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One Room or Two?

About 2 a.m. the other night, after oldest son came in whining for milk, followed by younger son whining for the same, I started to wonder if our decision to have our boys share a bedroom was a smart move. We have enough room for each to have their own space. In fact, we started out that way. But when the baby was about 6 months old, his older brother decided he'd had enough of being in the other room. Then 2 1/2, he gathered up a bunch of books and moved them into the baby's room. We took his decision in stride and moved his bed that night. We worried about whether the baby would wake his brother with his night-time crying and waking. It didn't happen; elder son slept right through. We wondered whether elder son's early morning rising habit (we're lucky if he sleeps till 6) would rub off on his younger brother. It did. We hoped they would build a strong bond.

For the most part, the boys love sharing a room. One reads books to the other. The older one will occasionally fill the younger's empty water bottle without calling for mom and dad. They clearly love playing and talking until they fall asleep. And they are the best of friends.

But every so often we have a night like earlier this week. Where one wakes the other and the whole night is shot for EVERYONE. Plus, we wonder when the boys will decide they've had enough of each other and demand their own spaces.

Do your kids share a room? How has that worked for your family?

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By Stacey Garfinkle |  April 12, 2007; 7:30 AM ET
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Comments


My two girls share a bedroom. That's until the older one is at least pre-teen or we move. The other bedroom is on the first floor, and the main two (ours and theirs) are on the third floor. Come to think of it, not as a teenager, nohow no way. Too easy to sneak out or sneak someone in.
We do move the little one into our room when the older has a sleepover, though. Just put the air matress on the floor. Really, that's been our only issue. They like sharing a room (4 years apart). It'll change with age I expect, but they'll deal. I do want them to have some alone space - for now it's the pop-up "clubhouse". If one is in there, the other has to be invited in.

Posted by: inBoston | April 12, 2007 7:53 AM | Report abuse

My daughters share a room too - they're five and two - and while we do have a home office, I work out of it. So I intend for them to continue their room sharing through adolescence. It seems that sharing a room has the potential to bring siblings together or push them apart, depending on their temperaments. I also think that as teenagers, they will be able to share and learn from each other by being so physically close.

Karen Rayne
adolescentsexualitytoday.blogspot.com

Posted by: Karen Rayne | April 12, 2007 8:10 AM | Report abuse

I'm in charge in my house, Gasp!

Little kids don't decide where they sleep or with whom.

Since an adult makes the adult decisions in my house (what a shocking concept!), I don't spend a lot of time wondering what will happen...

Is there any parent left in this country that has a spinal cord??????

Posted by: Bernardo | April 12, 2007 8:13 AM | Report abuse

If I could afford it, I would have a seperate house for my kids. Oh, wait, did I tell you that they are teenagers?

Posted by: Not the Father of Four | April 12, 2007 8:34 AM | Report abuse

I shared a room until I left for college - where I shared a room with strangers. We had 3 bedrooms, but with 2 girls and a boy, guess who got his own room?

When we were younger it was great. But there were times in high school I prayed for a little privacy. If your children share a room - by choice or necessity - find some way to offer each a sense of privacy. Privacy may be a privelage, but it's also something we need as we grow. As long as privacy and respect exist (and they did not always exist in our bedroom, with frequent threats of a tapeline down the middle), sharing a room should be fine.

Posted by: grew up sharing | April 12, 2007 8:43 AM | Report abuse

I shared a bedroom with my brother who was 7 years older than me. When he moved out, I shared the room with my four years younger brother until we moved into a new house, where we each had our own room.

I don't see any reason to not have siblings share a room (as long as they are the same sex of course); any privacy concerns we had we were told to work out as long as we didn't kill each other over them!

Posted by: John L | April 12, 2007 8:50 AM | Report abuse

I think having kids share rooms is a great idea. I shared a room with my older sister growing up. We fought some, of course, but for the most part I didn't give it a second thought. That was the way it was, and I was content. I got my own room when we moved at age 7. When I got to college, I had roommates in the dorm, and I feel like I was better prepared for it than a few others who were not used to sharing a space. When you are living on top of each other, you need to know how to cooperate, be tolerant, and compromise. Good practice for marriage, too, by the way.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 12, 2007 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, one commenter mistakes careful consideration of whether children share (and occasionally taking a cue from him or her) with lack of a spinal cord.

As to the main topic, I have daughters who shared for a number of years, until they got into junior high/high school. Then the hours that the older kept in order to stay on top of her schoolwork dictated separate rooms. As to the sneak in and out problem, I do so love squeeking floorboards and creeky stairs. And doors are only closed when changing.

Posted by: Karen | April 12, 2007 8:51 AM | Report abuse

My girls, 5 years apart, share a room in our four bedroom townhouse. One room for us, one for them, one as the tv/computer room and one in the basement dedicated for guests.

The oldest bugged me to move into the tv/computer room to "have her own room". Once I told her that the tv & computer would be removed if she moved in, she changed her mind and stayed with her sister!

Posted by: Nan | April 12, 2007 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Our kids, a son and a daughter, are 19 months apart. We moved our daughter into a shared room when she was ready for the crib, and our son had (on his own) moved to a toddler bed. We put a twin bed in their room for me, to referee (for a while our son found it fun to shake the crib with our daughter in it).

