On this week's 'Parenting' segment on Moncrieff, one listener sought advice about how much longer his two children should continue to share a bedroom for?
Joanna Fortune, psychotherapist specialising in Child & Adult Psychotherapy, joined Moncrieff to answer this and other listeners' questions.
“Our eight year old son and 10 year old daughter share a bedroom in our home as they have done for a number of years now.
“They seem comfortable with the arrangement generally but my husband and I are wondering when it is appropriate to separate them. I don’t want to do it too early as we feel it is good for bonding.”
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“There really isn’t a ‘should’, so to speak on this, because the fact is many siblings share bedrooms right throughout their years at home.
“I think the question here is that one is a girl and one is a boy and they’re wondering about privacy. When is it developmentally appropriate for them to separate out?
“If they are sharing a room happily, they get on well, they’re sleeping well together in the room, they’re still only eight and 10 years old, I really think that you’ve no need to do this in an urgent way.
“I think that it’s great that you have the opportunity to separate them, you’ve the privilege of space and you can make this choice and you want to factor in their relationship, the quality of sleep is always something with siblings no matter what the gender and their stage of development.
“And then it’s about the desire for increased privacy… and it depends on the 10 year old but it could kick in anytime from now.
“[She could say,] ‘I don’t want him here, I don’t want him seeing me’ - whatever it might be.
“As parents you might look at when puberty is active and you as parents [might decide] it’s now appropriate that you have separate spaces and you might make this decision.
“But I don’t think it seems like a pressing issue; I’d keep an open mind on it and let that be what guides you. When does it feel appropriate for your children to have the privacy that developmentally they might require?
“And talk to them about what they think about it. They may well go, ‘Actually we quite like sharing a room, we like playing together, we don’t want to [split up].’ And you could get another two years out of this before it’s an issue.
“But I imagine you’re looking at this in the next year or two… If neither of them are spearheading this and it’s not a pressing issue, I’d take a little bit more time with this because they seem very comfortable together and happy to share a space and isn’t that lovely?
“So the time is going to come when they’re going to not want to be as in each other's spaces but if it’s not now, embrace the time you have. Just keep an open eye on it.
“But I would keep talking to her about it and it might be that you let them both know that it is an option to have separate rooms and it’s something that we’ll keep thinking and talking about together. Just so they’re aware as well.”
Main image: A brother and sister out on a cycle together. Picture by: Jan Woitas/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa.