Thursday, June 21, 2007

Concerned in Colorado

Dear Anyone Willing to Answer,

Recently I have seen that a couple of my fellow blog buddies, Nanette and Eve, have petitioned the blogosphere for advice on parenting. They had valid concerns and plenty of opinions and solutions were offered. I too have recently found myself in need of some advice on child-rearing.

Here is my story: I have 8 year old twin boys whom I lovingly refer to as Boy 1 and Boy2. They are the best of friends. They spend all day together. At night during the school year we have a rule that everyone sleeps in their own bed. For the most part, this has been followed, but every once in a while I will wake up to find that Boy 2 has crawled into Boy 1's bed. When I ask him why, he replies that he is scared. Now that it is summer time, I haven't stuck to the rule of everyone in their own beds. We are all staying up later and falling asleep wherever there is a free pillow.

Last night, I insisted that everyone give each other their space and sleep in their own beds. Boy 2 had an ever loving fit! He cried and wailed and gnashed his teeth and begged for me to let him sleep with his brother. I held firm and told him that his fit was not going to change my mind and it just shows me that he really needs a good nights sleep in his own bed. Boy 2 ended up crying himself to sleep.

My question: Am I being too hard on him? Is there an age where kids should not share beds? What happens if I let this go unchecked? Have you ever heard of twin boys who have grown into adulthood and still want to sleep with their brother? What do you do with your kids?

Signed,Concerned in Colorado


  1. My 8 year old daughter has her own room and she constantly asks to sleep with her 10 yr old brother in his room that he shares with my 12 yr old. I finally told her only on Friday and Saturday nites. I got tired of fighting. I know eventually he'll kick her out- occasionally he does. I don't think it's a big deal and I know they'll outgrow it. Heck, they all used to sleep in my bed at one point or another...

  2. I forgot- I also have twin 8 yr old step-daughters who also love to sleep in the boy's room. I don't know why. But when they are here we have the same rule: They can drag their sleeping bags in the boy's room only on the weekends.

  3. You know, that's a really valid concern. On the one hand, you worry about what's socially acceptable, what's going to affect their long term personal habits, etc...on the other hand, just because they're boys doesn't mean they don't have feelings. Our culture tends to try to "toughen up" our boys, which probably has a profound impact on their ability to connect on an emotional level later in life. There's a book that DeDee swears by, I think it's called Brining up Boys? Or something like that...she's paraphrased parts for me, and it might be a good read for you.

    On a practical level though, it's not a bad idea to consider letting them have a "sleepover" together every Saturday night or something like that. That way they aren't being denied the ability to share a bed, but it's not a regular occurence either.

  4. I don't have a problem with it. My oldest three slept in the same room for the first seven years of their lives. Needless to say, it is a hard habit to break, and to this day on the weekends, and during the summer, they sleep in the same room (wherever they pick) together. If it's in the front room, ones on the couch, ones on the floor, and ones in the recliner. My oldest is starting to break away from this, now that she's nearing 13, but occasionally will sleep in the basement with them. They won't do it forever, and if it keeps them from climbing in my bed, I'm all for it. As long as it's not a school night.

  5. I think we need to have a family intervention right now. I'll sit in my big ol' naugahyde (archaic term for pleather) therapy chair.
    What does the other brother say?
    My Nana (may she rest in peace) was the youngest of 9 children. She slept with all of her sisters in one bed. Her older sister always joked she got married so she wouldn't have to keep sleeping with a "pee quilt"--Nana was a late bladder-controller.
    JS had visions in front of his sleeping siblings.
    For most of history siblings were present while their parents created younger siblings.
    All I'm trying to say is that I think it's realllly relative.
    I'm wondering if you have worries about boy 2 in other aspects of his development. Hey, you asked :)

  6. There's no diagnosis for twin boys who co-sleep as adults. So either that means that none do, or that the psychiatric community doesn't recognize it as a mental disorder.
    Yours aren't conjoined, right?

