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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nonmember avatar Windex

Holy I am amazed at the comments

I agree that in a perfect world separate bedrooms is the most ideal circumstances but of course we all know that is not possible.

I don't agree though with this hormones and curiosity and sharing a bedroom being linked....last time I checked hormones don't just work themselves up at sharing a bedroom time? Frankly if the kids are curious they are going to be curious at any time whether they share a bedroom or not.

If we are talking sleepovers - easily solved - the one having the sleep over either gets the room or the living room and the other gets the problem.

As for company over - again simple - friends don't hang out in the bedroom. In our house (young kids) bedrooms are for sleeping and nothing else...all playing goes on in the main living areas.

Nae556 Nae556

OK..There is NOTHING wrong with them sharing a room. My Mom was a single mom and my brother and I shared a room from 10-18yrs old. We were very close growing up and NOT weird close. we started with bunk beds and then as we got older, we turned our room into a living room. We had 1 full bed, counch that turned into a bed and an entertainment center w/ tv and VCR. It was a really cool room. We were hardly ever in there at the same time and when we needed to change, we changed in the bathroom. We grew up close and NORMAL....

Jilly... Jilly1973

Seriously. They are siblings.  Teach your children to respect each other regardless of there gender. Families afford the housing that they can and if that means sharing a room so be it. If they have friends sleeping over, someone sleeps in the living room. Be it the child and the friend or the other sibling. I trust my son explicitly with my daughter. Sharing a room or not everyone respects each other's privacy and space.

tnmom... tnmom8868

My best friend & her older brother shared a room until they were 10 and 12.  They were thrilled to finally get rooms of their own.  I don't think having their parents sleep in the living room was an option they would have considered.

I highly doubt siblings sharing a bedroom are any more likely to engage in incestual relationships.

MamiJ... MamiJaAyla

I think that having a 'LAW" that states when parents must have seperate bedrooms for the kids is insane, and from the tone of the first page the same judgemental people who think that only their way is the right way are also the same that complain that people are not parenting when the govt. is also taking away parenting rights.

I shared a room with my brother until about 9 or 10.  No big deal.  We were siblings and you know what it has been the norm in human existance until very recently.  My brother and cousin and I and other friends had co-ed sleep overs, his friends my friends all slept in the living room until about 10 or so and maybe even longer.

As to the op, I think that she has found a pretty good solution for the moment, but I do think/hope that there will be some way to give the kids "separate" rooms, even if its just a room divider soon, for the sake of privacy etc.

melit... melittler

Teenagers don't need to be sharing a room. I see nothing wrong though with my two kids, ages 8 and 6 to be sharing a room. Yeah, they each have their own rooms, but they like to sleep with each other at night for right now.

lakee... lakeeriegrandma

Yep, been there; done that.   Although this situation is never an easy one for the children or the parents.  Here's how I solved a problem.   I bought a piece of wooden fence, 8 ft. long - 4 ft. high and cut a 2 X 4 into three equal pieces and nailed it to the bottom for braces  (both ends and the middle) and used it as a room divider.   Cost was less than $30.  I painted one side in accordance with my son's color scheme and the other side with my daughter's color scheme.  We decorated each side of the room with a theme that each child wanted.    They told their respective friends they had a "two - fer" room.     Worked out great and each child was responsible for their half of the room to keep cleaned up.     Use painted 2 X 10's with painted concrete blocks to build a book shelf for added storage of books and smaller toys, but I wouldn't suggest going more than 3 shelves high.....Cheap, easy, convenient and looks nice with the childs own added touches.ttc

singl... singlparent2001

yeah, i know it feels awkward but you just have to do the best with what you have. just remember the way we were raised and brought up; and we came out fine. (for the most of us any way). it all comes down to family morals,and up bringing.  we learn rite when taught rite.

Squido Squido

I would like someone to explain to me what on earth is going to happen if a 5 year old and a 6 year old of the opposite sex sleep in the same bedroom.

Yes, they should all have their own bedroom, and their own bicycle, and their own computer, and their own television. Let's get real folks. In Southern California a 3 bedroom apartment, if you could actually find one available, rents for $1500 to $1700 a month.  That's not a typo. A 3 bedroom house you can get for $2000 a month. How many of you and even with a husband can afford the cost of bedrooms? There are plenty of families of 8 or more living in a 2 bedroom apartment. Oh, a 2 bedroom apt in the worst area of the County is $800 to $1000.  How many families do you think are in violation of the 1 sex 1 bedroom mandate? About 3 million people in this County with the capacity of the County Children's Home at about 400.

I have no idea what the law is here in the Nanny State, but we sure have enough of them already without the government in our bedrooms. Not too long ago, a married couple could be arrested for oral the privacy of their bedroom. Now any adult can do it to any other adult/s of any sex as long as it is for free. For Sale signs on a car are illegal in some cities. Cruising in your car can be illegal in some cities. Pinball machines are illegal in some cities. No law no matter how stupid, would surprise me.


milmi... milmiracle

The easiest way it works for me is a bedroom made for sleeping.  Not watching tv, playing videos, etc. etc.  Things always work themselves out if we set rules and boudaries. 

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