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Dr. Phil, MD
Dr. Phil, MD, Board Certified Physician
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 55491
Experience:  GP in the United States
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My son has just had his 7th birthday and still sleeps in bed

Resolved Question:

My son has just had his 7th birthday and still sleeps in bed with me. Is that wrong? He only started sleeping with me after his father and I separated when he was 3 years old. I am away a lot on business and when I am away and he has had a nanny, or stayed at his fathers or grandparents or even with friends, he always sleeps in his own bed. My feeling is that he is still little and doesn't get to be with me as much as I might like and so it is okay and will probably just stop by itself at some point (I have an older daughter too but she is/was much more independent). However, my ex thinks it is totally wrong. What is the professional opinion on this matter? (My son has no behavioural problems, btw. He is well behaved, does well at school, is well liked and happy otherwise...) Many thanks for your help.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. Phil, MD replied 3 years ago.

Dr. Phil, MD :

Hello. I'm Dr. Phil, licensed and practicing internist. Excellent service is my goal.

Dr. Phil, MD :

please enter chat

Dr. Phil, MD :

Hi I'm Dr. Phil

Dr. Phil, MD :

Can I ask your first name?

Customer:

Rachel

Dr. Phil, MD :

Hi Rachel

Dr. Phil, MD :

Nice to meet you

Dr. Phil, MD :

I don't think this is horrible but it does not create healthy boundaries

Dr. Phil, MD :

I understand you want to spend time with him and miss him and I'm sure he misses you but I would recommend weaning off this

Dr. Phil, MD :

you there?

Dr. Phil, MD :

Rachel?

Customer:

I have tried getting him to sleep in his own room. Firstly his room was upstairs next to his sister and so I moved him downstairs to the room next to mine, but that only lasted a couple of nights. Then he wanted this new bunk bed, so I got him that, but that didn't work either. If I lie with him while he goes to sleep, he will sleep through to the morning without knowing I am not there. I suppose the thing is that I travel internationally extensively. We live in France but the last few months I have been in Africa, India, the Middle East and all over Europe. I feel so bad travelling so much while he is still so young that it doesn't seem that much to ask and I just feel it will dwindle with time, I suppose.

Dr. Phil, MD :

I understand

Dr. Phil, MD :

and that is a very rational point of view

Dr. Phil, MD :

I just think you have to make efforts to wean it over time

Dr. Phil, MD :

you could start by explaining it to him

Customer:

Before I started my career I also worked as a nanny for many families for many years and I am very intuitive with children and have obviously seen lots and lots of different styles and issue with parenting. I don't often question my parenting as it is very instinctive with me and my children who have mostly be raised by me as so well balanced and do really well at school and everyone praises their manners and kindness etc, wherever we go. We are somewhat of an unconventional family anyway.....

Dr. Phil, MD :

Tell him that as he gets older, it is healthy for him to sleep in his own bed and keep his privacy

Dr. Phil, MD :

I don't think it is horrible like your ex husband does by any means

Dr. Phil, MD :

I believe that you should make efforts to lessen it rather than letting it dwindle naturally

Dr. Phil, MD :

because there is no guarantee it will

Customer:

When you say explain it to him........I'm just unsure what to say. As for privacy, last year my ex caught my son and a friend of my son showing each other their willy's. My ex went absolutely ballistic and my son was quite traumatised by it. he kept going on about privacy and how no-one should every see him undressed etc and it took quite some undoing, because my son suddenly got really upset about it all, so I am a little cautious about that. We live on the Mediterrean just a few miles from Italy. Children here run around the beach when they are little with nothing on or certainly get changed into their swimwear on the beach. Nudity just a big deal and suddenly I had a child that thought it was "naughty" to even get undressed in front of me because of his fathers lecture about "privacy". Perhaps, I should start a "reward chart" type system which might help. I think one of the reasons that my ex is unhappy is because my son doesn't want to stay at his house very much. He tells me that when he has nightmares and goes though to his father, he says that he is a baby. I suppose I could try another attempt to lessen it....

Dr. Phil, MD :

are you there Rachel?

Dr. Phil, MD :

hello?

Dr. Phil, MD :

Rachel?

Customer:

Yes, I'm here....

Dr. Phil, MD :

Do you have more questions for me Rachel?

Dr. Phil, MD :

Overall, it sounds like you are an excellent mom

Customer:

No. Thanks for your help and guidance.

Dr. Phil, MD :

Did I do good work for you today Rachel?

Customer:

Yes. Thank you very much

Dr. Phil, MD :

you're welcome :)

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Expert:  Dr. Phil, MD replied 3 years ago.
I appreciate the excellent rating.

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