  7. Wow! Already some fantastic comments.

    Boy 2 is younger by 1 minute, but he is a good 2 inches and 10 lbs heavier than his older brother. He can be a crybaby, for lack of a bettter word, at times.

    Boy 1 doesn't care whether Boy 2 sleeps with him or not. He is kinda chilled out that way.

  8. I have five boys that all share a room. Not because they have to, but because they all want to sleep in the same room. They are scared for some reason to sleep apart. They do sleep in their own beds, although they haven't always. I am assuming that your boys already share a room, and that Boy 2 gets scared in his own bed and moves to the other bed. I don't really think its a big deal. I think if it concerns you though, that you might try something like a trundle bed that you can pull out like a drawer and boy 2 can sleep near his brother without invading his space. You could also try talking to boy 2 about what he is afraid of. Maybe resolving his fears will help him. If he is willing to throw a fit like that about it, there is probably more to it than just general night fears. I think listening to him and letting him explain his fears is important.
    I have twin sisters that are almost 23 years old, and even though they each have their own room, one of my sisters sleeps on the floor of my other sister's room. She has a bed in her room, but would rather sleep in the same room as her twin. I don't think they are unhealthy. The one that sleeps on the floor is getting married this winter, and she isn't planning on bringing the other sister along, so I think they will be okay.

  9. Here's my take: my kids used to have sleepovers -Firstborn has a bunk bed- when they were little (they shared a room for about 2 years), sometimes during the week, but mostly on weekends. F
    irstborn was the one who'd start the whole sleepover thing, sometimes he'd cry to have his sister sleep in his room.
    Now that they are teens, they like their own space and I can't remember the last time they slept in the same room.

    Now I wish I had let them have more sleepovers, at the end, it didn't matter really. Other than making sure the "mom's rules" were obeyed.

    I'm not into family beds, kids sleeping in my room and stuff like that at all. But I had no problem with their little sleeping arrangements.

    PS: I love Elizabeth W!

  10. I'm probably no help here. I have an almost 13 y/o girl and a 10 y/o boy. They sleep together almost all the time. The location varies, sometimes it's one in a bed/one in a sleeping bag on the floor, sometimes it's both in the tent pitched in the playroom, and sometimes they take over the guest room.

    We do home school, so our schedule is more flexible (they don't HAVE to be on a bus at 8:00 a.m.) and they are the best of friends anyway. I figure when one or the other is uncomfortable with the set up, they will start to prefer sleeping alone.

    Sorry, no help.....I now, but just wanted to let you know I understand! :)

  11. For me, the co-sleeping at this age isn't really a big deal. I used to be more stringent about separate beds and all that but I've really mellowed the more kids I had. Or maybe I just got way more exhausted to even care or fight about the little things anymore.

  12. The problem we have when the boys try to sleep together is that they don't. They stay up and tickle, which turns into wrestling, which means that the evening ALWAYS (yes I mean ALWAYS) ends up in tears. If this wasn't the case, I'd be more willing, but in your situation, I'd say to set up specific nights where it's okay. My sister and I used to crash together and we never slept well. It made us tired and cranky. So, maybe if it was something they could look forward to..?? I don't know...

  13. You've gotten great advice already. I say if the resident blog therapist doesn't see a problem with it then there isn't a problem with it. I think maybe limiting it to certain days like weekends might make it a little more doable.

    Our youngest (3 years old) has decided it is fun to take turns sleeping in her siblings beds. The girls love it, Jordan not so much. I am actually really surprised that my twin girls don't want to sleep together more. They've always shared a room, but never shared a bed (except for the first few weeks of life).

    I think your boys are fine and will eventually decide that they want and/or need their space.

  14. I guess it's really a question of what works for your family. I don't think it's a big deal, but I would set rules. I would worry that when school starts, if I had allowed them to sleep together every night all summer, that they will have a harder time adjusting. I would do what Tori said and make a rule that weekends are alright, that way when school does start again, the rules won't have to change on them again.