Similar to the original post, our older child slept through the night wakings of the younger... for about three months. Then our daughter started a wicked nighttime waking campaign that would wake our son, and he'd get up to play at 3, 4, 5am, and that would keep the baby awake. and me awake. and my husband awake from my screaming.

Now the baby (7 mos.) is in a room of her own on the first floor (other two bedrooms are upstairs), and is still a terrible sleeper - she is up 2, 3, or 4 times in a night. My son sleeps through the night. My hopes are for the kids to share a room again once she snaps out of this incredibly annoying and exhausing sleep-phase! And, to have the kids share their room until kindergarten/1st grade age (by then we hope to have renovated our house to have the kids' bedrooms upstairs and ours downstairs).

I think that it's important for kids to share at an early age. I agree that parents decide for their kids, not the other way around.

Posted by: me | April 12, 2007 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Our 2 daughters share a room (4 and 2). It has not been completely successful. They each had their own until a couple of months before #3 was due. I think it helped the sleep of #1 who was "lonely" and having going-to-bed issues and worsened the sleep of #2. Partly, I think that was our fault. We paid too much attention if #2 woke up in the night (i.e. made it too interesting) because we were afraid she would wake up #1. Fortunately #1 has learned to sleep through most of this kind of thing. We actually bought a white noise machine for their room so they wouldn't be attuned to every little sound the other made. Even so, they do occasionally wake each other up. But it is a lot better now than when we started last summer.

Posted by: Rockville Mom | April 12, 2007 8:54 AM | Report abuse

My son (5 months) sleeps in my bed with my husband and me. My daughter (23 months) sleeps in the crib in the room across the hall. They both wake up and sometimes wake each other up because they can be loud. But that's parenting, day and night. We will put DS in the crib when he is older and DD on a toddler bed soon. When DS is @ 11 or 12 months and stops night nursing, he'll go into the room with DD. And we'll work on sleep rituals to help them sleep most nights. It's unrealistic to expect kids to sleep every night though. Even my DH and I have nights when the kids are snoring soundly and we can't sleep. That's just how it is.

Posted by: MW | April 12, 2007 9:03 AM | Report abuse

We have one child, so of course she has her own room. But we have a spare bedroom. If we had two kids, I would let them share until they did not want to anymore. I always had my own room growing up and I think it is nice to have a space of your own. It is also nice to have a place to "visit" as well.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 12, 2007 9:03 AM | Report abuse

My daughters are 9 years apart. They not only share a room, they share a bed! When the youngest was born, we bought an expensive crib that could convert to a junior bed, and installed it in the nursery. By the time the baby had turned one, her sister was hauling her out of the crib to share her twin bed. When the youngest turned 3, I went to buy them bunk beds. Then I realized that the little one would crawl into the top bunk to be with her sister and we'd be back where we started. So I bought a double loft bed. They still share it at ages 18 and 9. About twice a year the eldest complains that she needs her own room. I say "Fine" and it never comes up again.

Posted by: Mo-Lama | April 12, 2007 9:04 AM | Report abuse

if the person that wrote this blog is interested in some advice, please read the following: You are the parent. You are the lucky person that gets to decide where your children will sleep, when they go to bed, when they get up in the morning, etc. etc. When your children come in your room whining (your word), you have the choice of either 1) being a genie and granting all their wishes or 2) being a parent and calmly setting some limits and ushering them back to bed. I guarantee you that these cute little struggles do not stay cute when your children get older and are expected to behave in school, and later in life...

Posted by: jj | April 12, 2007 9:07 AM | Report abuse

I'm sure not used to hearing a parent say that they "accepted" the decision of their toddler child! Um, who is the parent in this family?

Posted by: jan | April 12, 2007 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Since when does "being the parent" mean automatically vetoing your kid's decision, whether it has merit or not?

Posted by: Socorro | April 12, 2007 9:16 AM | Report abuse

My two boys each have their own room because I thought it was important for them to have their own space where they could listen to music, read a book or whatever. There are times when the boys declare they're having a sleepover and my younger son drags a sleeping bag into his brother's room. It can be for one night or several but it's their choice. Then when they've had enough of each other they go back to their own beds.

Posted by: Kingstowne mom | April 12, 2007 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Egads! Still night nursing at 11 months?!?!? Youch.

We stopped sharing a room with the baby because we were all keeping each other up with our various night noises. I don't know how she'll fair once we start bunking up.

I really only want them sharing a room if they are the same gender. Who knew I had such a conservative, traditional view?

In our tiny DC house, we've only got 3 BRs and I'd love to keep one committed to guests. The baby shares with the office (a desk and file cabinet) now, but we will be moving that out once she's a bit older. Where to, I don't know. I think the guest room and office will morph into one cramped space. I guess the guests won't want to stay long...

Posted by: atb | April 12, 2007 9:54 AM | Report abuse

A parent doesn't "veto" a child's decision. A parent considers their childrens' requests and then the parent makes the decision. My worry about what was said in this blog is that it appears that these poor parents are allowing two children, both under 3 years of age, to decide EVERYTHING. Seems a little short-sighted to me, and not at all in the child's best interest.

Posted by: to socorro | April 12, 2007 10:06 AM | Report abuse

atb

"Egads! Still night nursing at 11 months?!?!? Youch"

In some zip codes, it is common for 6 year olds to enter school still sucking on binkies, carrying blankies, speaking baby talk, sleeping in "family beds", being partially or barely toilet trained, eating snot out of their noses, scratching their private parts 24/7 and still being breast fed.

