27 answers

What Age Is Too Old to Sleep with Your Mother?

My stepson is 8 1/2 and lives with his mother and 3 older siblings. His mother still lets him sleep in her bed every night. He spends one weekend night almost every week with us and has no problem sleeping in his own bed at our house. He has never even attempted to come into our bed when he spends the night. My husband has asked his ex to have him sleep in his own bed but she continues to let him sleep there. She told my stepson that she looked it up online and found that it was OK for him to still sleep with her. We think he is too old and should be embarrassed. What do you think?

BTW, my husband and his ex-wife have been separated/divorced since he was about a year old so it is not an issue of dealing with the divorce. She used to let him sleep on the linen closet floor, on her floor and now her bed (which I guess is better than the floor). I am actually asking this FOR my husband.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

There is nothing wrong with kids sleeping with a parent. Everytime my husband travels my 11 y/o son asks if he can sleep with me. Sometimes he does. I kick him out if he snores or invades my side of the bed. He still sleeps with his stuffed animal in his own bed. I know a lady who's only son slept with her until he was 14, and she was married, then he stopped on his own. Probably puberty happened. With some kids it happens later than with others.

8 1/2? Yeah, that is too old. I'd say 3-4 is too old. He has to learn to sleep on his own and she's only punishing him. She is the one with the problem and needs to stop that asap.

I disagree with most of these posts. I think he is old enough to sleep on his own. Children his age need to develop a sense of autonomy and break the mother-son symbiosis. It doesn't seem very healthy for an 8 yr old child to be that dependent on his mother.

My niece slept with my sister until she was 4 yrs old. I told my sister that it wasn't healthy. My sister knew it too so she moved my niece into her own twin bed and my niece transitioned with no problem.

However, there is nothing you can do about it, even if you think it's inappropriate because you can't tell his mother what to do with her son. So if I were you I would just leave it alone.

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I have a 14 year old son and on the very rare occasion when my husband is out of town he always tries to see if he can sleep in my bed with me. I say no, just because it's nice to have a night to have the whole bed to myself, but if he wakes up early and crawls in bed with me I have no problem with it. It's actually nice to lay there and talk or watch TV together. I know those days are numbered and I treasure those moments. I wouldn't make a big deal out of it. They're both probably lonely and once she starts seeing someone I'm sure she'll put an end to it. Trust me, there will be bigger battles down the road...let this one go.

2 moms found this helpful

You don't describe any physical or emotional issues that are the result of your stepson sleeping with his mother and it sounds like both of them are fine with the arrangement. He will grow out of it eventually.

1 mom found this helpful

Well, I am not sure that it is all that "wierd". My son is 8 1/2 & a very loving little boy. I am married, but on occassion both of our children want us to sleep with them or for them to sleep in the same bed. We have a boy & a girl & don't see any problem with this. I am sure that mom & son went through a great deal when dad moved out so I am sure it is just a comfort thing and at some point he will grow out of it, but I wouldn't make a big deal out of it. In fact, if you make a big deal out of it, you may just force the co-sleeping longer in order for him to defy you. Seems that kids just do the opposite of what you want sometimes when you voice your opinion too often.
Also, if something were going on that is not appropriate, wouldn't the older siblings notice.

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When my kids were younger they wanted to sleep in my bed when my husband was gone. I think that she is probably lonely and probably doesn't want to be alone at night. You could ask him it bothers h,im or not. If not, I'm sure its okay.

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Dear S.,

This is a tricky one. Children of divorce have many conflicting feelings to deal with as do the parents and stepparents. I think if I were you I would stay out of it. There are so many bigger issues you have to deal with in sharing parenting. Trying to control what the mom does is probably not a good place to go and will be met with resistance.

I think if he continues to have a bed by himself at your house he may just naturally request that eventually. He is probably seeking extra comfort and security with his mom. It is actually pretty common for parents to sleep with their kids after they are divorced. For the good or the bad it is just part of coping with the pain of divorce.

Good luck. Just keep loving him and encouraging his independence at your house. He will evntually chose his own room I think.

Good luck. A.

1 mom found this helpful

Our 9 year old son and 12 year old daughter would sleep with us if we let them, and we do a few times a year. Yet they sleep in their beds perfectly fine and there's no fighting or whining about it; it's just that they would love it if they could sleep with me and my husband. As for being embarrassed, I'm waiting for our 9 year old to show any signs of modesty. He's perfectly comfortable walking around nude, not something we encourage but we also don't make a big deal about it. Unless there's a sign of some other problem, this behavior seems perfectly normal for a close parent-child relationahip. Be happy that your stepson feels comfortable to have that closeness with his mom.

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"We think he is too old and should be embarrassed."

This is the line of your post that is worrisome. Please, if you take anything away from all of the response, do not make your step-son feel embarrassed, ashamed, etc. Being close with his mother is a good thing, and if you shame him for this, it may cause a problem that was never there before.

