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  • Sleeping arrangements

    I'm here again looking for advice to help my brother with his situation.
    He and his common-law spouse have recently separated, she moved out and got her own apartment not far from where my brother remains in the apartment they shared. They have just started a 'trial custody arrangement' for their 9-year-old son, 50/50, one week at each parent's place, until their court date in April.
    The child's mother got a one-bedroom apartment, and when my brother questioned her about where the child will sleep, she said he'd get the bedroom, she would sleep on the couch. My brother was skeptical because one of the major issues previously is that whenever she would put their child to bed, she would fall asleep in his bed and stay there. My brother would have to wake her and demand that she goes back to their room, because he feels it is not right for a mother to sleep with her 9-year-old son. This was the cause of many arguments because he often couldn't get her out of the son's room. So, he had serious doubts that she would be sleeping on a couch.
    Sure enough, after the first few days of this new arrangement, he asked his son where he slept. He said "with Mommy".
    My brother is dead against this, but he has no control over what happens when it is her week to have the child.
    He had also spoken to the child's family doctor about this issue previously as well as a child therapist, and both agree that this is NOT healthy for the mother to sleep in the kid's room.
    What can he do? His ex has no plan to get a 2-bedroom apartment anytime soon.
    Many thanks for any advice and info.


  • #2
    You said it right in your own post... he has no control... he can not demand or tell her how to parent on her time, just like she can't demand or tell him how to parent on his time...whether he finds it acceptable or not, she may not have an issue with it and may see it has not doing any harm...

    While I don't agree with it myself... not much can be done in this least in my opinion.


    • #3
      All you can do is speak with the family doctor again and possibly he/she will refer the child to counselling. good idea for a kid just going through separation. And the doc can let the counsellor know that this is an issue to be addressed.


      • #4
        Originally posted by DonnaB View Post
        He had also spoken to the child's family doctor about this issue previously as well as a child therapist, and both agree that this is NOT healthy for the mother to sleep in the kid's room.
        IMO ... if this is the route your brother wants to take then I wish him all the best because he will likely go down in flames in court!

        I am the mother of 3 boys (currently aged 19, 14 & 12) ... the 14 & 12 yr old saw a therapist as well as their family Dr. regularly during the first few years of my separation/divorce with their bio-dad (which happened when they were 3 & 5 yrs old) ... 10 yrs ago ... They still maintain a a regular relationship with family Dr. who they had since birth & a 2x/year visit to therapist.

        All my boys' are healthy, happy & thriving ... and GASP ... there is probably 3-4 out of 7 nights of the week when I either fall asleep with the 12 or 14 yr old. The 12 yr old has a 10pm "lights out" and the 14 yr old an 11pm "lights out" ... I usually wake around 1am and head back to my bed with my husband but that is when the boys' and I do our best "talking".

        The family Dr. AND the therapist have/had NO ISSUE with this so it's a crap shoot ... you say your brother Dr.'s says it's a no-no. Mine says it's fine as long as it's child driven.

        Really ... if your brother wants to have a pissing match in court he WILL lose ... courts REALLY don't want to hear about "mommy is doing this ____" or "daddy is doing that ____"

        Stick to the FACTS ... and let mom parent HER way and dad parent HIS way. What goes on when kid is with mom is what it is and visa versa


        • #5
          dunnmom, this is not just about the child sleeping with his mom, but the child not even having a space of his own. I am assuming your children had their own private bedroom and place where they could retreat and make their own


          • #6
            Unfortunately long as the child has a bed to sleep in when they are there, not much that anyone can do...

            My cousin went through this in his divorce, they has CAS and everything involved... mom moved into a 1 bedroom, when she had her daughter she slept on the couch, or sometimes in the bed... Dad had an issue with this and called CAS, when all was said it done, Mother was not found to be doing anything wrong...the child has a place to sleep and that is all that matters... whether they have a place to call their own is irrelevant...
            What about siblings that share a room? They don't have privacy... heck I have a friend who has parents that are divorced and growing up when they visited their dad, both him and his brother AND their Dad all slept in the same room...separate beds...but same room.

            Roof over their head, clothes on their back and food in their stomachs... unless the child is in real danger... not much can be done


            • #7
              In my case, yes they do (4-bedroom home with fully finished basement) ...

              but for the OP ... it sounds like the "mom" in her decision needed/could only afford a 1-bedroom. If she only has her child 50% of the time and if say "I" were in that situation with only 1 child I can see her having a 1-bedroom & when my child was over, give them my room and spend that week on the pull-out in another room (as I could a father in the same situation) ... but when the other parent tries to make it into something sinister (as it seems to me ... ie. mom's a pervert) then I'm simply stating that the courts are NOT going to look favorably on it (IMO).

