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SDs and Bedrooms?

SittingPretty's picture

So the last time my SDs were here they kept complaining about having to share a bedroom at our house. They think it’s unfair as they’re the oldest (9 and 11). How do other people handle this? We renovated the basement when our baby was born and built them a big bedroom and rec room down there. It’s the only bedroom big enough in the house to share easily and the other two kids (5,1) are too young to be down there. I don’t think the little kids would mind sharing but I’d have to put them in one of the small upstairs rooms. I also think it would be unfair for the older kids who are basically only here during vacations to have 2 out of 3 of the kid bedrooms. 

My parents didn’t have a lot of money growing up and my brothers shared well into teenagehood so I just felt like telling them to suck it up. One of them was upset because the clothes we buy her aren’t branded (theyre just from regular stores like children’s place) and because her baby sister (who lives here full time) has more clothes than her. Is this just what kids are like nowadays? We try to treat them as similarly as possible but it’s just logical that full time kids need to have more clothes. I’ve been with their dad for 5 years now and this is the first time I’ve ever seen behaviour like this....just entering an entitled bratty tween phase maybe?

Exjuliemccoy's picture

Maybe your H could explain to his daughters that life isn't fair, and point out some of the perks they enjoy: two Christmases, two birthday parties,  larger wardrobes because they have clothes at both homes, more presents, etc etc.

Curious Georgetta's picture

that is one of the reasons that parents should go out of their way to be fair. We all have,at times to experience the unfairness of life, but it should not be at the hands of your parents.

These girls have to be guests  who visit their dad. His home is not their home even though he is their 24/7 father. They get less of his time and now they are expected to understand that they should be marginalized in space as well.

Ask any child would they prefer to celebrate holidays twice in a year or have their parents together in a house with them. It is a guilty adult construct to think that celebrating birthdays times 2 is an acceptable compensation for not having your parents together.

These kids are no likely to want to continue to come to "visit" dad as they get older. 

Perhaps, fairness or equity is to say that those kids who have dad 24/7 should get to bunk together, and those kids who get substantially less time with dad are compensated by getting more space.

What I am proposing  probably does not make sense from an adult perspective, but from the perspective of the child experiencing the imbalance,  the life is unfair answer is just a cop out to make the adults involved feel better.

Better to make all the children share space than to create situations that leave some children feeling marginalized by the person who has an equal responsibility to all of them.

The message becomes, " I am giving you part time consideration and less space because I am your part time parent. "

It would have been better to have added 2 bedrooms in the basement rather than 1 bedroom and a rec room. 

In the end , no one will really care how these kids feel about this situation because they are just kids and it is really only matters how the adults view the situation.

SittingPretty's picture

I think that’s an interesting perspective for sure. It wasn’t viable to (legally) create two bedrooms downstairs as a bedroom here has to have a window. 

The baby isn’t sleeping through the night reliably yet so would disturb the 5 year old quite a lot, and I’d rather have one child to deal with in the middle of the night than two. 

In all other ways they are treated like the other two, same vacations, same birthday/Christmas present budget etc. But I think they’re at the age where they compare everything now. 

I think it’s good that you’re considering this from the perspective of the SKs, I’m sure that you’re a very good stepmother, and I appreciate your input. 

Curious Georgetta's picture

children 's feelings on most issues tend to be pretty universal. I am a parent and even in intact families  children compare and contrast treatment. Adults do it as well.

Regardless of our status of situations, we all want to feel that we matter and are treated fairly as much as circumstances will permit.

Adults  at least have a voice, children by contrast ,are pretty much required to accept the decisions of adults .

No matter how you try to equalize things, you have 2 children who are seriously disadvantaged. They have become  through no fault of actions of their own, visitors in their father's life. How do you make things equal when some children get dad 24/7 and others get a few days a month and a few weeks in the summer?

That is the life that the adults have imposed upon them and sadly we tell them that life is not fair.   Life isn't fair, but sometimes as adults we get the opportunity to make it a little bit less unfair

SittingPretty's picture

I don’t agree with you that being a step kid is automatic ‘victim’ status. I was a stepkid and my memory of it is of a very happy time. My parent’s marriage, in contrast, was a very bleak and volatile place to grow up. My husband’s dad was a loser, and everyone was glad when his mom finally smartened up, and kicked him out. Sometimes it’s better to admit that you’ve made a mistake and move on, rather than carry on a charade, and make everyone miserable in the process. Children know what a happy home is.

My SKs have a nice mom, who is lucky enough to stay home with them, and loves them very much. They have everything they need. 

They are not ‘visitors’ in our home. Having to share a bedroom doesn’t mean that they aren’t part of the family, it’s just the only logical solution at the moment. 

