When are children too big for the family bed?

Wendy Walsh, PhD Relationship & Parenting Expert, shares advice for parents on how to know whether or not their child is too old to keep sleeping in the family bed
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When are children too big for the family bed?

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The family bed is a wonderful invention especially needed for good attachment parenting. I love babies and toddlers in bed and cozying with their mother and feeling safe, and with their father so that their brains can develop in a way where they're not feeling stressed all the time about sleeping alone. On the other hand, when they get to be a certain age, and that's the magic question, what is the age? They do need some autonomy and they do need their own bed. Every culture in the world is a little bit different. Some cultures push the older ones to the further, outside of the big family bed while the younger ones are closer. My general rule of thumb is when you get near puberty, it's time to make the break. Because of the hormone events that are happening in a young adolescence life, they might accidentally become aroused by even , God forbid, a parent, or something touching in the night. Young boys, especially, things crop up in the night and they need their own private bed to deal with that. So if you see breast buds beginning on your daughter, if your boys are asking for more private time, that's the time to encourage them out of the family bed if in fact they're still there.

Wendy Walsh, PhD Relationship & Parenting Expert, shares advice for parents on how to know whether or not their child is too old to keep sleeping in the family bed

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Wendy Walsh, PhD

Relationship & Parenting Expert

Dr. Wendy Walsh was nominated for an Emmy Award for her work as co-host on The Dr. Phil spinoff, The Doctors TV show. She also hosts Investigation Discovery Network’s “Happily NEVER After,” as well as being part of Dr. Drew’s Behavior Bureau on HLN Network. On CNN and 9 Network, Australia, she breaks down the psychology of sex, love, gender roles, divorce, parenting and other human behaviors. Dr. Wendy is an Adjunct Professor of Psychology at California State University, Channel Islands. She holds a B.A. in Journalism, a Masters degree in Psychology, and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, and is the author of three books and numerous publications, including The 30-Day Love Detox. She appears regularly on The Today Show, CBS This Morning, Good Morning America, The Steve Harvey Show, The O’Reilly Factor, Inside Edition, The Katie Couric Show, Jane Velez-Mitchell, and The View.

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