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The Breakdown in Discipline Is the Issue, not Co-Sleeping

Posted on March 6 2010 3:45 pm
Suzanne Venker, a.k.a. "No Bull Mom," is an author, blogger, and speaker. You can find her at
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Methinks thou doth protest too much.

I can see there are two sentences in my post that bothered people — or least bothered Tim and Alissa Birkel, who then influenced others to misunderstand my post: “Never let your children in your bed” and “There’s no greater loss of control than lying in one’s own bed with one’s spouse with children who refuse to leave your bed.”

Re the last sentence: Children are not babies. From what the Birkels wrote, they do not qualify as “co-sleeping” parents. Most people keep their infants in their rooms with them for a number of months. That they chose their bed, and chose it for ten months — then transitioned their son to his room — is the reason they do not have ongoing sleep issues in their household.

I was not judging co-sleeping, per se — nor did I say our children are never allowed in our bed. That’s absurd. My article was directed toward parents whose children — 3, 4, 5, 6 year olds — have never slept in their own rooms and the parents want them to. This practice can destroy otherwise healthy marriages, as so often it’s one parent — usually the mom — who starts the process while the other gives in. This is an entirely different scenario than the Birkels’.

In addition, nowhere in my post does it say that all parents who have ever slept with their children in the parents’ bed are “permissive, anything-goes, hippie-dippy” types. What I said was that parents whose children have slept with them for years and who can’t get them to sleep in their own rooms despite their efforts are usually soft on discipline. And, yes, my suggestion for these parents was to not let their kids in their beds from the get-go — because for these personality types, that’s usually the best solution. “Elitism” — interesting choice of terminology, as I happen to detest elitism — has nothing to do with it.

My article was not a scathing indictment of co-sleeping; it was about the breakdown of discipline in modern society and how this breakdown relates to leftist philosophy. (A fantastic book on this issue is Born Liberal, Raised Right, by Reb Bradley.) This doesn’t mean all parents who have ever slept with their children in their bed are liberals!

Sadly, the breakdown in discipline — an extraordinarily serious problem in America with massive ramifications — is rarely discussed because of the passion and defensiveness the issue elicits. My latest article is a perfect example.

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