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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Co-Sleeping as a Form of Child Abuse

I want to warn everybody that this is a sensitive topic for me. So I kindly ask people not to be jerks in their comments. If you have a burning need to share the story of how you sleep in the same bed with your child and that child totally digs it, I ask you to take this story elsewhere. Here, it will bring you no applause. 

Every form of emotional abuse of children comes out of the parental incapacity to see children as separate human beings. There is nothing more dangerous to a child’s psyche than a parent who sees that child as an extension of him or herself. Parents often invade the personal space of their children in ways they would have never allowed themselves to employ in respect to other adults. Putting children to sleep in the same bed with themselves is one of the most egregious invasions of a child’s personal space that a parent can come up with.

Children start exploring their bodies and masturbating early in life. Obviously, it cannot be very healthy for a person’s developing sexuality to experience his or her first instances of sexual arousal in the same bed with the parents.

At the same time, adults normally have erotic dreams. (Whether you remember them or not is, of course, completely immaterial.) It is also hardly a good thing for a child to wake up and observe a parent who is orgasming in his or her sleep.

One of the greatest challenges on the road to a healthy sexuality for both men and women is to learn to select partners exclusively on the basis of their own sexual desire. Parents who drag children into bed with them exercise their authority over the children in order to service their own tactile needs. Later on in life, such children have absolutely no idea how to reject unwanted tactile contacts.

There is a mile-long list of justifications parents who practice the so-called co-sleeping have come up with to excuse their invasion of the personal space of their miserable children. I read such lists a couple of times and they made my hair stand on end. There are people who seriously say that sleeping with children is acceptable because it allows them to save on heating. Truly, the hypocrisy of child abusers knows no bounds.

The only real reason why adults drag children into bed with them is because they are incapable of developing a relationship with another adult(s) to satisfy their tactile needs. To put it bluntly, they can’t persuade anybody to touch them as much as they need and to share personal space with them, so they use the only people who cannot refuse them, their unfortunate children. And if those children then have to spend the rest of their lives trying to deal with the emotional and sexual problems they develop as a result, who cares?

I know that this post will make many people very angry. But as long as there is a tiniest chance that I might persuade at least one person to get out of his or her child’s bed, I have to use it.

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249 thoughts on “Co-Sleeping as a Form of Child Abuse

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  1. I think that by and large, you are correct. But it is certainly possible to be in a situation where one has no heat and the temperature outside is such that a child sleeping alone is in danger of death from hypothermia. Consider for example cases where people have no electric power, and hence no heat, for a week or so, as happened recently in New England.

    So, I argue that being too mindlessly rigid about this is problematic.

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    • Of course, there are special cases of natural disasters, etc. But I;m not talking about that here. I’m talking about people who have developed an entire ideology based on co-sleeping. There are books published on this stuff and all.

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  2. Patrick on said:

    Your idiocy knows no bounds.

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  3. Evelina Anville on said:

    I mostly agree with you. But what do you say to the parents whose child repeatedly crawls in to bed with them (and I’m talking a little child–say 2 or 3) and howls when s/he is alone in his/her own bed? Some little kids get nervous or scared at night and it could seem cruel to force them to sleep alone if they are upset, scared, or crying. Again, I’m not much in favor of co-sleeping. But I am wondering what you think of that situation……….Also Patrick was WILDLY inappropriate there!

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    • If the child feels lonely and experiences such intense anxiety, then parents should look at what it is they are doing to foster that. Little children don’t develop such intense anxiety for no reason at all. So I’d look at the general environment at home for answers.

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    • Patrick on said:

      Clarissa directed the following at me, without any evidence:

      “Parents who drag children into bed with them exercise their authority over the children in order to service their own tactile needs.”

      “The only real reason why adults drag children into bed with them is because they are incapable of developing a relationship with another adult”

      “…they can’t persuade anybody to touch them as much as they need and to share personal space with them, so they use the only people who cannot refuse them,…”

      So, to paraphrase her statements, I’m a lonely pedophile. Nice generalization. Wholly and completely unsubstantiated and couldn’t be further from the truth. I would say Clarissa is the one who is WILDLY inappropriate.

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      • at you?? And where exactly is your name mentioned in this post?

        Haven’t I mentioned on multiple occasions that responding to a general post that never mentioned anybody by name with “How dare you say this about me?” is quite ridiculous?

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  4. Clarissa, have you slept with your parents? You used such strong expressions that I felt OK to ask based on whose experiences you had been.

    Also, from which age does your post apply? F.e. newborns frequently cry, if left alone. My mother told that I woke up as a small child (several months) the moment I was put in my own bed and could sleep only on her stomach. This is hardly unusual.

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  5. What Patrick said. Seriously. Issues. Do you make the same arguments against breastfeeding?

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  6. Well, Partick…
    Either you “drag children to bed” and then Clarissa is right. Or you don’t drag them, but then why did you take it so personally?

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    • I wonder, is thinking every word published online is a sign of healthy self-esteem or not?

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    • Patrick on said:

      I take it personally, because she is labeling people who co-sleep as child abusers. As a parent who co-slept, I fall in that group – therefore, by her logic, I’m a child abuser. I resent being labeled a criminal by some half-wit in her ivory tower.

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      • Another meaningless comment. Emotional abuse is not criminalized. Invasion of personal space isn’t either. This is not about “criminals” or the criminal justice system.

        Nice try to derail the topic, though.

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      • Patrick on said:

        Then you don’t understand the Child Protective Services that exist on this continent. It’s precisely “progressives” like yourself that populate these agencies and exact extra-judicial authourity over society.

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    • @V

      Its a discussion. Sometimes discussions have an impact on people.

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  7. Superb post! I support you entirely here!

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  8. Go tell that to the millions of poor people in the subcontinent who share a single room with their entire family, and in many cases probably don’t have the necessary privacy for sex. This is a total non-issue as far as I am concerned.

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  9. Anonymous on said:

    Ugh I couldn’t agree more.

    That whole ‘family bed’ thing revolts me!

