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Why are bedrooms always such an issue for us??

trace38's picture

I feel like the crappiest person on earth cause I don't want to give my stepson a room to himself. Sad He is here every other weekend and has always had his own room at our house because that was important to DH. When we recently moved into our new house (3br), I pretty much demanded that the front bedroom (it's attached to the living room with french doors)would be my office. I work from home and meet with clients here and working out of the living room had been a nightmare. This is like THE perfect space for me.

The back bedroom is large and it's actually like 2 very small rooms attached with a large opening. We decided that we'd put BD13 in there with her bed in the back of the room and add a futon in the front of the room giving SS11 a spot to sleep when he is here. It was never intended to be his room, but more BD's room that doubles as a "Kids Suite" when he is here and as it turns out, my husbands niece has had to stay with us off and on over the last few months because her mother is a bad alcoholic and she uses the futon in BD's room too. It's really more of a guest area for whoever is here, but SS isn't getting that and DH isn't explaining it to him.

This weekend is the first time he's been in there since we moved about 6 weeks ago because DH's niece was here last time and before that the futon wasn't in there yet so he stayed in the living room. He's been very vocal all weekend about it being HIS room. When BD locked the door to change clothes, he exclaims, "great! I'm locked out of MY OWN room". He knocked on the door earlier today and my daughter says, "what", he responds "I want to come in MY room!" He knocked on the door again later and she tells him just to come in and he's like, "sorry, I'm not used to sharing MY room with a girl!" and I'm thinking, you aren't sharing YOUR room with a girl, a girl is sharing HER room with you... and it's probably totally selfish of me but I'm basically seeing it as her room with a space for whoever is here to stay and he is seeing it as equally his. DH isn't explaining it to him because he wants his son to feel like he has a spot here. And I overheard him tell SS that he was going to work on getting him his own space for when he is here. So I'm feeling really stressed out over the whole situation. It's probably stupid and will work itself out... hopefully I don't loose my office in the process Sad There I go feeling selfish again... can anyone relate?


Anon2009's picture

I know you may disagree but I feel it's important for the kid to feel at home and not just like a visitor at dad's house, even if he's only there 4 days a month/the summer/whatever the schedule is. No kid should have to feel like a visitor at the other parents home.

How would you feel if this was your dds situation when she sees her dad? She doesn't deserve to feel like a visitor at his home.

You shouldn't have to lose your office. Surely, though, you can allow ss to carve out a small area of the home for himself. Even if it's not an entire room.

Anon2009's picture

Good grief. You may want to re-read my post- I never said that she shouldn't have an office. I also didn't specifically say that the kid should have a room. I did say he should have a space of his own.

Maybe your kids get along with their dad now because they no longer feel like visitors and feel more important to him now.

trace38's picture

I do somewhat agree and that is why I am so conflicted about it. We are very strapped on cash and live in a very small house. I've always felt like if we had 4 bedrooms, or 3 bedrooms and a bonus space, then by all means give him his own room, but if we don't have it, we just don't have it. I'm struggling to get my business on it's feet and need this space to work and store my equipment. As it stands right now, half the room is filled and I wouldn't have anywhere else in the house to store it. It also serves as a meeting space to work with my clients and that could not happen in our living room. It couldn't accommodate what I need it for. I'd actually have to shut down a division of my business I just launched.

Actually, I've never thought about it in terms of my daughter in that situation, but now that I am, I can honestly say I would not mind one bit if she had to sleep on a couch at her father's house. I wouldn't expect them to provide her with a room at all. She lives with me and her room and her things are here and she couldn't care less about having her own room at another house. But, she doesn't go over there so maybe that is different.

twopines's picture

My father had a one bedroom apartment. My brother and I certainly didn't have our own rooms at his home, lol! We came out of it unscathed. I wouldn't worry about it too much.

Rags's picture

Since SS is not a resident of the home I understand the requirement that he not have a dedicated room when you are space limited.

When I was in grad school and my DW was studying her undergrad we lived in a 3 bedroom house. The 3rd bedroom was our study/guest room. We had a day bed in the room as well as our desks, computers, etc...... When we had guests they stayed in the study/guest room.

The model you have is fine. Rather than go through the struggle of finding him space to call his own I would suggest that you get a folding screen/room divider to put between the two spaces in the Kid suite. When SS or your niece are there separate the spaces, when it is just your DD, fold it back. Rather than call it HIS room name it something else. My parents have several spare bedrooms. They are referred to by their decor rather than by who uses them when there are visitors. The Africa room, the lace room, the green room, the quilt room, etc.....

We adopted the same room reference method in our home. The red room was our guest room in our US home and now we refer to the guest room as the twin room since it has two twin beds in it.

Pick a descriptive name for the suite space that your SS and niece use when they are in your home and stick with it. e.g. Futon room.

