Do kids NEED beds? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 40 Old 10-17-2006, 10:44 AM
 
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I'd be hesitant to "force" minimalist ideals on children just as they're aproaching adolescence and are likely to want their own space. If it's part of your culture (and the culture they're exposed to at school) it's another story-say, if your whole family slept together in the one room of your tipi, and all their classmates were also co-sleeping until they moved out of their parents' homes, then they're not likely to feel "deprived" by not having their own space. However, if they're living in a "Mainstream USA" culture they might resent the lack of privacy.

I think they're old enough to be included in any decision about decorating/organizing their bedroom. How do they feel about having mats or futons instead of regular beds?

If you go with your original idea about the loft and the bunkbed, there are cheaper ways to go about it besides buying everything brand new. Can you build a loft yourselves? Can the old bunkbed be reinforced rather than replaced?

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19 (in Israel for another school year), Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 12(homeschooled)
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#32 of 40 Old 10-17-2006, 12:51 PM
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just because we're not living in japan doesn't mean that we can't adopt certain aspects of the lifestyle that we find valuable.

it would be the same to say "you shouldn't cosleep because cosleeping isn't common in our culture' (and it's certainly not supported by the US government public health announcements!). if you value something, like cosleeping, then you do it whether or not it's popular. And, you'll explain why you do it, so that kids of any age have an udnerstanding to the family choices.

this is not to say, though, that children shouldn't have an opinion, a voice, and have that heard, and a working compromise made.
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#33 of 40 Old 10-17-2006, 01:51 PM
 
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I don't think you can compare taking away older kids' beds/rooms to cosleeping. Cosleeping generally begins in infancy before the child has an opinion about it. Also, it is natural regardless of culture for a small child to want to stay close to his mother. As kids get older, their preferences start to be less influenced by what is strictly "natural" and more influenced by family practices, cultural norms, and personality. I think in this case where the kids are used to having their own beds, it would only be fair to get and respect their input on the situation rather than telling them they'd be sleeping on little fold-away mats (or whatever) from now on. I'm an adult and I wouldn't want a bed I had to put away every morning and take out every night. The idea doesn't appeal to everyone.
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#34 of 40 Old 10-17-2006, 04:10 PM
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First, my immediately PP was in reference to: "If it's part of your culture (and the culture they're exposed to at school) it's another story..." and that those parents who choose to raise their kids in a way that is not 'mainstream' are going to raise kids who 'resent' whatever it was that their family did that was not mainstream.

For non-mainstream people, the cultural normatives are not important. what is important is the underlying value why they chose against the cultural normative. In this way, cosleeping--because it is against the cultural normative of cribs--is the same as sleeping in the japanese style.

For children who are raised in the Japanese style, though, it is different than for children who were/are raised more mainstream in this way (ie, western beds). I never asserted that anyone should "decree" that the children should sleep this way. In fact, i did assert: this is not to say, though, that children shouldn't have an opinion, a voice, and have that heard, and a working compromise made. Here, i asserted that if a child is used to or wants to have a bed of another style--if it is feasable then there's no reason NOT to do it. Since it looks like bunk beds, futons (foldable couches) and lofts are where the OPs (and her children's) interests lie, i left that construct to others who would know more about it--as i have no interest in such things.

why? because at this time, i plan to raise my kids against many cultural norms--and one of those is sleeping in the japanese style. if my kid at age 8 asks why we do it (because she went to Jane's house and Jane's house is like grandma's), then i'll explain to her the underlying value or reasoning. If she should assert that she wants something different--and it's feasable for us--then i would certainly accomodate her one way or another.
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#35 of 40 Old 10-17-2006, 05:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just want to say that I'm very glad for the views and opinions expressed all around. I've gotten many great points and much to consider. I totally get the idea of a child wanting their personal space.

I think that my current views lie close to Zoebird's, although I don't know how much implementation I can accomplish. I would not force the children to any one way of living/sleeping arrangement, especially one that haven't grown up with.

As I mentioned, up until now, my 2 daughters (13 and 8) have had to share a twin bed, at least officially, and all three children have always shared one room. In the course of the years, we've ended up with all three on the floor, 1 or more of them in the living, on the sofa or floor, on our bed, on the floor in our room, etc. When my ankle was fractured a couple months ago, I spent a few weeks on the sofa so I could elevate my leg. And DH and all the kids decided to sleep together on the living room floor. So, they really haven't had their own personal space up until now and if we went to no-beds, it wouldn't be a huge change for them. It would be more so for me because of my concept that everyone should have a traditional bedroom.

In talking with the kids, my younger two have expressed that they think it would be great to have some kind of bed on the floor. In their view, they could just fold it up in the morning and have all that floor space to play. My oldest daughter says that she would like either a futon or a loft bed. So, that may be where we end up. I haven't found anything on Craig's list yet, so who knows when we'll make a change.

Please feel free to offer more ideas and opinions. They are helping me tremendously and I'm sure are of great help to anyone in a similar situation following this thread.
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#36 of 40 Old 10-17-2006, 05:42 PM
 
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zoebird, wasn't trying to pick a fight with you. Sorry if my post came off that way.
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#37 of 40 Old 10-17-2006, 10:37 PM
 
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I think getting the loft bed for 13 yo, and having mats for the enthusiastic younger children, sounds like an ideal solution! Save some money by buying only one bed, and everyone is happy.

I actually chose this route as a child. I shared a bed (full sized) with my sister until we were 10 and 12. She hit puberty, and kept on sharing with me--no problem (I know she passed puberty in that bed, because I remember incidences of blood on the sheets). Once I was 9, however, I was very uncomfortable sharing a bed. So I slept on the floor, in or on a sleeping bag. I rolled it up in the morning. My mother thought that was really weird, but thankfully she allowed me my eccentricity and my space. When we were 10 and 12, we moved and got our own rooms/beds.
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#38 of 40 Old 10-18-2006, 01:18 AM
 
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Keeping in mind that a lot of Japanese children are away from their home most of the time once they start middle/high school I think it makes sense that they don't need their own space at home. If my kids went to school at 8am and didn't get home until night (8-10pm) they might not need more than a place to sleep and store clothing either. And I bet with all the "modernization" a lot of kids do have their own room these days with a western style bed.

In East Asian countries the floor is often heated so it makes sense to sleep on the floor. It's actually quite nice padding around on a warm floor and sleeping on a warmed up mattress. But if the floor is not heated I'd take a bed any day (for sure in the winter!)

Could it work out for all of you to sleep in one room and have the other bedroom as kind of a shared "space"? Playroom/whatever else you would use it for. Then all your girls can have a corner to themselves (decorate it, etc) and also have clothing and desks in there as well? Folded up mattresses can take up a lot of space, even when folded, unless you have room in a closet or something. It sounds like you have a really close knit family so I'm sure you'll figure out something that works for all of you!!

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#39 of 40 Old 10-18-2006, 01:45 AM
 
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I so want a futon on the floor for my boys when they do sleep in their room. Roll it up during the day to play and unroll at night. Love that idea.
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#40 of 40 Old 10-18-2006, 11:06 AM
 
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My husband and I just bought our first bed since we've been married. Before that it was a very thin futon on the floor. And before getting married and I lived alone, a just had one comforter under me and one on top of me. We live in a basement right now and even though we have a dehumidifier, the moisture moulded our futon and we we forced to get something with legs. I miss the floor so much! As soon as we move I am getting rid of those dang legs first.
I think that kids would be just fine with a futon or a bed roll. That way a space as small as a walk-in closet could be their room and they would still have space to themselves.
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