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  10. David Gendron :

    But beware! Sometimes you write posts that suck, and I tell you that! ;)

    And I always welcome your perspective. 🙂

    Hey, even Cervantes wrote tons of crappy stuff before coming up with one good work. 🙂

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  11. Evelina Anville on said:

    I never heard of the “family bed” and looked it up. Gross. In addition to being disturbing for the child, it makes me think that it totally erases any possibility of a marital relationship……I think to a large degree that the “family bed” believers, the “breastfeeding and only brestfeeding” group, and the homeschooling movement, all share cultural similarities. It all goes back to a sort of “cult of the child.” This notion that the only way to be a good parent is to give your life, your privacy, your body, and every drop of your mental energy to your child. And any critique of their practices, no matter how minimal, how sane, or how true are always met with vitriol. Ultimately, though all these movements affect men too, I think it’s part of a feminist backlash. It’s a way of making sure that women retreat to the home and assume “mommy-hood” as a career. It’s all very disconcerting.

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    • “Gross. In addition to being disturbing for the child, it makes me think that it totally erases any possibility of a marital relationship”

      -Exactly. I have to wonder about the quality of a relationship where people can’t face remaining alone with each other without the buffer of the children even in bed.

      “This notion that the only way to be a good parent is to give your life, your privacy, your body, and every drop of your mental energy to your child. ”

      -In reality, though, they take a lot more from the children than they offer to them. They colonize every aspect of the child’s existence. This self-sacrifice is also a perfect manipulation tool. “After everything I’ve sacrificed for you, you now want to have a life of your own?? How dare you?”

      “It’s a way of making sure that women retreat to the home and assume “mommy-hood” as a career. ”

      -Of course.

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  12. From the American Academy of Pediatrics: “There are some reports of infants being suffocated by overlying by an adult, particularly when the adult is in an unnaturally depressed state of consciousness, such as from alcohol or mind-altering drugs. Co-sleeping on sofas has emerged as a major risk factor in 1 study (Peter J. Fleming, Department for Child Health, Bristol, UK, unpublished data presented at a meeting convened by US Consumer Product Safety Commission, Bethesda, MD, December 9, 1998). Others52 have shown bed sharing with multiple family members in an adult bed to be particularly hazardous for the infant. Although overlying may be the mechanism in some of these cases, soft sleep surfaces, entrapment, and the likelihood of rolling to the prone position in such circumstances also may have a role. The risk of SIDS associated with co-sleeping is significantly greater among smokers.1153–55 Some behavioral studies have demonstrated that infants have more arousals and less slow-wave sleep during bed sharing,56,57 but no epidemiologic evidence exists that bed sharing is protective against SIDS.”

    http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;105/3/650

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  13. Anonymous on said:

    I don’t see why you even write a blog if you won’t welcome others’ opinions. You are a ridiculous blog-despot with a bad habit of making unfounded and highly one-sided posts. I wish you would stop clogging up the Feminist Blog Aggregator. You are ridiculous and self-absorbed, classic academic with an inflated sense of self-importance!

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    • Ah, the haters of education have arrived. I knew you would flock to the topic.

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      • Anonymous on said:

        I’m not an “education hater”, in fact, I am highly educated and work as an administrator at a well-regarded public university. That still doesn’t mean I want to read your endless, self-important drivel each day on the Feminist Blog Aggregator.

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  14. Whereas I never shared the same bed with my parents, my father said to me once, in my early thirties, “I actually thought you were part of my brain.” I’d always known that, of course. I’d become “part of his brain” around the time of puberty and he’d always verbally abused me, chased me away and accused me of things I hadn’t done from that point on. He had a rare moment of insight when he realised he’d been treating me like “part of his brain”, but he didn’t go so far as to draw out any of the ethical ramifications about this, concerning what I must have experienced.

    Now, very luckily, much of his brain has been destroyed. He had a stroke and 60 percent of the right side of his brain is gone. I think this is very fortunate, since he no longer relates to me on an intuitive, emotional basis, but much more in a detached, logical way. Above all, with a sense of humour about life.

    Not many people, I imagine, have the opportunity to see a crazy parent revert to a normal one at the end of the life. His disability also means he can’t become physically violent anymore.

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  15. My parents did not want me sleeping with them. I didn’t particularly want to sleep with them either, except that I was terrified that the monsters would get me. It was unreasonable, I knew it was unreasonable, but in the middle of the night, reason simply wasn’t present. By age 6, one of my teachers finally figured out how bad my eyesight was and I got glasses (and could put them on and see that the vague shape in the corner was really a piece of clothing hanging over a chair and not a huge thing with scary teeth and claws). After that, it was not so bad and I stopped running into my parents’ room at night. I’d still get scared, but it was manageable instead of overwhelming.

    My own kids didn’t sleep with me (with the exception of once, during a storm that scared even me). They went through the “scared of monsters” stage, so we drew pictures of monsters before bedtime, put them in a box, taped the box shut so the monsters couldn’t get out, and then locked it in the car trunk…which worked pretty well.

    I had in-laws who did the co-sleeping thing, and always found it odd. Their children, despite being grown (and having kids of their own) are still living with their parents…which I find even odder.

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  16. Helena Suess :
    Violent, capricious, abusive, says you are part of his brain….
    So what you are saying is that your dad is Zeus and you are Athene.

    Well, I would have to be Athene still stuck in his brain, then?

    My father kind of went insane around the time Rhodesia became Zimbabwe and “we” lost the war. I guess I am the one in the family that had the greatest personal knowledge of his insanity. He managed to use me as an excuse to disguise his instability and make it seem justified.

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  17. Jennifer Frances Armstrong :

    Helena Suess :
    Violent, capricious, abusive, says you are part of his brain….
    So what you are saying is that your dad is Zeus and you are Athene.

    He managed to use me as an excuse to disguise his instability and make it seem justified.

    Actually, he managed to use patriarchal and paternalistic logic to make it seem like I was a very irresponsible person, for much of my life. This rationalisation of his behaviour seemed to suit most other family members, too. I didn’t realise that they had also noticed he was insane until the point of crisis of his stroke, when we had to decide if he should have palliative care or restorative care. All the other family members voted that he should die, since his life seemed to express a state of torment. I was the only one who went along with the idea that a bit of destruction of his brain might be an interesting experiment to try and that he should live.