Posted by: Maria | April 12, 2007 10:07 AM | Report abuse

My 5 YO keeps begging for the 2YO to come sleep in his room (the younger's room is definitely not big enough for two). I think when the little one gets his toddler bed (hopefully not TOO soon) then he will probably sneak into the older one's room at night, and that's fine with me - if they wanted to share a room at some point, I'd be all for it( that would open up the other room for an office or playroom or something...).

My sisters and I all had our own rooms (and when they started moving out, I'd move into their rooms as well!). I don't think them having a say is so horrible - what's the big deal? if it's disruptive, then you stop it, but them wanting to be together is *not* a bad thing. Not at all!

Posted by: atlmom | April 12, 2007 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Each of our 4 kids (3 girls, 1 boy) has his or her own room. That was intentional; when we had the house built it was designed with 5 bedrooms. I shared a room with my brother (2 years younger) most of the time while growing up, because the Army says that NCOs with 3 kids are entitled to quarters with 3 bedrooms, and the only girl always got a room of her own. DW always shared a room with her younger sister (2 years younger) while growing up, because they had a 4 bedroom house and the two boys each got their own room.

It works well, because the girls are so different - DD#1 (now 18) will stay up all night and sleep all day if we let her; DD#2 (15) has always been early-to-bed-early-to-rise; and DD#3 is somewhere in the middle, so everybody gets to sleep without interference. (DS, as the only boy, has had his own room since we had this house built; when they were toddlers and we were in the tiny starter house with only two bedrooms, they shared.)

Sometimes the girls will wander into each others rooms; the two oldest are both in high school and get together for giggle-fests (or so it seems to me) on occasion. As long as they're okay with it, it's fine with me.

FWIW, laptop computers, televisions, etc. are NEVER permitted in bedrooms; those are for use in public spaces of the house only.

Posted by: Army Brat | April 12, 2007 10:22 AM | Report abuse

We have 18 month-old twins, a boy and a girl. They have cribs next to one another and sleep very well. After I kiss them goodnight and leave the room, I tune in the nursery monitor and I can hear them babbling away to each other, laughing and playing in their cribs. After a while, one falls asleep and then the other. They do not generally wake each other up at night, even if one cries. They are so used to each other they just sleep through whatever noises the other one makes.

I think it is nice for them to have each other's company, for now. I don't know when we will move them apart, but my feeling is that I will base the decision on how things are going. As long as they are getting something positive out of their companionship, I will let them stay together. I had a room to myself as a child and I think there are positives and negatives. It is nice to have privacy but it can be lonely, too.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 12, 2007 10:23 AM | Report abuse

I have 4 children. 5, 4, 3, and 3 months. The two oldest (boys) share a room, the 3rd in line has her own room for now (until the youngest) is a little bit bigger and can "protect" crawl move around and such and then move in with her big sister. 3 month old is in a crib in my room and is sleeping through the night, and I purposely don't nurse her while laying in bed, because I don't want her to nurse all night long, I want her to sleep in her bed, and let me sleep with my husband. It works out wonderfully.
I want my children to grow up with their best friend, and by best friend I mean their siblings. I believe that their family should come first before outside friends/influences for as long as possible, and I think that keeping them together is the best way, and making them work out their difference b/t themselves before getting to play with others or running off somewhere to hide. Don't get me wrong my children definitely do need and do get alone time, but more often then not (as with all humans)they need that connection with another human being, and I would prefer it to be family first. If you can't count on your family, there is not a whole lot else to count on.

Posted by: JKP | April 12, 2007 10:31 AM | Report abuse

We were in a 2BR condo until I was 8, by which time there were 5 kids. We had two sets of bunkbeds in one room, with a crib for the youngest in the parents' room. When we moved to new houses (each had 4BR) most of us still had to share, so we would have 2 girls in one room, 2 boys in another, and the youngest girl in her own room. Every now and then my parents would try to rotate one of us out to give us a chance to have our own room, but I never got it - so basically I shared a room from 18 months old until senior year of college. At least I learned how to sleep through everything!

I'm sure as a result, I think that despite normal sibling fighting and a real need for privacy, kids don't really *need* their own rooms. When I have kids I'll probably have them share rooms with at least one sibling. As for the teenage privacy issue (with regard to boyfriends/girlfriends), my parents just kept a "no closed bedroom doors" rule. Worked just fine.

Posted by: KAL | April 12, 2007 10:37 AM | Report abuse

And Army Brat, I completely agree with you with regard to no TVs or computers being in the kids' rooms (at least until high school maybe). Public spaces only for those -- I don't think privacy should mean holing up for hours alone with TV or the internet behind closed doors. (Holing up with books in your own room is to be encouraged, of course :)

Posted by: KAL | April 12, 2007 10:43 AM | Report abuse

I have a 1,400 ss ft single family home. It has 3 BR's. I have one, my daughters share one and the 3rd is a playroom for them. They have bunkbeds in their room. My youngest (8yo) asked me if she could have her own room. I told them both if they could show responsibility by keeping both rooms clean I would consider it...this was 8 months ago. So, yes, they share. THey are only 2 years apart at 10 and 8.

Posted by: Sterling Park | April 12, 2007 10:46 AM | Report abuse

JKP

"If you can't count on your family, there is not a whole lot else to count on."

