Daughters forced to sleep with their mother

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DEAR ABBY: My mother has this odd habit that my younger sister, "Sara," and I don't agree with. It's only the three of us in our house, and Sara and I are in high school and college.

Our mother forces one of us to sleep with her in her room every night. Sara sleeps in Mom's room more often than I do, and rarely gets a chance to sleep in her own bed. On the few occasions when Sara is sick, I sleep with Mom. But if we're both sick, she picks one of us anyway.

Abby, this has persisted for years. I have tried many times to convince my mother to let us sleep in our own rooms, but she ignores me or accuses me of "not loving her enough." She says the same things to Sara.

I'm worried about my mother. I feel as though she's depressed or worried about being abandoned. At the same time, I don't want us sleeping in Mom's bed forever. We have our own lives and rooms. What would be the best thing to do in this situation?

- Sleepover in Maryland

DEAR SLEEPOVER: Your mother is an adult who should long ago have learned to sleep alone. She should not be trying to "guilt" you and your sister into sleeping with her by accusing you of not loving her enough if you don't spend the night in her bed. The two of you should ask her together why she's doing this.

You young ladies are old enough to simply refuse if you would rather sleep in your own rooms. But breaking this habit may not be easy for your mother, so if she says she can't sleep without one of you with her, volunteer to stay with her until she falls asleep and then go to your rooms.


Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.