    I turned out to be right, of course.

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  18. Hi Clarissa

    I love your blog, I love your style of writing. I think you are dead wrong on the absolutism of your opinion in this matter.

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  19. Cosleeping is NOT a form of child abuse, as you title your post. Perhaps you mean to say that “forced cosleeping” is a form of child abuse. I have never heard of anybody forcing their child to cosleep. Most families who do it end up that way because that’s the easiest way for everyone to get sleep at night. Perhaps your parents forced you, but that is bizarre.

    In terms of the AAP statement, there are contraindications against cosleeping, such as obesity or alcohol or drug use, but once these contraindications are followed, there is no difference in outcomes, and some evidence that cosleeping prevents SIDs.

    Breastfeeding is also normal for kids “old enough to ask for it”. Kids stop on their own sometime between age 2 and age 5. Only in Western culture do we stop at before a year. Breastfeeding is also a way that mothers and babies bond, come in close contact, etc.

    I’m not sure what’s up with all these internet peeps saying, “I’m going to say something offensive, and if you disagree with me then you’re making me a victim.” It seems to be a recent epidemic.

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    • Have you seen a small child strong enough to oppose a practice parents impose on him or her from birth? Acceptance from parents and a sense of security are the basic needs of every small child. I’m sure you know that very well.

      As for breastfeeding, I agree that it’s nothing but a way for a mother to service her own needs. And that’s why it’s completely wrong. However, I don’t want this to be a thread on breastfeeding and I ask everybody to refrain from any further comments on that in this thread.

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  20. Clarissa, you should first bear one or two children before you offend half of the parents in the USA. Once you experience the tiredness first hand, and once you are so exhausted you hit you head against the door frame because it’s the 6th time in one night you are running to the nursery to nurse your baby, I will take your opinion seriously. Until then, it’s like talking how great an intercourse is while being a virgin.

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    • First of all, let’s not slander half of parents in this country. Second of all, the opinions of co-sleeping parents on this topic are hardly valid. Only the children who had this inflicted on them and have now grown up to tell of their impressions can tell if this impacted them negatively.

      Only a victim of abuse can evaluate whether she or he was abused, don’t you think?

      As for exhausted parents, my sister’s daughter is 2. Somehow her parents managed to take care of her adequately without dragging her into their bed. Tons of normal parents manage to do that. People simply put the crib next to their bed and that’s that.

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    • “Until then, it’s like talking how great an intercourse is while being a virgin.”

      -I actually find the virgin analogy very apt in this case. Of course, the word “great” has nothing to do with this discussion because I’m not talking about how great sleeping with parents is.

      So let’s imagine a virgin who is, say, 35 years old. And that virgin says that s/he has been very traumatized by certain things that were done to him or to her in his or her childhood. So now the prospect of having sex terrifies him or her because of that trauma.

      Would you say this hypothetical virgin would be justified in publishing a post that tries to analyze the reasons for his or her unhappy virginity?

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  21. I barely know how to reply to this…Do you have ANY objective data to support your many assertions?

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    • Which assertions in particular?

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      • I refer primarily to the negative effects to the children’s psyche. I also am concerned about your generalizations regarding the (sick) needs of the parents who attempt to have their own sexual needs met by sleeping with their own children. I mean, I’m sure that you are probably correct about a small minority of cases. It just seems to me that you are over-generalizing unless you have some objective proof…

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        • “I also am concerned about your generalizations regarding the (sick) needs of the parents who attempt to have their own sexual needs met by sleeping with their own children.”

          -Do you notice how I never said anything about sexual needs? That’s something that came solely and entirely from you.

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      • Anonymous on said:

        I guess I would say every assertion you made in your entire backwards post.

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        • What is the point of posting such an inane comment? If you have nothing to respond to the points that were made in this post, then why participate in the discussion?

          Mind you, I’m not moderating you in any way. I’m just wondering.

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  22. Anonymous :

    I’m not an “education hater”, in fact, I am highly educated and work as an administrator at a well-regarded public university. That still doesn’t mean I want to read your endless, self-important drivel each day on the Feminist Blog Aggregator.

    We have a joke just about this kind of attitude in my culture.

    The joke goes as follows: hedgehogs were climbing a cactus. They kept pricking themselves on its needles, crying, suffering. Yet, they kept climbing the cactus.

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  23. Isn’t this something that varies from one culture to another?

    I read somewhere that in the past in Russia the whole family — several generations — used to sleep on stop of the stove. And the ancestors (domovoi) would sleep behind it.

    And I think the concept of “personal space” varies from culture to culture too. I also read somewhere that American culture reuires more personal space, and Hispanic culture requires less, so English speaking Americans think that Spanish-speaking people stand too close in conversations.

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  24. Oh, I’m nannying for a family with three children right now. They totally creep me out! They have “sleepovers” several times a week. To be fair, the older two bring sleeping bags, but the baby stays in the grown ups’ bed. I am super close with my parents, very “casera,” but this is so weird to me. The kids scream when they don’t get to sleep with their parents, and think they should stay home from school because they had to sleep alone last night. It’s worth noting that, at 5 and 8, they still go to bed with sippy cups full of milk each night too.

    I can’t imagine, should I have kids, regularly bringing them into the bed where I do all sorts of sordid things with their father. Once in a great while (if they’re scared after a traumatic event, say), but not often! Then again, I also hate having TVs near bed. Beds are deeply intimate space and people should stick to their own as often as possible, and use them for relaxation – not for entertainment or family parties! Adults need some space free from the BS of the grown-up world, and kids need to develop a comfortable private routine.

    You’ve obviously got me all worked up on this! Though for whatever it’s worth, I don’t think a typical case ventures into abusive territory – just weird.

    Like

    • “Beds are deeply intimate space and people should stick to their own as often as possible, and use them for relaxation – not for entertainment or family parties!”

      -This is a very important point. And then people wonder why their intimacy as a couple has deteriorated and why they feel permanently exhausted.

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  25. On another note, when I stayed in Zimbabwe, I ended up being given a room of my own at the expense of the family’s kids (who were very gracious about it). I believe the rest of the family stayed in the same double bed, during the duration of my stay, which was several weeks. I consider this an extreme expression of Zimbabwean hospitality (although I also bestowed some considerable amount of cash).

