What a Deal!

And the debate continues. Seasoned psychologists, educated child experts, experienced doctors, nervous moms, and sleep-deprived dads– everyone has an opinion. Should or shouldn’t children be allowed to come into their parent’s room at night? Ask any child and the answer is “Yes, of course”. Ask any parent who has had a wiggling, kicking, bed-wetting child in their bed lately and the answer is a resounding “NO!” Ask any grandparent who only remembers snuggles and giggles and the answer is “Sure, what does it hurt?”

For many, including people from other countries, they can’t figure out what makes this topic so controversial. But for those who argue against the practice, we are warned that children could form an irreversible dependence on the parents or a child could be smothered as a soundly sleeping parent might roll over without realizing it. Truth be told, I’m guilty of having one or two grandchildren in our bed quite often. So, I’m not one to debate the issue. In fact, for the better part of the past two weeks, I have found my half of our roomy king size bed reduced to approximately six inches, give or take an arm or a leg.

While the debate rages on, I think most people would agree on why a parent’s room is so enticing for children. In a healthy family environment, children come into a parent’s room looking for safety, security and warmth. For a brief time, parents love this about their children. Often, the first night young parents hear the sound of tiny feet scampering across the room, they actually smile. They reach down and help their little darling, who isn’t quite big enough to climb up yet, reach their destination. Then mom and dad settle in for what they believe to be a sweet, one-time, precious moment in parenting history. But, soon the joy of the moment is gone. The trip to mom and dad’s room becomes a way of life and night, after night, the child wedges between mom and dad. He or she falls quickly to sleep, leaving the parents to spend agonizing hours trying to get comfortable with an extra limbs flailing around the bed. Yes, once this fun begins, children seem to set an internal alarm clock telling them exactly when mom and dad have dozed off and it’s safe to go to their room.

A few years ago my son, who loves his children very much, found himself dealing with this issue. He had finally reached the breaking point and came to the conclusion most of us parents (that excludes grandparents) eventually come to–children have stay in their own beds! In an effort to put a positive slant on it, he took the route that I’m sure psychologists would find most appropriate—offer money. One night he sat his two little ones down for a little talk. They were three and five at the time, so I’m sure they weren’t too happy about this conversation. But, he had a good plan. He told them that if they stayed in their bed all night he would pay them one dollar, but if they got into his bed that night, they would owe him 25 cents. Feeling rather proud and confident of his plan, he kissed them good night and put them to bed.

Awww….a night with no feet in my back, he thought. But, around 2:00 AM, the familiar pitter-patter of little feet was heard once again, only this time it was followed by a clinking sound and then a little warm body settled in for the night. The next morning my son discovered the source of the clinking sound as he found two dimes and a nickel on the nightstand beside his bed. A very smart five-year-old had decided it was worth the money to share his parent’s bed, so he paid his way in.

Oh, what lessons our children teach us! Twenty-five cents was nothing to pay for the warmth, security and love one little boy needed during a dark, lonely night. What price would you pay for warmth and safety on a dark lonely night? Twenty-five cents? Twenty-five dollars? No price would be too high if the return was what you needed, would it? But the reality is the price has already been paid. I love the words to the song that says, “He paid a debt he did not owe. I owed a debt I could not pay.” A long time ago, God put two dimes and a nickel beside our bed and said, “Climb in. I’m here to hold you tight and keep you safe.”

Have a great week, resting in the arms of Jesus.

Hugs, Chrys

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  1. To each his own, but we enjoyed the “family bed” most of the time. My mom told me, “If you like it, don’t worry about spoiling the kids. You can always break it if it becomes a problem.” So we let the kids come in at night until they got so big that we didn’t enjoy it anymore. Kristin eventually stopped coming on her own–Josh was the hanger-on. I finally told him that he could not get in until the clock said 6:00. That worked for him.

  2. I love it! We’ve never had that “problem” (yet) but I love how they brought the money with them to his nightstand. That’s great!

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