When Should Boys and Girls No Longer Share a Bedroom?

Adorable kids brother and sister at home in children room

Take time to create a space that is special for the children, and gives them some personal ownership.

There is an informal debate about whether or not opposite-sexed siblings should be allowed to share a bedroom and, if so, for how long. There are as many opinions on this topic as there are people giving them, so we decided to ask an expert to help clear up the confusion.

We interviewed Emily Kircher-Morris, MA, MEd, PLPC, and a provisionally licensed professional counselor in St. Louis that specializes in working with gifted and high-achieving children, to see what her opinion on the controversy was; we wanted her to shed some light on a common scenario for many households.

Q: At what age do you suggest separating boys' and girls' bedrooms?

A: There isn't a specific age cutoff that requires that opposite-sex children separate rooms. Parents should monitor where their children are, developmentally, and make decisions from there.
Often, once children are in school, they begin to become aware of the need for modesty and may feel uncomfortable changing in front of an opposite-gender sibling; however, accommodations can be made for this, and kids can change in other areas or at separate times. Yet, by the time children reach puberty, it will be much more difficult for them to feel comfortable sharing and room, and the need for privacy and space should be respected as much as possible.

{ MORE: Transitioning from Co-sleeping to Separate Beds }

Q: What factors should parents look for when determining if they should separate the kids?

A: If there is any concern that a child is acting out in a sexually aggressive way, it is important that the children be separated. If one or both of the children have ever been sexually abused, they may have difficulty understanding the clear boundaries associated with privacy.
If a child expresses concern about privacy, families will benefit from taking those concerns seriously and work together to find an appropriate solution.

What do you think?

When Should Boys and Girls No Longer Share a Bedroom?

Tell us what you think!

26 comments

  1. Profile photo of Fran Fran says:

    I think it is totally wrong after a certain age. My older brothers and I were always made to sleep in seperate rooms and would only share a bed if we slept on the sofa bed so we could watch tv and even that stopped when I was around 7.
    If for some reason we shared it was to be one of us sleeping on the floor so we werent in the same bed.
    Then I met my boyfriend (of 4 years) who is 22 and still now sleeps in the same bed sometimes as his 11 almost 12 year old sister and not because of lack of space or she is scared but simply because she wants it. Up until he got himself a bigger bed (actually I bought him a queen sized blow up bed) they would squeeze together into his single. I cannot tell you how incredibly uncomfortable it makes me. She shares a room with her sister which is fine.
    But having grown up to believe only husbands and woves share beds I find it so unsettling and wrong.
    My children will never do it after a certain age.

  2. Profile photo of Monica Monica says:

    Well, I had to share a room with my brother, who was 15 months older than me, and it did not work out. My brother use to molest me and forced my hand on his penis. I was very afraid of him and never told my parents. I wish I could tell my mum now, but I don’t want to upset her. I my self am 39 now. I do not really keep contact too much with my brother, who lives with his family in Europe. We are not close and never will be.

  3. Profile photo of Ed Ed says:

    We are naturists. Our kids bathe, play, swim, and spend time together naked and they have no problems respecting each other’s space and boundaries, the human body is just who you are and there is nothing sexual about it. They have crushes on other kids and are very respectful of personal space and do not have problems expressing themselves about each other. Nothing “bad” takes place, thank God. We firmly and evidently believe that ‘covering up’ and hiding, makes problems, not the other way around.

  4. Profile photo of Jen Jen says:

    I shared a bedroom with both of my older brothers for many years and unfortunately it did not turn out well for me. My nieces and nephews are currently being separated into separate bedrooms they are 6, 4, and 2 and i couldn’t be happier about it, Separate rooms might not have made a difference but I believe it would have helped in my case, we just couldn’t afford more space.

  5. Profile photo of mommymormor mommymormor says:

    My daughter (4) and my son (3) no longer share a room. Mainly, because my youngest son was born and the boys share a room. I’ve always heard for opposite sex children not to share a room after age 5.

