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Should Children of the Opposite Sex Share a Bedroom?

By: Rachel Newcombe - Updated: 9 May 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Bedrooms Children Sharing Share Law

Q.

Is there a law about opposite sex children sharing the same room?

My ex has my daughter every other weekend and his new girlfriend has two boys aged 8 and 10. He is now taking my daughter there and she is 7 in October, but they are all sleeping in the same bedroom.

(Miss S L, 24 September 2008)

A.

There’s no law in existence which governs children of different sexes sharing rooms in privately owned homes. It’s up to the home owners/parents to sort out bedrooms and sleeping areas and make sure all children are well catered for in terms of sleeping arrangements. Many Children Share Bedrooms with their siblings and step- brothers and sisters and don’t experience any problems (bar the occasional fall-out, as is normal with children!). If there was a law in place, it could be very difficult for people who are unable to buy a bigger home due to lack of money.

However, if the house is rented and owned by a housing association, sometimes they do have rules and regulations in place concerned with how many children, and which sex of children, can sleep in any one bedroom. For example, they may state that after the age of 10, different sexes of siblings shouldn’t share a room. If this applies in this instance, then it would be best to contact the relevant housing association for information and to discuss the circumstances. Be aware, however, that overcrowding may be allowed if the room is naturally big, or if it occurs simply because children get older, and reach that ten-year-old threshold.

If you’re still really concerned about the sleeping situation when your daughter stays with your ex and his girlfriend, then perhaps it may be a good idea to speak to them about it. It’s also important to consider what your daughter feels about the sleeping arrangements and whether she gets on okay with the two boys. As a rule of thumb, if your daughter - and the boys - honestly feel there is no problem, then there probably isn't. But if you want your daughter to continue staying there on alternate weekends, you have to consider what will happen when the children get a bit older.

It’s certainly true that when children reach a certain age and enter puberty, they may feel happier having more privacy and sleeping elsewhere. This would be especially so if your daughter felt uncomfortable being in the room with two older boys, especially if she doesn’t know them that well and they’re not blood relatives. Perhaps there may be another room in the house where she could have a put-up bed or sofa bed, instead of sharing with the two boys?

However, if she’s only staying for short periods of time – e.g. one or two nights – and is comfortable with the situation, then it’s up to you and your ex’s discretion to sort out the sleeping arrangements.

The main thing is that everyone involved is happy with it, so do try to have a chat with your ex and your daughter. At age seven, there is every chance that your daughter sees the sleeping arrangement as a kind of sleepover party, and has no qualms about sharing. That, of course, could change as she - and the boys - mature.

If space is an issue, there is also the possibility that eventually you could try to divide up the room when she is there, either with a curtain or some other sort of make-shift partition. You might also want to have a heart-t-heat chat with your ex and express your concern. You are certainly within your rights to say that eventually this type of sleeping arrangement will no longer be feasible, and that it's time he starts to think about what can be done in the not too far off future.

It might be that your ex has to start thinking about moving to a bigger property, if he wants to have your daughter continue staying there overnight. Worst-case scenario: when she gets a bit older she only stays there during the day, and goes home to you to spend the night. Browse our feature on the pros, cons and practicalities of sharing a bedroom here.

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[Add a Comment]
@Kking - it's when the eldest child is aged 10. Both my kids are coming up to age 10 (twins) and I am going to have to think around where to put them in our three-bedroomed house. We have a toddler too and can't move as my husband recently lost his job. The toddler is going to keep my daughter awake in the middle of the night if they have to share. What a dilemma.
Chris - 10-May-18 @ 10:53 AM
Hi I have two children, a boy and a girl, I am aware they they are able to share until the age of 10. But is this when the eldest is 10 or the youngest?
Kking - 9-May-18 @ 11:59 AM
Janet- Your Question:
Hi I’m just wondering I have just had a baby boy and me and my partner are moving into a 3 bedroom he has 2 children 1 boy age 9 and 1 girl age 8 that stay with us once a week. Now I really want to set up a nursery for my baby boy but my partner thinks the boys should be in one room but they only stay once a week and they not even in the house they only sleep there and I think it’s a waste of a room. Do these rules still apply if they don’t live with us?

