Author Topic: Kids of different sex sharing the same bedroom?  (Read 6672 times)

Jaketucson

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Kids of different sex sharing the same bedroom?
« on: June 10, 2012, 09:28:57 AM »
This is kind of related to my other post about buying a new house and short selling or defaulting on our current one:  One of the reasons we're even considering that is because we have a boy and a girl (boy 5yo, girl 2yo) that are sharing a bedroom because our current house is only 2 bedrooms, with not really any options to convert other space to a 3rd bedroom.  Right now they are young enough that my wife and I don't think it's an issue.  But before too long we think this could be an issue.  Both of us have family stories from our grandparent's generation and earlier where big families were stuffed into small houses and everything was fine.  But boys always had one bedroom and girls always had a separate bedroom.  Did anyone here grow up sharing a bedroom with an opposite-sex sibling, or all kids in the same bedroom regardless of gender?  Or make this decision for their own kids?  If so, is there anything we should be thinking about from any angle?
We have 2 kids now and talks are ongoing as to whether we'll have more but most likely not.  And if we do, we're capping at 3. 

Bakari

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Re: Kids of different sex sharing the same bedroom?
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2012, 02:10:44 PM »
I didn't, but my ex-wife did.
3 girls and one boy.  She seemed to have more problem with the crowding than the mixed gender.
I think the incest taboo is (partially?) instinctual, so that's not really much concern.  But if they grow up feeling its normal to share a space with each other - just like kids in a nudist family - it probably won't make them uncomfortable to live in the same room (or at least not any more than if they were the same gender).

At the very least, you probably have about 10 years before it became a problem, and a lot could change in the housing market and your situation by then.  I doubt it would become a problem "before too long".

I did share a room with my brother, but my mom gave us each our own space by putting the bunk bed in the center of the room, blocking one side of the bottom bunk with plywood, and the other side of the top bunk with a curtain, so we each had half a room to our selves.

Osprey

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Re: Kids of different sex sharing the same bedroom?
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2012, 03:47:11 PM »
Until about the age of ten I shared a bunk bed with my brother who is a year younger than me. I don't remember any problems but we were at boarding school for most of the year. After puberty I shared with my grandmother and younger sister until moving out at the age if 25. I never had a room of my own and I turned out fine!
Maybe one factor in making it work is the personality of your kids - one of my sisters is a sensitive soul. She was always happiest with her own room while the rest of us didn't mind sharing, so my parents let her have the space even though she was the youngest.

menorman

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Re: Kids of different sex sharing the same bedroom?
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2012, 04:22:01 PM »
In my family, we're two boys, one girl. At various points, my brother and I shared a room either by choice or by circumstance, but my sister always had her own room after she graduated from the crib-by-the-parents'-bed stage. Of course, kinda hard to say what was avoided since the alternative never occurred. At the same time, we didn't feel cramped or deprived growing up and actually I think my sister may have wished to be in the room for awhile.
If they're rather young, I see no reason to separate them at all and I don't think that would really be a problem up until at least middle school, maybe even early high school. However, if they're 4+ years apart, then the younger one will get her/his own room much earlier when the older one starts hitting those early teen years. Disregarding the trend for puberty to come earlier and earlier every generation, the older kid will likely be at a time where they're getting an increase in workload out of school, maybe a job or two, more personal responsibilities, etc. while the younger one still has the carefree life of a child. Of course, no one can know beforehand how everyone will react to the situation, but giving them separate rooms at that point if possible is probably prudent to help develop some independence. As for the incest taboo, modern society has turned up some strange characters. Paradoxically, separate rooms might actually facilitate it since room doors would probably be normally closed more often than with a shared room.

