Three kids and three bedrooms in your house. Mom and dad definitely get one of those rooms, which leave two to be shared between children. Today’s parent feels frighteningly guilty about having their children share a room, to the point that many families will buy a bigger house just to remedy the situation. Other families quickly build on a room or two to make their home big enough to accommodate every child. All of this money being spent to defray the question, ‘should siblings share rooms?’ Some parents adamantly say no, while others do whatever it takes to give their kids a place to sleep. Truth is there are advantages and disadvantages to both. Still, parents shouldn’t feel like they are letting their children down or that they aren’t providing enough for their children because they have no choice but to make the kids share rooms.
Believe it or not, there are advantages to having siblings share rooms. For one thing, they learn to compromise and negotiate at a very young age. For many children, sharing a room means making clear-cut boundaries and claiming ownership of what is theirs. This can be character building and enables them to develop skills about living with other people which they wouldn’t get otherwise. Of course, it can also lead to arguments, but that too helps develop them socially. Another advantage is having siblings share a room is that they learn a certain sense of acceptance that other people are different from them. One sibling may be into horses, while the other is into softball. The merging of these two entities leads to learning how to accept others and their differences. They may not like the differences and they may resent one another’s choice of decoration, but they will eventually be able to negotiate the task together. This gift alone can take them far in life, or make them realize that they definitely want their own room as soon as they grow up.
Many parents believe that having children share rooms makes them closer. This can be looked at as an advantage, if it is true. However, in many families, the opposite is true and the close proximity actually causes them to argue and bicker more. If the two children sharing a room already have a tense relationship, than the shared space can be a definite point of contention. It is difficult for siblings, especially if they inherently don’t get along ‘ to have to share the same place. Unfortunately, it doesn’t give them much room to get away from their sibling when they need it.
You will find however, that late night conversations between siblings who share a room will at some point ensue and they will be making memories with one another that will last a lifetime (in spite of themselves of course). The two kids sharing the room will at times find solace (especially against mom and dad) by having a place to share and someone in it who they can talk to. As your children get older, this camaraderie can also lead to behavior problems where one child engages the other in less than desirable activity.
Another thing that parents need to consider in regard to whether siblings should share a room is the ages of the children. It would make more sense to have two toddlers share a room even if they are a boy and a girl, than it would to have a 12 year old and a 3-year-old share a room. Many parents feel it isn’t right to make opposite sex children share a room and an older child is often left with a reduced amount of personal space when they need it the most. This works also because the younger children will share more of the same likes and dislikes, toys etc.
Probably the most important aspect of deciding that your children will share rooms is to be creative in the space that they are sharing. It is easy to come up with dividing walls, curtains and even paint schemes that give each child a sense of individuality and ownership. Obviously, you don’t want to construct walls and make rooms even smaller; but using ideas of separation will make the shared space more comfortable. You also have to remember that your children are just children. They are going to fight, argue, complain, whine, and bicker whether they have a room of their own or not.
Should siblings share rooms? If they have to, the answer is definitely yes. Parents need to stop feeling as if they are bad parents just because they can’t afford a bigger house. Some families with enough rooms for all their children, still have their kids share a room so that one room is left as a game or play room or even a guest room. If you have family that visits often, it isn’t fair to always make your child give up their bed and making the extra room a guest room can be the easy fix. Similarly, when you have teenagers, using one of the bedrooms in your house as a media/game/office room can give the kids separate places to go with the exception of sleeping.
Obviously, there can be pitfalls to sharing rooms. If one doesn’t sleep well, they will wake the other. If one is overly neat and the other is a slob, they will argue. The bottom line is the answer is what works for your family. Building a bigger home, stretching yourself financially just to give your child an individual room seems slightly indulgent. After all, the time they live in your home is short. In fact, they spend the smallest amount of their life living in your home and all that extra space will just cause a bigger case of empty nest syndrome when they leave. What works for you and your family, will be different than what works for another and you have to make the very best from what you have.