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Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Punk rock parenting corner.

Nothing to do with music this, or even politics, but instead a parenting issue that I am looking for opinions about.
So feel free to skip this if it has zero interest to you.
The thing is I know what I think about the subject, but I would love to hear other peoples views.
It's about kids sharing beds with their parents.
My stance is that I don't think there is anything wrong with it.
A close female friend says that it is wrong.
So far I have explained why I think that it's acceptable, and for her part she has simply stated that it is wrong for a child to share a bed with an adult.
No expanding on her view, and no reasons given for holding it.
Now I have a few problems with her stance.
One is with the phrasing she used.
To my ears it sounds as if there is a weight put on child and adult.
It sounds sort of wrong.
An ADULT shouldn't share a bed with a CHILD. I don't often advocate reading between the lines and think accepting what people say, rather than what you think they mean is always the best way forward, but in this case there is a lot of emphasis used that can't be ignored.
Of course a dirty pervert shouldn't share a bed with a child.
When I say that there is nothing wrong with a parent sharing a bed with their child - depending on the circumstances - I'm not making a case for abuse.
Adults shouldn't even share beds with other peoples kids. I'm not saying that they should, but should this stretch to a parent, male or female, sharing a bed with their own child?
I'll add that sharing a bed with your own child on a nightly basis with no particular reason is a bit strange, but is there really anything wrong with a persons child crawling into a parents bed because they are unwell, scared or emotionally upset?
The way I see it is that as a parents it is our responsibility to offer the comfort they seek.
This leads me to the second thing that bothers me about this.
It's a natural reaction to take your child in your arms and hold him or her to your breast or chest when they are very young.
Scientists say that a child feels comforted by the sound of your heartbeat. It reminds them of the womb. A safe place for them.
It seems to work to. How often have parents experienced the crying baby who immediately stops when held to them?
By extension of this I think that they get the same comfort from getting a cuddle as they get older, and then just being in close proximity as they get older still.
When my son came to live with me at age ten there was the odd occasion when he was very upset at the breakdown of his relationship with his mother and he came into my bed.
It was just a handful of times, but I didn't have an issue with it at all.
Sometimes he would sleep on the couch and I would sleep on the floor. Throughout the night he would wake and become restless and then ask if I was there.
He would soon go back to sleep when I said I was.
At that time he needed this.
Apart from that there was lots of hugs and telling him that I loved him.
This was a transitional period and by providing support to my son I feel that it helped him move forward from a time that was very emotionally trying and upsetting for him.
More recently my daughter has come to live with us after a similar breakdown in the relationship with her mother.
This has been particularly traumatic for her and especially more so when last October as their mother took her own life.
Since then my daughter who is eleven has on occasion slipped into my bed with me.
I give her a cuddle, tell her I love her and will always look after her, and then roll over and go to sleep.
Days can go by when this doesn't happen, even weeks, but then depending on different things that range from how often I've done night shifts and she hasn't seen me, or her being in pain due to a bowel issue she has or even just a very low period. (Mothers day was especially difficult for her) she will seek comfort by being in close proximity.
This could be from being snuggled up on the couch watching television or if it's 2 am climbing into my bed.
I don't see anything wrong with this at all and find it strange why anyone else would.
I can understand someone saying that she seems to be a bit old for sharing a bed with their father, but with the specific circumstances taken into consideration I think it would be rather churlish of them to maintain a strict unbending stance against it.
I can also accept to an extent a sexist view where there is a degree of discomfort as I'm a male single parent as opposed to a female one.
(I wonder how many people wouldn't bat an eye if it was a mother comforting their child)
That pisses me off, but it's an opinion that is socially entrenched and there's not a lot I can do about it.
Regardless of that though there is no one else to provide the care and emotional support.
That's the bottom line. I'm on my own here. So the choice for me is a simple one. Give the support to my kids or withold it.
So opinions expressed would be welcome.
I'll be honest enough to say that I'm hoping for the majority to side with me on this, but of not then I would love some enlightenment as to why I'm wrong in my opinion.


  1. I agree with everything you have said here. As a parent it is our responsibility to look after our children. You do what needs to be done.
    It's not always about sticking a plaster on their knee.
    I don't know where this person is coming from that fails to see the grey areas of parenting and how we all just do the best we can.

