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Are your kids allowed to close their door? - Page 3

post #41 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by eclipse View Post
You mentioned that you were an only child - you probably didn't experience siblings coming in and bothering you all the time. Little siblings aren't well know for respecting privacy. And it really isn't privacy, if at any time someone can walk by and see and hear everything you're doing. Even having my mom walk into my room was distracting, being able to hear every last thing that anybody said or did just. . .disturbed my peace. I think you should probably think about what you will do if your children have different privacy needs than you do. It seems unnecessarily controlling and disrespectful to tell anyone (child or not) that they can't set their own boundaries, and that's what this would be doing. Assuming a child is old enough that getting themselves in danger is a concern, I really, really don't understand how it could be unhealthy for them to want to read a book on their bed and play some music with the door shut.

Yes, I am an only child, and also a child of divorce...so in my teenage years I found it very comforting to be able to hear my mom putter around the house.

I find this thread very interesting because I am a huge advocate of respecting people no matter their age. But for some reason this particular issue really does not seem like a healthy family choice to me. One can just as easily read a book and play music with the door open...goodness knows I did enough of this as a kid. Having the door open never really made me feel exposed or whatever. It was just as much my personal space as if the door were closed. Its just that my personal space was not isolated from that of the larger family.

In my experience all the families I have known who allow closed doors have been very dysfunctional in terms of communication. Kid went off to room, closed door, and both kid and family thought good riddance. Nothing important was ever discussed in those families (and in a couple of cases the families were downright abusive which was why the kid was so eager to shut them out). Again this is just from my own experience, with the people I knew growing up. My family on the contrary was very communicative. I guess I had always assumed a link there, between literal open doors and figurative ones.

In terms of blocking out the TV, well that will not be an issue because we are a TV free household.

I guess I don't see a need for privacy within my own family. I will certainly watch my child for his comfort level on this though. I am curious though, do all of you close the doors on rooms other than the bathroom against your DP as well? Does your DP close themselves up in a room for privacy? Or is this just something that kids do in your household?

There seems to be an interesting correlation between this thread and the territorial room thread. Many of you don't allow anyone into your bedrooms without permission (or at all) another concept that I find completely foreign. I don't see what the issue is there either honestly. I don't have anything to hide from my own family, and I don't need any space that is just mine. I guess that is why I am so happy living in a small house.

Food on the other hand is a different matter. You had better not eat something that is mine, or I'll come after ya (RIGHT DH??)!
post #42 of 113
One can just as easily read a book and play music with the door open...goodness knows I did enough of this as a kid.
One can't just as easily do that if the noise from other people interferes with their concentration, or if the music they're playing is bothering other people.

Having the door open never really made me feel exposed or whatever. It was just as much my personal space as if the door were closed. Its just that my personal space was not isolated from that of the larger family. It's not really personal space if you don't have any control over who comes in, when they can come in, or who can see you. It's not private if anyone else in the house can gain instant access to you with no buffer, even if you would prefer that they couldn't.

In my experience all the families I have known who allow closed doors have been very dysfunctional in terms of communication. Kid went off to room, closed door, and both kid and family thought good riddance. Nothing important was ever discussed in those families (and in a couple of cases the families were downright abusive which was why the kid was so eager to shut them out). Again this is just from my own experience, with the people I knew growing up. My family on the contrary was very communicative. I guess I had always assumed a link there, between literal open doors and figurative ones.
I honestly think you're reading too much into this. There are plenty of healthy families that allow family members to close their doors if they choose. That's why most bedrooms have doors, no? To be able to close them? And there are plenty of families who are dysfunctional who don't allow their children any privacy. I'll be honest and say that I'm very uncomfortable with the idea of a parent controlling their child in that way - and that it borders on abuse if the child is craving privacy that they are not being allowed.


