L.R. asks from Round Rock, TX on August 04, 2009
11 Year Old Boy Still Sleeps with Mom
I stayed with my cousin this past weekend and I would like feedback on some things. She is a 38 year old single mom with an 11 year old son. Her son has a very nice room: loft bed, several video game consoles, tv, cable, etc. However, he still sleeps with her at night, she mentions that he walks around the house in boxer briefs and T-shirt, and uses the bathroom while she's showering (so he's seen her naked). From my knowledge, he's always slept with her, so I think it's habit. I know that it's not "sexual", but I have mixed feelings.
K.C. answers from Austin on August 04, 2009
It is really hard to imagine our children as sexual beings- almost as hard as it is to imagine that parents have ever had sex. So.......while I assume your cousin has no sexual intentions, she is feeding those of the son. Unhealthy three ways to Sunday. She has deprived him of knowing that he can be on his own.
The showering is even more worrisome. Suggest she get more privacy, if this creates problems then she will need to get counselling asap before even more damage is done. She may see him as a cute little boy, but 11 is way too old for this. Everyone (Mom and son) should have a bathrobe and use it.
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C.G. answers from Austin on August 04, 2009
Wow, I'd have mixed feelings too. I have a 6 yr. old son and I don't allow him in the bathroom when I'm showering . I teach him that people need their privacy when they are using the restrooms.
My son & I are very close, but there are boundaries.
I think at 11 yrs. old, he should be sleeping in his own room. But thats just me.
Good luck with this. :)
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L.A. answers from Austin on August 04, 2009
Dr. Phil had a mom on his show one time that was still allowing her son to sleep with her each night. I do not remember if he was 9 or 10. The mom felt like he must need this cause he was afraid to sleep on his own.
Dr. Phil asked the mom at what age would she insist that he quit this? She said she figured her son would let her know. Dr. Phil said "what are you going to do when he comes home one night, throws the car keys on the dresser and climbs into bed with you?" She laughed and said Oh I am sure that will not happen. Dr. Phil said at the rate your going to have his wife end up joining you..
He then asked the mother and the son what do your friends think about this? The boy admitted he had not told his friends because he would be embarrassed. That is when Dr. Phil said, then it has gone on too long.
Children must learn to be strong and independent. Most children sleep in their own rooms while infants or toddlers.
There is also no reason for the son to be using the potty while mom is in the shower. They need to have boundaries.
Ask the son if his friends know he sleeps with his mother and uses the potty while she showers, I am going to guess, there is no way he wants his friends to know. His internal self knows this is not proper or acceptable.
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L.B. answers from Austin on August 05, 2009
I know this isn't Europe, but I lived there for awhile and even as adults, what you describe is completely normal. It sounds like different strokes for different folks.
T.E. answers from Austin on August 05, 2009
LR - I think it's really nice that you have genuine concerns. If you feel close enough to your cousin, then talk openly with her, not from a judgement perspective, but rather from your desire to understand. Having said that, I have a 5 yr old son that has slept with us since birth, so yes it is a habit and yes it is comforting. And it's both ways, he has provided us comfort as well as in return. I see absolutely no problem with it and having 'walked in different shoes' than I had expected, but opinion has changed....as I think many people's would if they walked in different shoes. So, in closing, desire to understand and talk with her...you may gain a deeper perspective of who your cousin in as a person and have a closer relationship as the outcome. Take care...
S.W. answers from Austin on August 05, 2009
I would say that is way too old. The sleeping thing bothers me more that him passes through when she is in the shower. A lot of people and cultures don't place any shame on nudity, so that could be quite normal for the way he was raised. I would just think that not sleeping in his own space would have some detrimental effects on his(and her) independence and self-worth as adults. I have been struggling with these questions myself with two boys age 7 and 4. We still bathe together and it is no big deal if they opens my door to ask me a question when I am changing clothes. They are told to allow everyone privacy for changing and using the restroom. I am an advocate for teaching my children that there is nothing wrong or embarassing about nudity, but it is only appropriate in the right setting. No nudity in the living room for example, or no sleeping nude at sleep overs. I know at some point I will need to make them bathe on their own. I keep looking for some sign of akwardness or something, but it still seems perfectly normal.
B.K. answers from Austin on August 05, 2009
I have a friend who has 5 kids and 3 of them still sleep in mom and dads room. The ages of these kids are 13,10,8. One is a boy and 2 are girls. I also as a child grew up with juat mom in the house and slept with her until I was 11 or 12. I was just terrified to sleep in a room by myself. I do find its more common in single family households. Maybe the boy is just ued to this and is uncomfortable in his room by himself. Just a thought!! B.