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Dad Will Shoot Through Hoops.

Question:

My question is how to break a 10 year old boy from sleeping with his dad and 7 year old brother. You see I am about to commit to living with this wonderful man(father). I love him with all of my heart. I have been patient with this problem for the past year or so seeing as we both come from failed relationships and feeling for the children. I took 6 months to get enough courage to draw this to dad’s attention and tell him this bothers me alot. He has talked with his oldest and put in an effort to correct the problem, but that has since went by the way side. I still sleep alone when we have the children. This child is so demanding and clingy I can hardly speak with my partner privately at any time, day or night. This child experienced divorced parents 5 years ago. Could that play any role in his insecurity? Help I am in love and still lonely.

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Answer:

The problem is not so much to break the boys of a bad habit as to convince their father to be their parent and lay down the law. You are correct when you state that sleeping arrangements need to be changed and for very good reasons:

First, it is the job of the parents to be in charge of the household. Parents being in charge means enforcing sleeping arrangements. Sleeping in the same room and bed as the parents is a non negotiable item.

Second, the reason why children sleeping in their own room and bed is non negotiable is that parents and children have a different status than do children. The parental bedroom is a place where certain adult activities take place, separate and apart from children. The presence of children in the adult bedroom interferes with the parental right to sexual experiences. Sexual activity occurs separate and apart from children.

Third, the ability of children to sleep in their own bed in their own bedroom represents an important step towards separation and individuality in our society. Children need to learn that there are boundary lines between each of them selves and everyone else. Of particular importance to learning about boundary lines is establishing the fact that parents have certain rights and privileges that children do not and that children have their separate rights and privileges.

Fourth, establishing boundaries and separateness goes together with learning that we live in a world in which there are laws, rules and authority figures. These are facts that we all face whether we are children or adults. For this reason, the children need to know that their father is in charge and that they are not. It is not for father to convince his children to sleep in their own beds but to tell them that this will happen and that it is you who will be sleeping with Dad. It may be something they do not like but, then, there are many things in life that we must accept whether or not we like them.

The children’s parents were divorced five years ago and that is no excuse for them to feel they have the power to exclude you from your bedroom. If the children feel insecure it may have to do with their father not making it clear that he is in charge and they can feel safe knowing that he will protect them by enforcing rules. In other words, they need to feel his strength in addition to this warmth and love.

Children feel safe and protected when they have parents who are loving and warm but firm in setting boundaries and enforcing rules.

The man you love must get his children out of his bed and there are no negotiations about this.

Best of Luck

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