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Should Children of the Opposite Sex Share a Bedroom?

By: Rachel Newcombe - Updated: 26 May 2017 | 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]
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
I'm a 21 year old transmale (born female- undergoing treatment to transition), and sometimes my 8 year old brother wants to sleep in my room overnight when our parents are drunk because he gets scared. This happened last night and my mom text me that if he was in my room sleeping again she'll call the police. That's...scary. I feel like I'm not doing anything wrong because I'm just babysitting and not full time sharing a room or anything ? It's not like I want him in there overnight, I'd much rather be playing video games... I just wanted to check if I'd actually get in trouble with the police for him occasionally sleeping in my room when he's scared because he's 8 and I'm 21. :/
Bleh - 12-Apr-17 @ 7:59 AM
shuks - Your Question:
I have 2 daughters 10 and 16 can they share a room or what age is it when they can have there own rooms

Our Response:
There are no issues with children of the same sex sharing rooms.
SafeKids - 27-Mar-17 @ 10:47 AM
I have 2 daughters 10 and 16 can they share a room or what age is it when they can have there own rooms
shuks - 26-Mar-17 @ 9:56 AM
Amo - Your Question:
I live in a 2 bed housing associations flat and have my 5 children every weekend and half the school holidays. My daughter has just started her periods and has to share a room with 4 boys. My sister lives in a 3 bed house with the same housing association and wants to swap bit the housing officer wont allow it as im classed as single. Is there any way around this ?

Our Response:
I'm afraid not. Unfortunately, if you are not the primary carer of your children then you would not be considered, regardless of whether you have your children overnight. I'm afraid it is the inequality bugbear of many non-resident parents who do not have the extra space for their kids. It is also one the government has, to date, refused to address.
SafeKids - 24-Mar-17 @ 10:12 AM
I live in a 2 bed housing associations flat and have my 5 children every weekend and half the school holidays. My daughter has just started her periods and has to share a room with 4 boys . My sister lives in a 3 bed house with the same housing association and wants to swap bit the housing officer wont allow it as im classed as single . Is there any way around this ?
Amo - 23-Mar-17 @ 5:36 PM
Im a single mum of 2 children im currently living in a high rise flats on the 3rd floor i have a aulistic son age 5 gow is a danger to him and ofters around him and also i have a daughter age 10 which they are from different dads. Im with south essex homes they currently put me on band c. i have bend on home swapper for 2 years and no one wants to exchange to a high rise. I cant get into private housing because i am a carer for my son and i dont work and the coucil aint helping me with my housing situation what is the best routes i go down now please fet back to me because i feel every way i turn i cant win and im going to have to change my living room into my bedroom beacuse my daughter is reaching her change into a young woman and they are currently sharing a bedroom.
Smile - 19-Mar-17 @ 8:23 PM
@Jess - I think in your case, if you are 21 you are classed as an adult therefore it might not be applicable, meaning you are old enough to move out if you choose.
Asaio - 16-Mar-17 @ 12:19 PM
Hi I am nearly 21 years old and I share with my 15 year old twin brothers, in a 2 bedroom flat that me, mum, dad & brothers have lived in for over 17 years. But we are getting no where with the council can anyone give me any advise please? Thank you
Jess - 15-Mar-17 @ 6:22 PM
I have 2 girls aged 13 and 3 is it OK for them to be sharing a room. Even if my 13 is going through pubrety and sharing the room with a 3 yrs old is frustrating for her at times. Tameika - 3-Mar-17 @ 6:16 PM
Tameika - 8-Mar-17 @ 7:04 AM
@gola - you DEFINITELY need to separate them!
Aidy - 7-Mar-17 @ 12:19 PM
I have 18 boy n 21 daughter we live in rented house in one room we husband wife n another room both the children share single bed, we have budget problem so should i seprate the room both of children or can do continue.
gola - 6-Mar-17 @ 5:03 PM
I have 2 girls aged 13 and 3 is it OK for them to be sharing a room. Even if my 13 is going through pubrety and sharing the room with a 3 yrs old is frustrating for her at times.
Tameika - 3-Mar-17 @ 6:16 PM
Em - Your Question:
I have my nephew in my care and 2 of my own children. Are they legally allowed to share a room under a housing association?

Our Response:
You don't specifiy their ages. However, as specified in the article; 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. Therefore, you may wish to read the terms of your housing association agreement and if your children are sharing when they shouldn't be. If they are, it would be best to contact the relevant housing association for information and to discuss the circumstances.
SafeKids - 24-Feb-17 @ 12:11 PM
I have my nephew in my care and 2 of my own children. Are they legally allowed to share a room under a housing association?
Em - 23-Feb-17 @ 2:36 PM
Ganesh - Your Question:
Hi I have 2 boys age 11 and 15 can they share a same bedroom.