  15. No advice here. We all like sleeping apart. Except for the occasional child who likes to sneak in between Bri and me at night and the weekly "can we sleep in the living room?" request (which we usually turn down because they all sleep horribly and we have to deal with them all day the next day).

    I can see why you'd be worried ("Is he going to insist on sleeping with his brother when they go on their missions?") but for now... they're so young. If it makes Boy 2 feel better... they'll outgrow it soon enough.

  16. All this advice makes my head spin! I hope you can figure something out. I don't forsee myself ever having that problem but you have me thinking about twins...they shared your womb together, you probably had them in a crib together for a short while? They've been together since they were conceived. If boy 2 is kind of insecure then it's no surprise he turns to his twin for comfort. He's probably always been so accessable. There will be a time in their life where they won't want to be together...but I think I would still save sleepovers for a couple nights a week, instead of every night...

  17. A lot of Wise Women above me.

    My girls sleep together, off and on. It makes me feel good to see them be such good friends.

    Not on school nights.

  18. I'm going to make up for all those people who say they have no advice. I have loads of advice stemming from my years and years and years experiences of having neither twins, nor children over the age of five...

    My knee jerk reaction is, they're fine to sleep together and it will "self-correct"---one or both of them won't want it at some point. But, "Have you ever heard of twin boys who have grown into adulthood and still want to sleep with their brother?" made me laugh out loud. I suppose even if it did exist, we probably wouldn't have heard about it.

  19. Chiming in as a scared-y-cat - I used to sneak into my sisters beds at night because I was scared. And even now, sometimes when my husband is out of town I will go sleep in with one of the kids.

    I think it's not a big deal.
    I'd go with the weekend only sleepover plan.

    But, you might not want to take my word for it, the more I read my first thoughts here, the more I think I need a bit of therapy myself....

  20. were the boys preemies and did they co-bed in the NICU? If they did maybe, there is a sense of security that they get out of it. That usually happens with twins who spent lots of time together when they were infants. I don't think its a big deal at all, not unless there are other concerns that we don't know about. I would say use your mommy instincts on this one.

  21. :: breaking the flow of advice comments ::


  22. I just have to say that I love it that we have a resident psychblogcologist. And I love her, too!

    And I still have bad memories of waking up in pee puddles from little sis--well after the age of 11. But if you're looking for some sort of standard of normalcy then I surely wouldn't be the poster child, so I'm sure my experience is of no help to you.

    I think it's sweet that they still like each other. Really!

  23. I am going to say, as long as boy #1 doesn't mind sharing space with his brother, why should you? I think they (he) will naturally progress beyond this as they (he) age(s). Now, if you are afraid of them going all VC Andrews--Flowers in the Attic on you--, I'm sure that you would see other signs of this during the day. And, with my kids, already at 4 they really really want to do things that I make a fuss about them not doing, kwim?

    Back when my mother was a child--just as elizabeth w stated--they seriously had the family bed. Seriously.

    Good Luck with sorting through the advice. :)

  24. I don't have much of a problem with my boys sharing beds, but I do make it a weekend thing. Mainly because they don't sleep nearly as well and wake up cranky. Now if my daughter and one of my boys want a sleepover then we drag out the sleeping bag.

    I think I'd talk to boy1 about it and make sure he's OK with the brother sharing. If he is then maybe you could do a once in a while sleepover. I don't think you'd want to let it happen all the time though especially if you don't want them sleeping together on school nights in a couple of months. Why set yourself up for that battle?

    What are your real concerns with them sharing?

  25. well I see you have a lot of comments but I'll add my two cents just the same. I say as long as they are both agreeable let them sleep together. They'll quit before college and it's nice that they like each other.
    My older girls sometimes still like to sleep together and I am fine with that. Brother, our only boy sleeps with us beacuse he doens't have a partner. Your boys are lucky!


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