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When it comes to letting our kids climb into bed with us -- whether it's during a storm and they're scared, or they just need to be comforted -- I'm not such a strict parent. I welcome them. I realize how fast these days with the little ones are going, and I remember back to my little boys coming in and climbing in bed. By morning we sometimes had three or four kids in the bed!
I welcome the moments when the children need that extra comfort and encouragement with us. Sometimes they just need that closeness -- the comfort that comes from being near Mom and Dad. And while I feel like it's important for them, they also know that when Mom and Dad's door is locked, that's it (unless it's an emergency).
I started to keep the door open because when my boys we're little they'd be halfway asleep and they'd bam into the door if it was closed -- we'd hear this ka-thud sound. Now it's usually our youngest kids, our four little girls that'll make their way into our room.
We always have extra pillows and blankets in the closet for that reason, because often if we have two or three in our bed -- we only have a queen-size bed -- we can't move; we get kinks in our neck. We're getting old! So we have pillows and blankets they can spread out on the floor.
It doesn't happen all the time, but if our family is walking through a traumatic experience, like the death of Grandpa Duggar or little Jubilee, some of the older ones may come in room in the middle of the night and just ask us to pray with them. We realize they need to work through something. I think as parents we just need to be sensitive to our children and respect them as individuals and try to understand what they're going through.
After all, I sometimes have things that bother me, and I wake up in the middle of the night. The first thing I want to do is talk to my husband, Jim Bob. And he doesn't get all bent out of shape when I do that. I think we should respect our kids in the same way -- they need to talk, too, even if it's at 3 or 4 a.m. Typically the middle of the night migration into our bedroom happens with the kids that are around 4, 5, 6 and 7 years old. They tend to grow out of it around 6. But it just depends on the child.
Some of them are more sensitive, and to them their love language is touch. They need that encouragement and that touch and that affection, like, "Yes, you're great. You're a super person. I love you," and so for them it could take a little longer to grow out of it.
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