Social Question

Supacase's avatar

When is a child too old to sleep alone with opposite sex parent?

Asked by Supacase (14500 points ) August 8th, 2012

Assume it is a 100% given that there is nothing sexual, no abuse.

Not even sleeping through the night most of the time, but snuggling until the child falls asleep.

Is there a specific age? Does it depend on the kid? Is it no big deal at all?

Does it make a difference if it is mother/son versus father/daughter?

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16 Answers

Blackberry's avatar

People can do what they want, man.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

I stopped at 10.

But if she ever asks again, especially if she is upset, I will say yes and feel secretly glad she still needs her dad occasionally.

Pandora's avatar

I think by the age of at least 8 a child should feel comfort, even if the parent isn’t there through the night. I read to my children till they were about 8 or 9 until I realized it was more about me not wanting to let go and less about them actually needing me. I never stayed with them through the night.
I did know a single mom who shared her bed with her son till he was 10 but she was becoming aware that he was becoming too attached and that soon strange things would happen through the night that he should be alone when it happened. I moved before she got him his own bed but she was having a hard time convincing him that it was time.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

My husband sometimes still reads to our 11 yr old daughter and scratches her back. Not always until she falls asleep, but until she’s relaxed and drifting off. He pretty much has to snuggle up against her because she only has a twin bed. It’s a sweet father and daughter moment.

Supacase's avatar

It isn’t really a comfort thing. She can sleep alone with no problem. It’s a “let’s cuddle” thing maybe once or twice a week.

I’ve been assuming either until she asks to stop or until puberty hits, but was curious to know what others think.

Pandora's avatar

Oh. An ocational cuddle is ok but not all night. You do want to cut it off before puberty. It may be to awkward for her to bring it up. Look for some other way to get some alone time with her. She just loves her you and wants to show it. But will be grateful for you to bow out or make a new tradition than her have to spell it out for you when puberty hits. Nothing wrong with giving a good night kiss and a hug every night. I did it with my dad till I was 18.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

I think the “I am a big kid now” thing will kick in way before puberty. You ideally stop then as a way to show respect for them, and it shouldn’t be an issue.

wundayatta's avatar

I don’t know much about attachment parenting, but I do know that there are people that would not have a problem with this happening as long as the kid and the parent both want it to. I think the big deal in this is wondering what other people think. If that’s the reason you want to stop an activity that otherwise is beneficial to the people involved, then I think that is a sad commentary on society. Sad, but very common.

You have to worry about those things, but I would encourage you to follow your own drummers. Do what feels right for you. When you start worry about these things, they get ruined. You get into your head, and you never get out. Let your husband and daughter figure it out and stop passing your worries onto him, unless they are already out there. It’ll stop all too soon on its own, I feel sure.

augustlan's avatar

My ex-husband has primary custody of our three daughters (a mutual decision on our parts). They are all teenagers, and I’d be very sad if he (or they) felt they couldn’t cuddle sometimes. So long as there is nothing sexual about it, what is the harm?

YARNLADY's avatar

I believe 9 or 10 is too old. It depends on the reasons and the circumstance. If the child feels uncomfortable about it, it should stop.

JLeslie's avatar

When I was around 11–12 all of a sudden I didn’t want to cuddle with my dad anymore. He didn’t lay down with me to go to sleep, never that I can remember, but I used to love to get big hugs from him, and snuggle on the couch now and then. It was like a switch flipped and all of a sudden I didn’t want it anymore. I told him, and he was fine with it.

I don’t really have any fixed age in my head. Each family has different norms for physical closeness and sleeping behaviors. Some parents create strict boundaries of each person in their own bed from a very young age. I think by puberty it automatically kind of goes away. The children don’t want their parents in bed with them. I think that is probably what happened to me. Some sort of innate something or other, a hormonal change, that moves us away from the parent and ready for romantic love with another.

zenvelo's avatar

I tuck my 14 yr old daughter into bed, and kiss her good night, but that’s it. I was okay with her coming into bed in the middle of the night until she was 11. She did that about three times between 9 and 11 from nightmares. But no more after that.

Bellatrix's avatar

For as long as the child is comfortable and wants to spend this time with their parent in this way. I don’t see any harm with a young person cuddling with the parent of the opposite sex before or as they go to sleep. I think as a child becomes a teenager they will naturally withdraw from this sort of contact.

_Whitetigress's avatar

I think I personally started to rebel at the age of say 9 or 10.

ucme's avatar

If there’s a need to do so, then there are no limits, why should there be?
They never stop being your kids, no matter what age they are.

Pandora's avatar

(oops Occasional, above)

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