I am curious though, do all of you close the doors on rooms other than the bathroom against your DP as well? Does your DP close themselves up in a room for privacy? Or is this just something that kids do in your household? I don't consider closing a door as "closing a door against" someone and stating it that way frames it in an unneccesarily negative way. Sometimes I choose to have time to myself, by myself, and sometimes I close the door because that's what I prefer. If I tell my husband I'd rather be alone than have company, he respects that and doesn't get offended, because he knows that it isn't a reflection on my feelings for him. And sometimes he wants time alone, too. I'm good with that. In any case, I chose to get married and have children and live in a family environment - my kids didn't choose that. They deserve to be able to choose the level of togetherness they prefer.
post #43 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chamomile Girl View Post
Hmmm, well for the record we didn't shut the bathroom door when I was a kid either. So that argument doesn't really fly.
Then why did you say you'd be fine if your child shut the door in the bathroom, but that you'd perceive it as cutting off contact with the family if they closed the bedroom door? It's your argument. I don't get why one would be bothersome and not the other--or if one is fine, the other wouldn't be. It's all about the person deciding what level of privacy they want, isn't it?
post #44 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chamomile Girl View Post
I guess I don't see a need for privacy within my own family. I will certainly watch my child for his comfort level on this though. I am curious though, do all of you close the doors on rooms other than the bathroom against your DP as well? Does your DP close themselves up in a room for privacy? Or is this just something that kids do in your household?
Yep...when I am working on certain writing projects, I do go to my writing nook and close the door and ask the family for privacy so that I can concentrate. I tried going to a coffee shop, ect...but I found it wasn't MY family going in and out or coming in to talk that was distacting personal to them--I really find it hard to concentrate sometimes with a lot of movement or noise in the background. When my husband is in the middle of tackling some code or debugging, he closes the door to his office as well.

Closing a door can be a part of communication (I don't wish to be disturbed right now). It also can create a space that allows someone to accomplish their task (whatever it might be) and then rejoin the family *more quickly* than it would if they were constantly unintentionally interrupted or they didn't have a signal to themselves that it was time to work on that task.

I really don't understand why you're casting aspersions on people and families who allow their members to communicate a need for private space by closing a door or people who feel that this helps create the space they need on occasion. Really, people who allow their kids to close their doors are horrible parents that must be abusive otherwise the kids wouldn't ever want to close the door? IME working with domestic abuse situations, the opposite is true. Abusive parents/partners often intentionally deny privacy at any cost--it's an easy way to control and dehumanize and "own" another person. They must be seen or easily accessed at all times. But that's not how you feel, or your intent, even though you personally see no need for physical privacy. And most people who allow their children (and spouses) to have physical privacy, even if it's not in a way that they themselves would choose, are NOT horrible awful abusive people from whom their families must escape.
post #45 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chamomile Girl View Post

In my experience all the families I have known who allow closed doors have been very dysfunctional in terms of communication. Kid went off to room, closed door, and both kid and family thought good riddance. Nothing important was ever discussed in those families (and in a couple of cases the families were downright abusive which was why the kid was so eager to shut them out). Again this is just from my own experience, with the people I knew growing up. My family on the contrary was very communicative. I guess I had always assumed a link there, between literal open doors and figurative ones.
Just because this is all you have known doesn't mean it is all that exists A closed door is just a closed door. It is the intent behind the closing of the door that makes it a healthy action or not. It seems that trust and communication would be actually be enhanced, in a healthy family, if the child could pick for themselves the door position. Would definitely give a child a sense of empowerment over their own privacy and space.
post #46 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chamomile Girl View Post
I am curious though, do all of you close the doors on rooms other than the bathroom against your DP as well? Does your DP close themselves up in a room for privacy? Or is this just something that kids do in your household?
As a matter of fact... Yes. We do close ourselves up in our "private space". For me it's the basement where the music is. I can play guitar, or sax, or piano all I want and if the door is closed everyone knows to knock (or in the case of DS, everyone knows to knock for him). For DH it is the garage, where his art is. He is in there most days, if the door isn't closed I can go right in, but if it is then I have no problem with knocking first.

We go to our respective spaces if we want to think, or just be alone, or in some cases to cool off in the event of an argument. You'd be surprised how many times we walk away to our private spaces, calm down, and then come together and succeed in working things out. Really, without the ability of us to have some alone time this relationship probably would have died out long ago.