I think there are bigger problems in life than coming from a broken family, it’s pretty normal these days. I have a half sister myself, she got way more than we did as my dad was wealthier by the time her teen years rolled around. Me and my brother never resented it. I think it’s negative to behave like someone is a victim. If they didn’t think like that before then they certainly will once the idea is planted in their mind.

Curious Georgetta's picture

I said disadvantaged. I do not kids perceive themselves as victims,  but I think that most are smart enough to have the difference between seeing dad 4 to 6 days a !month vs 24/7. That difference certainly  puts one child or children at a disadvantage in terms of time spent with the parent.

Your step daughters are already complaining. Clearly ,they do not see all of the benefits in this situation that you see accruing to them. Your husband is simply providing  some of the things that a good parent should provide. However, by virtue of the decision that he and the BM made, he is providing less time than a good parent should provide. That is an inherent part of the parents decision to split.

Children  observe and compare. Bright children can be very astute. They ser differences and unlike adults they have no need to rationalize  or justify.

They do not see it say to themselves that 2 Xmas or 2 birthday celebration are the rewards for losing full time relationships with their parents.Thosse things are just the outcomes of unfortunate situations.

Again ,there is a vast difference in looking at  a situation that  creates a disadvantage for a  child and one that victimizes a child.

Recognizing the disadvantage is not giving the child a crutch but it is helping them to realistically assess a situation..

It is mom or dad often saying. I have a right to seek my happiness  regardless of how it impacts my children. 

There is not necessarily anything wrong with that perspective but it is offensive to try to try and pawn off the benefits as double holidays and gifts. Explanations of that sort are demeaning to your children and disingenuous at best.

Far better to say  this is all the space that we can afford and you free the short straw. That at least is honest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Java_Junkie's picture

But I think they’re at the age where they compare everything now. 

 Really, that becomes a tough one... and you have to keep pointing out WHY some things are different.

"Johnny is 2 years older than you, so he gets to do that 2 years before you. You'll get to in two years."

"Johnny is 2 feet taller than you, so that's why he gets a bigger bed. When you grow taller, you'll get a bigger bed"

"Johnny is studying hard in school and needs a calculator. When you get to that point in school, you'll get a calculator"

"Johnny mowed the lawn and earned $15 for his hard work. When you mow the lawn, you'll get $15."

"Johnny, your little brother came running errands with me while you were out riding bikes with your friends, and we stopped for an ice cream cone. If you came with us, you would have gotten ice cream, as well."

Johnny, of course your little brother got more toys than you did for Christmas. But while he got 5 Hot Wheels plus one track set plus a carrying case, you got a video game console and a game. If you think this is unfair, would you like to trade with him?"

Loved the story about the Judgment of Solomon.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judgment_of_Solomon

Sometimes, we have to press the kids to make a tough decision when they're whining, so they can see that life is especially unfair to the parents who must choose who gets the unequal portions. Might offer to the try coin toss or the wishbone technique and leave it up to chance - but after a bit, they'll be clamoring for the "fair" way (which was almost always how you were doing it in the first place).

Pregnantwithquestions's picture

I disagree with a PP about it being unfair that the girls have to share a room and to look at it from the child’s perspective. I think as the adults in the situation—you have to take into account the child’s perspective to a certain degree and make the best decision for all the kids and family members involved from there. An 11 year old girl who stomps her feet and doesn’t get her way isn’t enough reason to disrupt the setup of 5+ other people living in the home. Step kid or not, blended family or not… it sets a bad precedence. Kids in “in tact” homes have to make compromises all the time, it’s called life, and it’s a great skill to master early on in life.

Also, it’s a great opportunity to sit down with the girls and explain that space is limited, give your reasons why they share a room and that they’re free to redecorate or re-arrange furniture if they would like—but that the decision has been made that they will continue to share a room, and the young kids will stay in another part of the home where they can be accessed easier.

Iamwoman's picture

I agree with this. For your bios, it is their ONLY home. Why should they be given second dibs in their only home?

Skids ARE basically part time guests when on an EOW and holiday schedule. 50/50 would be a completely different story, but that's not the case here! They HAVE another home where they HAVE private rooms.

Your bios ONLY have you.

Curious Georgetta's picture

hearing a judge would take a very dime.view of a parent who said that they.planned to host their children.Eow and would view them as guest and visitors in the parent's house. This house would not be treated as the kid's' home and they would not be accorded the same rights and privileges as the mom of dad's children who were fortunate enough to live with mom.or dad on a full time basis.

I think that a judge with view this person as poor parenting material and would be.reluctant to put a child in such an unfortunate situation.

