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Co-sleeping and sexual abuse?

30750 Views 40 Replies 24 Participants Last post by  Siana
I've been recently presented the opinion that under no circumstances should parents and children of different genders sleep in the same bed, which I assume is related to the fear of sexual abuse of the child from a parent of the opposite sex.

I started doing some research and found this interesting tid-bit:

Western observers even today often notice that Japanese mothers still masturbate their young children during the day in public and at night in the family bed - in order, they say, "to put them to sleep."(156) The average Japanese today sleeps with his or her children until the children are ten or fifteen years old,"(157) - one recent Japanese study found daughters still sleeping with their fathers over 20 percent of the time even after age sixteen.(158) Even when the home contains a dozen rooms or more, parents and grandparents feel "lonely" if they sleep apart from
the children in the family, and therefore go to bed with some child every night (the mean age in one study of children sleeping alone is 12.7 years).(159) Since so many families still practice what is termed dakine co-sleeping - with the parent or grandparent sleeping while physically embracing the child, a practice said to be beneficial to the health of the adult"(160) - and since most Japanese parents still regularly have sexual in-tercourse while the child is in bed with them,(161) one wonders how scholars can continue to maintain that nothing sexual usually happens to the Japanese child in the family bed, particularly since none have yet ask-ed the children themselves about their sexual experiences.
I don't know how credible this source is, but the parts I read were "interesting". I don't know enough about the publication or subject to make a good judgement.

I thought I heard once that when children and parents are more emotionally connected (and cosleeping increases this), that chances of abuse are reduced. I don't remember the source. Anyone have any clues?

Personally, I'm not concered about this aspect with us, because frankly, I can't forsee either my partner or me doing such things to our kids! I also hope that we have healthy communication lines with our kids where they feel safe to tell either of us if something that someone is doing is making them uneasy/uncomfortable.

Perhaps someone else can shed more light on this issue?

Siana... co-sleeping mama to my two monkeys.
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This article is more to my liking, but it doesn't delve in to this particular issue in that much depth:

The Family Bed: An evolutionary approach to family sleep
by Katie Allison Granju

I know this dilemma is just another one of those instances where of course some people who co-sleep will sexually abuse their children just as some who don't will. It's the connection between co-sleeping and increased sexual abuse that upsets me. I don't like when people make unsubstantiated accusations like that against co-sleeping, but I also need to get my facts straight (if enough evidence exists), even if they don't stack up in my favour.
Well that certianly is a disturbing study. I wonder how they were "observed"? How scientific could a study like that be? I can't wait to see what some others think.
I was speaking of the first Japanese study, I'll read the other one (thanks)
As an abuse survivor I am disgusted by the insinuation that co-sleeping and sexual abuse are related. Abusers do not need to sleep in the same bed to find ways and times to abuse children.
You have a very good point there.
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Studies I have read actually found that abusers almost NEVER commit the abuse in their own beds. They want to distance themselves from it. In that frame of mind, people should be looking at situations where the children are in their own beds in another room.
I would like to know were they got the information about Japanese openly masterbating their children.
I dont think so. I live in Japan. There are far less sexual abuse/molestation cases in Japan than there are in the USA. I wouldnt believe everything you read.
well i think that's a bunch of hooey. an abuser is far less likely to abuse in the *family* bed because there's a friggin *family* in it. it's out in the open. not exactly the primary choice. behind a closed door in a child's own bedroom is typically where these things happen.

as for the insinuation that extended family members sleeping together is somehow wrong, i'm deeply offended. my family in peru does this and there is nothing wrong about it at all. it's a beautiful expression of *healthy* closeness. my cousin slept with our grandmother until abuelita cousin was 19 years old.

they can bite me.
My first question would from whom you were recently presented this opinion and why. Then I would wonder why you found only a single data point (one article) supporting the claim... and how they can make these statements without statistically qualifying them. Finally, I don't like statements like "children sleep with parents until 10 or 15 years of age"... you're talking about the difference between a child of 10 and a person who is sexually mature - you can't group them together for studies like this. It always makes me think "Hmmmm" when I see articles like this. If you are confident in your parenting style of co-sleeping and you're not abusing your child(ren), then I'd ignore such information.
My gut reaction to the OP's link is that it's a crock. I dug around on the guy's website for a few minutes and am not impressed.

Would also like to know where he gets that stat about Japanese mothers. Sounds like racist bull**** to me. Have also heard about the markedly lower Japanese abuse rates from family who lived there. So it just doesn't gibe with what I've heard previously.

As a matter of fact, I'm finding the whole thing more and more offensive the more I think about it.
That whole website creeped me out bigtime. I kept thinking there'd be a link to NAMBLA at the bottom.
Okay, now I know why the name of the website was bugging me. As a sci-fi fanatic, should've picked up on it sooner, but the whole family bed=abuse scenario had me blindsided.

Wikipedia's entry on psychohistory.

Here's Wikipedia on the producer of the research in the OP's link.
Umm...gross! That's just racist! Japanese mothers masturbate their children, yeah right.

Originally Posted by loveandkindness
As an abuse survivor I am disgusted by the insinuation that co-sleeping and sexual abuse are related. Abusers do not need to sleep in the same bed to find ways and times to abuse children.
ITA!! That was my first thought too. I'm a survivor and sleep with my darling boy, and would NEVER dream of hurthing him. Especially like that.
that is the most ridiculous piece of racist CRAP i have ever read in my entire life.
i'm gonna write to this sack of poop and give him a piece of my mind.
He gave that as a speech at The National Parenting Conference in Boulder CO in 1997?

What kind of parenting conference is that? Listening to reams of questionably credible accounts of child sexual abuse described in uncomfortable and awful detail? Gee, that's educational. I'm sure the participants all walked out of that room better parents for that experience.

I wonder who was the genius in charge of booking that guy as speaker. Afterward everyone was probably going 'Hey, uh, for next year's talk, don't even worry about it! We've got it covered! We'll take care of everything!'
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