              Mom could very easily access her 50% time ... spend time with her son, read him a bedtime story and fall asleep ... wake up and go to her "den" (ie. pull out couch) in the living room. OR (because we are only hearing one side and not even the childs' father but the "sister/aunt"'s version) the bio-mom could really be expecting that she & son share a room 50% of the time which I agree is WRONG.

              EVERYONE needs some kind of "space" to call their own. A place to get away to think, chill, cry, whatever.

              This original post made my spidey-senses go off for whatever reason ....


              • #8
                Yeah, it does sound like the mom's plan is for her and the boy to sleep together. Not just now and then accidentally fall asleep in the kid's bed and move to her own if she happens to wake up.

                But some cultures have the family bed and everybody sleeps together and there's nothing wrong with it.

                I suspect that the boy, especially if he gets his own space at Dad's, will get uncomfortable with the arrangement and want his privacy in a couple of years at most.


                • #9
                  I'm not saying anything 'sinister' is going on, or perverted, I just was looking for advice on whether this is acceptable or healthy for the child. My brother isn't comfortable with the arrangement, he would feel better if it was even 2 separate beds in the room.

                  Yes, it's true I'm only the sister/aunt so it IS my version but from what my brother tells me. I'm just trying to help him get through this. When he calls me with his concerns, I am trying to do the best I can to give him good advice and support. And since I haven't been through a custody battle before, I am looking for advice from others who have actually been through it.

                  Thanks for your help.


                  • #10
                    Call me a keyboard psychologist, but I wonder if your brother's emotions aren't getting a bit mixed in with all this. It sure can't have been good for his marriage if his wife was sleeping with their child instead of with him. He may have lingering bad feelings about it that are colouring his opinion now.

                    I'd actually think it was less healthy for the ex than for the child. Whatever (nonsexual) physical affection she didn't find in her marriage bed but found in her child's bed instead may be worse now that she's single.

                    As for the child, it can be a great comfort to have someone there, and when he's ready to go it alone, he'll say so. Look up bedsharing, cosleeping, family bed, those kinds of keywords on Google. Opinions vary, and obviously your brother's and his ex's do too. But if she's forcing the boy to do it when he doesn't want to, that's the problem. His dad should be alert for mention of that sort of discomfort, but not try to elicit it by telling him sleeping with his mom is wrong.

                    On that note though, I bet the bed arrangement changes abruptly if she gets a new partner.


                    • #11
                      It's called co-sleeping. And while I don't agree with it at that age, there is some literature in support of it.....


                      • #12
                        Living conditions during separation are also fairly temporary for a few years hopefully until people can get back on their feet and get better housing.

                        My ex took everything and continues to reduce me to poverty through spousal support. However she doesn't get the right to put me in the poor house and then complain about how I can't afford a better place for our son. If she expects me to have a better place she can get off her ass and get herself a job and starting supporting herself and our son.

                        Initially I had only a large bedroom to live in in someone's basement. I had no choice but to put my son to bed and go sit in the bathroom for the evening with a book or my phone until I joined him in the bed later. Now I have a one bedroom apartment. I give him the bed and I sleep on the sofa. He doesn't mind sharing the bed with me, but as some people have suggested, people talk and have issues with it and the last thing I need is more allegations as a single dad.

                        Personally I don't see anything wrong with it as long as everyone in the bed is fine with it. No worse than sleeping with a cat or dog in the bed, is it?


                        • #13
                          My ex and I always had a 'family bed'. Now that we are separate, we still both share our beds with our kids. My oldest are 15 and 13, so it is a rare occurrence, so my 9 year old now usually sleeps with me. I let them figure it out.

                          My view is that it feels right for us as a family. It is a great time to have a chat before sleeping, or simply read a book together etc. I have my kids half the time, so half the time I sleep alone (no gf ), so I don't mind. Also I have king bed, and my youngest has finally stopped kicking me while he sleeps.

                          I have talked to some people that think this is normal, others that have an issue with it as inappropriate ("what would people think"). Anyone that thinks this is inappropriate has the problem, not me.


                          • #14
                            There are some obvious involuntary things that could happen with our bodies when one is sleeping (not to mention hands going where they shouldn't by accident) that could make any arrangement with sleeping with your children on a regular basis inappropriate. Is it worth the risk?...sometimes yes. On a regular basis...bad idea!


                            • #15
                              For fucks sake.... Really?
                              With all the bullshit involved in custody, etc?

                              Don't sweat the small stuff, people.


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