It seem that he might be insecure in sleeping separately from you and
this might be the only way he can express his frustration - by agression and anger directed at you.
I totally respect your prefference for sleeping just with your DH.
I think this is just what the Little one feels too.. just as you want to
be close to someone you love, just the same way he wants to be near you.
To understand it better imagine if your husband would ask you for your own good and his comfort to sleep in the nearby motel and not to come till the morning... however you would love him that would be just hard.
Little humans are like little animals.. they just need closness of the mother
and this is genetically coded, it comes in the package. I know that many people fight it, many kids are even okay with it and many succed but regardless.. across the board this is actually not our fault or idea.. this is
mother's nature design.
Mother provides safety, security and comfort. Night is very scary for a little ones, the sounds, the darknesss.. and the sound in the darkness..
now he is older and he fears mor and understands more and kids somehow have stronger fear onsets during growth spurts (cutting teeth is one visible
sign of the growing)... hormons do somehow increase sens of anxiety and fear... just like ladies going through PMS have anxieties of unknown soruce..
however strangely it seem...
therefore respecting little ones needs is something that might be taken into consideration. senstive children tend to experience fears stronger, and anxieties too.. and they will and they do became agressive as they can't help to communicate their pain other way..
what he is showing is just the pain he feels... he is puting it inside out.
happy kids usually don't act that way do they? just a thought.
the tough part is to understand the seemingly obvious signs and adress them
as we have our own needs and wants and they sometimes do conflict with theirs.
I for one will never forget being traumatized by darkness and separation from my parents in the next room and it was horrible horrible horrible memory that nothing can errase.. later they took me into their bed and when I found out that that happened when I was 2 I was really shocked as adult that I actually had such a strong negative memory from such an early infancy.
as other posters suggested I would make sure he is well fed before bedtime.
We are doing oatmeal for bedtime food here.
Furthermore you might try to do extra Desitin or some other ointment
for his night diaper to see if maybe his urine is not waking him up.
sometimes this is really itchy and painful when they are on solids for a while
and their urine make up changes and is stronger and more irritating.
My DD sleeps in her bed next to ours.. I asked her if she wanted to
move to her room when she was 4.. guess what!... the answer was
few weeks of anger and aggression at night before I figured out that
although I decided that she is not going anywhere she will stay where she is
but she was just angry and insecure thinking I will put her into her room
for sleeping. I had this long night talk with her and reassured her with kisses and hugs that she can sleep with us as long as she wants - which is actually the case - as I do believe that she will be fed up with it
just as I was when I got to school age and wanted to be independent at some 6-7 years of age... so we are sleeping in family bed again as we always did..
and good thing - she stopped acting angry the same night I reassured her that she can stay in our room indefenetely. It is somehow connected in them with love. Sleep issue for us adults is just practicaliity and comfort.
For them this is their whole world, sens of secuirity, safety and all that stuff..
so I learned to be vvveeeeeeeery careful how I play it.
She is very sensitive child and I know that this kind of kid can get very badly affected by such a strong negative emotions.
On the note on CIO .. I would recommend you to ask forum for those links as someone once posted acutal Harvard research on negative changes in kids brains - those who were treated to CIO.. so whatever you choose..
make your choices wisely..
it is only few years and there is a lot at stake.