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  26. “I never heard of the “family bed” and looked it up. Gross. In addition to being disturbing for the child, it makes me think that it totally erases any possibility of a marital relationship”

    Maybe that is the whole point?
    The kids have to sleep in their bed so that they have an excuse for not scheduling sex?
    http://www.stuffchristianculturelikes.com/2011/11/223-scheduling-sex.html

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  27. @Clarissa

    If you dont mind I would like to brag a little about my daughter. She is 14 and enrolled in a special IB program, she just made the volleyball team and is a happy and well rounded teenager. As far as we know(we talk alot), she doesnt do drugs(we have let her try wine) and she informs me that she is not quite ready for sex. To the best of my knowledge she hasnt even kissed, though she would love to. Her average on her report(got it yesterday) is 92.65. She got 100% in math and 99% in french.
    But here is the kicker Clarissa. After her mother and I split when she was 2.5yrs old my daughter would sleep in my bed several times a week until the age of about 4 or so. Isnt it amazing how child abuse makes a kid so happy and well rounded.

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    • Anonymous on said:

      I doubt she’s interested in reality. She has a hate on for some reason, which is beyond me. Thankfully, she doesn’t have children of her own to screw up.

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    • Are you trying to prove my point for me with this story? She is FOURTEEN and she reports to her Daddy as to whether she has been kissed and isn’t ready for sex??? And you are giving this as an example of a normally developing teenager?

      I’m trying to imagine how a 14-year-old approaches her father and says “Daddy, I’m not ready for sex” and my imagination fails me. That’s precisely the incapacity to form one’s own boundaries that I was talking about. But who cares about that if she did well on a math test?

      Seriously, I wish people read their own comments before posting them.

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      • I thought that too. But then I thought she might be just telling him what he wants to hear.

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      • Patrick on said:

        It’s perfectly rationale and should be abundantly normal for one’s kids to be open and honest with their parents. Treating sex and intimacy as a secret is exactly the Puritan attitude that you typically despise. Who should children go to for advice? The parents that love and understand them, or their idiot Spanish teacher?

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      • You guys are too funny. Of course my daughter doesnt talk to me about everything, which I totally agree with. The great thing is she talks to me about ALOT of things which my parents generation did not do. Clarissa I understand you have strong views on this matter but that doesnt mean your views are 100% correct, or does it?

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      • So, this is T4T’s daughter. And just to clear something up, I don’t report to my dad about anything. We have mutual and open discussions that may be slightly awkward, but are definitely beneficial for me. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t tell my dad what he wants to hear. If I have something that I don’t want to tell him, I don’t. I don’t feel pressured into telling him anything. It’s just nice to know that my dad, who I live with most of the time, understands me, and genuinely cares enough to give me advice, from a guy’s point of view, which not a lot of daughters can say they get. I love my dad, and I don’t think I’d change a thing about our relationship right now.

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  28. Oh you are on a roll with things that wind me up. Co-sleeping stops your child from learning how to be independent. I have a friend that still has a two year old in their bed. Well actually now it has moved to a cot but still in their bed.

    In this case it is a form of guilt being expressed because the mother works long hours and feels she needs to spend time with the child (So much that on several occasions she has come home from work at 11pm and woken the child for a play).

    Modern life with young children is hard enough if the parents never have time alone then their relationship must also suffer again not good for the child.

    Co-sleeping is also bad for everybody’s sleep hygiene parents dont operate without good sleep and neither do children.

    To top it of recent research has also shown that co-sleeping is dangerous for very small children with much increased risk of being smothered to death.

    Basically act like a grown up and teach your child good sleep hygiene and give them some independence.

    rant finished.

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    • Exactly, exactly, exactly.

      I’m very happy that there are so many balanced, normal people in this thread. I expected much worse results from this post. But now my faith in humanity has been partially restored. 🙂

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      • The one thing that I have learned from bringing up children is that routine is essential. The child knows what to expect next and the parents get some time to themselves.

        The most important thing to establish routine is good sleep hygiene. Co-sleeping will not give this to any of the participants.

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    • I wonder how “well developed” the first nation children were or for that matter the inuit. It seems they all slept in the same room or teepee or igloo. I wonder if they saw mommy on top or daddy on top. Or for that matter did they learn how to do oral sex from watching considering it was all done in the same room. Its amazing listening to people who probably have several different rooms in at least a 1200sq. foot home talk about intimacy and boundaries. Fucked up for sure. 😦

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  29. llama :

    I thought that too. But then I thought she might be just telling him what he wants to hear.

    That’s very probable, but the very fact of a 14-year-old raising this topic with her father is very shocking.

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    • yep, wouldn’t happen in my house without me wondering what weird shit was happening.

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    • Where was it said the daughter raised the topic? Neither was it said the father raised the topic… I find it quite plausible that parents having good contact with their children and routinely having various discussions about different aspects of life (not just focusing on their children erotic experiences or lack thereof) may have quite a good idea. Not to be sure, but to know with 80-90% probability, which is high enough…

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  30. Patrick :

    It’s perfectly rationale and should be abundantly normal for one’s kids to be open and honest with their parents. Treating sex and intimacy as a secret is exactly the Puritan attitude that you typically despise. Who should children go to for advice? The parents that love and understand them, or their idiot Spanish teacher?

    Once again, unless there has been a typo in the comment, the girl isn’t four. She is FOURTEEN. Did you discuss whether you were ready for sex and have or haven’t been kissed with your mother at the age of 14?

    ‘Who should children go to for advice? The parents that love and understand them, or their idiot Spanish teacher?”

    -And for a normally developing teenager these are the only options??

    ‘Treating sex and intimacy as a secret is exactly the Puritan attitude that you typically despise. ”

    -So you discuss your sex life with your parents? In detail, I hope, because otherwise that would be a Puritanically secretive behavior. I can just imagine such a conversation.

    “Mom, hi. The wife says she wants to try anal sex but I’m just not sure. Do you have any advice? And what does Dad think? Maybe we should have a family meeting because surely Grandma and Auntie would also love to weigh in on this.”

