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Co-Sleeping: At What Age Is it Inappropriate?


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1 minute ago, boltnrun said:

I was sexually abused for nearly 10 years because no one bothered paying attention to the signs or they willfully ignored them for their own purposes.

I can't say for sure this young child is being abused or by whom. But there are some concerning behaviors here.

I am sorry this happened to you. ūüėě

Yes, we don’t know who abused this child but the signs of abuse are being ignored and blown off. 
 

 

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It really depends... some families are close like that and because she's young (staying over away from home) I can see WHY she'd want to sleep in the same room as him and why he'd want her to: for her comfort and protection. She might not be willing to sleep in another room on her own. 

But honestly there should be NO REASON for him to be in his underwear. AND if she stays over often like that he should've provided the proper sleeping accommodations. He could've got a toddler bed or something to keep in the master bedroom. He could've let her sleep in the bed and opted for a space on the floor. 

HOWEVER... Now that she's 10, she most likely WILL remember this and have weird feelings about it later in life. 

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If the niece has been risen by the OP's BF and sees him as a father figure, then with the arrival of OP as a girlfriend, the child probably feels like the girlfriend is trying to steal her "father" from her. This is the dynamic that develops in blended families and puts the step-moms in a very tricky position, especially when the boyfriend's child is a daughter. Actually what happens is that two women: the step mom (girlfriend) and the "daughter"(in this case the niece) get to compete for the attention of the man. So, the whole trio (step-daughter, step-mom and the husband/boyfriend) enter a very toxic dynamic, very much like the one described by OP. The man normally is clueless and may experience guilt, conscious, or unconscious, in case of divorce that he brought woo to his daughter, so he will try to overcompensate by being overly permissive and pouring his attention to his daughter when she is staying with him; some go to the extent that they completely ignore, or do not kiss/hug their new wife/girlfriend in front of the daughter. This of course hurts the step-mom and she feels shunned, excluded and builds resentment. In this case the boyfriend may experience some guilt that he "abandoned" his niece to live with his girlfriend, and he allows his niece to do things that are clearly inappropriate.

It is not unusual that when a new woman enters daddy's life the children revert back to old habits that they have outgrown: for instance the children that start insisting in sleeping in the same bed with the parent, even if for years the child has been sleeping in their own bed before the arrival of the new woman; asking for help with basic stuff that the child knows how to do, but now all of a sudden regress to an earlier developmental stage. This is all an attention-seeking and validation cry from the child, as they feel threatened that the affection of the dad (uncle) is given to the new woman.

OP, if you read French, here's a link to a forum in a French platform "Psychologie". The sections on "Famille Recomposée" (blended family) is one of the most active. Full of jaw-dropping stories, you can't believe the extent of the rivalry between step-daughters (more rarely step-sons) and the step moms, very hard on the step mom. As I said if she complains about the inappropriate behavior/disrespect from the step children, she is seen as the bad one, and very very often the husband/dad refuses to see and rectify the dynamic, because he himself carries guilt and it is easier for him to just leave the two women deal with the toxic dynamic that he enables.

https://forum.psychologies.com/famille-recomposee

I do not necessarily think that child molestation has occurred, it's rather a pre-teen with badly managed Oedipus complex, and a man with guilt that he has abandoned his little niece, and you OP are caught in the toxic mix.

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41 minutes ago, East4 said:

  badly managed Oedipus complex, 

Sorry. I disagree 100% with this. The niece shouldn't even be having slumber parties with this creepy uncle.

This woman is Not a stepmother and this child is Not his daughter.

Too many women are willing to turn a blind eye to obvious inappropriate interaction with a child, simply to hang onto a man.

 

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13 hours ago, East4 said:

If the niece has been risen by the OP's BF and sees him as a father figure, then with the arrival of OP as a girlfriend, the child probably feels like the girlfriend is trying to steal her "father" from her. This is the dynamic that develops in blended families and puts the step-moms in a very tricky position, especially when the boyfriend's child is a daughter. Actually what happens is that two women: the step mom (girlfriend) and the "daughter"(in this case the niece) get to compete for the attention of the man. So, the whole trio (step-daughter, step-mom and the husband/boyfriend) enter a very toxic dynamic, very much like the one described by OP. The man normally is clueless and may experience guilt, conscious, or unconscious, in case of divorce that he brought woo to his daughter, so he will try to overcompensate by being overly permissive and pouring his attention to his daughter when she is staying with him; some go to the extent that they completely ignore, or do not kiss/hug their new wife/girlfriend in front of the daughter. This of course hurts the step-mom and she feels shunned, excluded and builds resentment. In this case the boyfriend may experience some guilt that he "abandoned" his niece to live with his girlfriend, and he allows his niece to do things that are clearly inappropriate.

It is not unusual that when a new woman enters daddy's life the children revert back to old habits that they have outgrown: for instance the children that start insisting in sleeping in the same bed with the parent, even if for years the child has been sleeping in their own bed before the arrival of the new woman; asking for help with basic stuff that the child knows how to do, but now all of a sudden regress to an earlier developmental stage. This is all an attention-seeking and validation cry from the child, as they feel threatened that the affection of the dad (uncle) is given to the new woman.

