side car, my children slept in our bed and there are MANY families like mine. There is no set age to stop. Do what feels right for you and your family.

    I am shocked by how judgmental, backwards and off base the advice given was. Sounds like it was given by a person who has little current real life experience raising a family.

    Posted by Laurie H. November 8, 12 02:53 AM
  1. I read this column a lot and I am routinely shocked at the horrible advice that is given. Are you really instructing a mother to conform to supposed "american" parenting so her son wont get teased by other kids??? Really??? My stomach hurts. I really hope this mother reads the comments and not the advise of this so-called "expert". Yuck!

    Posted by Sara November 8, 12 11:01 AM
  1. As an American parent who is moving to Europe within the next year, to a country where co-sleeping is the norm, I will not conform to that standard. Our daughter is in her own room and perfectly happy with that. Moreover, WE are happy with that. Just because I'm moving to a place where our preferences go against what is considered "normal" for that culture does not mean that our daughter will be teased because we don't co-sleep or that anyone will even know for that matter.

    I can't understand, Barbara, why you recommended what you did. America doesn't have a cultural norm when it comes to co-sleeping anymore. Seriously. American parents are all over the map.

    The friend in question here sounds like she's either a) of the same ethnicity and cultural background as the LW and has heard a lot of negative comments on this practice in America so is trying to help her friend "assimilate" better - misguided though that advice may be or b) is an American who doesn't agree with co-sleeping and is trying to influence her immigrant friend to become more of what *she* perceives to be as "American".

    But I would hope that when *we* move next year, you don't exhort me to take up co-sleeping because it's the way it's done in my new location!

    Posted by anonymouse November 8, 12 11:48 AM
  1. Do what's right for you and your family. Sure, maybe the kids will tease, but really, they would only even know if they were all discussing sleeping arrangements. And while yes, every night is not common practice in America, many kids do occasionally sleep in their parents' bed. So I don't think kids would see it as that unusual.

    If you see that your son is unhappy with this arrangement, then it's time to change. But that should come from him, not your friend's assumption of him.

    Posted by mm November 8, 12 12:09 PM
  1. American kids sleep on their own in America not only because we value independence but because we are an extremely wealthy nation. Here as in very few parts of the world, even say in Europe where there is much less space, we have the luxury of offering a room to each child. But now, take a step back from middle and upper classes. If you visit U.S. inner city homes where five, six people live in one-room apartments, co-sleeping is the norm there too. It's all so subjective, economic, and, absolutely, cultural. I don't think the tone of the answer was supposed to be offensive, but it did come off that way and also too absolutist and simplistic.

    I hope the mom chooses to do what works best for her family.

    Posted by momof2 November 8, 12 02:48 PM
  1. So glad to see the comments here lean toward doing what is best for the letter writer. Many, many parents in the US sleep with their children - either in bed or in the same room. It makes no sense to move your child to another room unless either you or the child want the change to be made. Not because some future friend of the child may tease him. This was horrible advice.

    We have co-slept with our toddler son (he is on his own mattress, butted right up to ours) since day one. I couldn't imagine sleeping any other way - I love knowing he is right there and safe with us. When it stops working for him or for us, he will move. Until then, we'll enjoy the snuggles and our happy little guy.

    Posted by CF November 8, 12 03:42 PM
  1. I feel the need to defend myself!
    I was looking at this question through the lens of the LW who, I suspected, was wanting two things: 1) to understand the American cultural norm around co-sleeping; and 2) to know how to make a change if she wanted to. I also assumed that the friend of the LW, who said it will make the LW's son unhappy, was also an Asian mom and that both moms, as newcomers to America, want very much for their child to fit in in their social milieu. I did not mean to imply in any way that she NEEDS to make a change. I do say, very clearly, that more and more American parents are co-sleeping. Like Momof2, I hope the LW chooses what's best for her family.

    Posted by Barbara F. Meltz November 8, 12 04:12 PM
  1. I too am surprised by this response. I don't think there is a cultural norm in the US anymore that says that co-sleeping is abnormal or wrong. I've seen studies that have reported that more than 25% of families with infants co-sleep all or almost all of the time and that up to 2/3 co-sleep at least some of the time. To agree with her friend's assessment that this is not "normal" and "must stop" is terrible advice. I really am surprised at how dated and out of touch this response seems.

    Posted by Jen November 8, 12 08:21 PM
  1. Barbara, I'm sorry but your defense still does not work and for you to have agreed with Momof2 is just sad as well. Yes, Momof2 eventually says in her response that she hopes LW chooses what's best for her family. However, she is also being sickeningly classist, racist and materialistic! It's gross to me that she would use reasoning’s like: "we are an extremely wealthy nation", "we have the luxury of offering a room to each child", " take a step back from middle and upper classes. If you visit U.S. inner city homes where five, six people live in one-room apartments, co-sleeping is the norm there too. It's all so subjective, economic, and, absolutely, cultural."

    I live in an upper-class neighborhood, have friends that live in upper-class and middleclass neighborhoods that have co-slept (sharing beds) with their partners in the beds with them as well. So please don't throw class into the mix. Also, please educate yourselves on this topic before you feel the need to share your uneducated opinions. This is all just sad to me. Between Barbara's response and later "I feel the need to defend myself!" start of her comment and Momof2's ridiculous comment, I am excited that my child who co-slept for almost two years is an amazing strong, brilliant, loving and kind six year old that would never judge people in the manner in which both of you have. She was never teased and yes, I heard from others who didn't necessarily agree with co-sleeping but I knew I was doing what was right for my child and it definitely shows. I am a proud mother!

    Posted by Laura November 9, 12 08:28 AM
  1. I love your comment Laura - and totally agree.

    Slightly off topic but I nearly wrote in my first response about the one-room per child phenom before Momof2 mentioned it. My daughters share a room, and love it - they both sleep better for it, and it's something that I think is important for them. The response I've gotten from others, kids and moms included, sometimes make me think there should be an ETIQUETTE advice column for parents. We did not make the decision based on our finances, our race, or anything else. We made it based on our family, just as we did with cosleeping!

    Posted by Denise November 9, 12 09:27 AM
  1. Laura, you are so off-base. I didn't ever say that the only reason to co-sleep is that you can't afford not to. I only said that it's unwise not to consider the fact that sometimes there is no choice, so talking about what the majority of people do can be hurtful or non-productive. Good for you that it was a choice and worked out well. But it seems sad to me that you can't consider the many varied reasons that co-sleeping happens.

    Posted by momof2 November 9, 12 12:03 PM
  1. I have 3 children and the oldest co-slept for the first year or so. The other 2 did not. In hind sight I did an injustice to my marriage during the co-sleeping years. Our days are so busy with the children that bedtime is usually our only alone time to talk, cuddle... Just something to think about if you are considering co-sleeping.

    For the LW, whatever works for your family. It couldnt hurt to offer your child his own room and let him decide.

    Posted by my3sons November 9, 12 01:16 PM
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Barbara F. Meltz is a freelance writer, parenting consultant, and author of "Put Yourself in Their Shoes: Understanding How Your Children See the World." She won several awards for her weekly "Child Caring" column in the Globe, including the 2008 American Psychological Association Print Excellence award. Barbara is available as a speaker for parent groups.

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