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    • Patrick on said:

      Did I discuss sex with my parents at 14? – Absolutely not. But they were also of the generation that abhor things such as attachment parenting. At 14, I was looking to get as far away from my parents as possible. It is that experience with my parents that I gravitated towards the attachment parenting model – because I knew first hand how counter productive the detached model was.

      Do I discuss sexual positions with my kids – No. Do we discuss sex. Absolutely. If you are incapable of understanding the difference . . . well, I won’t toss insults your way.

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  31. llama :

    The one thing that I have learned from bringing up children is that routine is essential. The child knows what to expect next and the parents get some time to themselves.

    The most important thing to establish routine is good sleep hygiene.

    Such a simple, convincing and logical set of principles. Why do so many people find it hard to understand?

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    • Thestruggler on said:

      Sounds more like there’s no need for the child to think, if you care for my opinion =).

      While self-discipline is very constructive for development, strict control can prove counter-productive for development. If a parent is constantly the engine to get you started, will you ever learn to do something on your own?

      It’s a tough act of balance to guide the young in right and wrong, while at the same time holding yourself back from shaping them mentally in ways that might be yours and not theirs.

      Children should grow up to be their own individuals, not a clone of their respective parent, wouldn’t you say =)?

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  32. “But they were also of the generation that abhor things such as attachment parenting.”

    -You were very lucky in having great parents.

    So do you envision the following discussion with your grown up children in the future: ““Dad, hi. The wife says she wants to try anal sex but I’m just not sure. Do you have any advice? And what does Mom think? Maybe we should have a family meeting because surely Grandma and Auntie would also love to weigh in on this.””

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    • Patrick on said:

      Why the fixation on anal sex today? Did N hit the wrong hole by accident?

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      • Wow, this is a very traumatic topic for you because you’ll do anything rather than answer a simple question that has been asked of you.

        Like

      • Patrick on said:

        “Do I discuss sexual positions with my kids – No. Do we discuss sex. Absolutely. If you are incapable of understanding the difference . . . well, I won’t toss insults your way.”

        I answered your stupid fucking question already. I can see you’re incapable of rationale thought, but I thought you were at least capable of simple comprehension.

        Like

    • Patrick on said:

      Yeah – great parents. I got my daily spanking from ages 5-12 because they were sure I must have done something wrong.

      Don’t speak about things you can’t possibly know or understand.

      Like

  33. Thomas on said:

    You are contradicting yourself. On the one hand you rightfully claim that children have free will and their parents shouldn’t force them to co-sleep. On the other hand you claim that children who do want to sleep in their parents’ bed have been brainwashed.

    You can’t have it both ways either children have free will or not. I could easily turn your argument around and claim that children who don’t want to co-sleep are actually the brainwashed ones and just cater for their parents needs.

    If you believe that children have free will and different personalities, you also have to take into account that some need and want more physical contact with their parents at least temporarily. Over-generalization and making absolute statements is not helpful, especially when it comes to a sensitive issue like parenting.

    Like

    • “On the one hand you rightfully claim that children have free will and their parents shouldn’t force them to co-sleep. On the other hand you claim that children who do want to sleep in their parents’ bed have been brainwashed.”

      -Please show me where I mention the words “free will” and “brainwashed” in either my post or my comments.

      I feel very annoyed when people impute some weird statements tome and then proceed to argue with them. Please try to engage with what has been said instead of with what you assume might have been said. A little hint: concepts of free will and brainwashing are in no way germane to this particular discussion.

      Like

  34. titfortat :

    Clarissa I understand you have strong views on this matter but that doesnt mean your views are 100% correct, or does it?

    This thread is already very long and will obviously get much longer. This is why I think it’s a good idea to leave philosophical issues for some other thread. Thank you.

    Like

    • It may be nice of you not to imply that certain things that you dont agree with are child abuse. Because in theory that means you are calling the parents who disagree with you child abuser. Very nasty claims considering you have no way of knowing one way or the other.

      Like

      • In this case they are not just abusing their children they are abusing themselves and their partners.

        Like

      • @titfortat. Yes it is a form of child abuse. So sue me!

        “Because in theory that means you are calling the parents who disagree with you child abuser.”

        Yes it is child abuse it is robbing the child of the best chances of learning good habits that will help them do well at school, uni and eventually in holding down a job.

        Like

  35. titfortat :

    It may be nice of you not to imply that certain things that you dont agree with are child abuse.

    But I do perceive these things as a form of emotional abuse of children. And I agree with llama that “In this case they are not just abusing their children they are abusing themselves and their partners.”

    Like

    • @Clarissa

      I could suppose that by your stance that maybe you were a victim of some type of abuse by your stance on things. I could also perceive that you could be a danger to be around children because of this viewpoint. You may end up repeating a possible cycle of abuse. I guess I could guess about a lot of things. Just like you do. But instead I will just chalk one up to the fact that you have no children and have no actual experience with which you speak.

      @Ilama

      What do llama’s no about children?

      Like

  36. Patrick :

    “Do I discuss sexual positions with my kids – No. Do we discuss sex. Absolutely. If you are incapable of understanding the difference . . . well, I won’t toss insults your way.”

    I answered your stupid fucking question already. I can see you’re incapable of rationale thought, but I thought you were at least capable of simple comprehension.

    I find this strange outburst to be very telling.

    Like

    • Patrick on said:

      Please, do tell. I can’t wait to hear what bizarre scenario you’ve dreamed up.

      Like

      • This is getting too weird for words. Scenario of what?

        I find it interesting how you keep bringing completely irrelevant statements about a wide variety of things into the discussion but have not even attempted to answer a single statement from the actual post.

        Do you believe that adults don’t have erotic dreams? Or that it’s useful for a child to observe an orgasming parent?
        Do you believe that children don’t explore their bodies or masturbate? Or that it’s useful for a child to masturbate right next to an undressed parent?
        Do you believe that a couple does not develop a special intimacy by sharing the marital bed?

        Another issue is that, as we all know, healthy males tend to wake up with an erection. Do you think it’s useful for a child to observe Daddy’s erection?

        I always wondered how co-sleeping parents explain these things to themselves.

