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Is Co-Sleeping With Older Children Wrong? Yes, No?

  • 5 min read

Clueless star Alicia Silverstone co-sleeps with her 11-year-old son and is proud of it. Is this a taboo and a bad thing to do?

I loved the American teen sitcom Clueless.

Especially, I loved Alicia Silverstone as Cher Horowitz (on the right below).

Wikimedia

I was so excited when I listened to her recently on one of my favorite podcasts — The Ellen Fisher Podcast.

Over the years, Alicia has always been open about her approach to (taboo) parenting. She even wrote a beautiful book called “The Kind Mama”.

The book is about the wish to become a loving mom, the transformation you’re going through and all the challenges —from breastfeeding problems to tantrums.

In the podcast episode with Ellen Fisher, the 45-year-old actress opened up and revealed that she is still co-sleeping (sharing a bed) with her son Bear.

Her son isn’t an infant anymore but an 11-year-old boy

“Bear and I still sleep together, I’ll be in trouble for saying that but I don’t really care.” Alicia Silverstone

Online, I’ve read a lot of discussions about the pros and cons of co-sleeping, especially about the risk of Sudden Infant Death.

To be honest, I’ve never read a discussion about sharing a bed with your older children.

Alicia and Bear co-slept when he was a baby and they‘ve continued to do so

In the podcast episode, Alicia stated that she’s just following nature.

“I believe in nature and our society is scared of nature and scared of love.”

As far as I’m concerned, I co-slept (shared the bed and room) with my baby boy until he was around 16 months old.

Then we decided to make the transition to his own sleep space.

Reason number one: to help all of us get a better night's sleep.

Fast forward to today, we co-sleep on and off with our 2-year-old toddler in his room.

Is co-sleeping a bad thing to do?

I’ve heard people claim that co-sleeping creates an unhealthy bond between parents and their children.

You may well have encountered its critics who believe that co-sleeping children grow up to have an unhealthy bond with their parents that makes them overly dependent.

They claim the same old tired theme, you may also hear from your monster-in-law:

Don’t put your child into your room. Your child will become insecure. One day, you’ll be sorry for co-sleeping. It’s the first-class treatment, and he’ll never want to sleep on his own in his room.

But is it really a bad thing to do?

All mammals co-sleep with their children — except human beings

In wildlife documentaries, you see mammals intuitively sleeping with their children for their protection and safety.

This practice, of course, has a biological advantage:

  • it keeps the offspring safe from predators and stops them from getting eaten.

On the other hand, human beings are the ONLY mammals who do NOT sleep with their child.

As Alicia stated:

“(…)if you were in any kind of wild setting, where there are animals, if you put your baby over there, your baby is going to get eaten. So it’s not ideal for the baby to be over there.”

Perhaps the better question is:

“What is wrong with us?”

Children who co-sleep have a strong spirit and thrive better

In fact, studies show that babies and toddlers who co-sleep are less likely to have behavioral difficulties such as ADHD.

Studies also show that children who room-share with their parents have:

  • Trust — the feeling they can trust and rely on their parents no matter what
  • Confidence — to do things, tackle them, and try out new things in their daily lives
  • Strong ties — with their parents
  • Self-efficacy — to venture out into the unknown

Here’s maybe the best benefit I’ve found:

Final Takeaways

I don’t think it’s wrong to co-sleep with your older child.

I think NOTHING can be wrong that feels good for a mom and her kid.

As studies show, co-sleeping can improve a child’s spirit and can make it strong.

Plus, it can help children thrive in order to be the best they can be.

We co-sleep off and on with our toddler when he needs us.

We want to be our boy’s safe haven — now and in the future.

I’m curious. What do you think about co-sleeping with (older) children?

© Kristina God


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