What is the Impact of Shared Sleep on a Daughter's Psychological Development?

Kate Chered
4 min readJan 15, 2024


In many families, shared sleeping arrangements with young children are common. Parents who opt for such nighttime rest believe it offers their children security and promotes harmonious development. However, there is a heated debate regarding children, especially daughters, sleeping with a parent of the opposite sex. Experts argue that such sleeping arrangements could adversely affect a girl's development.

The concept of shared sleeping, particularly a daughter sleeping with her father, raises several psychological concerns. A child's sense of individuality and personal space begins early in life. When a daughter shares a bed with her father, it may impede this aspect of her development. Psychologists emphasize the importance of children having their own space, even at a young age. This separation is crucial for developing independence and a sense of self, separate from family members.

The risk of infantilization is another concern. Prolonged shared sleeping can lead to a daughter becoming overly dependent on her father, hindering her ability to self-soothe and manage emotions independently. This dependency can affect her social and emotional development, potentially leading to challenges in forming relationships outside the family.

In some cases, a daughter may subconsciously assume a role akin to a spouse, which can be psychologically confusing and detrimental. This role reversal, even if purely symbolic, disrupts the natural boundaries that should exist between parent and child.

Where do the Dangers to Health and Life in Shared Sleeping Lie?

From a health perspective, shared sleeping, especially with fathers, can pose significant risks. Dr. Evgeniy Komarovsky, a renowned pediatrician, highlights the dangers of such arrangements. For instance, a tired father might accidentally roll over onto the child, posing a risk of suffocation. Additionally, the risk of transmitting infections during close contact is higher, as young children have underdeveloped immune systems. Even a common cold from an adult can be dangerous for an infant's health.

Medical science, backed by extensive research, firmly states that children should not share a bed with adults. One of the most severe risks associated with shared sleeping is the increased likelihood of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Dr. Komarovsky advocates for safer alternatives, like placing the child's crib close to the parent's bed, particularly in the early months. This arrangement facilitates easier feeding and monitoring while maintaining a safe sleeping environment.

For fathers who smoke, the risk is even greater. Exposure to secondhand smoke significantly increases the likelihood of SIDS. This highlights the importance of maintaining a separate, smoke-free sleeping environment for the child.

When Should a Child Transition to Independent Sleeping to Foster Personal Growth?

The transition to independent sleeping is a critical step in a child's development. Even the youngest children need solitude to form their personalities and individuality. Girls who sleep separately from their parents often become more independent and learn to solve complex problems without adult intervention. This transition fosters independence and encourages a healthy separation from parents, which is crucial for psychological growth.

Dr. Komarovsky suggests that during the first month of life, it is essential for the child to stay in the same room as the parents. A crib adjacent to the mother's bed is ideal for facilitating breastfeeding and establishing lactation. However, once lactation is established, the ideal scenario is for the child to sleep in a separate nursery. This arrangement encourages the child to develop self-reliance and a sense of security in their own space.

To What Extent Does Shared Sleeping Affect a Child's Relationship with Both Parents?

Shared sleeping arrangements can inadvertently create a sense of rivalry between the mother and daughter, especially when the daughter shares the bed with her father. Although subtle and often unconscious, this rivalry can strain the mother-daughter relationship and alter the family dynamics. Both parents need to present a united front and ensure that the child feels equally connected to both without competing for affection or attention.

In some cases, the daughter might perceive herself as having a more significant role or bond with the father due to the shared sleeping arrangement. This perception can lead to an imbalanced family structure, where the mother might feel excluded or less important. Parents must recognize and address these dynamics to maintain a healthy and balanced family relationship.

In conclusion. At the same time, the intentions behind shared sleeping might be rooted in ensuring the child's comfort and security; it is essential to consider the long-term psychological, developmental, and health implications. Independent sleeping arrangements not only promote a child's personal growth and independence but also safeguard their health and foster balanced family dynamics.

For a more in-depth understanding, readers are encouraged to consult sources like Dr. Evgeniy Komarovsky

's work and other scientific research on child development and psychology.


How Does Shared Sleeping with a Father Affect a Daughter's Psychological Development?

Shared sleeping with a father can impede a daughter's development of individuality and personal space. It may lead to psychological issues such as infantilization, where the daughter becomes overly dependent on her father. Additionally, it can create confusion in family roles, potentially causing the daughter to assume a spousal-like role towards her father subconsciously.

Where Do the Health Risks Associated with Shared