A year ago I asked all of you how you felt about siblings of the opposite sex sharing the same room as they grow up. Everyone was nice and polite in their response to such a touchy subject, with no one really leaning one way or the other. It was the exact opposite of what I expected. Same deal when I asked it recently on the forums. One mom on our FB page even said that she didn’t see anything wrong with it, especially if finances didn’t allow for any other choice. Yet, if you were to search the web for an answer to this age-old question about opposite genders sharing a room, you’ll find the majority of the answers leaning towards considering it obscene.
Note: There is no state law regarding room sharing of opposite genders. But there are a couple organizations that do have stipulations – military law requires opposite gendered siblings to have their own room after the age of 5 (ages vary from 5 – 10, depending on branch I assume), foster parenting and adoption usually require separate rooms age 6 and beyond, and welfare or public housing usually requires separate rooms by age 6.
But in general terms, society seems to be accepting the fact that less money means priorities are shifting – including the need for every kid to have their own room. And the majority of the population doesn’t fall under the organizations I listed above. It’s a different world these days. Because of the economy, the term “boomerang families” has become a common knowledge word. There are families living on tight budgets, one-income families, families with kids who are helping out a whole lot more, and families moving into tighter quarters to make ends meet. That means that a brother and sister might be forced to share a room long past the time they really want to, or what society would have once deemed unacceptable.
Families just like ours.
Tomorrow, my family is actually upgrading from our two bedroom apartment with the one room my son and daughter have been sharing, and moving into the spacious three bedroom apartment right next door (can we say easiest move ever?). For years, my kids have been sharing the same room, sleeping on a bunk bed in one corner of the room. And before this, we all three shared a room. And when we were an intact family, my daughter slept in my son’s room on purpose, leaving her room abandoned. So this is basically the first time they will ever have their own room. And they are more than excited about it! They are already planning out how their separate rooms will look, and how creative they will be to ban the other from their room (I’ve heard rumor of booby traps and police tape).
Thing is, sharing a room hasn’t been a problem for the reasons that many might think it would be. Yes, my daughter is 12, going through the normal changes a 12 year old goes through. Yes, my son is 9 and just now understanding the differences between boys and girls in a whole new way. But honestly, my kids could care less what the other looks like naked and are pretty respectable when it comes to giving each other privacy. The fact that they are brother and sister has basically ensured that seeing each other naked is pretty much gross. So if one kid is dressing, the room is off limits to the other during that time. Or one of the kids will just choose to dress in the bathroom. And it hasn’t been a big deal at all.
What has been a big deal is the amount of space in the room dedicated to each kid. There is none. A big bunk bed takes up a good portion of the room, as does their dresser. And the fact that one of the kids is extremely messy while the other is fairly clean (I’ll let you guess who’s who), has been an argument for years.
However, you wouldn’t know any of this at night. Long after they are supposed to be asleep, I can hear the two kids (who claim to hate each other) giggling and telling each other stories. It’s reminiscent of when my sister and I were their age and sharing a room, staying up late at night with a flashlight and some shadow puppets, telling stories about an older bossy sister and her annoying younger brother (eerily true), and giggling until our dad threatened to give us something to cry about.
Will they miss this? Will having their own rooms turn into more of a burden than a blessing? Uh, yeah. Highly doubtful. As of tomorrow, everything changes. I wonder if the mess in my house will lessen as they have more space to store their junk. I’m curious if the separate rooms will also cure the incessant fighting going on. Whatever happens, I am thrilled for my kids that they are getting their own space to be alone if they so wish. And perhaps they’ll even stay in their rooms more often and let me feel like I’m in a kid-free house.
Of course, everyone has a different view on opposite gendered siblings sharing rooms. What’s your opinion?