Teenagers need space. They need their own territory to relax and escape, and they need solitude to complete homework and study for classes. Teenagers crave independence and their own privacy.
However, many teenage siblings share a bedroom. Sharing a bedroom can teach cooperation and communication skills, and since everyone should carry these skills in life, it’s important to help your a teen recognize that a shared room can be a great learning experience. Teenagers should learn how to get along with their roommate sibling and grow from the experience.
However, while shared bedrooms may be efficient and educational, it can also create problems and rivalries. Some siblings may love having their brother or sister in the bunk bed below them, but unfortunately, not all teenagers feel this way. There are a few steps to take to make sure that the living situation is bearable during the teenage years.
First, the teenager should always remember that the living situation is temporary. In a few short years, the older teenager will likely move away to college or to start a job.
Since living with a teenage sibling can be extremely stressful, it is also important to set rules. The siblings should set rules that enforce privacy and promote respect. Each sibling should respect the other and their belongings, so if one teenager requests alone time, the other sibling should grant their brother or sister the privacy they need. Both siblings should keep communication open and talk through the problems with their living condition, and as a parent, you should learn to act as a mediator during the situations that require it.
Sharing a room can also be made easier if teenagers get creative with their living space. Use bookcases, decorative screens, or a hanging curtain to separate the two sides of the room. This shows that each teenager has their own space to escape. Each sibling should be able to decorate their side of the room however they want because by choosing how their space looks, the teenagers are given a way to express themselves, allowing them to feel comfortable in their own surroundings.
While sharing a bedroom, the roommates should also create a schedule, especially for cleaning. Keeping both sides of the room equally clean helps to reduce friction and fights. The cleanliness of the room should be agreed on by both roommates. Schedules should also tell each roommate when the other one wants privacy. From getting ready after a shower to doing homework after dinner, each sibling should specify exactly when they need the room to themselves.
Finally, help your teens to understand that while sharing a room with a sibling can be annoying and frustrating, it can also be a wonderful opportunity to make a new friend. Siblings are a fantastic support system. A sibling in the same bedroom can provide companionship and can teach teenagers the deep friendship that exists only between siblings. If there is a problem at school or with friends, the siblings can rely on one another and talk their problems out with someone they know they can trust. Siblings can build their relationship in a positive manner as they share a room together.
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