Up to what age would it be normal for parents and children to sleep together? What about a brother and sister?
I think it’s a question that bothers many parents, especially since we obviously don’t find a clear black and white answer in the Bible. Neither in Scripture do we find a specific age, nor have psychologists reached a consensus. Some psychologists say that it is good for a child to sleep with his parents, especially with his mother, and others say that it is not good. Some say that you have to gradually teach a child to sleep alone, starting at 2 years old, others say that we have to start at 4. So it’s totally confusing. I believe that Scripture does not specify this fact either, because it is a decision that must be made in every family, personally, depending on the child. But when making this decision, because children are different, we must keep in mind the following rules:
I need to know my child and his abilities
God is my parental example. He, as my Father, knows me in depth, what I feel, what I dream, why I am afraid of, etc. As a Christian parent, I need to know my child the same way.
Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him for He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust. (Psalm 103:13-14 NASB)
I need to know what my child thinks, what fears he has. Why? Because depending on that I will be able to help him. If my child is afraid of the dark and does not want to sleep alone, I must get to the root of this fear. Maybe it’s a movie that he watched and causes him fears, maybe it’s a comment someone made, maybe it’s his imagination, maybe it’s a normal fear for his age. We know that at every age a child has his fears. With all this in mind, I can help him overcome his fear of sleeping alone. That is why I have to know my child well. In order to know my child well, I have to talk to him, to spend time in different activities that will make him open up. And, of course, what could be better than time spent studying the Scriptures?
I seek the good of the child, to agonize for his soul
Paul, although not a physical parent, had many spiritual children. Each was special, one more obedient and submissive, another more rebellious. The church in Corinth was one of the rebellious children. And Paul, as a parent, speaks to them very interestingly! In everything he does for the Corinthians, he seeks their benefit.
Here for this third time I am ready to come to you, and I will not be a burden to you; for I do not seek what is yours, but you; for children are not responsible to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. I will most gladly spend and be expended for your souls. If I love you more, am I to be loved less? (2 Corinthians 12:14-15 NASB)
We, as parents, have the same calling – to seek the spiritual good of our children. If my child needs comfort, why not take him to sleep with me? When we come home from travelling, we usually sleep with our children. It is a time when they need affection and it helps them feel loved. It does not affect their spiritual growth in any way and does not prevent them from building a relationship with God. If I see that the fact that he sleeps with me does not grow him, does not mature him, then it is time to say: No! In every decision I must seek his good and his spiritual growth.
I am looking to build a mutual and continuous relationship.
In the New Testament, when we meet the command given to children to obey their parents, there is also the command given to parents not to provoke children to anger. If the child comes to you scared and asks you to pray for him, because he is afraid of an ant and you disregard him, sending him to bed without relief, it is normal that you provoke his anger. He needs understanding and to solve his problem, which, in his creative mind, is very big and real. If we want to be listened to by our children, then we will say, “Everyone sleeps in his own bed.” We have to do our part as parents.
Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart. (Colossians 3:20-21 NASB)
Examine their mind
Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life. (Proverbs 4:23 NASB)
In the question you asked, we must also look at a very sad aspect, that of incest. The problem is not the bed of the child with the parents or the brother with the sister, but a broken mind. That is why it is important for us to study the Bible and to teach our children. I recommend Bible studies for adults and children. We must protect our hearts and minds to be filled with God’s Word and not with other sinful sources.
Dear parents, what do you think about this topic?
Translated by Liza Bîrlădeanu