I realize this entire post comes from my own experience, but I think I will make some good points. When I was a kid, we were made to share rooms. With 12 kids, you can’t really get each kid their own room (which is partly why I think having a ton of kids is irresponsible). I hated it. Being an introvert, I need my own space, and especially in a family of that size, a personal space to call your own is necessary.
Unfortunately, we were allowed a limited amount of privacy. Because, you know, we were kids…our needs and wants didn’t matter as much as my parents’. Actually, they didn’t hardly matter at all. Only dad was allowed to be depressed, only dad was allowed to need space, etc. Regardless of what my parents thought, our needs were still there.
Part of my parents’ reasoning for all of us sharing rooms (girls and boys separate, of course) was that it would force us to be best friends with each other, because that’s what we were supposed to be (since, you know, family will never leave you even when “the world” does…cough cough cough). Right?
Being forced to room together, in my opinion, can cause more upset than good. As an introvert, as I said, I need space. I need my privacy. I don’t function well with other people if I don’t get to recharge. Even though my dad is the same way, he was allowed to have the time he needed, but I wasn’t. Whenever I was alone, they said I was anti-family. Nobody else was called anti-family when they were alone, just me…probably the one who needed the alone time most. The funny thing is, if I was able to have the time alone, I probably would have stayed longer. But no…that wasn’t possible.
When we moved into one house (they have since moved from it), there was a tiny room downstairs past the washroom. When I saw it, even though it was small, I hope hope hoped it would be able to be my room. I didn’t care that it was barely big enough for a bed…I just wanted a space that was all mine. Instead, it was turned into an office for my dad, and when he was home, that’s where he spent most of his time. Away from the family. It was where he lectured us, where he guilted us into watching boring YouTube videos with him for hours, and it became the room I hated.
I read some articles by other fundies that said things like, they took the bedroom doors off their kids’ rooms, or they only let the doors be shut for up to 5 minutes (just enough time to change clothes). I was terrified that my parents would think any of those were good ideas and implement them. Fortunately they didn’t, because that would have been completely unbearable.
Eventually, my next sister and I shared one smaller room, the two youngest boys shared the room right next to ours (which was a mirror image), the other five girls shared the larger room downstairs, and the three older boys were in a little office trailer outside that was their mancave.
When I moved out, I had my own hotel room. It was awesome. I loved having my own space. After the motel, I moved into a friend’s friends extra bedroom, and my bedroom was where I spent most of my time. It was my place. I relished the freedom to stay in my own room all the time and having my own space, even though it was barely big enough for the double bed.
It’s been really hard for me having the clingiest baby in the world, the baby who would NOT sleep unless she was in our arms from birth until around five months. A lot of times, I still get that stuck feeling because I don’t have much freedom from Ari. I still need my personal space. Fortunately, my mother in law babysits Ari twice a week, and though I love Ari very much, those times are my favorite times of the week. It’s when I actually feel normal again, and do whatever I want.
I realize other people are not like me and don’t need so much space, but everybody still does need a little alone recharge time. I still think it’s really important to let kids have their own rooms (and I don’t believe in making them clean them up all the time either) that’s theirs. Kids already feel pretty helpless since they are smaller and there are so many rules by grownups that having a space in which they make the rules provides a safe place for them.
I’m so glad I only have one kid.