Family is great, AND yes, there IS a whole lot else there to count on. You just have to look in the right places.

It's sad that you don't know this and are passing on your negative attitude to your kids. It's not an either/or choice.

Posted by: Anita | April 12, 2007 10:47 AM | Report abuse

my daughters have shared a room since the younger one was born. They are now 13 and 16. There is a lot of laughter coming from there some times. They share secrets. They advise each other. If one wants privacy, she goes in the closet. (It's a big closet!)

Posted by: experienced mom | April 12, 2007 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Sharing rooms promotes a lot of good - good child hood memories and also promotes good for them as an adult. They learn how to cohabitat, be courteous of others, and learn how to share themselves as an individual.

Posted by: C.W. | April 12, 2007 10:51 AM | Report abuse

KAL: "As for the teenage privacy issue (with regard to boyfriends/girlfriends), my parents just kept a "no closed bedroom doors" rule. Worked just fine."

We always have a "no friends of the opposite gender in your bedroom, ever" rule. DW and I each had such a rule growing up, and we impose it on our kids.

A friend with a now-grown lesbian daughter pointed out that he had that same rule until he found out his daughter's sexual orientation and discovered what she and some of her friends were doing in there. Then he imposed a "no non-family members in your bedroom" rule. Younger sister, who was heterosexual, complained that she had unfairly lost the right to have sleepovers. Parents' reply? "Tough, life's not fair. The only way for us to deal with this is nobody has sleepovers any more."

Posted by: Army Brat | April 12, 2007 10:56 AM | Report abuse

I've seen several articles over the past few years about how difficult is it for many students to adjust to having roommates at college. Some of these kids grow up not even sharing common space with family because of TVs and computers in bedrooms.

Some schools have spent money to increase the number of "singles" available to students (sometimes even freshmen!). No wonder college is so expensive. Goodness knows these college students shouldn't be subjected to any inconvenience. Does anyone else remember hall phones?

Posted by: Marian | April 12, 2007 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Marian: Oldest DD has been accepted at three private liberal arts colleges; she has to decide by 1 May. All three of them offer a substantial number of private dorm rooms for Freshmen, and in fact at at least one of them you have to specifically request a double room if you want it. I think the doubles average about $1,000 per year cheaper - fairly small in the overall scheme of college costs. (Tuition, room & board and other fees at these places run 30 - 40 kilobucks a year*, so the extra thousand for the private room often gets ignored.)

*Costs are not counting financial aid, which thankfully is really pitching in a lot because she got some nice academic scholarships, but still...

Posted by: Army Brat | April 12, 2007 11:02 AM | Report abuse

One thing that gives me pause is that not a lot of posters mention considering their kids' personality types, if they have a choice of who has to share with who. I've always been introverted and needed to take time to "recharge my batteries," and I think I would've lost my mind if I had to share a room (FWIW, my brother is 7 years younger than me).

Posted by: boston liz | April 12, 2007 11:09 AM | Report abuse

""Egads! Still night nursing at 11 months?!?!? Youch"

I still nurse my 2 1/2 year old at night. Nothing wrong with it.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 12, 2007 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Marian

"I've seen several articles over the past few years about how difficult is it for many students to adjust to having roommates at college"

Sometimes it goes the other way. I shared a bedroom with siblings, but as a married woman I can barely stand to share a bedroom with my husband.

His nocturnal snorings and farts are endless (these habits developed after we were married).

We sleep in separate beds. We'll probably end up in separate rooms at far ends of the house.....

Posted by: Dawn | April 12, 2007 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Why is anyone having this discussion at all? Until about fifty years ago, homes were small and families were big. We dealt, we grew up ok, we only started seeing shrinks when they were marketed to us. Parenting fell to the parents, not the DVD player. Is that so bad?

Posted by: a bea c | April 12, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

I'm the youngest and only female with three older brothers. I had to share a room with the one closest to my age until I was about 7 years old (when the oldest went to college). My brother that I shared a room with is still my best friend in the world, 30 years later. There was never any issue of us being male/female.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 12, 2007 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Wow, look at the judgmental folks prowling the blog today! Seems to me that two kids deciding that they want to share a room is the sort of decision that children could be allowed to make without instantly turning them into whiny spoiled brats. It's not like they're being allowed to decide to blow their college fund on candy. If there is no compelling reason for the kids not to share a room, and the kids clearly want to, why is it bad parenting to let them do so?

I just don't see the sense in exerting parental authority for no reason other than to exert the authority.

Posted by: Northern Girl | April 12, 2007 11:23 AM | Report abuse

"Why is anyone having this discussion at all?"

Cause when it comes to parenting, Stacey is dumb as a tree stump!!!

Posted by: Liz | April 12, 2007 11:25 AM | Report abuse

"If there is no compelling reason for the kids not to share a room, and the kids clearly want to, why is it bad parenting to let them do so?"

Yeah, what she said.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 12, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse

"As for the teenage privacy issue (with regard to boyfriends/girlfriends), my parents just kept a "no closed bedroom doors" rule. Worked just fine."

I did the same with my kids.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 12, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I shared a room with my sister (19 months younger) for 18 years. We fought like cats and dogs and "hated" each other. Once I moved out and married we "magically" became best friends and still are at 52 and 50! My sons shared a room also and since they are grown now and work together everyday in our family business I guess it has worked out positively for them also. I think sharing a room makes a person more able to deal with the day to day personality issues that happen in the workplace and in our personal lives. I'm the first person to say though that it isn't the "easy" choice but nothing worthwhile is.

