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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RanaA... RanaAurora

Look.  Whether you think about incest or not, the LAW in plenty of states says you can't have teens of the opposite sex sleeping in the same room.

If you tell them you can't afford a bigger place (which is likely!), they'll tell you to sleep on the couch and let your child have your room, or you can lose them.

Is it right?  *shrug*  But it's the law.

AesSedai AesSedai

Yeah, I just can't see put two kids that old into the same room.  I mean, come on -- it's not like every child has to have his or her own room in a family of 8!  You're talking 2 kids here!  There's got to be either something you can cut from the budget or some sort of state assistance possibly to free up the money for a 3 bedroom... I have two kids, no assistance and a total household income of under 2K per month, and they both have their own room at 3 and 5. 

DeTor... DeTora_Family

Why is it such a big deal to have younger children together? I know quite a few families with opposite sex children between 2 and 8 who share a room.  Why is that a big problem?  I agree that I wouldn't allow sleepovers in the bedroom.  Why couldn't sleepovers be in the living room with sleeping bags, close parental supervision?  The other child could have the bedroom to themselves that night.  What about parents and kids sharing bedrooms?  My friend is a single mother and shares a room with her 10-year-old son.  It's a studio apartment.  There is only one room and a bathroom.  She cannot afford anything else.  A male friend of mine lives with his two brothers in a two-bedroom apartment.  Two have bedrooms and the third sleeps on the sofa.  My friend has a teenage daughter, and she sleeps in his room on the weekends when he has visitation.  What are people so worried about?

KATMo... KATMommie158

We have 4 children and a 3 bedroom house. We have 3 girls, 10, 7 & 22mths and 1 boy, 9mths. Right now our youngest 2 share a room and our oldest 2 share a room. When our son is 4 we plan on moving our 3 daughters to our master bedroom. My husband & I will move into one of the smaller rooms, and our son will have the other small room. After a certain age, I do not want to have opposite sex siblings in the same room. Children are, by nature, curious and I want to avoid problems before they have a chance to be.

And, on another note, I saw someone talking about "back when I was young". Well, when my mom was young, there was 5 kids and 2 adults in a 4 bedroom house. The two boys shared a room, two of the girls shared a room and the oldest girl had her own room. There was no sharing then either and that was in the 60's.

And... When my Grandmother was growing up in England in the 40's, her and her Grandmother shared a room and her brother and Grandfather slept in the "dining area". They were VERY poor, but they still didn't share a room.

clovi... clovismommy25

That is NOT ok to have a boy and a girl share a room!!!!! It is illegal in most states for a REASON!! (not saying it would happen, but it does) I am sorry,but if we could only afford a two bedroom home (house, apt, w/e) and we had a girl and a boy (we have two boys) then we would be in the living room.   

surobb surobb

clovismommy25 wrote: That is NOT ok to have a boy and a girl share a room!!!!! It is illegal in most states for a REASON!!

1. It's not "illegal in most states", it is merely grounds for harassment by CPS in many areas.

2. The "reason" is that there are a lot of busibodies and little Nazis in this world, including you from the sound of it.

Angie030 Angie030

I live in MN, and it is illegal. I understand when everyone says its trouble. The sexual urges are there, and being brother and sister don't matter. I have had friends/relatives who have gone through this with thier children, with one of them getting pregnant. No matter how much you express to them that it is wrong to look or feel any sexual tendancies to your siblings, you can't always trust what is going on behind closed doors. Especially if they share a room and one has friends over of the opposite sex. Wow, that's not a brain buster. My family did not have a lot of money when I was growing up either, however, once my brother who is three years older than me figured out that I had different parts, that was it, they found a place that was fit for us. It can be done.

carolene carolene

Wow!  It never would have occurred to me that it would be illegal in some states.  A quick web search seems that it is not a legal issue mostly, but an issue for foster or adoption. 

We intentionally put our children in the same large bedroom, even though we had enough bedrooms to separate them.  They were 22 months apart and shared a bedroom until they were 7 and 9. 

They have grown up very close and with very little sibling rivalry.  I think we did it right.

cleos... cleostacey

If kids share a room because that is the decision (yes it is a choice) of the parents then that is the way it is.  The parent is the government of the house.  It is a room to sleep in.  There is a bathroom that they can use for privacy of dressing.  When I was young I shared an 8x10 room with three other girls and that room was only used for sleeping in.  My kids do not share a room.  I slept on the couch for a couple years so that they would have their own rooms (note: it was a choice) I work two jobs currently to make sure they have separate rooms and that I have a room. (note: choice)

As for the laws that govern how we parent.: If CPS comes to my house because my kids sleep in the same room theybetter believe that I am locking them in that room because that is no grounds alone for removal.


Sandr... SandraMort

I have a real problem with the assumption that mixed sex rooms lead to molestation whereas same sex is free from that risk.  If your kids are going to hurt each other, their sex doesn't matter so much.  They'll find a way.  And if they're NOT going to, then sharing a room and learning to respect other people's privacy within limited space isn't a problem.

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