Our Response:
There are no specific rules. At aged eight and nine sharing may be still acceptable. However, the children are not going to stay that age forever. So, from aged 10 onwards it is thought to be the correct policy, for obvious reasons. It would be inappropriate to allow teenagers of the opposite sex to share. So, at some point soon you would have to address this issue anyway.
SafeKids - 24-Apr-18 @ 12:48 PM
Hi I’m just wondering I have just had a baby boy and meand my partner are moving into a 3 bedroom he has 2 children 1 boy age 9 and 1 girl age 8 that stay with us once a week. Now I really want to set up a nursery for my baby boy but my partner thinks the boys should be in one room but they only stay once a week and they not even in the house they only sleep there and I think it’s a waste of a room. Do these rules still apply if they don’t live with us?
Janet - 23-Apr-18 @ 9:11 PM
Millz - Your Question:
I have to share a room with my step brothers and brother , I am 10,the oldest is 11, and the two youngest are 9 and 8 (my brother is the youngest) should I still share at this age?

Our Response:
Theoretically, you shouldn't be sharing a room with boys at your age, especially an older step-brother of the opposite sex. You may wish to speak to your parents and show them the guidelines laid out in this page.
SafeKids - 9-Apr-18 @ 11:47 AM
I have to share a room with my step brothers and brother , i am 10,the oldest is 11, and the two youngest are 9 and 8 (my brother is the youngest) should I still share at this age?
Millz - 8-Apr-18 @ 5:19 PM
AskAllAboutIt - Your Question:
My boyfriend (16 17 in two month) shares a bedroom which isn’t very big with his two brothers which are 8 and 6. They have a bunk bed on which his brothers share the bottom bunk and he on the top which is broken and breaking in (this could fall on the brother any moment) he doesn’t have any privacy as they also live in a flat so not much space. Is this a problem because of course they all are growing up at different stages and this is unsettling for my boyfriend. At weekends he stays round at mine (16) so he does have that (kind of ) privacy when round at mine but, I’m concerned for him staying in this small room with his much younger brothers

Our Response:
It could be considered as 'overcrowding'. Pease see link here, which may help further.
SafeKids - 3-Apr-18 @ 3:10 PM
My boyfriend (16 17 in two month) shares a bedroom which isn’t very big with his two brothers which are 8 and 6. They have a bunk bed on which his brothers share the bottom bunk and he on the top which is broken and breaking in (this could fall on the brother any moment) he doesn’t have any privacy as they also live in a flat so not much space. Is this a problem because of course they all are growing up at different stages and this is unsettling for my boyfriend. At weekends he stays round at mine (16) so he does have that (kind of ) privacy when round at mine but, I’m concerned for him staying in this small room with his much younger brothers
AskAllAboutIt - 2-Apr-18 @ 11:38 PM
@Sam - it's fine for siblings of the same sex to share a room. Problems only occur when different sexes share, for obvious reasons.
Jules - 13-Mar-18 @ 11:03 AM
I was wondering if it's illegal to have my sister who is 28 and my daughter is 7 to share a same room as long asthe room is deviated in half would that be a problem.
Sam - 12-Mar-18 @ 4:10 PM
Just a question i live in the state of Minnesota and i have 3 kids one is 13 year old girla 10 year girl and a 5 year old boy and my 13 teen year old wants to have she space being she is into boys and all so i was wondering if my 10 year old daughter and my 5 year old son can share a bedroom if some one could let me know that would be great thanks a bunch.
Grim - 2-Mar-18 @ 1:54 AM
JR- Your Question:
I have my husbands 3 half sisters living with me under custody (10,9,+8) my 3 yr old son all in a 2 bed house. Me and hubby sleep on the sofa in the living room but wanted to know if this is illegal because the girls are not biologically our children and we have no privacy. We don’t want to make any girl share with their nephew because it doesn’t seem right and because of their past but kinda stuck in a 2 bed house. What are our rights on this please.??