Posted by: Mindy | April 12, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

"I've seen several articles over the past few years about how difficult is it for many students to adjust to having roommates at college."

Normally I lurk here as I don't have kids as yet (trying to decide if I want them and trying to get some idea of what I'm in for if I decide to), but this one I can speak to, though I will certainly NOT say that this is always the case, but I was fine with having roommates in college (and I had my own room growing up, and in fact was *gasp* an only child), and with the exception of one roomie who started to steal from me (my personal favorite being the theft of my BC pills), and who continued to do so even after caught and confronted about it (there were other issues in play with her, too, but that was the one that made me not want to live with her anymore and made me seriously consider getting a single once my one and only lockable container was full).

Aside from her my freshman year, I didn't have any particular issue beyond what usually happens when new personalities try to blend; there were bumps, but nothing spectacularly bad.

Posted by: Recent college grad | April 12, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse

This topic is a good example of how blogs quickly run out of topics. What seems an inexhausatible supply depletes pretty quickly...

Posted by: Anonymous | April 12, 2007 11:46 AM | Report abuse

My 3 boys share a large room. They are 5 years, 3 years, and 10 months. The few times they woke each other up I suspected they would have done so even if they were in separate rooms. Sometimes kids (and adults) just can't sleep.

It is refreshing to see so many folks having their kids share a room. Most everyone we know around here have separate rooms for their kids.

Question, do kids (elementary school and younger) with separate rooms fight less?

Posted by: Jen | April 12, 2007 11:53 AM | Report abuse

"This topic is a good example of how blogs quickly run out of topics. What seems an inexhausatible supply depletes pretty quickly..."

Yes, and most people are incredibly dull writers who add little or nothing to the discussion. However for some bizarre reason, they feel compelled to add their less than 2 cent's worth whenever given the opportunity.

Is it a knee jerk response to the freedom of the blog or some kind of desperate bid for cyberspace attention?

Makes you wonder what they are like in "live" conversation.....

Posted by: Jake | April 12, 2007 11:56 AM | Report abuse

I think this is an interesting idea, since we are in the process of finding our first house and have a 2 1/2 year old and one on the way. We can afford to live close to our jobs (

I admit that we lean much more towards buying in town and spending more time with our kids, but really, the reaction has been very strong to buy a much bigger house.

Posted by: Ann Arbor | April 12, 2007 12:07 PM | Report abuse

When I adopted my now 5 yo, she was then 3 yo, and had lived in an orphanage for 3 ys, 3 mnths. There are no separate rooms in an orphanage, so I decided that it would be best for her to share a room with her sister, who is 2 1/2 years older than she is. I wasn't sure how long that would last, and I'm still not sure. The younger one gets up at the crack of dawn, but the older one has not yet picked up this habit, although she sometimes prearranges with the younger one to wake her up early (like for Easter, to see what the Bunny brought). During the first few months after the adoption, sometimes the younger one would wake the older with her grieving, but now she sleeps through the night. They often profess to dislike one another, but you wouldn't know it by the way they act in their room.

I plan to keep them together as long as is practical. My mother thinks they should be separate now. She and her sister shared a room (their brother slept in the living room); my sister and I had separate rooms). My mom and her sister are good friends. My sister and I are not. I think there is a connection, and since sharing a room is working for my children for now, they are still together, and will be for the foreseeable future. They do take rests on the weekend still (sometimes the 5yo sleeps, the 8yo doesn't, but both read books in bed while I rest, read, or do something by myself), but in separate rooms, because as I have told them, it wouldn't be much of a rest if they were together.

Posted by: single mother by choice | April 12, 2007 12:07 PM | Report abuse

This was a worthless topic today. Who cares if people's kids share a room or not? We have this tendency to over-analyze every freaking aspect of parenting, worrying if every little choice is going to "damage" out child's psyche. Give me a break! Of all the things we could be worrying about, sharing a room is the last thing that's going to harm our children.

And by the way, my 19-month old still nurses at night. It's 2007, people - time to get informed about breastfeeding.

Posted by: Karen | April 12, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

I had to share a room with my sister and hated it. The main reason was the large difference in our ages (I am 8 years older). At first we had to share a bed, too. My sister went to bed first, being a lot younger, and always wet the bed on my side. Eventually my parents got us twin beds, which helped. When I was pre- and early teens, I loved collecting horse statues and glass stuff, which my young sister would break. And our schedules were so different, especially when I got to high school. (My sister has just as many complaints about sharing with me, from her side of the story). I finally convinced my parents to let me make a bedroom in our partially finished basement. It was unglamorous, but I loved it! By the way, my sister and I are now the best of friends. I guess the point is it can be difficult to share if there is a large age gap.

Posted by: CJB | April 12, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Karen

"Who cares if people's kids share a room or not?"

Who cares if you breastfeed your child?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 12, 2007 12:16 PM | Report abuse

"Question, do kids (elementary school and younger) with separate rooms fight less?"

Didn't work with my sister and I. That's one of the reasons my two are sharing.

Posted by: single mother by choice | April 12, 2007 12:16 PM | Report abuse

For those of you who have a "playroom" and two kids sharing another room, I've got a question. Why can't the kids have their own rooms, and play in them? Why do they need a seperate play room?

