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Boyfriend Sleeping in Same Bed with His 5-Year-Old Daughter and No Room for Me

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My boyfriend sleeps in the same bed as his 5 year old daughter. He puts her in her bed every night (after an hour battle) but every single night she gets up and comes into his bed. When i sleep there, she crawls in with both of us but this is difficult for me cause i don’t get a good sleep and will sometimes end up on the couch. The other night she came in and was mad that she couldn’t be beside her dad because i was, so she whjned and punched me in the back until i left. Im wondering if this is harming the relationship between my bf and i that we don’t get alone time even in bed? And has she learned by kicking me out that all she needs to do is make enough noise and she can get what she wants? Am i being selfish to want this alone time with him? Is she learning that me and her dad’s relationship is not important if she can kick me out of my time with him so easily? (From Canada)

Boyfriend Sleeping in Same Bed with His 5-Year-Old Daughter and No Room for Me

Answered by on -

A.

  Everything about what is happening with the sleeping arrangements is problematic and not recommended. A five year old not staying in their bed as a regular practice in our culture isn’t healthy. There are a wide variety of strategies for helping the child stay, but the main thing is to not give in to her discontent and complaining. Of course doing this with compassion is essential, but this is important and necessary.

Although you didn’t mention it I am assuming you and your boyfriend are in a long-term relationship and you have been going out for over a year. If it isn’t then the wisdom of you staying over would need to be questioned, but assuming it is then your boyfriend has to make certain your bedtime together is respected by his daughter. Again, many ways to do this, but him allowing her to punch you without consequences until she gets her way is damaging to everyone.

I would say to give this about a month of effort. If, after that amount of time, there isn’t sufficient progress I’d work with a child psychologist, or other therapist familiar with children and blended families.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

Boyfriend Sleeping in Same Bed with His 5-Year-Old Daughter and No Room for Me

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). Boyfriend Sleeping in Same Bed with His 5-Year-Old Daughter and No Room for Me. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 21, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2018/06/04/boyfriend-sleeping-in-same-bed-with-his-5-year-old-daughter-and-no-room-for-me/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 4 Jun 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 4 Jun 2018
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