    PS. I came here for the Voodoo Six comments. I think I will stay. :)


  2. M, I have ALWAYS had Tia in bed with me at times when she has been frightened, upset or unwell. Plus, there have been occasions when I have put her in with myself out of choice! When she was suffering with her asthma quite badly I found it easier to have her next to me as apposed to waking every other hour to go and check on the state of her breathing.
    Also, when I parted ways with her Dad I had her sleep next to me for about a year! every night!! I felt lost and worried for our future, she felt lost and confused, we offered each other comfort and security throughout the night, what is wrong in that? I can remember asking my mum at the time if she thought I was doing the wrong thing as many people gave me the 'making a rod for your own back lecture' and she simply said "look at the animal kingdom, the young snuggle in to their parent at night for protection and comfort, you can't argue with nature", and she was bang on! I didn't create any problems for myself or for Tia, in fact I strongly believe I did nothing more than strengthen and reinforce the tight bond that we have always maintained.
    I don't know why the lady in question has issues about this? maybe its just a generation to generation thing, or perhaps she is just overly sensitive to all the fucked up abusers of the world? I don't know M, but I do know you are doing the right thing, no question.

  3. Thank you both Sarah and Jacqui. It nice to get a female perspective on it. It's always nice to have someone agree with your point of view to.
    I think there is a bit of an issue surrounding how people perceive things though. Isn't there? The media and the views picked up from them have a lot to answer for.
    There does seem to be a wide held attitude that there are child molester lurking behind every curtain, and unfortunately this reflects poorly on men in general.
    How many times would a man go to the aid of a child who has fallen?
    I'll admit that if I see a toddler take a tumble I have a quick look about first and hope that there is a woman about that will rush to the poor kids aid so that I don't have to.
    Your post Jacqui probably wouldn't raise anyones eyebrows at all. In fact broadly speaking I expect most would be supportive of your parenting skills and your honesty in admitting that you were seeking comfort from Tia to.
    Role reverse it though.
    Can you imagine the comments if I said that I liked my daughter sharing my bed with me as it provided me with a sense of comfort.
    We live in a strange world for sure.
    As an additional note I'll just say that while I've been called a bleeding heart liberal often enough, and even describe myself as a socialist, I can jerk my knee as high as anyone else when it comes to child abuse.
    Nutcrackers shouldn't just be used for de-shelling in my opinion.

  4. beasty pedo lol.joking.theres fuck all wrong with it at all.just the overeaction of the mags heaney pish

  5. Mags Heany. She put the fear into the perverts didn't she? Shame that she, and her family, also put the fear into their law abiding neighbours with their drug use, drinking, criminal records, antisocial behaviour and general fuckwittery.

  6. i agree both with you and the anonymous readers , political correctness has infiltrated every part of our lives to the extent where comforting your own kids is becoming a taboo subject , for the record i have a ten year old son who likes nothing better to sneak into bed some days and regularly gets a cuddle from his old man , nothing shady about it imo

  7. Thanks Tiny.
    I honestly believe that much is media led.
    Once upon a time adults would assist a distressed child regardless of whether that child was their own or not, now it is down to the woman to do it if it is someone else's child as men are frightened in case they are condemned as some sort of pervert if they try to help out.
    It's like a social evolutionary step.
    So if we have already made that step from most adults offering assistance to mainly just women then what will the next one be?
    Will it be that we men will no longer be able to even offer support and care to our own children without it being viewed with suspicion.
    That's maybe less ludicrous than it sounds.
    I worked with a guy who commented once that he was uncomfortable with his daughter sitting with him on the couch and cuddling in as others would think it inappropriate.
    My response to him was to ask if he really felt that it was okay to withdraw his affection because he was fearful of what idiots thought, and if he did then how did he think his daughter would turn out.
    A young woman who thought that paternal bonding with a child was wrong.

    That's sort of went off on a bit of a tangent, but I guess most rational people would be able to see where I'm coming from.
    It's all about balance it seems, and that's increasingly my mantra. Balance, balance, balance.
    There is too much tarring everyone of the brush being used.
    A minority of men abuse children so ergo all men are bad. Bollocks.
    A very small minority of Muslims are terrorists so ergo all Muslims are terrorist. Bollocks again. You could even jump to women drivers. Some have accidents ergo they're all crap drivers. Once again a lot of rubbish.
    People should look beyond the headlines and make their own minds up.
    I guess that's what I don't get about my friends opinion. It just doesn't seem to be based in anything other than media led hysteria.

  8. i kissed my young daughter the other day and people gave me strange it the overeation of pedo media crap?.or in general,the hardening of hearts?.i think its the latter

  9. Could well be that they are linked.
    Media hint that it is wrong, unnatural etc in a sort of subliminal drip drip drip manner and the end result is that you are viewed with a certain degree of suspicion by other adults who have hardened their hearts to something that is entirely natural.