I'm seriously asking out of curiosity, not judging, I'm just wondering if you've tried other things and found that this is what works for you.

Posted by: dlm79 | April 12, 2007 12:19 PM | Report abuse

In our house it makes more sense for each child to have their own bedroom. I have a 16-year old son and a 14-year old daughter who can't share a room for obvious reasons. Six years ago God surprised us with another daughter. It just seemed wrong, as well as grossly impractical, to make our then 8-year old daughter share her room with a baby. We converted our 4th bedroom, which had been our home office, back into a bedroom and moved the office down to the basement.

I grew up, however, in a much smaller house with two older sisters and only two available bedrooms. My mother felt that the oldest child should get her own room, so I shared a room with my other sister, who is four years older than me, until 7th grade (when my oldest sister moved away to college.) We had our occasional spats and skirmishes (e.g. my classical music-loving sister refused to let me hang my Kiss poster anywhere other than the back of the closet), but overall got along quite nicely. To this day we are very close and talk several times a day (via e-mail) even though we live two states apart. While I love her, I do not feel the same deep connection with my older sister even though she lives nearby and I see her more often.

Posted by: MP | April 12, 2007 12:27 PM | Report abuse

then don't read the blog

Posted by: to Karen | April 12, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

"I think the doubles average about $1,000 per year cheaper - fairly small in the overall scheme of college costs. (Tuition, room & board and other fees at these places run 30 - 40 kilobucks a year*, so the extra thousand for the private room often gets ignored.)"

I had a discussion with a VP of Finance for a small liberal arts college in the early nineties. This was a time when colleges were spending a lot of money on student life amenities of all kinds (including gyms, upgraded dining facilities, etc.) to attract students. This VP said that his college was approaching the point of diminishing returns. I imagine with a $1000 differential for single/double, it takes some years to recover construction costs, depending on the scale of dormitory expansion.

I do think that college students today do expect much more in the way of amenities than we did. It seems to me that many of them have grown up with a lot more space than we did (home square footage has increased since the 60s and 70s). I don't think it's necessarily only a case of sharing/not sharing a bedroom. I think in the most extreme cases, kids don't share a TV, computer, bathroom, etc. I believe you said you keep TV and computer in shared family space which I agree with wholeheartedly.

Of course kids can learn to share space, even if they grew up with their own rooms--as long as they've had to share some other kind of space like a TV room or bathroom.

Posted by: Marian | April 12, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

"By the way, my sister and I are now the best of friends. I guess the point is it can be difficult to share if there is a large age gap."

CJB, I agree totally with comment.

I am six years older than my sister and we shared a room for several years. We also have an older brother. We'd always had separate bedrooms until we moved when I was 11 or 12. We moved to a larger house but it only had three bedrooms instead of four. My sister was five or six so we were still both in elementary school then but once I moved into junior high school, it was very difficult to be in the same room with her at times.

The main reasons were age-difference related... I could stay up later, as a pre-teen/teen wanted more privacy, we had different interests, etc. But I also remember that we had a lot of fun staying up late, giggling and talking and could also comfort each other when one was sad.

After my brother left for college, my sister moved across the hall and I had my own room for the last two years of high school, which I appreciated. At that point, my sister was in junior high and started taking my stuff all the time! I hated it!

Anyway, we are still very close and I consider her my best friend other than my husband. I think sharing a room with her was a valuable experience and definitely prepared me for college roommates when I lived in the dorms.

We don't have any children yet but when we do, I think I would be open to the idea of room sharing, depending on the circumstances (for a large age-difference, probably not).


As an aside, my mom never really had her own room. She is the oldest of four girls and shared a room with two of her sisters until she left for college (somehow, the youngest got her own room. I never figured out why they didn't do two and two). She had roommates in college and married my dad soon after. So when I used to complain about wanting my own room, my mom had that reply.

Posted by: PRA | April 12, 2007 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Thanks to the many of you sharing your stories today. This is a topic that I've heard many moms batter around.

Bernardo, jj, socorro: While your judgments are fine to make, don't assume that a parent willing to listen to their children is automatically spineless and the children are spoiled brats. There's discipline aplenty in my household. But I firmly believe that my job as a parent is to teach and listen to my kids. They need to grow up to be independent, thinking, functioning people. (hmm. maybe I should write about this tomorrow?) And if they want to share a room and we're able to make it happen, I'm fine with that. It's not the type of thing I think is worth a fight. I've got bigger battles to worry about.

dlm79: We are a household with playroom and bedroom as separate rooms. The boys have books in their rooms, but few toys other than the ones they bring in and out to sleep with or put on their window sills. They relax better in a room with less clutter, and toys and Legos are definitely clutter.

Karen: Glad to hear you express an opinion, but would love to see you share topics you'd like to talk about on the blog. I think it's important to talk about "serious" topics and "light" topics in this forum. Parenting is made up of both.

Posted by: Stacey Garfinkle | April 12, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

MP, "God surprised you with another daughter?" Do we need to have a blog now on how babies are made? GMAFB.

Posted by: The Stork | April 12, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

I have a 2 year old, and when we have another, they'll be sharing. The reason? I can't sleep with DH in the room. I love the guy, but just cannot sleep through his snoring. I even have to run a fan at night because the snoring will wake me up from down the hall. I figure the new baby will share with me until he/she is sleeping the night, and then move in with DD, who will be at least 3-4 by the time she gets a sibling.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 12, 2007 12:45 PM | Report abuse

"Why can't the kids have their own rooms, and play in them? Why do they need a seperate play room?"

