As those words slipped from her mouth, my heart sank a little and my mind shifted to the state of our culture. I have no issue with desiring a new home within your budget or even wanting your kids to have their own room, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. It’s the sentiment that kids are ENTITLED to their own room and that if siblings have to share, it’s somehow a less than desirous situation.
We actually have one more bedroom that could be converted, but they’ve share a room because my husband and I decided years ago that this was our preference.
Yes, our choice, our preference, our desire to build that into our family culture and we weren’t flippant in the decision making process. A funny thing occurred when it was time for her to move into her big girl bed at two.
She was SO excited about it that first night, but when we woke up, that sweet little thing was snuggled right next to her two brothers in their bunk bed. The most precious giggles, silly conversations, and yes, bodily noises came from that room full of blessings and life each and every evening.
We often get asked how our kids are so close and one of my number one indicators points back to them sharing a room. It’s up to us as parents to train out of them the “Me first” mentality and there’s no quicker way than making them share a room.
Sharing a room offers plenty of opportunity to learn to work together, solve problems and resolve conflict. Life is not always, “oh sure, I’ll pick up that shirt because it’s mine.” As they got older, there were war zone moments, but we are committed to conflict resolution and understanding the power of an apology.
Letting the sun set on your anger is not an option in our family and talking it through was a critical priority. Our eldest is a Type A, very orderly and organized young lady, where as our youngest is carefree and creative. Order is not her first priority, but with a sister that bosses you into submission, you can bet that she has learned to pick up her things.
As a mom, it’s a blessing in disguise and while I need to train our 14 year old into approaching her sister with more grace and asking politely, instead of ordering, she’s developing discipline based on the role model of her oldest sister and that is a joy! It’s very important that each girl have their own personal space, (where as our boys did not care, so each situation is different.) We’ve identified areas for them to do this by giving each their own closet, dresser and “creative” space.
I step back from this “creative” process and while there are times, I try to steer our ten year old in a certain direction, she pretty much reminds me, “Mom, you said I could do this how every I want.” Zing! (Check out my Kids Deep Cleaning Bedroom Checklist post, that we use periodically.)
As one is a teen, that’s a challenge and I can understand how a large age gap might not work in one room.
Even though our boys are close in age, a downfall we did have in their teen years began when one child became more defiant towards me and made some poor choices. The older children should be modeling and helping the younger ones grow in maturity, so when that is the precedent, it truly affects everyone in the house, especially those with which he’s sharing a room. It stayed slightly picked up, but that was one war I stopped battling during their teen years.
Now, I let it go until I finally blow and announce, ” I don’t care whose clothes, books, junk etc. It’s a perfect twin size bed and has housed hundreds of kids confortably.
We’ve had as many as EIGHT high school boys in that room at one time (and I’ll never forgot that smell in the morning.) With younger children, the fear that they awaken due to sibling’s noise is always an issue, but we have the best sleepers. No one understands your family dynamics better than you, and there may be circumstances that don’t lend itself towards sharing a room. That is your decision to make, but never, ever, feel that by not giving your child their own room, you are somehow short changing them.
You are giving them a gift and while they might not see it now, they will have fond memories later on of slumber parties that never stopped and stories to share for generations to come.