A letter writer is concerned about her children’s co-sleeping habits — particularly when it concerns her father-in-law.
You’re right to encourage them to sleep independently, says our elder. Why not ask a community elder to step in?
I have two kids, my three-year-old daughter, and my two-year-old son. My daughter likes to sleep with either my boyfriend and me, or she sleeps with her Papa (my father-in-law) on her bed. She will literally scream and cry for him in the middle of the night. When my father-in-law isn’t home, like off island (I live in Hawaii), she’s able to sleep by herself. As soon as he comes home, he’s back to sleeping next to her. My boyfriend and I have told him not to we just got her sleeping by herself. He ignores us and does it anyway. My question is, what do I do in order to stop the co-sleeping with both of my children because my son is always sleeping with my boyfriend and me or my mother-in-law. Please help me!
Your letter spoke to me, because I lived in Hawaii for twenty some years and I know many families live together because housing is so expensive. That being said, I think you and your boyfriend are doing the right thing by trying to teach your children to sleep independently. A child who can sleep on his own, in my mind, will have more self-confidence.
Although I don’t mean to insult you your father-in-law, my past work made me aware of a few older men who ended up acting inappropriately with their granddaughters, especially when they no longer slept with their wives. That is another reason why parents should want their keiki to sleep independently once they are no longer babies.
I am assuming you are living in your parent’s home, so they feel they can set the rules. You might try rearranging the sleeping arrangements for a while; perhaps moving your daughter’s bed into the room you sleep in. Another idea is to try to reach your father-in-law by having an older adult, a kupuna to him, try to convince him why it is better for your daughter to sleep by herself. If he goes to church and has a pastor or priest, maybe you could arrange to have them talk to him and your mother-in-law.
I am sorry not to have better ideas, but think your goals are correct. Good luck to you!
Letter #: 426165