OP, if you read French, here's a link to a forum in a French platform "Psychologie". The sections on "Famille Recomposée" (blended family) is one of the most active. Full of jaw-dropping stories, you can't believe the extent of the rivalry between step-daughters (more rarely step-sons) and the step moms, very hard on the step mom. As I said if she complains about the inappropriate behavior/disrespect from the step children, she is seen as the bad one, and very very often the husband/dad refuses to see and rectify the dynamic, because he himself carries guilt and it is easier for him to just leave the two women deal with the toxic dynamic that he enables.

https://forum.psychologies.com/famille-recomposee

I do not necessarily think that child molestation has occurred, it's rather a pre-teen with badly managed Oedipus complex, and a man with guilt that he has abandoned his little niece, and you OP are caught in the toxic mix.

I don't agree.  He is the uncle and is sleeping with this girl in his underwear.  And, the bit about her walking around nude is beyond.   The uncle should have told her to put her clothes on-10 years old and can't dress herself.  Ridiculous-and should not be sharing a bed with her.   I think there is a molestation situation here. 

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1 hour ago, Hollyj said:

I don't agree.  He is the uncle and is sleeping with this girl in his underwear.  And, the bit about her walking around nude is beyond.   The uncle should have told her to put her clothes on-10 years old and can't dress herself.  Ridiculous-and should not be sharing a bed with her.   I think there is a molestation situation here. 

Also, the OP never said he raised the niece and that he was her "father figure", just that she slept over frequently.

I believe the niece has her own parents who she lives with and is being raised by.

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24 minutes ago, boltnrun said:

Also, the OP never said he raised the niece and that he was her "father figure", just that she slept over frequently.

I believe the niece has her own parents who she lives with and is being raised by.

It's all so disturbing.

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There is NO REASON a grown adult should be in their underwear in front a child, at any age.  I don't care what the relationship is. Adults should teach children modesty and to not share their bodies.  This is a standard boundary. You can't confuse the issue to children.  They need to know that no one is allowed to touch them or see them naked.... and that everyone should wear clothing at all times.

Of course growing up in a house with other people, you might get a glimpse of someone, for some random reason, like they forgot to take a towel into the shower or something.  And you happen to be outside the door for whatever reason.  But it should also be taught and expected, that in that event, one should overt their eyes, out of respect for a person's privacy etc.

OP, I would talk to your BF.  Of course he is not going to admit to being a child molester.  But his behavior is not appropriate.  And this girl's parents or somebody needs to clue this girl in on how she should be behaving and protecting herself.  Does she run around naked at a friend's sleepover?  Ten is way too old for this behavior.   

I would also like to add, a person who was molested or being molested, may not understand  that, what was done to them is actually wrong.  And therefore, they see no reason to shy away from being naked in front of the uncle.  It is heart breaking to think she is being harmed.  And I imagine you would not being living with a guy that is capable of such heinous acts.  However, I ask you to keep an eye and your mind open.  The really sad fact is, many children are molested by family members and friends.  And it is a total shock and horror to all involved.  

And the fact that your boyfriend does not have this common sense is also disturbing.  

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"Co-sleeping" is the euphemism the OP used. She wishes not to address how creepy her BF is.

Every day children are groomed and molested by a "funny uncle" just like this.

Every day people misunderstand child abuse like this. Every day they think child molesters are strangers.

The child is innocent. She doesn't need "modesty" lessons.

She's obviously been groomed and molested. Inappropriate behaviors from a child is a symptom of that.

Edited by Wiseman2
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2 hours ago, Wiseman2 said:

"Co-sleeping" is the euphemism the OP used. She wishes not to address how creepy her BF is.

Every day children are groomed and molested by a "funny uncle" just like this.

Every day people misunderstand child abuse like this. Every day they think child molesters are strangers.

The child is innocent. She doesn't need "modesty" lessons.

She's obviously been groomed and molested. Inappropriate behaviors from a child is a symptom of that.

I agree with you.  But someone needs to tell a 10 year old to not run around naked.  There is obviously more going on here than the OP is aware of.  And since she is clueless, I was making the point of what responsible adults do when they raise children.  Which does in fact, include teaching them things in words they understand.  

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I think every family decides on the boundaries of modesty and what is private and not private and - the practicalities of parenting especially in small spaces (and, hello pandemic life!) requires flexibility lol.  In fact I think it's great when children learn boundaries where they respect their bodies, respect others' boundaries about personal space, and can differentiate between getting dressed in the same room as someone else for example (or wearing only a swimsuit while the instructor has her hands on them, appropriately), and on the other hand someone behaving inappropriately.  It's not always black and white and it can be situational of course.  I respect those parents who are into nudity and teach their children their ways while also teaching them the boundaries of where it's inappropriate, for example.