        Like

      • Patrick on said:

        Just trying to play by your rules. You made it clear in your preamble that you don’t want to hear positive, healthy co-sleeping examples. Your wedded to your asinine position. So I took the route that seemed appropriate.

        Like

  37. Patrick :

    Then you don’t understand the Child Protective Services that exist on this continent. It’s precisely “progressives” like yourself that populate these agencies and exact extra-judicial authourity over society.

    So now we are going to discuss whether I work for the CPS? I don’t promise that this will be a fruitful discussion. 🙂

    Like

    • Patrick on said:

      Again – the comprehension problem. I didn’t say YOU worked for CPS. Just people that are as misguided in their thought process as you.

      Like

  38. titfortat :

    @Clarissa

    I could suppose that by your stance that maybe you were a victim of some type of abuse by your stance on things. I could also perceive that you could be a danger to be around children because of this viewpoint. You may end up repeating a possible cycle of abuse. I guess I could guess about a lot of things. Just like you do. But instead I will just chalk one up to the fact that you have no children and have no actual experience with which you speak.

    @Ilama

    What do llama’s no about children?

    Projections, projections. . . I knew they would make an appearance sooner or later.

    Like

  39. Projections, projections. . . I knew they would make an appearance sooner or later.(Clarissa)

    Yep, isnt it grand when we make assumptions about people’s actions. Kind of like sleeping with your kids is child abuse, nah, that is not an assumption or projection or a baseless idea, is it? 😉

    Like

  40. Patrick :

    Just trying to play by your rules. You made it clear in your preamble that you don’t want to hear positive, healthy co-sleeping examples. Your wedded to your asinine position. So I took the route that seemed appropriate.

    And still not a single answer to any of the questions. Thank you, you’ve offered more proof for the points I made here than I ever could.

    Like

    • Patrick on said:

      I had hoped you were intelligent enough to comprehend how absurd your own points were, but if you need to be hand-held, so be it:

      “Do you believe that adults don’t have erotic dreams?”
      Of course they do. So what?

      “Or that it’s useful for a child to observe an orgasming parent?”
      If said child is underneath the covers in my genital area, then we have other things to be concerned with. Otherwise, it’s a non issue. Their feet will be a good 6 inches above my mid section. They would never know anything occurred.

      “Do you believe that children don’t explore their bodies or masturbate?”
      Of course they do. So what? The very young, you let them explore. Once they are verbally communicative, you provide them with the instruction that some things are done in private. Or do you think masturbation ought to be done in pubic?

      “Or that it’s useful for a child to masturbate right next to an undressed parent?”
      1) The child is exploring their body – it’s completely detached from the presence/absence of the parent. It’s not sexual at that age.
      2) Undressed parent? I don’t, and the attachment parents I know, don’t sleep naked. We wear bedclothes. So, again, a non issue.

      “Do you believe that a couple does not develop a special intimacy by sharing the marital bed?”
      Of course sharing a bed builds intimacy with a partner. But sex can occur in any number of locations – couch, coffee table, dining room, in front of fireplace, shower, deck, pool. . . etc. My, god, you could even move the sleeping child to another room if you’re desperate to use the bed. That you can’t figure that out on your own is astounding.

      “Another issue is that, as we all know, healthy males tend to wake up with an erection. Do you think it’s useful for a child to observe Daddy’s erection?”
      Again – the erection will be under the covers – I may not be as endowed as some people, so perhaps that’s why it was never noticed by my children. Again, it’s pretty much a non-issue. Especially since the child is almost certainly still asleep when Dad gets up to go to work. Finally, if the child noticed the erection under the covers – so what. It’s a normal part of biology. You explain it to the kid and move on. Healthy attitudes towards sex and sexuality are built from not positions of knowledge. Men get erections because of excess blood flow to the penis. Done. Kids satisfied with the explanation and we move on.

      Try applying some rational thought to your points before sounding off. You could have come to these conclusions on your own if you didn’t possess such a hateful, biased view.

      Like

      • “If said child is underneath the covers in my genital area, then we have other things to be concerned with. Otherwise, it’s a non issue. Their feet will be a good 6 inches above my mid section. They would never know anything occurred.”

        -It sounds like you’ve never witnessed an orgasm. Are you aware that people make noises, their breathing changes, they moan, their facial expressions undergo a change as they have an orgasm? Maybe while you are awake you can maintain complete composure during an orgasm and act like a tin soldier, but in your sleep? An orgasm doesn’t take place exclusively in the genital area.

        ““Or that it’s useful for a child to masturbate right next to an undressed parent?”
        1) The child is exploring their body – it’s completely detached from the presence/absence of the parent. It’s not sexual at that age.
        2) Undressed parent? I don’t, and the attachment parents I know, don’t sleep naked. We wear bedclothes. So, again, a non issue.”

        -You failed to answer the question. Try again. Is it useful for a child to experience his or first arousal and orgasm in the presence of a parent?

        “Do you believe that a couple does not develop a special intimacy by sharing the marital bed?”
        Of course sharing a bed builds intimacy with a partner. But sex can occur in any number of locations – couch, coffee table, dining room, in front of fireplace, shower, deck, pool. . . etc. My, god, you could even move the sleeping child to another room if you’re desperate to use the bed. That you can’t figure that out on your own is astounding.”

        -The question wasn’t about sex. Please reread it and try answering it again. Of course, it is highly probable that you simply are not aware that couples who are in love sleep together in the same bed not because this is convenient for the purposes of sex.

        ‘Again – the erection will be under the covers – I may not be as endowed as some people, so perhaps that’s why it was never noticed by my children. Again, it’s pretty much a non-issue. Especially since the child is almost certainly still asleep when Dad gets up to go to work. Finally, if the child noticed the erection under the covers – so what. It’s a normal part of biology. You explain it to the kid and move on. Healthy attitudes towards sex and sexuality are built from not positions of knowledge. Men get erections because of excess blood flow to the penis. Done. Kids satisfied with the explanation and we move on.”