kolorado

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Re: Kids of different sex sharing the same bedroom?
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2012, 07:56:45 AM »
I'm going to agree with the age 10 cut-off for opposite gender sharing but that will depend a bit on how your kids feel about it as they get older. Some kids get really uncomfortable with it by 8 or so, which is probably peer influenced.
I've never once thought of an incest possibility in desiring separate rooms. That's pretty rare to happen and there are usually other familial problems going on in those situations that drive the kids to it. In a stable and loving home with involved and caring parents, it's a very long shot thing to worry about. My motivation is a certain level of privacy for dignity during puberty and to foster independence.
My two oldest are opposite genders and have always shared a room. They are 9 and 7 now and sharing the family room here in the rental. We had a small, two bedroom house in NJ and planned to convert a small section of the low pitched attic to make a sleeping loft for our son. Now that we're shopping for a home to buy we'll be getting enough bedrooms so opposite genders will have specific rooms. The older two are very excited for this transition to happen. They are ready for space from each other. Hey, I'm excited too. I finally get to help them decorate their rooms in the ways they like, not completely neutral, another reason they are excited.
You may be able to make that one bedroom into two as they get older by using a divider, or a quick and cheap wall, and loft beds to increase floor space. This may require you to give up the larger bedroom if you are in it now. A sleeping loft may also be an option for you depending on your attic and roof pitch. Check out the ideas on www.tinyhouseblog.com and www.tumbleweedhouses.com .

tooqk4u22

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Re: Kids of different sex sharing the same bedroom?
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2012, 08:53:15 AM »
I did share a room with my brother, but my mom gave us each our own space by putting the bunk bed in the center of the room, blocking one side of the bottom bunk with plywood, and the other side of the top bunk with a curtain, so we each had half a room to our selves.

That is an awesome idea, I now have a solution for when they get older and ask for their own rooms.

James

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Re: Kids of different sex sharing the same bedroom?
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2012, 09:05:41 AM »
You have years before it might be a problem.  As they get older they can always change in the bathroom or lock the door, so there isn't any real reason for a certain cut-off age.  But the only thing that counts right now is that it's not something to worry about for quite a few years.


My 9yo girl and 6yo boy spend over a year in the same room without a problem, the 6yo just changed in our room in the morning and in the bathroom at night, and the 9yo got to use the room for changing.

Jaketucson

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Re: Kids of different sex sharing the same bedroom?
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2012, 09:29:15 AM »
Thanks for all the input, everyone!  This really helps.  So far both kids enjoy sharing the room so it hasn't become an issue yet.  You've given me lots of stuff to watch for and ideas to stretch it out a little longer.  Many thanks!

crunchy_mama

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Re: Kids of different sex sharing the same bedroom?
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2012, 10:48:33 AM »
Our older two shared a bed and bedroom for about 2yrs starting when dd was 2 and ds was 5(prior they were both co-sleeping with dh and I).  We only separated them as she kept waking him up as she is a bit of a restless sleeper.  We did have an extra room, so it was an easy switch, otherwise we would have just made do.  I don't have any qualms with it certainly.  I do forsee in the future we might have to face this again as due to personal and religious convictions our family size will likely outgrow our bedrooms.  I personally wouldn't worry about it until either one starts to feel uncomfortable.  Ds is about to turn 8 and he certainly isn't to the point that it would be an issue, I'd guess it would depend on the kid though.  As pp mentioned though they can change in the bathroom if needed and rooms can be partitioned with curtains and such as well.  The main thing for me though with kids sharing is keeping their toys etc to the very minimal, which imo is a good idea regardless.

SpendyMcSpend

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Re: Kids of different sex sharing the same bedroom?
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2012, 02:06:56 PM »
As a girl, I would not be comfortable above age 8 with opposite sex room sharing.

smorgasbord

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Re: Kids of different sex sharing the same bedroom?
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2012, 01:49:49 PM »
My daughter, 5 and my son 2 also share a bedroom at the moment as we also live in a two bedroom house. Though my son only spends about half the night in the childrens room before coming and joining us.

 When I was a child my brothers shared a room until they were 6 and 9 IIRC. I had had my own room for most of my childhood.