Well look who’s back in the headlines about yet another parenting sitch. Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard – surprise! The couple recently revealed that their two daughters, Delta and Lincoln, 7 and 9, are finally sleeping in their own rooms. 


Co-sleeping is a pretty big topic in the parenting community, and what I’ve found, through the multiple online parenting forums I’ve both read and written into, is that mums and dads are either totally for or totally against it – there really is no in between.

And to be frank, I don’t quite know where I stand on this situation. That’s because Bell and Shepard’s situation seems wildly different from most black-and-white instances of co-sleeping as their daughters weren’t actually co-sleeping.

Co-sleeping is defined as parents and children sleeping in the same bed nightly. What the couple was doing, however, was letting their girls sleep on a mattress in their room. Typically, parents opt to co-sleep with newborns, babies and toddlers. But for kids Lincoln and Delta’s age, it’s hard to grasp what the point of this sleeping arrangement was, especially considering Bell’s revelation that she was giving her kids melatonin gummies to “knock them out quicker.”

There’s always been a lot to unpack when it comes to Bell and Shepard’s parenting headlines – the couples' headlines in general make quite fertile ground for a good head-scratch. Having spoken out about everything from self-regulating on her period to the divorce of Chris Pratt and Anna Faris and most notoriously, the frequency in which she and her husband bathe their kids, an act she calls a privilege, it’s no wonder there are always think-pieces in different outlets reacting to their latest news.


I really try not to judge people’s parenting decisions – but I do love making a good observation for no other reason than to compare notes on how I parent versus how everyone else does it. Somewhere, in all of that mess, it helps to inform the decisions I make as a mom. 

The three things at the front of my mind in this particular conundrum is first, how the couple managed to maintain intimacy with their kids in the room. Unless these two were meeting up in the pantry for a mid-day tussle (here for it!), that is. Second, why it was necessary to give the kids melatonin - a sleep hormone yet to be approved by the FDA for use in kids and adolescents where overdoses are also possible. And third, why Kristen Bell chooses to continue discussing her kids if she’s been vocal about the fact that she dislikes when people, and that encompasses everyone from the paparazzi to little old me, comment on her kids and parenting choices.

Several years ago, Bell launched the No Kids Policy for paparazzi. It was a movement that was hugely successful with other celebrities who wanted to keep pictures of their kids out of the headlines. She really played hardball with network executives, even holding meetings with them to give them the ultimatum of either agreeing to her No Kids Policy or threatening that celebrities like Jennifer Aniston and Jennifer Lawrence would stay away.

Brad Bessey, former executive producer of Entertainment Tonight agreed to not use paparazzi photos of celebrity kids. Mike Steele, then editor-in-chief of Us Weekly said he might consider using these images but only in cases of breaking news involving the subjects. Bell celebrated the fact that she noticed she was followed less by the paparazzi, saying, “It makes me feel like we all rallied and did something — the good people that were on the side of responsible parenting and passionate about child welfare spoke up and made a difference, and that's a really invigorating feeling."


This begs the question of why Bell has revealed so much else about her kids, then, if their privacy is so important. If the goal was to keep faces off the internet, certainly the mission was accomplished. But in a day and age where kids create their social media accounts at ages close to Lincoln and Delta’s, and it’s safe to assume that in the coming years, we’ll all be able to put faces to names, was it fair to have divulged all of this other information – like the fact that up until the age of 5, her kids were in diapers?

In a 2020 interview with Romper, Bell had this to say about why she wanted to keep her kids offline:

"My feeling is that I chose a career in the public eye. I chose to be quoted, I chose to have my picture taken. I don't know them yet. I don't know if they will want that. So I really don't have the right to choose for them." 


Certainly, celebrities have got to understand that keeping photos of their kids offline is only one part of the massive puzzle. Sure, we live in an image-based society, but so much can be implied with all of the other information and insight we get into people’s lives through things like photo captions, podcast appearances and articles – all of which Bell and Shepard have been incredibly open with. 

I imagine Lincoln and Delta go to school. I imagine their friends know who their celebrity parents are. I also imagine that their friends have parents who are also celebrities, or at the very least, have got some wealth. Their close networks now know that this couple’s 7 and 9-year-old kids slept in their parents’ rooms until this point in their lives – and a slew of other information about them that they’ve revealed through their own social media activity. 

Parenting as a celebrity must be difficult. Heck, I’m not a celebrity and parenting is difficult. But whether you’re a celebrity or not, if you’re going to protect the privacy of your kids, consistency is almost always an asset. From this vantage point, it’s hard to see the consistency here.