IMHO of course.

trace38's picture

I don't know... I think I just need to change my perspective on it. He's an 11 year old boy and he can be a bit obnoxious but I don't dislike him. The fact that it's pretty much been BD's room and then he's running around all day "MY room this" and "MY room that"... it did get on my nerves.

trace38's picture

A couch wouldn't fit. Especially a pull out. A futon MAYBE, but even then I would have to move it out of the room every time I have a client over which would be really difficult. The boy/girl thing doesn't seem to be as much of an issue as it might be for some people. They get along really well.

Bojangles's picture

Honestly I think you're being unfairly territorial, it sounds like you resent having him there so you want him to feel that he has no rights to any space in your home. Your needs were met by the allocation of the 3rd room as your office, he now has a corner in a teenage girls bedroom and he's not even allowed to call that his own, he has to share it with any visitor that comes to the house. That sense of belonging is important to a child on visitation, otherwise they feel like an out of place visitor. It just sounds mean to now insist that he can't even use the term 'my room' to refer to the space he shares with your daughter. The message you're sending is 'nothing here is 'yours' SS, you don't belong'. I would really consider a better way of dividing the room space to create more privacy, and allowing SS to think of it as his space, which is occasionally used by visitors if necessary, rather than a generic guest bed to which he has no rights.

Steppy Mn's picture

Hmmmmm............sounds like he is trying to stake out his territory. Maybe it would be a good lesson for him in learning to be adaptable and learn to go with the flow, be part of the family, and realize that he has to make some sacrifices too. He's probably just needs some time to adjust and see that things can really work. Kudos to you DB though, obviously she is willing to share with him.

Smellissa's picture

How hard would it be to put a door up between the rooms? It's not idea (your Dd would have to walk through Ss's room to get to her own), but I think it's better then what you're dealing with now! Either that, or when SS is there DD has to change in the bathroom, so SS doesn't get locked out. Sad

HadEnoughx5's picture

I just thought of friends of mine when I was very young. They were twin girls, that shared a large room. Come to think of it, it probably looked large to me because I was so young. But anyways, they wanted their own space.

They had a partition between them and their bedroom furniture went against the partition, i.e.- dresser, closet storage, shelves etc. Then their beds were across from the furniture (on their perspective sides)

Maybe there is a way for room to be split in the "suite". I remember being quite impressed with their room arrangement, just a thought Smile

HadEnoughx5's picture

I don't have the same problem as you but the bedroom scene is stressful. We originally gave SS's our old master bedroom. Now that 2 kids have left the nest, I wanted Prince to move into the old guest room and give guests the old master bedroom, which DH agreed too, but since has said no to me because DH can't say NO to Prince.

I'm just so tired of the whole thing Sad

QueenBeau's picture

I feel differently about this. We have a 3 bedroom house that will, later on, become a 4 bedroom house (we are converting our attic into a large bedroom for us). I have often thought of when we have kids. Now, SD6 has her own room. She is only here weekends/some holidays/half of summer (may turn into whole summer, right now she goes to my in laws for 4 weeks in the summer). When we have our own kids, say we have two boys. They would share a larger bedroom until a certain age but I always want to have a guest room. Once they get old enough to need their own rooms & SD isn't coming over as much (older, playing sports, etc in the summer in her moms town) her room would be the 'guest room'. She could still decorate it & all, but when visitors came & she wasn't around they would sleep in there. That way we would have boys rom/boys room/guest&SD room/our room. If we had a girl & a boy, or 2 girls - no big deal. 1 girl would 'share' with SD when she was here. This would be different because SD would be 1/2 siblings (which we would just call sister/brother) with my children. Your situation is a lil sticky with it being unrelated children who haven't know eachother their whole life.

I know it seems like I am thinking way ahead, I always am lol. We aren't even trying for a baby yet. But I love our home, I don't think of it as a 'starter home' I want to live there my whole life if possible. Get it paid off & enjoy it. 4 bedrooms should be MORE than enough for anyone. But I come from a different type of home I guess. I shared a room with my sister until I was 16 & my cousin (male) who lived with us had a very small room (they converted 1/2 the porch) only big enough for a futon & a TV. When we had guests my sister & I gave up our room & slept elsewhere. We didn't spend a lot of time in our rooms, we spent family time. I would like my family to be the same. At this time, SD6 shares a small room with her 1/2 brother at BMs, who is 4. She only has a 2 bedroom. They will be 7 & 5 soon. DH has a problem with this, I don't really care now that I think of it. I think her home is too small for them &she should get a larger one, but kids don't need to be living in these huge spaces in luxary in their own homes. What do they do when they get to college & share a small dorm room?

twoviewpoints's picture

Your 'problem' is that you have misplaced SS. He always had his own before this latest move. It was important to him and his father. You move to a new house and , poof. There goes the kid's space. And you're angry he's noticed and has the gull to whine over 'his room'? You still have a bedroom. DD still has a space of her own (yeah yeah she has a rotating guest futon in it), but SS? Nope. Tough luck kiddo, no space for you.

