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Dad frustrated w/ co-sleeping

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  • Dad frustrated w/ co-sleeping

    I'm incredibly frustrated with the fact that our 6 year old son is still co-sleeping with us. We have tried to help him transition to sleeping in his own bed, yet I feel that my wife invariably caves in at the first sign that he's distressed. Although he goes to bed willingly, he'll always wake up. We can be sitting in the living room, in plain sight of him through an open door, and he'll whine and cry, and sometimes angrily demands that we stop whatever it is we're doing (talking, watching a movie together, working on the computer), and either bring him into our bed or join him in his. It is clear, at least in these specific instances, that it's not a safety issue. The lights are on and we're within his line of sight. Verbal assurances that we're right there simply do nothing to help!

    My wife insists that I should never have "signed up" for attachment parenting if I wasn't willing to stick it through. When is enough, enough, though?

    My perception is that my son is developing a very unhealthy attachment, and that he is going to grow up feeling not simply that someone cares for him, but that he is somehow powerless to care for himself, and that he needs to manipulate and throw tantrums until someone agrees to do whatever is necessary to fulfill his demands.

    Neither of us can remember the last night of uninterrupted sleep we had, unless it be nights that we don't even bother taking him into his own room in the first place. Our ability to simply spend some quite, quality time together is greatly handicapped, we continually argue about what the effect of each other's approach will be, and I'm concerned that the immense stress this situation has brought into our marriage may end up damaging his ability to form healthy relationships more than just letting him cry it out and get over it.

    I'm so desperate for a resolution to this issue. Any thoughts?
    Last edited by Aaron; 08-07-2009, 02:34 AM.

  • #2
    i moved your post here to hopefully generate more response.

    you sound very frustrated! it is clear that the current situation is not working for you. have you tried discussing this with your partner in terms of needs? what needs of yours are not being met here? what about your partner? what need is your child trying to satisfy? can you have a family meeting where everyone voices their concerns and then everyone offers suggestions on how to solve this problem? your 6 year old is old enough to be able to offer valuable input and to understand that you and your wife have needs, too, but remember that his needs are just as important as yours. once everyone has had a chance to share, work on a plan as a family. then after several tries, reconvene, assess, maybe try a different plan. if you approach it as a problem to be solved by the entire family and get everyone invested, you are more likely to have success.


    • #3
      I only have a minute. I don't think a 6 year old can or will "just cry it out and get over it". I think your "answer" to the problem won't work.

      My son is 4 and understand quite a bit, I would think your 6 year old could understand if you talked to him about it.

      maybe you could ask why he doesn't want to sleep alone? maybe you can come to some arrangement everyone is happy about?

      It may not be overnight, kids at this age can be strong willed. I just think your post made it sound too simple.

      One day you know he won't want to sleep with you guys, I promise you


      • #4
        I think Paxmama said it well with
        your 6 year old is old enough to be able to offer valuable input and to understand that you and your wife have needs,
        My almost 5yr old does still wake up once a night most nights and cuddles with one of us for the rest of the night. Sometimes we go back to his room and sleep untill he falls asleep. If that parent wakes up and wants o come back to our bed that happens too.

        I think if we became angry and outwardly annoyed at the fact he was waking up...he would do it more. I think out son would think "why don't you want to cuddle me at night? what is wrong with me?" When we do suggest how much we like it when he falls asleep in his own bed and wakes up there we make sure to say that it was nice how we had a lot of room in our beds and how deep our sleep was (because no one woke us up)!

        It sounds like your relationship with your son (in this issue) has become a battle and he might be trying to make you 'prove' that he is still important to him (in the indirest and confusing attempt of upset children) -just a theory- I do think talking with him will yield a lot of why this is so important to him. I don't mean ask him a couple of yes or no questions..I mean a 'heart to heart' where emotions are allowed and he finds out that you love him no matter where he sleeps.

        Try to read this book---- Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles: Winning for a Lifetime
        It seems like this is beyond a sleep issue but one of conflict.


        • #5

          I think your wife needs to understand that having well rested parents will benefit your son a lot. And he is definitely old enough to be sleeping in his own bed.

          Have you tried a reward system? What about putting his bed in your room? In one of the Dr. Sears books I read that one of the doctors would stay with their child for a period of time, then say "just a minute honey, I'll be right back" and step out for a minute. Slowly the "minute" would get longer and longer and the child would start to get sleepy and fall asleep on his own.

          Good luck and I hope you find a solution that works for you and your wife.


          • #6
            While every parent must do what they feel is best, this forum is for discussing support that underscores the values of Attachment Parenting. I need to clarify API's position on two things. First, there is no such thing as a particular age when a child is old enough to sleep on their own. Nighttime Parenting should be done with respect to both the parent and child. And even when a child eventually sleeps on their own, the parent should continue to be responsive to nighttime needs. The Nighttime Parenting Principle is discussed in detail here.

            Second, this thread addresses issues of Positive Discipline. Rewards are inappropriate to use when there is an underlying need not being met. Specifically "Controlling or manipulative discipline compromises the trust between parent and child, and harms the attachment bond" and "Use incentives creatively with older children".