Our Response:
If your husband's sisters are officially living with you, then you can see whether your home is considered to be overcrowded via the link here.
SafeKids - 9-Feb-18 @ 2:36 PM
I have my husbands 3 half sisters living with me under custody (10,9,+8) my 3 yr old son all in a 2 bed house. Me and hubby sleep on the sofa in the living room but wanted to know if this is illegal because the girls are not biologically our children and we have no privacy. We don’t want to make any girl share with their nephew because it doesn’t seem right and because of their past but kinda stuck in a 2 bed house . What are our rights on this please ...??
JR - 6-Feb-18 @ 9:09 PM
Gg- Your Question:
Hi, I have a 17yr old (soon to be 18), a 16yr old and a 10 yr old (eldest two are not my bio children, but reside with my husband and I full time). At present they each have their own bedrooms after converting the living room for the youngest. The eldest and youngest are on the autistic spectrum. I have just recently found out I am expecting again (completely unplanned) and wandered what the rules were surrounding half siblings sharing bedrooms? Also it is our councils policy that children over the age of 10 should not share and a child over the age of 16 should have their own Bedroom, but they are unwilling to help us in moving etc. Is there anything I can do? Or any advice anyone can offer. Thanks

Our Response:
You don't say whether the children are same of different sex, so Shelter should be able to help you further with this matter, please see link here.
SafeKids - 26-Jan-18 @ 9:37 AM
Hi, I have a 17yr old (soon to be 18), a 16yr old and a 10 yr old (eldest two are not my bio children, but reside with my husband and I full time). At present they each have their own bedrooms after converting the living room for the youngest. The eldest and youngest are on the autistic spectrum. I have just recently found out I am expecting again (completely unplanned) and wandered what the rules were surrounding half siblings sharing bedrooms? Also it is our councils policy that children over the age of 10 should not share and a child over the age of 16 should have their own Bedroom, but they are unwilling to help us in moving etc. Is there anything I can do? Or any advice anyone can offer. Thanks
Gg - 25-Jan-18 @ 4:56 PM
Andy - Your Question:
Can to teenage siblings (male and female) share a bedroom in private rented accommodation (buy to let landlord)?

Our Response:
There is currently no law in the United Kingdom about children of different genders sharing a bedroom. However, it is not deemed advisable that children of the opposite sex over the age of 10 share a bedroom.
SafeKids - 15-Jan-18 @ 3:58 PM
Can to teenage siblings (male and female) share a bedroom in private rented accommodation (buy to let landlord)?
Andy - 15-Jan-18 @ 10:32 AM
Shortie - Your Question:
I have a 10 year old daughter with ASD with dangerous needs, she can wake up at night anything from 2 hours on wards, she shares a bedroom with her 7 year old brother, which means that she will waken him, I have a two bedroom house, myself and my partner share the other bedroom,we live on a main road with heavy traffic , my estate manger told me to put a pad lock on my front door to keep my daughter safe, so she doesn’t run out into the road, I’m not entitled to a social worker, my daughter attends a SEN school, my son had to be removed from his school because he was being Sexually harassed by a girl in his class, I have been to two labour counsellors for help only to find out that they have put on complaints saying I am trouble, my daughter has been verbally abused by neighbours , her school bus attacked, please I need help to get my children a safe home, but the council tell me I have adequate housing

Our Response:
The basic rules are that one bedroom is allowed for each of the following: a couple, a single adult, a child over the age of 16, two children of the same sex under the age of 16, two children of either sex under the age of 10. General recommendations would mean once your daughter reaches the age of 11, then your son and daughter should be allocated separate bedrooms. If the council is informing you that you currently have adequate housing, then you may wish to enquire what the situation will be when your daughter reaches the age of 11.
SafeKids - 8-Jan-18 @ 1:50 PM
I have a 10 year old daughter with ASD with dangerous needs, she can wake up at night anything from 2 hours on wards, she shares a bedroom with her 7 year old brother, which means that she will waken him, I have a two bedroom house, myself and my partner share the other bedroom,we live on a main road with heavy traffic , my estate manger told me to put a pad lock on my front door to keep my daughter safe, so she doesn’t run out into the road, I’m not entitled to a social worker, my daughter attends a SEN school, my son had to be removed from his school because he was being Sexuallyharassed by a girl in his class, I have been to two labourcounsellorsfor help only to find out that they have put oncomplaints saying I am trouble, my daughter has beenverbally abused byneighbours , her school bus attacked, please I need help to get my children a safe home, but the council tell me I haveadequatehousing
Shortie - 6-Jan-18 @ 11:18 AM
Sparkle - Your Question:
Hi, I am just wondering if it is illegal for a family if 5 to share a one bedroom flat. There is me, my partner and 3 children, boy aged 9 and 2 girls aged 7 and 1. I just get fobbed off all the time from Enfield council saying there is a housing shortage. As you can imaging we are extremely cramped. My bedroom is 13x13ft which We all sleep in. We don't get any benefits and we pay our way. Please could you give me any advice on how to be moved. It is ridiculous, feel like I'm banging my head against the wall. Also this is putting strain on my relationship with my partner as we have no privacy and neither do the kids, my baby daughter still wakes several times during the night which isn't fair on my eldest 2 as they go to school tired. Please help. Thank you