Our Response:
Yes, as they are of the same sex.
SafeKids - 9-Feb-17 @ 2:43 PM
Hi I have 2 boys age 11 and 15 can they share a same bedroom.
Ganesh - 8-Feb-17 @ 10:01 PM
We are a family of 7 my sibling is not living with us at the moment but planning to do so on our move which the council knows about. They offer us a four bedroom for 3 adults 3boys and my daughter. I will still be over crowdedwe have ask for two separate house can i have some advice. Thanks
Lisa - 28-Dec-16 @ 2:57 AM
Hi. My husband and I share a privately rented property in London with our adult son whose children now aged 10 (girl) & 8 (boy). They have been holidaying with us since they were babies and have always had their own room to share. The children's mother is now saying that our granddaughter must have her own room away from her brother. We simply do not have the room to do this or have the money to rent somewhere bigger we are pensioners, I am really upset and worried, the mother is pushing this onto her daughter who is very happy when she is here and has no worries about where she sleeps. She will often sit on her bed playing with her toys etc when she wants me time during the day. The children live nearly 300 miles away and can only visit a few times a year, Ireally don't know what to do, it could mean the children will have to come down separately which upset everyone they love their daddy very much. Can their mother do this legally what can we do?
Griff - 1-Oct-16 @ 8:39 PM
I have a question, So my partner and I are going through a divorce. She has custody of our two beautiful kids. They are both under the age of 13. My partner, has a new boyfriend. Her boyfriend has two sons who are older than my girls. My Partner allowed them to sleep in the same bed as each individual girl. We have a 4 bedroom house. Instead of the boys sharing one bed and the girls sharing one bed, she placed a boy with a girl and I find that very inappropriate. Is that right of her to do?
Bullfrog - 30-Sep-16 @ 8:27 PM
NewMumx - Your Question:
I am 21 and have a 6 month old daughter, my partner (the father) lives at a different address with his 8 year old son, who has not seen his mum since birth. We are planning to move in together as I have been bringing up his son for the past year and he has a very close bond with our daughter, however I would have hoped they were entitled to separate bedrooms? As a family are we entitled to 3 bedroom or only 2? Please help

Our Response:
If both children are under 10 years of age they would be able to share a room. Therefore you would more than likely be offered two-bedroomed accommodation.
SafeKids - 28-Sep-16 @ 12:21 PM
I am 21 and have a 6 month old daughter, my partner (the father) lives at a different address with his 8 year old son, who has not seen his mum since birth. We are planning to move in together as I have been bringing up his son for the past year and he has a very close bond with our daughter, however I would have hoped they were entitled to separate bedrooms? As a family are we entitled to 3 bedroom or only 2? Please help
NewMumx - 27-Sep-16 @ 12:03 PM
Abs - Your Question:
I live in a housing Assoc 2 bed flat, my 20year old son and 11 year old daughter share a bedroom. I've been asking for years to be moved to a bigger place but am told to private rent if I want them to have a room each!Although I work full time I can't afford the cost of private renting as its up to 4× as much as I pay now.They reluctantly put me on the bidding list but in the lowest band so anyone with or without children in bands above me will automatically get priority over me. They've also said that if I move to a 3 bed place then my tenancy will change to a means tested rent one with an added charge of £25 per week for my dog.I know there is no law for siblings sharing but are they allowed to do this???

Our Response:
Please see the definition of overcrowding via the Housing ACt 1985, please see link here which would allow you to apply for a council house. On a separate note, there are other more practical options for you to consider, firstly making sure your daughter shares a room with you and not your son until the situation is resolved. Or given your son is aged 20 and an adult, you could ask for a contribution towards your rent if you move to a three bedroomed flat. You may also be able to get more advice via the Shelter link here. I hope this helps.
SafeKids - 5-Aug-16 @ 12:38 PM
I live in a housing Assoc 2 bed flat, my 20year old son and 11 year old daughter share a bedroom. I've been asking for years to be moved to a bigger place but am told to private rent if I want them to have a room each! Although I work full time I can't afford the cost of private renting as its up to 4× as much as I pay now. They reluctantly put me on the bidding list but in the lowest band so anyone with or without children in bands above me will automatically get priority over me. They've also said that if I move to a 3 bed place then my tenancy will change to a means tested rent one with an added charge of £25 per week for my dog. I know there is no law for siblings sharing but are they allowed to do this???
Abs - 4-Aug-16 @ 4:11 PM
My young sister and her family live with me at the two bedrooms flat. I've 95% share and my sister have 5 %, the problem is my sister, her husband and two daughters (8 years and 2 years old) sleep in one room with one bed. And the 8 years old daughters always complain about sleeping floor with daddy. I feel sorry but I can't do anything as I paid all bills and mortgage and they paid me £450 per month all inclusive means they won't move to other place but I don't think I can share my room to her family at all.
Ang - 8-Jul-16 @ 9:14 AM
buffy - Your Question:
My soon to be ex lives with his girlfriend. She has 2 children 14 yr old boy 9 yr old girl. They live In a 2 bedroom. I do not want my 10 yr old daughter to stay the night In a room with this 14 yr old. My soon to be ex sees no problem with it. My daughter don't want to but she wants to please dad also. She is afraid he would t live her. I tell her always tell the truth even to him. She told him she don't want to spend the night. Now this is what is holding up the divorce. I want him to have a 3 bedroom or have our daughter opposite weekends. He says no to both. Any suggestions for me please and thank you.

Our Response:
I suggest Mediation in any case where an issue cannot be sorted out between yourselves. It is understandable that you do not want your daughter to stay in a situation that both you and her feel uncomfortable with. Mediation is when two or more parties meet to resolve problems before the matter reaches court. It is most often used in family proceedings, contact orders, residence agreements and divorce. It is a formal negotiation and courts can accept the agreement of the mediation instead of having to go through the court process, although it is subject to final court approval. Mediation takes place in front of a neutral third party. The mediator has no pre-conceptions and will not force you to make an agreement. They will assist the two parties in taking turns in the conversation, and helping you reach a decision that you are ready to agree with. Mediators do not pass judgment or offer guidance; they are there, in effect, to facilitate conversation between the two sides. I hope this helps.
SafeKids - 13-May-16 @ 10:01 AM
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