Big Kid Dilemma: When Brother and Sister Share a Room


When children are infants, toddlers or even early elementary school kids, the reality of opposite sex siblings sharing a room is not super-challenging. There may be the issue of  "Do I paint the walls pink or blue?", but by and large, at those younger ages everything works itself out.

It's when kids reach their tween and teen years that co-ed room sharing can become problematic. And many moms--especially in an economy where most of us can't afford a huge house or apartment--are faced with this dilemma.

I have a good friend struggling with this right now and she's often at the point of tears. Her kids have loft beds at either side of the room, but that doesn't help anything when it comes to the matter of privacy and friends. Her teenage daughter hates being home because she can't stand being in her brother's friends' company. Her son hates having so many beauty products and girl stuff everywhere he looks.

What works best for my girlfriend now is giving her tween and tween "company schedules," that is, specific days of the week that either kid can have friends over. As for the beauty products, her son just has to get over it.

Are you a mother facing this problem? Do you have any suggestions for making life easier for a brother and sister who have to share a room? Do tell!

independence, teens, tweens


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LoriW LoriW

I have faced this problem, and it isn't going away soon. I gave up my bedroom, they need a room more than I do. My bed is a reclining love seat in the living room. This is one of many laws I think is silly, it's obvious that children of the opposite sex should have their own rooms, parents shouldn't have to be told the law that states parents must buckle children safely in a vehicle, and so many other laws such as these. There shouldn't have to be laws telling parents how to keep children safe, there should be more parental common sense.

Lokis... LokisMama

I don't see the issue here, until they start getting into the tween and teen years, start figuring out what all these different parts for.  Hell, if the room is big enough try maybe a decorative partition between the boy side and the girl side. :-p

lyric... lyric2005

I shared a room for a long time with my brother. Then when I we were teens we would go back and forth for a  month I would have the room and he would sleep on the sofa bed and then switched off and on. When we were 16 and 14 we moved into a bigger house. I don't think it is right but you have to do what you can. Maybe getting a sofa bed isn't such bad idea. It worked for us for a few years. My brother didn't make a big deal about not having a room but as a girl I did so towards the end he just gave it to me.

sk_te... sk_tennyson

Geez when I was growing up we were POOR. We lived in a rented 2 bedroom trailer. My parents in one room and the FOUR of us kids in the very larger second room. 2 boys and 2 girls and 2 bunk beds in there. After a couple years we hung a sheet down the middle of the room it was still the same room.

I guess it just depends on how you were raised. My two are sharing right now (21 mos and 1 mo.) and it's a total PITA decorating!

bigbl... bigblueeyes

this is one of those really touchy areas....i'm in tx and it's illegal here as well...although there usually aren't too many probs with it unless someone calls cps on you...i agree that after a certain age it really shouldn't happen but i also understand that with the economy the way it is and more families having to live together to beable to make ends's sometimes necessary....can things happen between siblings??....yes!....does it mean it will happen if they have to share a room??!....i agree that room dividers are a great "compromise" far as the "visitation schedule".....maybe the daughter could sleep with the mom for the night or on the couch....i know a woman who's children 8 & 7 sleep together when it's stormy....most would think that was wrong have to look at the family dynamics....not just what society expects

Lillette Lillette

im in ma and its def illegal here.....after age 5 i believe..... and cfs is really big about it...parents can loose thier children over that type of stuffs

mrssu... mrssundin

when they are kids i see nothing wrong but when they hit there preteens there are just to many hormones running weather they be brother and sister crap still happnes.  way to many girls and way to many boys are being abused by there brother or there sister so i say that it is safer if they do not share a room.

surobb surobb

Everyone keeps tossing around the word illegal here, so I should mention that coed room sharing is not illegal in the sense of being a crime.  Rather, it is something that many CPS agencies frown upon and may choose to harass you over.  If you are in that situation I would ask the CPS person to point out the specific part of the CPS code that forbids coed room sharing.

Also, there are some laws requiring people who rent homes or apartments to rent  at least one room for boys and one for girls.  That doesn't apply to people who own their own homes, of course.  But again, unless you have CPS or busibodies poking around your house it's irrelevant.

This is an area that is truly nobody's business.  If we can have family nudist camps and that's all legal, how the hell does the government claim the right to dictate to families who is going to sleep where?

Sissy... Sissy_Girl

If any of you can tell me how the heck you take a room with five beds and NO WAY to slpit it so the boys are on one side and the girls on the other and still be able to keep everybody seperated, I'd sure like to know.  We have 2 bedrooms, kitchen, livingroom and bathroom.  When my SD is here we have 6 kids  and my son sleeps in the livingroom on the floor, but I will not make him do that when she is not here.  He refuses to sleep on the couch b/c it hurts his back.  Even if I did put up a sheet, there are still five kids at all times sleeping in one room.  The youngest 2 are only 1yr old and sometimes they still don't sleep through the night.  If one of them wakes up they wake up everybody else in the room with them.  If we could afford a bigger house, you can bet we would be in one, but we can't.  As far as CPS goes, they need to worry more about the families whose children are being beaten, sexually abused, not fed or educated, and less about the ones who do the best they can with what they have.....

Julie... Julie411me

Because we had 4 kids in a 3 bedroom house, I had to share with my brother until I was probably about 12 and he was 10...maybe a little older.  Other than being embarrassed when friends asked about it, it was no big deal.  Except for the fact that he was a gross pig.  LOL

I would have greatly appreciated a room divider, even if it was just a few shower curtains hanging from the ceiling, kinda like in hospital rooms.  It would have just been nice to not have to look at his disgusting boy stuff like rocks and underwear.

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