We don't have a separate playroom, although if I ever got the extra bedroom cleaned up, that might be what I do with it. But my reason for having my girls (5 and 8) share is motivated more by a desire for them to be together than by a desire to have extra space. If they had separate rooms and played in their rooms, they would spend less time together. By sharing the space, they have to work things out. So they play, they fight, and instead of going their separate ways, they have to figure out a way to solve their problem (no use going to mom, because mom isn't going to solve the problem for them), and then they play together more.

They have to work together to decorate the room (to the extent that they have control over that). They have to work together to clean the room. They negotiate over sharing stuffed animals. There is more shared ownership of all things, although each girl has her own space for things that are hers.

Someone else commented on introverted vs. extroverted. My older daughter is more introverted, but she has plenty of opportunities to be by herself in places other than her room. Also, she stays up a little later (by reading in bed with a flashlight) than the younger one, so there is a little semi-alone time.

Posted by: separate playroom | April 12, 2007 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Sharing a room sounds great, except when you grow up with an undiagnosed psychopath, and your parents don't care about his behavior, sharing a prison cell, uh, I mean, bedroom, is a nightmare.

My brother was 2 years younger than me. When I was 9 and he was 7, we moved into a smaller house. That made the situation worse.

Sharing a room works if the kids like and respect each other. When that doesn't happen, it's horrible.

Posted by: Chad | April 12, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Stacey

"They need to grow up to be independent, thinking, functioning people."

I agree and as a parent you need to be a LEADER who can make decisions. Didn't you learn that humans are SOCIAL animals that
live in PACKS??

"There's discipline aplenty in my household"

No, there isn't, judging from some of your other postings on the your blog.

YOUR FIVE YEAR SUCKS HIS THUMB AND PLAYS WITH HIS PRIVATE PART AT THE SAME TIME!!!!

My female cats have better parental skills than you do!!

Posted by: Bernardo | April 12, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

"I agree and as a parent you need to be a LEADER who can make decisions. Didn't you learn that humans are SOCIAL animals that
live in PACKS??"

No... that would be wolves.

"YOUR FIVE YEAR SUCKS HIS THUMB AND PLAYS WITH HIS PRIVATE PART AT THE SAME TIME!!!!"

You must be envious. I bet you can't even pat your head and rub your belly at the same time.

"My female cats have better parental skills than you do!!"

If only all mothers would lick their kids when they got dirty.

Posted by: to Retardo | April 12, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

My DD is 3 and DS is 14 mos. They share a room, even though we do have another (very tiny) bedroom. It's never been a problem, although my son is a terrible sleeper. When he wakes up and cries, DD normally sleeps right through it. The only time it seems to bother her is if it happens as she's just falling asleep. But then I hear her in there, telling her brother that it's okay and trying to comfort him, which is so sweet. We are moving in 2 years, and at that point we'll think about separate rooms.

Posted by: amoroma | April 12, 2007 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Bernardo,

I think your comments are inappropriate. Those with actual wisdom know that parenting is hard, not all kids are the same, and that people grow as a result of acceptance and love, not harsh criticism resulting from surface knowledge. Unless you are a long-time observer in Stacey's home, I really doubt you have the qualified status/ability to make a judgment on her parenting.

Judge not, lest ye be judged, and walk a mile in another man's shoes, etc. You diminish yourself only with these criticisms.

Anyway, I have a 20-month old and plan to have him share a room with his to-be sibling (someday). But we'll take it as it goes. My brother and I each had our own room growing up, but I would probably have tortured him to death if we had shared a room when little -- on the other hand, perhaps he would have learned some better self defense (talking too!)

Posted by: Rebecca | April 12, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

No one has brought up the point that in some states it is illegal to have brothers and sisters sharing a bedroom after a certain point. One of my family members got divorced and both parents were forced to buy/rent places that gave their son and daughter separate rooms. The only way the mother could afford it was to rent a two bedroom. She shares with her daughter age 10 and their 11 year old son gets the other room.
I also breast fed my daughter till she was 19 months. Why is this a problem?

Posted by: foamgnome | April 12, 2007 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Rebecca

"Judge not, lest ye be judged, and walk a mile in another man's shoes, etc."

Are you saying that only the lovefest comments that agree completely with everything Stacey says are appropriate?

I stand by my original statement and there is something very very wrong with the parenting of a 5 year old kid that sucks his thumb while playing with his private part!!!

You don't need wisdom to recognize that!!

Posted by: Bernardo | April 12, 2007 2:10 PM | Report abuse

To "The Stork":

Oh if it were only as simple as knowing how the plumbing works . . .

Birth control fails, hormonal changes throw the system out of whack, etc. Did you know that certain medical conditions can cause ovaries to randomly spit out eggs multiple times during the month? I didn't either until my OB/GYN diagnosed the condition six months into my unexpected pregnancy.

Posted by: MP | April 12, 2007 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Stacey, I think you must have misunderstood my comment. I said:

"Since when does "being the parent" mean automatically vetoing your kid's decision, whether it has merit or not?"

in response to jan's comment before mine. I was agreeing with you!

Posted by: Socorro | April 12, 2007 2:14 PM | Report abuse

"Did you know that certain medical conditions can cause ovaries to randomly spit out eggs multiple times during the month?"