Our Response:
I can only suggest you give Shelter a call, (please see link here ) who will be able to advise further.
SafeKids - 28-Sep-17 @ 2:38 PM
Hi, I am just wondering if it is illegal for a family if 5 to share a one bedroom flat. There is me, my partner and 3 children, boy aged 9 and 2 girls aged 7 and 1. I just get fobbed off all the time from Enfield council saying there is a housing shortage. As you can imaging we are extremely cramped. My bedroom is 13x13ft which We all sleep in. We don't get any benefits and we pay our way. Please could you give me any advice on how to be moved. It is ridiculous, feel like I'm banging my head against the wall. Also this is putting strain on my relationship with my partner as we have no privacy and neither do the kids, my baby daughter still wakes several times during the night which isn't fair on my eldest 2 as they go to school tired. Please help. Thank you
Sparkle - 26-Sep-17 @ 2:25 PM
Ebbie - Your Question:
What age are siblings of different sex allowed to share a room if in care in Scotland?

Our Response:
There is currently no law in the United Kingdom about children of different genders sharing a bedroom. However, as specified by the NSPCC here, it would not advise that children of the opposite sex over the age of 10 share a room.
SafeKids - 10-Aug-17 @ 2:31 PM
What age are siblings of different sex allowed to share a room if in care in Scotland?
Ebbie - 9-Aug-17 @ 7:40 PM
Mad - Your Question:
My daughter is 10 and I have anther daughter is 8 and they stay at their dads every other weekend. He is married to a women who has a 12 year old boy. The girls have their own room, but just recently the 12 year old has moved into sleeping in their room. There are bunck beds. My 10 year old hates it. My ex doesn't see it as a big deal. what should I do?

Our Response:
If you think (and you have good reason) this arrangement is not appropriate and in your daughters' best interests then you can try to renegotiate. If this is not successful, you perhaps should prevent your daughters from staying over at their fathers until the situation is resolved.
SafeKids - 17-Jul-17 @ 11:33 AM
My daughter is 10 and I have anther daughter is 8 and they stay at their dads every other weekend. He is married to a women who has a 12 year old boy. The girls have their own room, but just recently the 12 year old has moved into sleeping in their room. There are bunck beds. My 10 year old hates it. My ex doesn't see it as a big deal.. what should I do?
Mad - 15-Jul-17 @ 4:03 AM
My friend who is a 19 year old female not only shares a room with her 6 year old brother, but they also share a double bed and sleep together. Is this okay/legal? It seems weird to me!
Jade - 26-May-17 @ 12:05 AM
I live in a 2 bedroom council house with my husband and 3 children. I have 2 son's aged 12 and 7 and a daughter of 15 months. The boys share a room and our daughter is in our room which is quite a squish. How long can the boys share and how long can she be in our room until?
KT86 - 30-Apr-17 @ 11:14 PM
@Mei - wouldn't it be better for you to share a room with your daughter rather than your son?
Amy84 - 25-Apr-17 @ 1:38 PM
I'm in a 2 bed house, my son is 14 and has to share with me. My 18 yr old daughter is in the other bedroom. I'm really trying to get out and really need another bedtoom. My son has special needs and wants and needs his own space. So do I. I'm not getting anywhere with council. Advise please.
Mei - 24-Apr-17 @ 8:46 PM
@Bleh - This is so sad a) that your mom has taken this reaction and b) because your little brother is scared of your parents when they have been drinking. Due to your age difference, the fact you are undergoing transgender treatment (which shouldn't make a difference but it does), and more so because of your mom's threats which are worrying, to be on the safe-side I would call a halt to your brother sleeping in your room. Just so there can never be any level of mis-understanding and so that it will never give your mother grounds to carry out her threats :((
ASia - 12-Apr-17 @ 2:50 PM
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