In essence the dad is saying , you are not my 24/7 children. You are simply occasional visitors in not our home but my home.

Those children will be old enough soon to understand the standing that they have with their farher and no amount of extra vacations and holidays will make them feel less like the second team family members than they are becoming.

Shame on people who have more children than they can comfortably support. 

 

 

 

pixielady's picture

Shame on YOU for continuing to judge and make comments on blended family situations when you have no experience or valid insight into the complications of them. Maybe that judge can force the dad and stepmom to build an addition to their home to accommodate children who are there only part of the time. Ridiculous. 

SittingPretty's picture

That’s pretty narrow minded. We comfortably support all of our kids. They have a home in a nice area, enough clothes, food and toys, vacations, and the eldest two are in competitive sports. Having to share a bedroom is hardly torture, and as I’ve already said, I’d be more than happy for my bios to share if one of them wasn’t a baby and going to disrupt the other one. The decision to get a house that we could only put 4 bedrooms in wasn’t mine - my husband thought it was a waste of money when the girls are only here once a month. They are barely in their bedrooms, they spend all their time in communal areas apart from when they’re sleeping.

Yes it sucks for them that they’re not here more, and we might have made a different decision if they were. Unfortunately their mother met someone in another province a few years ago and moved them and we had no choice in the matter as she was custodial parent. 

Why are you on a stepparent forum criticizing other people if you aren’t even a stepparent? I’m here looking for constructive advice (or even criticism) but telling me that I’ve had more kids than I can support is bang out of order. You need to understand the difference between a life necessity and a luxury. 

Curious Georgetta's picture

But I was offended on behalf of your step daughter's and husband by your statement.that you viewed them as visitors in their father's home.

I think that it is a necessity for all children to be treated.as their home is their home.

I think that it is a necessity to a parent to view themselves as a 24/7 parent.

I think that it is a sense of entitled luxury and irresponsibility.to view.and treat.any child as a second team visitor in his/her parent's house.

I think that  is a truth that should hold on every family step or intact. 

This is not intended as a judgment , it is just.my belief that this stance is in the best interest of the child.

I doubt that many would make that visitors argument in the court.

 

beebeel's picture

You don't think this argument has been made in court before? LOL

I slept on the couch when I VISITED my father every other weekend. I had zero bedrooms because he could only afford two of them and my little brother lived with him.

Of COURSE this argument comes up in family court all the time. Thankfully, most judges are reasonable people and don't think like you.

Curious Georgetta's picture

Of things and quite likely do not have very high opinions of most of the people that they encounter.  They do not select or seek out their clients. It usually ivolves people who are so angry or so immature that they are willing to surrender decision making over the most important.aspects of their lives to a stranger.

My point was not that it was unreasonable for the 2 girls to share a  room. You cannot manufacture space that you do not hsve.

My points were if rooms were going to be shared, then all children should share rooms and that it is unacceptable for any parent to view his/her children as visitors in the home that they provide for them.

Say what you will, the judge does not view your children as your guests or your visitors. The judge views you as the parent and not the host.

The OP said that the girls were starting.to complain. This is likely because the have reached an age to be cognizant of perceived  differences in treatment.

The OP is doing what she thinks best ,but that is obviously not going well.

It would be interesting to know if the father also views his daughter's as guest in his home. 

If both adults are in agreement, then they will get whatever outcomes those beliefs and attitudes produce.

Hopefully, things will work out well for all.involved.

SittingPretty's picture

I’m not sure why you keep insisting that I consider them ‘guests’. How did you decide that? I said that they are only here during vacations (which is a logical fact) and you’ve jumped to an incorrect (illogical) conclusion. 

Can I also ask you again why you’re on a website designed to provide support for stepparents when you’re not a stepparent? 

Chevy92's picture

Don’t pay the negative comments any mind. I’m in a very similar situation, and as far as space goes you do what you can with what you have. You are doing everything perfectly in my opinion, and that’s exactly the way I would do it too. Renovating an entire basement even to suit needs and to make them an area that is their own and a playroom also. They have their own rooms at their full time living arrangement and your children should have theirs, especially seeing as your step children aren’t there very often (to no fault or decision of yours). So just dust off the judgement, the kids will come to understand and recognize all that you do and try to do for them as they get older. It’s just a part of life when people are in blended families, or not. Your doing a great job.

Winterglow's picture

This is ridiculous. She did not say that the children would be treated as outsiders (which is what you are insinuating). Her point was that the children in question are not full-time residents of OP's home. That is all.

elkclan's picture

Just explain the logic. Also explain the logic of babies having more clothes because they mess them up a lot more. Kids will ask for whatever they can. 