        – So all this verbiage is an attempt to say that it is, indeed, useful for a child to observe daddy’s erection? Also, the statement as to how “the kid is satisfied” after seeing Daddy’s erect penis is kind of very significant. And how about a child seeing a Granddad’s erection? A cousin’s? A neighbor’s? Is it equally informative and satisfying to the child? Or is Daddy’s erection special in this respect?

        Like

      • Patrick perhaps you can tell us why co-sleeping is a good thing?

        If it is a good thing then at what age do you think it should stop?

        What do you think it provides that more conventional sleeping arrangements don’t?

        Do you think it has any negatives?

        Like

  41. To Patrick the ass-fucked fucktard:

    What the fuck is the fucking interest for children in this fucking child fucking abusing co-fucking-sleeping?

    Why fucking parents fucking interest to their fucking child fucking abuse in their co-fucking-sleeping should fucking prevail against children’s interests?

    Like

  42. Stringer Bell on said:

    “Also, the statement as to how “the kid is satisfied” after seeing Daddy’s erect penis is kind of very significant.”

    Your interpretation of what he wrote is kind of very significant, too.

    Like

  43. Patrick on said:

    If you’ve been to a beach or public pool, you’ve likely seen a strangers erection. They happen. You explain it. You move on.

    As for the noises & facial expressions during orgasm – each persons intensity of response is different. And again, in all likelihood, the child is asleep, and will never know anything occurred. It’s not a question of whether it’s “good for them” or not – they are OBLIVIOUS to the orgasm, and probably, the erection.

    @ Llama – beyond infancy (where body to body contact helps regulate breathing and body temperature for the baby) it is neither good nor bad, in my opinion. It’s simply a choice. I don’t berate parents for not using attachment parenting, the same as I expect to have my choices respected. It’s a style that has to suit you personality. My kids are happy, healthy, socially well adjusted. Is it because we used attachment parenting? Had we been committed to a different style, they likely are just as healthy, happy and socially well adjusted. This is the style that made the most sense to us – to go against it would have been counterproductive. And how can you be a good parent if your questioning your trying to parent the way _____________ tells you that you should parent. You know if what your doing is right – have confidence in that.

    Like

    • What about the children choice?

      Why fucking parents fucking choice to do their fucking child fucking abuse in their co-fucking-sleeping should fucking prevail against children choice?

      Like

      • Patrick on said:

        I’ll try to speak your language David. Please correct me where my linguists are wrong.

        Fuckky fuck fuck damn fuck they fuck fuck own bed fuck and fuck fuck move fuck where fuck fucky fuck are fucking fuck fuck comfortable.

        Like

      • Choice? Children are playthings in this attachment ideology. Their happiness lies in fulfilling the parents’ needs and expectations.

        Like

  44. @llama

    “some of these co-sleeping arrangements are a result of the child learning how to manipulate poor parents at an early age. So in some cases it is the child driving the arrangement but that still does not make it healthy.”

    Even in these minority cases, children’s interests are not respected.

    Like

  45. Clarissa, you could also write about a bigger problem, excessive co-bathing (even if I recognize that’s necessary for babies and motricity handicapped young children).

    Like

  46. “Fuckky fuck fuck damn fuck they fuck fuck own bed fuck and fuck fuck move fuck where fuck fucky fuck are fucking fuck fuck comfortable.”

    Yeah, that’s less outrageous like this!

    Thus, these fucking co-fucking-sleeping fucking ideologists fucking parents are fucking more fucking comfortable when they fucking child fucking abusing co-fucking-sleeping with their children than when children are in their own bed.

    Like

  47. “No! Surely, that can’t be true?

    Anybody, please reassure me that this can be true. ”

    At least, in Québec, it’s true. Many non-co-sleepers co-bath, but almost all co-sleepers co-bath.

    But I reassure you in telling you that this practice (the same thing applies to co-sleeping) diminished very significantly in Québec in these last 10 years, especially with the influence of the psychiatric former radio host (who’s a jerk outside of psychiatry) Docteur Pierre Mailloux.

    Like

    • “But I reassure you in telling you that this practice (the same thing applies to co-sleeping) diminished very significantly in Québec in these last 10 years, especially with the influence of the psychiatric former radio host (who’s a jerk outside of psychiatry) Docteur Pierre Mailloux.”

      -This is great news! Québec is once again a beacon of progressivism. What a great country it is!

      Like

  48. Whoof this whole thread has turned out pretty angry and gross.

    llama :Patrick perhaps you can tell us why co-sleeping is a good thing?
    If it is a good thing then at what age do you think it should stop?
    What do you think it provides that more conventional sleeping arrangements don’t?
    Do you think it has any negatives?

    Go ahead and answer these questions, somebody. Anybody. I’ve been on the fence about this so far waiting to see what the co-sleepers had to say but no one has actually addressed Clarissa’s beef. They’ve just screamed at her that she’s calling them abusive and pedophiles, and that’s set the parameters for the discourse. It’s going to continue to devolve until one of you co-sleeping supporters comes back with something cogent and not shrieking or dismissive. I swear I am going to puke if I see anything else defending daddy’s boners, or anything implying that it’s cool for parents to hang around while their kid “explores their body.” I don’t care if you’re being hypothetical or just pissed off or “just trying to play by Clarissa’s rules.” You sound like the pervert loon I’m sure you’re not and it’s hard for me to get where you’re coming from. You’re just making the whole idea of co-sleeping sound more and more creepy and wrong.

    P.S. so not helpful if you go “well Clarissa started it.”

    Like

    • Ok sorry didn’t see this:

      “@ Llama – beyond infancy (where body to body contact helps regulate breathing and body temperature for the baby) it is neither good nor bad, in my opinion. It’s simply a choice.”

      That’s a good start, I guess. Not incredibly satisfying, but still, a start.

      Like

      • Patrick, what about the dangers of smothering? That’s usually what I see when co-sleeping comes up in the news.

        Like

      • I can try, I guess, to at least give my own thoughts in regard to llama’s questions. FTR, I like and respect Clarissa a lot, but I have to admit I find this whole post to be sort of befuddling–I just don’t get what the big deal is. I mean, yeah, there are probably some parents who co-sleep for a lot of really wrong reasons and mess up their kids, but I’d suspect those parents would mess up their kids regardless of who slept where.

