My child wants to sleep in our bed: what to do?
Careful to remain insensitive when, after a nightmare, your child is in tears and only calms if he is in the bed of his parents. Do you have to let yourself be softened, to reassure him or should you remain firm and set limits?
When the child is about two years old, he often encounters difficulties in falling asleep and expresses his desire to sleep in his parents’ bed.
Fear of sleep alone
At this age, the child has separated from his mother; he is no longer in a fusional relationship with her, he is now clean. When the time comes to lie down, his anxieties rise to the surface. Not easy to become independent and to live as a person in its right. He feels the need to regain that security he felt when he was a baby. He is afraid of sleeping alone and would like to come and reassure himself in his parents’ bed.
When the curiosity of the child is expressed
The child has everything to discover, he keeps watching and seeks to understand how big people work, and he also aims to understand the emotional connection between his father and his mother. Does Mom like Dad the same way she loves me? Why do they want to be alone? What do they do when they close the door of their room? All this stirred his curiosity all the more.
If he has a nightmare and needs a little coaxing, you can negotiate by saying that he has the right to come but that it is exceptional and that there will be only a small moment. It must be explained to him that parents have the right to be alone, but that he should not be jealous. The difficulty is to get the child to respect the intimacy of the parents without feeling excluded.
Sleeping with Dad or Mom: Oedipal Behavior
If his behavior persists beyond the age of three or four years, it is most often because he disputes this intimacy and not because he is afraid alone in his bed.
The child tries to make a real take on power; the little boy would like to take the place of dad in the bed (or of Mom if it is a girl). We must avoid giving in so that the child understands that there is a third person. If one of the parents does not agree and has clearly expressed it, the other must not go against that will. He must admit that his mother or father does not belong to him and that the other parent has a say.
From the fourth year, the prohibition must be clear, the bed of the parents represents a border that must not be crossed. This prohibition is the symbol of the Oedipal interdict: “your mother (your father) does not belong to you.”
Prohibiting access to the parents’ bed is essential. This makes it possible to give a reference to her child. However, he needs these markers to grow up safely and structure himself psychologically.