My fiance thinks it is weird that my son, 4 years old, is constantly wanting my attention and affection. I think men are different about those kinds of things, and I am sure my fiance would agree with your hubbie. But, unless there is something inappropriate going on, I truly believe you have nothing to worry about.

My mother was a single mom. I slept with her until 10 yrs old, most times sleeping in her bed and occasionally in my own. Again, unless the step-son is acting strangely, siblings notice something strange, etc., then I am sure it is fine. I do think it is healthy for the boy to sleep in his own bed to encourage confidence and independence, but since he seems to have no problem sleeping in his own bed at your house, he seems to be doing just fine.

I really wouldn't worry about it too much until he gets closer to puberty. 8 yrs of age is still pretty young. Just make sure the boy is healthy physically and psychologically. Keep up your good parenting and best wishes to your family.

1 mom found this helpful

In many cultures children and parents co-sleep. My nephew and niece in Sweden still co-sleep with their parents, this is completely normal in Sweden... it's more odd there if your child sleeps in his OWN bed. Even in the hospitals, if your child stays overnight, you are allowed to sleep in the hospital bed with your child. I think this is a sign of a very healthy relationship and would feel comfortable with it until the child hits puberty.

I think it is strange. My newphew slept with my SIL until like 10, I don't know if he still sleeps with her, he is 14 now, but I think it is just plain weird. I mean if he has a bad dream or something bad happened during his day, etc. then I can understand, but every night is not right. What about the husband? He gets the couch, come on, how is your marriage supposed to function with a situation like that? My SIL's husband slept in another room, what is that?! Strange!

I had a friend whose mother let her kids sleep with her until they wanted to leave the bed. They were around your stepson's age or older, actually. It made them insecure when it came time to sleep on their own, as well as somewhat codependent. That was just their case. I cannot speak for yours. However, I would certainly be concerned if I were you, too. Puberty is coming soon. It should be your stepson's move to decide when to leave at this point so he doesn't feel punished or strange.

Good luck,
A.

I suppose if no one tells the neighborhood that he's still sleeping with his mommy, he won't be embarrassed. And I don't believe it is a bad thing...is she still single. Maybe it helps her sleep with one of the boys near her. I have a very good friend from childhood that has four children and all of them slept in her bed until they were in their tweens. Not all at once because they are all spread out, but at times she had two girls in the bed and her husband slept on the couch.

Now she has two boys and the one sleeps with mommy or grandma/grandpa and the other sleeps with dad or sometimes his own bed. They are 4 and 9. Her two girls are in their 20's now and they turned out independent and well rounded.

I don't really condone the whole co-sleeping thing. I personally always made my kids sleep in their own bed...now my girls sleep together and that's fine with me...but not in my bed (that's for me and my husband)...but others seem to do quite well with it. My girlfriend never had to get up in the middle of the night with her kids...she fed them right in the bed and barely missed any sleep. I on the other hand have been sleep deprived for a year with all my kids...but that's they way I prefer it and that's what she prefers.

I'm sure it's fine. It is probaby more for mommy than for your step son.

Honestly it's none of your business if his mother is okay with it and he is okay with who are you to say anything? Leave it alone eventually he'll stop

8 1/2? Yeah, that is too old. I'd say 3-4 is too old. He has to learn to sleep on his own and she's only punishing him. She is the one with the problem and needs to stop that asap.

It's TOTALLY normal! I think you should mind your own buisness on this one. When the child is ready, he will move into his own bed. Co-sleeping is PERFECTLY normal and NOT WEIRD. It's not "your" child. If his mother is fine with the situation, you should be too. There is NO reason to be embarrassed about his sleeping situation unless you take it upon yourself to embarras him.

I'm 23 years old and will still sleep with my mom if my dad is out of town. He's 8 years old for goodness sake. If he was 13, that would be a different story. As long as there is nothing inappropriate going on, then I would relax about it. In a few years, he'll stop. He's just a sweet boy who loves his mom.

I know how it is when you are a step parent and you care about the child and you seem to cant do anything. SO all those people that say it is none of your business shut-up. You have other step-children is this the youngest. And has your husband or you talked to the child and asked him if that's what he wanted to do. It might be very well that he is the youngest.

I don't think it is your business and you should leave it alone. He will move when he wants to.

There is nothing wrong with kids sleeping with a parent. Everytime my husband travels my 11 y/o son asks if he can sleep with me. Sometimes he does. I kick him out if he snores or invades my side of the bed. He still sleeps with his stuffed animal in his own bed. I know a lady who's only son slept with her until he was 14, and she was married, then he stopped on his own. Probably puberty happened. With some kids it happens later than with others.

He should be sleeping in his own bed.

I disagree with most of these posts. I think he is old enough to sleep on his own. Children his age need to develop a sense of autonomy and break the mother-son symbiosis. It doesn't seem very healthy for an 8 yr old child to be that dependent on his mother.

My niece slept with my sister until she was 4 yrs old. I told my sister that it wasn't healthy. My sister knew it too so she moved my niece into her own twin bed and my niece transitioned with no problem.