CompletelyPuzzled's picture

In our house, the two kids closest in age of the same gender share a room.  That is my DD and SD. Last year when we moved, SD tried complaining about it but my DH shut that down. His exact words were life isnt fair, get over it. The truth is that many kids from in tact families share a room until they move out. I wouldnt move around your younger two kids, especially when the older two only visit a few times a year.

I agree with the other poster that your DH should sit down and explain to them.  It would be much more unfair to squish the younger two into a smaller room.

lieutenant_dad's picture

I used to think it was unfair that I had to share a room with my sister, but my brother got a room to himself. I was the oldest and deserved it, by golly!

My parents told me to suck it and explained the logic behind it. I got it, but I didn't like it. My attitude about it only got worse as I got older because I wanted to have my own space and decorate it accordingly.

I think you are well within your rights to explain the logic behind it all. My guess with the 11 year old is that it's somewhat hormone-driven. Her attitude is going to stink as she becomes a teenager, and this is going to be her "dying cause". The sooner this gets nipped in the bud, the better.

Survivingstephell's picture

They are at an age that you can work with critical thinking skill training.  Ask them pointed questions about the situation and see if they have a better solution and  have them figure out why A<B<C won't work.  You could just come down on the whole thing and just say "I'm th parent and pay the bills so we decide, period"  I usually do that to end a conversation that goes around and around with a kid.  Whatever you do, don't give it a second thought or give into it.  You and DH stay the captains of your ship.  

I"d also be curious how their mother is behaving lately.  I always found the skids acted up because BM was "struggling" with reality.  aka Dh moved on and had another family.  

Wants name brand clothes?  Thrift store and consignment is the way to go for name brands.  Otherwise they can suck it up or get a job! LOL  

With my 3 older BDs, now all in their 20's, the more they "suffered" they more motivated they stayed to be achievers.  Handing every little want to them growing up, stunts their ability to launch.  IMO

SittingPretty's picture

I really like your comment about critical thinking. Very interesting, thank you!

SittingPretty's picture

Thanks for all the input here, really helpful!

I forgot to add that they have their own rooms at their mothers house (where they live 90 percent of the time). So I do feel that the younger two should have the same privilege....that was something that I explained, but it definitely wasn’t accepted! 

 

My other option would be to put YSD in with my older girl (9 and 5). I think that 5 and 1 is quite a big age gap to successfully share, and naps etc would become an issue. Maybe that would be fairer but YSD would probably hate it. They get on, but it’s a big age gap again and bedtimes are quite different. 

elkclan's picture

If the bedroom is big, can you do some re-arranging so that it feels a bit more like they each have their own space?

ProbablyAlreadyInsane's picture

^ This, what I'm considering for the skids too is beds with curtains around them, they still share a room, but it'll give them their own sense of privacy too. We only have two bedrooms, so it's not like they have much of a choice but to share. lol

justmakingthebest's picture

Honestly with 2 girls that are that close in age- I would have them share a room anyway! Even if I had an extra bedroom. I would do this with my bio's in a heart beat if they were the same sex. It really doesn't matter what they want. You guys do what will functionally work for your family. This is where the whole COD thing gets in my crawl. The fact is your house is the size that it is. You are doing to logical thing that makes sense. The girls need to get over it.

Iamwoman's picture

I think you have been more than fair in giving the girls both a bedroom and a rec room - how many kids have their own rec room??

Kids will complain. Nothing will ever be fair.

It's not fair to you and DH to have two mostly unused rooms taking up space in your house except on holidays and every other weekend!

You are adults, and I don't agree with the kid-centric idea that we should practically kill ourselves to give our children a fairy-tale childhood.

Please don't put your two bios in the same room. YOUR house is their ONLY home!!

Skids have another home where they have private space. They will be ok for a week or two sharing a room.

In our home, the FT kids get first pick on bedrooms, and have private rooms, the less-than-part-time skids share a bedroom, and get last pick on bedrooms. The fulltime kids HAVE to LIVE there ALL OF THE TIME. How would you feel if you had lower household status than a guest (I realize some skids aren't guests, as custody is 50/50, but if you're on an EOW and holiday schedule, then YES - they are basically GUESTS).

Dovina's picture

The kids are 100% his kids (feel better now CG!), but live in the home on a PT basis. Not sure why or how you dont get this. They "visit" their dad as they have a home with their BM that is their primary residance, so calling them "guests" is a referal to how often they are at their dads. Such is the nature of divorce. I totally understand why you dont understand this, you have no experience with this. What I do not get is that you have little to no empathy to the SM"s. 

