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Questions on co-bedding and temper tantrums

Question

            My husband and I are big fans of co-bedding with our kids. Our son slept in our bed until he was five, and our four-year-old daughter sleeps with us most every night. My daughter now wants to sleep in her own room like her older brother, but my husband refuses. He said he enjoys cuddling with our daughter.  He goes out of his way to make certain she sleeps between us so he can hug her throughout the night.

No lectures about the evils of co-bedding. This is a normal sleeping arrangement that has been considered the norm for thousands of years by most societies.

Answer

            I understand that sleeping with your children has become increasingly fashionable in recent years, with about 10-15% of parents reporting that their children ages 5 and older regularly sleep in the family bed. However, this should be a decision made by both parents about what works for them and their kids.

Your little girl is telling you she wants her own bed, so clearly this isn’t working for her.  The issue is really between you and your husband, as he is apparently saying he’d rather hug his daughter than you.

Your letter raises many questions about the health of your emotional and physical relationship with husband and his connection with his daughter.

You both need to have a long and serious talk!

Question

My three young kids are extremely well behaved at home and at school. The only time they act up is when my husband watches them. He doesn’t want to take them anywhere or even stay alone with them because of their temper tantrums. Would it help for the kids to talk with someone?

Answer

            Before seeking professional help, speak with your husband about how he is managing the kids’ misbehaviors. Discuss specific expectations for the children, and how you handle their bad behavior.

I’ve found that when kids act well with one parent but not another, it is typically due to the lack of clear expectations and consistent consequences. The ineffective parent typically deals with misbehavior by ignoring or giving warnings that are seldom enforced. Let your husband know what works for you, and I suspect the children’s behavior will change very quickly when he adopts a similar approach.

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