Frankly if this were me, my Dh would never had agreed to purchase a home that didn't fit our needs. Years ago when my SS was living with us if I had moved to a new home and eliminated personal space for his son it would have caused some major issues with my husband and also the way my SS felt about being a 'family'. Sure, we're reading lots of examples about kids that had to share, had to sleep on couches in livingrooms blah blah here. But the difference is you had space for SS and choose to purchase a home with SS as a mere afterthought 'uh, oh, hmmm, where should we stick a sleeping spot for SS. Oh we'll let him sleep on the futon in DD's room when my niece isn't sleeping on it'.

No, it's not a brownie point for DD that she's willing to share her bedroom four nights a month. The girl has no choice, so no pats on her back. The father is correct when he told his son he'd figure out some place for his kid. You're wrong in being upset over that one too. You really need to stop thinking you're so justified in the decisions you made and sit down with DH and find that space. I'm not saying give the kid the front room office, I'm saying figure out what the heck else you can do. You might have to be creative, it might cost you some money, but you have got to find come up with some personal space in that home for SS. He doesn't necessarily need a whole room all to himself but he needs something so he doesn't feel like the kid who got booted in the move. Two teens of opposite gender are not going to be able to 'share' DD's room for long and the longer it goes on and the more issues it causes the more you will become angry at SS and blame him for being the misplaced party pooper.

purpledaisies's picture

I would do what rags said. Put some kind of folding screen up. Then explain to both that when one wants to change or something to that effect they have he right to lock the door for that purpose. But only for that. No locking each other out.

The kid is only there 4 nights a month geez people the girl that lives there full time should get that room. That us so not fair that the skid gets 2 rooms and one only being used 4 nights a month. That is something I will never understand having a room being unused for 95% of the time. Just stupid.

Dad is the one failing here by not explaining this to his kid. the truth is that he wants him to.have a room but there just isn't one so he needs to figure it out and stop blaming op for it. He needs to get off his butt and and deal with his kid!

not2sureimsaneanymore's picture

I think a door or a partition is a good idea but I agree they are too old to share.

I also don't really understand the room thing. I lost my room with my parents (5 bedroom house) when I went to college and only came home on the weekends. My room turned into the guest room because my parents have visitors often. Would sleep on the couch when that happened.

My sister still lives full time with our parents and she still has her "own" room. It's just about being practical. I never felt out of place because home is wherever I am.

Bojangles's picture

A room doesn't define love, but feeling you belong and are welcome there does. The issue here is not just about whether they can afford more rooms, but about the OPs antagonistic attitude to SS having ANY sense of his own space. The boy is already on a futon in a girls room, apparently even his using the words 'my room' or 'my bed' to refer to that space puts the OPs back up. The OP has prioritised having an office over having a room for SS, there may be good and justifiable reason for doing that if SS only sleeps over a few days a month and it makes a big difference to her work, which benefits the whole family. But having won that battle there's little justification for the OPs desire to now deny SS ANY sense of his own space in the house, the most he is allowed is 'a spot to sleep', which must be thought of as 'more of a guest area for whoever is here' to ensure SS doesn't get his feet under the table.

And siblings having to share in an intact family is not the same as steps struggling to find a place in their parents new home and family, or two unrelated teen/preteens having to share a bedroom. It must be awkward having to lock doors/be locked out every time one of them needs to change or do something private, who can blame SS for having a moan when he is locked out. I feel sorry for SS and it sounds to me like he is handling it comparatively well.

If the child has their own room at mom's and 'belongs' there that is not the point, most non custodial parents desperately want their children to feel that they belong at their house too, that their house is a second home for their child. I know my DH did. He didn't want his children to feel like occasional guests, interchangeable with any other guest to the house, he wanted to feel he had a home for his children. There are lots of ways to give a child that sense of space, the way you decorate, furnish and partition can all give a sense of personal space IF you WANT to create that sense. We had 5 children stay EOW and a night in the week in a 3 bed house, they all had to share, 3 in one room, 2 in the other. We created curtains around their bunk beds so they could draw their curtains and have a bit of private space to read/change etc if they wanted. They chose pictures and had individual pin boards by their beds. They chose their own bedding. Small stuff can help. If the room DD and SS are sharing is large enough sliding screen doors could divide it when SS is there, and be left open when he is not. There are probably solutions that don't mean the end of the office, but the OP has to be open to making the effort to give SS his own space in some way.

twoviewpoints's picture

Totally agree. "Space" doesn't automatically mean a single bedroom somewhere in the home all to their lonesome. But it does require a bit of empathy and creative thinking. I will admit it was the callous attitude that streamed through the OP that would totally make me see 'red' if this were my son.

The kid sleeping in the office on a futon is not the answer either that some suggested. The next roar we'd hear would be about how SS got into things or how SS's toy was accidently left on the floor sticking out a bit and a client tripped over it or any other of a long line of complaints to having SS in HER space.

Rags's picture

Having re-read this entire thread I believe the key point is - the kid is there 4 nights a month.

A folding partition and calling the futon space his when he is there makes the most sense.

26-27 nights a month the folding partician can be put aside and the resident teen girl can have all of her room back.

IMHO of course.