DEAR ABBY: My cousin is the single mother of a 9-year-old boy, "Kenneth." He is an only child.
Kenneth has never slept in his own room. After his father left, my cousin used this as her excuse to let him sleep with her. He doesn't want to be alone and is afraid his mother will leave him, too, so that's the excuse she uses to justify allowing him to sleep with her.
Abby, his father left four years ago!
I spoke to my cousin about this, and she said, "It's no big deal; plenty of people do it." The truth of the matter is that she doesn't have the patience to listen to him scream and cry all night if she tries to make him sleep in his own room. It's obvious to the family that Kenneth is in charge of their household.
I'm afraid this boy will have serious problems due to the sleeping arrangements. I'm also worried that a state agency will get wind of this strange situation and investigate my cousin.
Do you agree that this boy will become maladjusted? Perhaps if she sees it in your column, she'll wise up. -- NAMELESS
DEAR NAMELESS: Kenneth should not be sleeping in the same bed with his mother. If your cousin doesn't know how abnormal this situation is, she should be told in no uncertain terms that she's doing her son a terrible disservice with this sleeping arrangement.
Further, at age 9, Kenneth is too old to be "screaming and crying all night" when he's left alone. The boy needs counseling to overcome his fears of abandonment.