Dear Dr. G.,

I am a divorced father. I see my two teenage daughters and 7 year old son every other weekend. My ex-wife remarried two years ago to a man who seems like he's good to my kids. There is one thing though that is really bothering me that I would like to get your opinion about before I create problems.

Last time my kids were with me for the weekend my 7 year old son asked to sleep with me. I was surprised because he has his own bed and has always slept there since the divorce 4 years ago. He told me that when he is home with his mother he sleeps in bed with his mother and stepfather every night.

When I heard this it made me crazy. Is this normal? Do I need to worry about psychological issues or sex abuse? I am scared out of my mind but don't want to create unnecessary trouble. You always seem so level-headed. Please give me some suggestions about what to do.

I will do whatever I need to. My kids mean everything to me.

A Worried Father

Dear Father,

I am always delighted to hear from fathers. Divorce, remarriage and step-families come with a unique set of issues and new people involved in the mix. Of course, you have concerns about this sleeping arrangement. This co-sleeping arrangement otherwise referred to as "The Family Bed" has sparked debate among both parents and experts.

Those who are pro "Family Bed" believe that it promotes a sense of attachment and comfort between parents and their children. Those who are anti "Family Bed" are concerned that it promotes dependence and interferes with healthy individuation.

I have to tell you that my opinion is that 7 is a bit too old to be sleeping with a mother and stepfather. You say that your son has slept alone for some time now at least when he is at your house. While I would not jump to the conclusion that there is anything sexually inappropriate going on at your ex-wife's house I nonetheless share your concern.

Here is what I suggest you do:

Tell your ex-wife that you need to have a talk with her. I don't know the nature of your relationship with your ex but I do know that this issue can't be ignored. Ask her why your son is sleeping with her. Has he been having anxiety issues? When did this co-sleeping arrangement start and how does she feel it is affecting your son? Share your concerns in a non-confrontational manner. Let her know that you want your son to grow up psychologically healthy and that the co-sleeping issue is a major concern for you. You certainly have a right to express your concerns.If you and your ex do not arrive at a satisfactory agreement then I suggest that you seek a mediator or a therapist to consult with together. 

Good luck with this delicate issue.

Dr. G. 

For more articles like this see my website:

You are reading

The Teen Doctor

My Mother Has No Boundaries

My mother doesn't respect me.

Is My Son Being Abused By His Girlfriend?

We do not like our son's girlfriend.

My Daughter's Boyfriend Broke Up With Her For No Reason

I am heartbroken about my daughter's breakup