And I'm guessing God created this condition as well, just so people like you could have unexpected kids.

Posted by: a Theist | April 12, 2007 2:18 PM | Report abuse


Bernardo is a troll.

Posted by: Bethesda, MD | April 12, 2007 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Well obviously the first and most decisive issue will be space. You only have X bedrooms and Y children. If Y children is bigger than X bedrooms available, someone's having to share.

Secondly, personality is important. Yes, family is family and should learn to work as a family. But suggesting that siblings will somehow like eachother and want to live in close quarters together every day just because they happen to have the same set of guardians is completely ridiculous.

My sister and I had to share a room for most of my life growing up until she moved out when I was in high school. It was bad for us both and we would have been much better with our own space. Our personalities and values are just so different that living together is a bad idea.

After we were separated, we got to spend time together on OUR terms and while we'll never be soul mates, we do appreciate and love eachother and support eachother very much.

But again, practical space trumps personality conflicts, so we had to share.

I find it fairly silly that people care about siblings being male or female. If they want to do inappropriate things together, it won't matter if they share a bedroom or not, and I really don't think siblings would ever have those feelings with eachother to start with so it's not an issue. Not to mention homosexuality.

Posted by: Liz D | April 12, 2007 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Socorro: Sorry 'bout that. Must have misread/misinterpreted your comment.

Posted by: Stacey Garfinkle | April 12, 2007 2:37 PM | Report abuse

JJ---

You said "You are the parent. You are the lucky person that gets to decide where your children will sleep, when they go to bed, when they get up in the morning, etc. etc"

I assume this means you don't have kids? Maybe you can tell your 8 or 9 year old to sleep until 8 AM...but no one and I mean no one can tell a baby or a toddler when to get up in the morning. One day it might be 6:30 the next day 8 AM, but when a toddler wants to get up...that's it. You may not need to engage them or bring them downstairs, but I sure do know they are not going back to bed regardless of what you "tell" them!

Posted by: HappyDad | April 12, 2007 2:52 PM | Report abuse

I don't think there is a right or wrong answer to what is better, sharing or solo. I think the answer is whatever works best for your family. I have an 11 month old and a 2.5 year old, both boys and right now they each have their own room. However I am sure we will have more kids and we are looking at houses. There is a good chance they will share a room at some point based on the size of the new house we get. Wither way they will be fine and will be friends. At this age their room is basically for sleeping.

Posted by: HappyDad | April 12, 2007 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Assuming the children are pre-pubescent, what is the problem with siblings of different genders sharing a room? Somebody mentioned this is illegal in some places - what is the reason behind the policy?

Posted by: Lindsay | April 12, 2007 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Karen

"Who cares if people's kids share a room or not?"

Who cares if you breastfeed your child?

THAT was awesome. I'm so sick of the "breast feeding is holier then thow" group. Get over yourselves. Better make choices for different reasons -- doesn't mean yours is the "best".

Posted by: Columbia, MD | April 12, 2007 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Oops...Meant to write "People" have no idea where "Better" came from. Maybe because I wasn't breast fed and missed that one nutrient.

Getting back to the topic, only child, didn't share a room. Went away to college as a transfer student and shared with three other transferred girls (one who stayed one night a week, and another who went home on the weekends, so it wasn't bad with two of us "full time"). After that year, I roomed with one other girl.

Posted by: Columbia, MD | April 12, 2007 4:04 PM | Report abuse

I'm not a parent yet, but in college I was a Resident Assistant for two years, and oassigned to a freshman floor my first year. On the first night, I had two girls tell me that they "needed" to be switched out of doubles and into singles because they had their own rooms back home and just simply could not have a roommate.

Spoiled.

Those who had shared bedrooms with siblings back home were the best roommates, from what I saw. They were more understanding of their roommate's needs and quite often those were the pairs that wound up continuing to room together past freshman year. They were well-rounded, mature individuals.

I'm a huge supporter of sharing bedrooms and plan to have my children do that (once I have children) unless they are of opposite genders. I grew up sharing not only a room with two sisters but a bed with one of them until she went off to college.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 12, 2007 4:35 PM | Report abuse

I had my own room by the age of 5, in part because my father liked a quieter house, and that was more peaceful, but I learned to share living space at sleep-away camps as a teenager.

Unfortunately, after too many bad housemates ("the TV is mine, and I'm going to let my friends watch loud, explosion-filled movies when you're in bed with a migraine"/ "I'll do my dishes in a few days - why are you so upset about the roaches?"/ "I know I agreed not to smoke in the house, but it was just in my bedroom" ), I stopped even sharing houses with people by my second year of grad school.

Posted by: Tucson | April 12, 2007 5:04 PM | Report abuse

atb apparently cares whose kids are breastfed.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 12, 2007 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Crud. This is too late, I know, but I have to make my point! My child is breastfed. She also sleeps through the night at 3.5 months. Whether a child sleeps through the night is not an issue of breastmilk vs. formula. You people made that part up because you love to fight about it! I was making a statement about sleep. You'll notice I never mentioned food source...

Posted by: atb | April 19, 2007 9:16 AM | Report abuse

I guess nursing does imply breasts. Still, the length of nursing was not my issue, the up-at-night was...

Posted by: atb | April 19, 2007 9:17 AM | Report abuse

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