Can brothers and sisters share a room?
Posted by: Brigitte Rozario, 29-Mar-2012
By SHAMALA VELU
Sharing a room with a sibling has its ups and downs. Some parents believe it will foster better relationships while others are forced to put their kids into one room due to space limitations. How long can you expect a daughter and son to share the same room? While most parents believe they should be separated after puberty, a few parents think it's all right for a girl and boy to share the same room as long as they know how to respect each other's privacy.
Two parents share their opinions:
Noor Azurah Anuar with daughter Sawda
Noor Azurah Anuar, entrepreneur and mother to sons Umar, eight, and Hamzah, six, and daughter Sawda, four:
“My three children share a room. Initially, I had set up a room for Umar when he was seven. However, he had trouble sleeping alone in the room. Now, he shares the room with his younger brother and sister. There are a lot of advantages for siblings who share a room. They feel safer being together and it also improves the quality of sleep.
Sawda learns to be more responsible from observing her older brothers. She has learnt to respect other people's belongings and also to keep the room tidy. Sawda participates in a lot of activities with her brothers at the moment. I think that is a good thing. I realise that the boys have learnt to cooperate and have become more tolerant, especially with Sawda.
At night, they spend time reading together and reciting prayers. Umar keeps his personal items in a place his sister cannot reach. He tells Hamzah and Sawda not to touch his belongings.
There are many times Sawda wants to sleep next to Umar in the same bed, but he does not allow it because he doesn't like to share his bed. There are times when Sawda prefers to play alone, like when she's using the computer in the room. However, most of the time, she likes to be in the company of her brothers. She's closer to Umar and they play all kinds of games in their room. With Hamzah, she does roleplaying as they are closer in age. In fact, Hamzah doesn't seem to mind playing with her kitchen set and being 'school teacher' with Sawda.
However, as my children get older, they will need some privacy. I think generally a good time to give them separate rooms is by age seven. However, I will wait until they are ready. Umar and Hamzah can share a room while Sawda needs a separate room because in Islam, we are supposed to separate boys and girls. When the time comes, we will allocate separate rooms for the boys and Sawda.
When a girl reaches puberty, she can expect of a lot changes to take place. In Islam, the girl will need to 'tutup aurat' (cover parts of the body that should not be exposed according to Islamic belief), wear 'hijab' (head scarf), and perform prayers as it becomes obligatory. Sawda is looking forward to having her own room as she wants to paint it pink and purple - her favourite colours.
I will talk to my kids and prepare them for puberty. Everything has been outlined by the Quran and hadith, so I don't see any problem about it.
Separating the siblings can also mean
giving each boy and each girl a separate bed, even if they are in the
same room. Being with another in the same bed is considered morally
wrong. Thus, if one cannot provide a room for each child, we may
practise the 'hadith' by giving each child a separate bed. As for
now, I will just let my children enjoy each other's company.”
Pepper Lim, teacher and father to daughter Paprika, three, and son, Saffron, one:
“There are many advantages for siblings who share a room. The one good thing is that they will always have someone to talk to and, if a child is afraid of the dark, he can turn to his brother or sister. Paprika and Saffron have a close bond and learn a lot just by playing together. As an older sister, Paprika learns to adjust to Saffron's ways. It's not always easy, but they learn to adapt.
Paprika is now at the age where she has started to feel possessive about her toys and will snatch a toy from Saffron if he is playing with it. We keep an eye out for such incidents and take the opportunity to teach her about sharing. Paprika likes jumping on the bed when her brother is sleeping on it. We try to teach her to be patient and more considerate towards Saffron.
It is a joy to see them both waking up together. When they wake up, they start playing together in the room. There is nothing better than to hear my children's laughter in the morning.
There are times when there are tantrums and conflicts between them but they are still very young and we cannot expect them to control their temper. That's when we, as parents, need to intervene and guide them.
One disadvantage of sharing a room is that sleep is sometimes interrupted. When one wakes up crying in the middle of the night, we sometimes have to pacify both children.
As they get older I think it would be nice for them to have their own rooms. I think it is better for older children to have separate rooms. However, not all of us have the luxury of doing so.
Right now, my kids share a room but eventually I hope to give them their own rooms if I can afford it. I personally don't think there is anything wrong for young boys to share a room with their older sisters or vice versa.
Some parents might say it is not right. It's really how we are brought up. For example, what happens if the sister wants to change her clothes while her brother is in the room? Well, she can simply ask her brother to leave for a few minutes. The time taken to change clothes is only a few minutes so the sibling can wait outside.
There's no reason to have separate rooms for each child and use screens for changing areas. Children learn to negotiate and it teaches them to respect each other. I wouldn't mind my daughter sharing a room with her brother.
Sharing a room with a brother or sister may have its advantages, too. Maybe, they will talk about the different sexes and not grow up with distorted views of the opposite sex. I am puzzled as to how some parents will go out of their way to protect their daughters from boys.
Parents are naturally protective of their children with outsiders but we cannot make the assumption that every guy we see has bad intentions, right? It's really in the upbringing. We should tell our children not to put themselves in a position where they can be harmed. I want to be very open with them and discuss things like puberty and self-development. But, I do not want to be overprotective and turn my children into introverts."
Nice to know what other parents feels about room sharing. I shared a room with my sister
It is good for the kids to share a room for them to build good relasionships. So that the can start learn how to share things, respect each other , helping each other and sometimes they share their story especially before they get sleep. But when they turn tenage, they need to have separate a room due to boys and girls are grown up and need privacy.