LittleBoPeep's picture

She's not here to show empathy...she's here to show us SM's the errors of our ways! Too bad it doesn't quite seem to be working *ROFL**ROFL*

Pregnantwithquestions's picture

I think the issue with Curious George (besides a fundamental lack of understanding how blended families, court systems, parenting plans, etc all work) is that you’re failing to see the rational vs emotional side of all of this.

The emotional side is yes—most decent human beings and parents see themselves as “24/7” parents, as you keep saying. The emotional side also says yes—every self respecting parent wants ALL of their children to feel loved, included and cared for in equal amounts.

The rational side is—no, stepchildren do not have the same upbringing as those whose parents still live together. No judge is going to throw the book at a dad who makes his kids share a room. Kids in nuclear families share rooms all the time, so do kids in blended families. Kids share room with full, half and step siblings every single day—and that is no indicator of the parents love or investment in the children. It simply is the way it is because not everyone has a 5+ bedroom home to give every child a room. That’s life. What a judge looks at, Curious George, is that the child is cared for—that their needs are met (food, housing, clothing, education, decent parental communication); NOT if the kids are given every single desire of their heart.

As far as coming on this site and lecturing step parents, and biological parents, on how to better “24/7 parent”—my advice is to get married, have children, get a divorce, get remarried to a partner with children (bonus points if they are preteen girls), move into a standard 3-4 bedroom home (after 2 divorces between the two of you, child support, career changes because obviously one of you will need to possibly uproot your life and move to a different part of town, or even the country)… and THEN come back and shower us all with your sage wisdom.

disrestep's picture

Yes, is appears to me they are in the self-entitled, it's all about me, tween-preteen years. Such fun for you I doubt.

they are only at your home 10% of the time. They do not live at your home. They have their own space at their home they share with their mother. 

No way do they need extra accommodations in your home. It sounds like your DH and you have done enough to accommodate their selfish behavior. There are so many people on earth who don't even have a blanket to sleep on. Perhaps a trip to a third world country would benefit these brats.

I cannot believe people actually think these kids need luxury accommodations at a place they don't even live at. It doesn't make sense. Your own children should not have to sacrifice anything.

good luck going forward.

ESMOD's picture

This should not be too difficult for their father to explain to them.  The younger kids need to be upstairs near their parents and are at the house 365 days a year.  They have all the clothing and possessions they own in one home.  The SDs have their own room at their mothers and most of their clothing and posessions at that house because that is where they spend 90% of their time.  At this house, they are sharing a bedroom but have a 2nd room that they can play in and use to hang out.... so they actually still have two rooms. (honestly, if the rooms adjoin.. I would not have a huge issue moving one of the beds into the rec room as long as the door between them is never locked.. in fact I might remove it and replace with a curtain.  Yeah.. not code but plenty of people do things like this without problems)  Sure, they don't have as much clothing at this house because they don't spend as many days here.. so don't need it.  Do they realize that daddy gives mommy money so that she can buy them clothes that stay at mommy's house?  They have a mommy and a daddy who buy them things.. so do his other kids...it's just that their stuff is at one house while the older girls stuff is at two different houses.

I guess you could also look at buying room partitions of some sort to give each girl their own space too..

Rags's picture

Bedrooms are alocated and managed to best accomodate the full time residents of the home.  Kids on visitation or any other transient residents are accomodated in the manner that least disrupts the full time residents. Regardless of the biology of the non full time resident/transient individual(s).

Keep it simple.  The whining is irrelevent, the bitching is irrelevent, the "reasons" and arguments are irrelevent and for damned sure their feelings are irrelvent.  Visitation kids go where they can be fit.  PERIOD! 

When my SS used to visit the SpermIdiot he would often be wedged under a dining room table, on the LR floor, etc.... to make the rooms available for the non related spawn of the SpermIdiot's serial breeding prior relationship spawnign partner of the month.  We took exception to that for many reasons.  The house was a toxic waste dump and sleeping on the floor was hazardous to the kid's health.  The spawn of the resident breeding whore of the month would often attack the Skid and on one occassion threw him out of a second story window when he was ~5yo.  Fortunately there was a bush below that broke  his fall.  Infuriatingly the idiot in the stupid black robe and Fischer-Price wooden hammer found nothing wrong with forcing exposure of the Skid with this toxic clan and would not end their visitation.  He did stipulate that SS had to stay with SpermGrandHag which is who he stayed with 99% of visitation time anyway. 

I am 6yrs the elder and my younger brother and I shared a room until I was 14yrs old.  It caused no issues.  My youngest brother was 8yrs younger than I and all three of us likely would have shared a room for a few years if he hadn't passed away at 10mos old.