That's not this situation.  This is an extreme situation where co sleeping is happening not because of some emergency or just because it's a rare instance where there is only one bed in an unusual situation and sleeping on the floor isn't an option.  This is a situation where this child is capable of getting dressed on her own but for some reason -likely inappropriate -is doing so in front of a male adult. Yes, I likely would cosleep with my tween boy if we get a hotel room this summer and finally take a road trip - those hotel cots or fold out couches often are impossible to sleep on.

My son is perfectly capable of differentiating between the couple of nights we'll have this type of arrangement and the typical sleeping arrangements of him being in his own room, own bed at home. 

During recent storms, tornados - guess what -we coslept! It was darn scary in the middle of the night.  I think it would have messed him up some  if I'd insisted no it's inappropriate -you deal with the deafening sounds and constant lightning alone in your room! Why -because he's 12 and about to go through puberty?  I'm his momma, he was scared, we both needed sleep and he needed comfort and security. 

He can, again, differentiate, why he's co sleeping in that instance.  If he was unable to that's a different story.  I know my kid and he can.  But in this situation this uncle doesn't seem to care about the child here - it's about convenience and most likely some inappropriate interest in her developing body.  And more importantly -she knows that just like my son knows our cosleeping during storms, trips, or when he's very sick is based on positive love and caring and the right boundaries and choices in that situation.

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It is normal to have different opinions, this is why it is a forum ūüôā.

Yes, technically OP's BF is an uncle, but he has raised his niece and she perceives him as a father figure:

On 4/12/2021 at 10:26 PM, doglover24 said:

They are close because she is the product of his sister's teenage pregnancy and they all lived in the same house when she was younger, and the home was very small. He has never harmed her. She thinks of him as a father figure, as he has basically helped to raise her.

This is why I suggested that there is step-mom<->stepdaughter<->dad dynamics at play here. 

I agree with the others that sleeping in one bed, flashing naked butt, etc is certainly inappropriate. The difference is that I think that molestation, as several posters suggested, is too far fetched. It doesn't have to be so morbid. 

Those of you who really think that abusive behavior is the explanation, then rather than writing messages on a message board, as good citizens you should be signaling the information to the CPS.

Edited by East4
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On 4/17/2021 at 3:53 AM, East4 said:

Full of jaw-dropping stories, you can't believe the extent of the rivalry between step-daughters (more rarely step-sons) and the step moms, very hard on the step mom. As I said if she complains about the inappropriate behavior/disrespect from the step children, she is seen as the bad one, and very very often the husband/dad refuses to see and rectify the dynamic, because he himself carries guilt and it is easier for him to just leave the two women deal with the toxic dynamic that he enables.

I can see this dynamic being right, in that the OP's boyfriend has a lot of guilt over the girl not having good parents, or parents who had her way too young and aren't as involved in her life (I'm guessing?).  

Sure he's not her father per-se, but the situation does seem to fit into what E4 described.

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Then the boyfriend should put some gosh darned pajamas on or a t-shirt and shorts.  Not sleep with the niece in his underwear and conceal it from the OP and/or wait until she's out of town to "co-sleep".

And I doubt those posters who co-slept with their children during a storm or vacation or whatever were in their underwear in bed with their children.  I had to co-sleep with my teenage son one time because we had family stay overnight and he was not parading around nude in front of me or asking me to help him dress.  And I was not sleeping with him wearing only my panties.

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1 hour ago, boltnrun said:

Then the boyfriend should put some gosh darned pajamas on or a t-shirt and shorts.  Not sleep with the niece in his underwear and conceal it from the OP and/or wait until she's out of town to "co-sleep".

 

Not sure if this is addressed to me?  E4 did say this was inappropriate, so I was agreeing with her post, as well as her take on the quasi-step-parent dynamic going on.

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1 hour ago, boltnrun said:

Then the boyfriend should put some gosh darned pajamas on or a t-shirt and shorts.  Not sleep with the niece in his underwear and conceal it from the OP and/or wait until she's out of town to "co-sleep".

And I doubt those posters who co-slept with their children during a storm or vacation or whatever were in their underwear in bed with their children.  I had to co-sleep with my teenage son one time because we had family stay overnight and he was not parading around nude in front of me or asking me to help him dress.  And I was not sleeping with him wearing only my panties.

This whole scenario makes me feel ill.

What happened to Dog Lover?

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If she was three and took a nap with an aunt or uncle -- no big deal.

If she were 2 years old and regularly streaked, well ripping a piece of clothing off and running around the house sometimes happens at 2.  I can't tell you how many times my sister has said "WHERE ARE YOUR PANTS??" after getting him dressed and turning arund for one second to my nephew when he was 2-3 (he often would have underwear but sometimes that would come off too.  He is 9 now and is completely embarrassed if anyone talked about what he did at that age.

She is 10  - her body is changing - she needs someone to step up for her.  would they be happy if she went to a friends house for a sleepover in front of 4 young ladies, the mom, dad and brother and she acted this way?

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