    • Profile photo of Sydnee Sydnee says:

      I’m am very interested in learning more about this issue but I’m 100% with you on this mommymormor? I know ppl struggle believe you me but I Do Not in anyway form or fashion believe in allowing a boy and a girl share a room let alone sharing the same bed!!! I am trying to find out the legal ages where they are no longer supposed to be sharing a room.. I also heard after a certain age it was kinda the law guess not alot of ppl no cause alot off ppl keep that private??

  6. Profile photo of cindy cindy says:

    My daughter 4, and my son 7, share a room, but they take their baths and get dresses separately. You have to do what you have to do sometimes until the situation gets better. And as long as it is discussed with the about their privacy of dressing and undressing and not to go into the bathroom while the other is in there, then they understand what they can and cannot do. They are learning to work it out.

  7. Profile photo of Marien Marien says:

    My brother and I shared a bedroom until he was 17 and I was 19, since our mom could not afford a larger place. We learned to change clothes in the bathroom, and to give each other as much privacy as we otherwise could in such a small apartment. I often wished for my own room, but I’m not scarred for life due to that lack, and neither was my brother.

  8. Profile photo of Stephanie Stephanie says:

    Too bad our house is too small to separate them and we cannot afford an addittion yet…They will have to stay together for awhile

  9. Profile photo of Hannah Hannah says:

    I have three little ones the oldest with be 4 in less than a month the youngest is 9 months and all three share a room and it works really well for us. The first two were 11 months apart so both still at the nursery stage so we put them together and now it is just easy they have a room for them to get to play and have fun together. I love that they are close to each other and like playing together when they get a little older I will take my little girl out of the shared room but for now see no reason to none of them are old enough to understand that they will need separate rooms for now.

  10. Profile photo of Lani Lani says:

    In the state of WI the children have to stop sharing at age 5, if opposite sex, by law also.

    • Profile photo of Sydnee Sydnee says:

      How would i go about finding out the legal ages in texas where a boy an girl over the age of five should no longer be sharing a bedroom let alone the same bed!!!

  11. Profile photo of Autumn Autumn says:

    In WA state Legally when children reach the Age of 5 is when they need to have seperate bedrooms aka not in the same room as the opposite sex.

  12. Profile photo of Sonia Sonia says:

    i think kids should stop sharing rooms when there about 8 because in the world we live know kids minds are more edvanced then you think

  13. Profile photo of Elisha Elisha says:

    My fiance has 3 children from previous relationships ages 13, 9, and 7. The 7-year-old is a girl and she shares a room with her brothers when we have all 3 at once. At our place, this is out of necessity because we have a two-bedroom townhome, but she still shares with a bedroom AND bed with her 9-year-old brother at her mom’s even when they lived in a four-bedroom house. My fiance didn’t see a problem with this until I mentioned it several times because the 9-year-old often behaves inappropriately since they now live in a one-bedroom apartment with their mother and stepfather. To make matters worse, the 7-year-old threw a full-on tantrum when I FORCE her to give her brothers privacy at bath time. Am I making too much of this?

    • Profile photo of Lani Lani says:

      No, especially if the 9 year old is acting inappropriately. In Wisconsin that could lead to the children being removed from the home. She has to learn that the boys need their “private time”and she needs hers.I suggest you check your state laws.

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  15. Profile photo of Aurika Aurika says:

    I always wondered if there was a specific age.

  16. Profile photo of Jessica Jessica says:

    This is interesting, but I had no idea states had laws for the age. I think there are also big cultural differences that would come into play when having siblings share space

  17. Profile photo of raven raven says:

    i dont think it should matter whn or if u give them ther own room at all my mom waited till me n my lill brother wer ready to have r own rooms

  18. Profile photo of Miranda Miranda says:

    I think it is a good idea for kids to have their own room at some point but I have a hard time understanding when someone is suppose to know when to separate the children. For example on one side of my family my only sibling, a boy, was 7 years younger than me and he had his own room as soon as he was born. However on the other side of my family my step sister, step brother and I believe eventually my half brother, and I all shared one large room for a couple years, until I was about 7 years old.

  19. Profile photo of Elfie Elfie says:

    In MT, there is a state law that says a boy and a girl cannot share a bedroom after the age of 4. But I don’t think they go and check peoples houses.

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