Blended Families: Why Kids Need a Room of Their Own
Years ago, I volunteered as a lunch buddy with the local school system. One day while I was sitting with a bunch of second-graders eating square pizza, a little boy started talking about how he had toys at his mom’s house and at his dad’s house. All the other kids were in awe as he bragged about how cool his life was with two bedrooms.
For those of us who are living life after divorce or in a family as a stepparent, we know this bragging only served to hide the insecurities he felt at being different from what he perceived as “normal,” with one bedroom and one household. But what it taught me was that for kids, having a secure knowledge that they have a room of their own is very important.
Whether you’re the custodial parents or not, your children and stepchildren will be spending time in your house. If possible, make sure each child has his or her own room. Though that might not always be possible, at the very least have a dedicated space in the room they sleep in that is just for them. More than just a bed, they need drawers, a space in the closet, some wall space for hanging posters, and a table or desk to put pictures and special treasures on.
Make sure to include your child in the decorating by letting him or her choose a new bedspread or a lamp for the nightstand. This can help them feel that the space is truly theirs and no one else’s.
Once you’ve set up your child’s area, be sure to impart to them that when they’re not at your house, no one will be using their space. It’s assuring to know that everyone in the family respects the property of others, whether present or not.
Children need the security of knowing they are an integral part of the family, even when they’re not physically there. For kids, having their own room, or at least their own space in a room, provides the privacy they need in a family life where alone time can be hard to come by. It’s hard enough to have to go back and forth from Mom’s house to Dad’s, and it makes it a little easier that at both places, it’s the child’s house, too.
Karen Alley lives in the Triad and is a proud to be part of a blended family.