October 13, 2011,
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.
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.
S.S. answers from Wausau on October 13, 2011
Well with the shower thing, doesnt she have the shower door closed?? I have 4 boys and one bathroom, if they have to go to the bathroom they just go, they dont see me as i have the curtain closed. and with the sleeping thing my kids are 5, 7, 9, 17. the littler ones at times ask if they can lay with me and sleep, I always say no. but its just a comfort thing. if she doesnt have a "weird" history or anything, Im sure its just a comfort thing boys love their mommys and before long that time will be over and he'll have a girlfriend and what not why not Cherish the moments now. however mine used sleep with me a lot and the only reason i say no is because they are kickers. I sometimes let them fall asleep next to me and then put them in their bed. no big deal...theyre only kids for a little while....big deal!! Oh and the 17 year old has been known to lay by me and fall asleep too. He has a girlfriend and an ego to go with but when its nice when they remind their parents that they still love em.
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...
F.R. answers from Albany on April 05, 2010
I thought I would reply to this too because I am a 38 year old single mother with an eleven year old son who likes to bunk in my room, despite also having a great room with loads of cool stuff in it.
He runs around the house in his boxers...SO WHAT? Most mothers have been seeing their kids naked from day one its not as though its a big thrill, my son has occasionally seen glimpses of me in the nick but once again retreated immediately because he really isn't into looking at his mother naked.
What we are into is catching up and being close and as we both have very busy work/school lives and social lives plus lots of different interests, one good way to do this is have a late night zonk out chat in my big bed.
Lots of other cultures think nothing of mothers sleeping with their children I don't see what the issue is. If the children want to drop by for a chat and a sharing snooze, in order to restore closeness, safety and contact how is that an issue?
My son is a gregarious charger in his outward life, very popular, a keen surfer and extrovert. But the lovely thing about him is that he is able to say "I love you" both to me and his father in public and mean it and have no shame about doing so.
I think this is because we have always given him freedom to move as far away as he needs too emotionally or return as when he sees fit. We have let him ask for his requirements rather than dictating what they should be.
I think your cousin sounds like a great provider and a good mother why don't you ask her son why it is he likes to sleep in his Moms bed.
My son would tell you "Cos we talk about stuff and it feels cozy" I now because I have asked him why he still likes to drop by regularly.