        We didn’t co-sleep as a matter of ideology or even very often, just occasionally during infancy out of exhaustion (sometimes “lie with them till they fall asleep” turned into “oh crap, I fell asleep too”) or as they got a little older when they were afraid and came in on their own. We were always pretty careful about trying to keep that line between clinging to the child(ren) and being there when they wanted US. We made sure they learned how to fall asleep in their own beds, but we rarely (except in one or two cases where it became too habitual) kicked them out of our bed when they came in looking for a safe haven from loneliness or nightmares. There were several chunks of time where someone would slip in 3-4 nights in a row even when they were bigger (our son for some reason developed a terror that the house was going to catch on fire in the night when he was about 6), but once it got much past that we would work on getting them back to their own bed and helping them work out whatever the reason was that they were afraid to sleep on their own. Most of the time whatever it was worked out by itself and they were back in their own beds all night.

        In any case, once infancy was past, we never “dragged” our kids into bed with us nor ever slept in theirs. And in my daughter’s case, who would move into our bed permanently if we let her, we consciously try to foster her independence and get her comfortable in her own space. She rarely pops into our bed any more.

        I think a lot of “attachment parenting” gets kind of screwed up. As I see it, my priority is to let children grow up with a deep belief that whenever they need their parents, their parents will be there for them. But that it’s the KID’s call on when that is, not the parents’. My kids (age 6 and 9) know that if they wake up afraid, they can come into our room and stay till they feel safe; usually nowadays they end up in their own beds after a brief cuddle. They get to choose. Which I think is a good thing.

        And wow…I’m jealous of anyone who has actual orgasms in her sleep. 😉

        Like

        • “I find this whole post to be sort of befuddling–I just don’t get what the big deal is”

          -Read the stories of adults who were subjected to co=sleeping as children and you will get it.

          “We didn’t co-sleep as a matter of ideology or even very often, just occasionally during infancy out of exhaustion (sometimes “lie with them till they fall asleep” turned into “oh crap, I fell asleep too”)”

          -That’s a perfectly normal situation. Here, however, we are discussing something entirely different.

          “As I see it, my priority is to let children grow up with a deep belief that whenever they need their parents, their parents will be there for them. But that it’s the KID’s call on when that is, not the parents’. My kids (age 6 and 9) know that if they wake up afraid, they can come into our room and stay till they feel safe; usually nowadays they end up in their own beds after a brief cuddle. They get to choose. ”

          -Your kids are very lucky to have such well-balanced, intelligent parents. Other kids are not equally lucky and this post was aimed at defending their rights to personal space.

          “I’m jealous of anyone who has actual orgasms in her sleep.”

          -Most people do. Many simply don’t remember.

          Like

    • Patrick on said:

      it’s my belief that you have to take your cues from your children. We started with a crib – but the baby wouldn’t sleep, it made breastfeeding a nightmare and was all around brutal. Our children, from their earliest days, craved contact. (Which shouldn’t really surprise anyone). As they moved into their toddler years, we would put them down in their own bed. Sometimes they spent the night there; sometimes, they would wander into our room in the middle of the night. Still other times, they would immediately awaken and reach out to us. They weren’t ready to be on their own. The time frame from co-sleeping to sleeping on their own is relatively small. And in a nutshell, that’s the entire motive – to respond to the needs of the child.

      I was reluctant to address Clarissa’s particular ‘beefs’ because I find they are coming from an mistaken premise – one which is highly sexual in nature.

      Like

      • Patrick on said:

        There are basic contra indicators – if you’re a smoker, if you drink, if you’re morbidly obese or if you are a ‘heavy’ sleeper, then there are concerns about smothering. Otherwise, it’s not really a concern. One thing you notice is that you become exceptionally aware of your surroundings when you’re co-sleeping. Not that it disrupts your sleep, but you’re responsiveness is improved. At least for me, it was.

        Like

    • “I swear I am going to puke if I see anything else defending daddy’s boners, or anything implying that it’s cool for parents to hang around while their kid “explores their body.” ”

      -You know? On this topic, defenders of co-sleeping always descend into statements that are more and more outrageous with every passing moment. And that’s kind of scary.

      Like

    • Isabel on said:

      “They’ve just screamed at her that she’s calling them abusive and pedophiles, and that’s set the parameters for the discourse.”

      Well. she did right in the title. So what do you expect??

      The title of the post set the parameters, obviously. It is also weird that only “Western culture” is being critiqued.

      Like

  49. @Helena

    Wouldnt it be better if the people who “perceive” it to be child abuse come up with some actual facts that show that it is? I tried to show my daughter seems to be relelatively well balanced and unscathed emotional and she co slept with me for a brief period. I can possibly agree with the smothering possibility but as far as the rest of the hyperbole, well, I just cant wrap my head around it.

    Like

    • “I tried to show my daughter seems to be relelatively well balanced and unscathed emotional and she co slept with me for a brief period. ”

      -Once again, a FOURTHEEN year old who “informs” her daddy on whether she’s been kissed? That’s a normally developed adolescent? because she got a good grade on the math test? That’s the classical definition of “a good girl.”

      Like

      • Patrick on said:

        Please share your measuring stick? What’s normal, acceptable behaviour for a 14yr old child.

        Like

      • Is there even such a thing as a “normal” teenager? Clarissa, you are just priceless sometimes. 🙂
        If you ever do have children I will invite you and them over when they are teens. Shit, I will even invite llama, by then he/she will probably have teenage grandkids. We can then all share notes about our parenting talents or lack there of. 😉

        Like

        • Do I need to point you to the posts where I describe my very successful efforts to raise a teenager? I think I did that about 15 times already, but I can do it again if it’s necessary.

          Mind you, my teenager was my sister. And even then it didn’t occur to her to report to me on whether she’d been kissed or had sex. If she’d done that, I’d be at a psychoterapist’s office within minutes, trying to figure out how I managed to do this kind of damage to her. Of course, I made mistakes with her, but they were not of this magnitude.

          Like

  50. because she got a good grade on the math test? (clarissa)

    Dont forget the french class. She also did pretty damn fine in spanish too. Hmm, maybe a little bit like you in that area. 😉

    Like

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