However, there is nothing you can do about it, even if you think it's inappropriate because you can't tell his mother what to do with her son. So if I were you I would just leave it alone.

S.,
Your post shows what a wonderful caring person you are, your stepson is lucky to have you in his life. As for your concern over sleeping arrangements, speaking from my experience, I am the youngest of 4 and my mother was widowed when I was 2. I slept w/ her or shared a bed w/ my sister until roughly 10. My mother is a strong, determined & loving person who worked very hard to keep our family together. As an adult, I appreciate all she did for us, and look back fondly those years of cuddling with my mom. And hope that I can instill in my child the kind of loving security she gave to us.

I believe your worries are valid but unnecessary at this time. If this should continue into/beyond puberty, then there is reason for concern. A child should have some privacy during this period of development.

Try not to worry to much over this issue. If anything, perhaps an open dialogue should be initiated to sway any concerns. Or maybe, your husband could speak w/ the childs pediatrician to ask for advice.

I know you have gotten alot of advice, but I would just say that if he sleeps on his own at your house, I agree that he will sleep in his own bed at his mom's house when he gets a little bit older. I have a 9 year old, that never would sleep with me as a baby, but every once in awhile he asks why can't he sleep with me now? He doesn't, and I don't think that he would if I said he could, I think it's just a closeness issue. My 3 year old on the other hand, has always slept with me! That became, though, because he shared a bedroom with us (mom and dad.) until just about a year ago, and while he will fall asleep in his own bed, naps alone in his own bed, and once in a great while sleep through the night in his own bed...most nights around 3-5 a.m. he gets out of his bed and climbs in ours. If your stepson started out in the same room as mom due to space issues or whathaveyou...it could just be that that's how he's comfortable. I fully agree that he will eventually want to sleep away from mom. Especially once puberty starts! I have a friend that said he slept with his mom until he was twelve. Now, where I think that's a bit much personally, and I hope that my youngest transitions to his own bed every night at his own pace, and happily...my friend is perfectly well adjusted member of society, and a great father to his own son! I think that it is an issue that you should not trouble yourself, or your husband with. and honestly, I will miss it when my youngest doesn't sleep with me anymore!

There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING wrong with this! A boy should NEVER be embarrased of sleeping next to his mom. I really doubt that your husband asking his ex to have him sleep on his own is really going to work. I think making a big fuss about it is the problem more than where he is sleeping. Bringing this up/arguing about it will just lead to many more problems than just letting him be. He is old enough to decide when he wants to sleep on his own and leave mommy. In a few years he probably won't want anything to do with cuddling with her. Enjoy your kids they grow up so fast. We as parents are responsible for raising these children to be non-judmental, non-prejudice, loving, caring, responsible, proud, etc. and by making this a "he should be embarassed" issue you are opening the door for so many problems. Sorry, but this is just my opinion!

If you think there is something morally inappropriate going on - I would jump on it!!! If not...

You're dealing with an 8 1/2 year old who has been through his parent's divorce. I would think that would be part of the cause for his insecurities. Having dad rule the roost in the house that he moved out of seems pointless. At mom's home, he's the youngest and at dad's home, he vyes for dad's attention.

Has dad carefully and thoughtfully questioned his son - just to see how the sleeping arangements come about? Are they encouraged by the mom or is it just a habit that the boy has gotten into doing? Perhaps mom has a nicer mattress and a TV in her room? Or does he claim to have an uncomfortable bed or does his room needs updating (all better ways to work together with the boy's mom) or are monsters under his bed and he's just plain scared? He may see only see the innocence and comfort of it and somehow, the negative attitude shed on it will make him feel shameful. Getting to the basis of why it's happening, is really important. Personally, it is probably something that the mom should be discouraging, at least, on a nightly basis - that's the conversation I would encourage dad to have. Soon, he will most likely reach the age of modesty and will want to be in his own room, anyway. As a step-mom, I would walk away from this conversation. There are so many other ways he is going to need you, down the road.

Good luck.

My boys are 20 almost 21 and 19 almost 20 and 13. all of them climb into bed sometimes and talk to me when I am almost asleep. we will talk and if one of them falls asleep I leave them alone. it doesn't hurt anything. is she normal? is he afraid to sleep by himself because of anything to do with the older siblings? is he afraid in his room? has he always slept with her or is this something new? is it because she does't want to sleep alone and wants to have someone else breathing beside her? has he asked to sleep alone and she won't let him? maybe some more questions to be asked before making demands. just my thoughts

It is still ok. People all over the world sleep together. It provides comfort and a sense of security for the child.

I personally like to have my own space but this is a comfort for them and as long as neither of them has a problem with it, neither should you! Anyone who tells you there is something wrong with it is being silly. It is a mother and a son and as long as nothing "inappropriate" is happening it is something that should be left up to that mother and son. We all have different views on the subject, I'm sure, but why do you think there is something wrong with it? Personally, if an 8 1/2 year old still feels that close to his mother that he enjoys that time why would you want to take that away?

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