July 02, 2015

Q: I have a three-year-old son who is scared of thunderstorms so he comes to our bed when we have storms, but recently he has been coming every single night in the middle of the night to sleep with us, and my husband brings the two-year-old so he won't sleep alone in their bedroom. I wake up every morning tired and sleepy, and I do not know what to do so they can sleep on their own in their room. My husband's solution is to buy a bigger bed but I don't know what to say or what to do...

A: The family bed is a very personal decision. Different cultures feel differently about a family bed and there is no right or wrong answer, although in America many frown upon the concept. What's most important is for the two of you to agree. If you and your husband don't make a cohesive decision, your kids will be confused. Kids respond best to clear and consistent rules. Talk with your husband and see if you can make a decision that you both can live with. You won't harm the children by sleeping with them or without them but you can create a lot of chaos by each sending them a different message. Listen to your husband's ideas and have him listen to yours. Agree on an approach then implement it as consistently as possible.

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Answered by Dr. Eva Ritvo