Also know, we have a very functional family. We talk openly about everything, probably more so than many families out there. Heck last night we discussed sexual exploration over dinner because DD had some questions. During the school year DD gives me (and DH if he is there) a run down of her day at school, including but not limited to the soap opera that is the playground/classroom. DH and I take a night ever week to talk after the kids are asleep. And we have all been known to pile onto the big bed and just hang out on a lazy Saturday morning.
post #47 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by ejg123 View Post
I'm not against it, per se, just wondering if people are afraid that kids will just generally get into mischief if they have a physical barrier like a door? Or are there concerns with sexual experimentation? Just curious. Something to think about as our boy grows up - I want to give him freedom - but also provide the sorts of boundaries that help children thrive and feel safe... Such a hard balance!
I think kids can get into mischief with or without a barrier; if someone really wants to be 100 percent positive that there will be no mischief-getting-into they're going to need to have sight contact with the kids at all times during a playdate. I do think a lot of people don't like closed door during playdates because of the potential sexual experimentation factor.

At this point in our lives we tend to know the families of the kids over for playdates really well. Many of them have open door policies at home, so it started as a continuation of that, along with me being able to hear any escalating disputes that needed my intervention/help to resolve. If we don't know a family's policy, we do the "open door" until we know either way.

We talked to our kids early on about not touching other kids' privates and remaining dressed on playdates. It's not that I think it would be the end of the world--I don't really care all that much to be honest. HOWEVER--I don't want my kid to be labeled as some kind of predator by an overreacting parent, or put another kid or mine in a position of a parental freakout/shaming episode. It just seemed simpler to talk directly about it and establish behavior expectations. So I don't really have that specific worry (and even if I did it would be pretty silly since I allow the kids to run around on our property when there's no way I can eyeball them every minute even if I can hear them all the time). I respect that others do though. I may not agree with their fear, but it's simple enough to just respect their need for open doors during the playdate--and the kids just don't care.

I think that will change as the kids move into puberty though. That seems a more acceptible time for closed doors to a lot of people I've noticed--though I think it's kind of funny because it's not like there's not another spike in exploration then too.
post #48 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chamomile Girl View Post
Maybe its because I am an only child, and I grew up in a family without any abuse, but I honestly don't understand why my kid should want to shut himself off from his family?

So no. I don't see myself allowing a shut door, because I can't see any healthy reason for it.
I grew up in a family with 4 siblings. I am very sound sensitive. Trying to read while someone is playing a radio in another room drives me batty. Why should they have to turn off their radio? I'll just close the door. I've got 2 kids. Sometimes I need to close the door to take a nap or to reduce the sound. If I'm grading papers at home, I sometimes flee to my room and shut the door.

Shutting a door is not unhealthy. It's also quite cultural. Some family cultures are different. (In Germany, for example, this would never be a discussion. It's clear that the door is closed.) In my family, closing the door was a way to signal I wanted to be left alone. How is someone going to know to respect my space if the door is open?

I don't see anything unhealthy in seeking out a place to be alone.
post #49 of 113
My DD and DS share a room. My DD (5) can close the door to the room if she wants time alone. When DS (18 months) is in there, the door can't be closed for safety concerns. Once those are past, he will be able to do so as well.

I am someone who really needs time alone to feel mentally healthy, and so I respect that my children may need that as well. Especially that DD may need space from DS.

Growing up, that privacy meant a lot to me.

Chamomile Girl - if your children do want to close the door, I'm curious - how will you address it?
post #50 of 113
Chamomile Girl,

I can see how if it was just you and your mom in the house, you probably felt like you had all the personal space you needed and there wasn't any need to close a door to get that.

Growing up in a two-child family, with a younger brother who (from age 6 or so) was pretty much absorbed in his own independent pursuits such as playing sports with his friends, I always felt like I had all the personal space I wanted without ever needing to "protect" it in any way, such as by closing a door.

I also had a lot of fears of monsters and ghosts and spooky stuff, and simply felt safer when my door was open and I could hear other activity going on in the house. My brother, in contrast, preferred closing his door.

I'm still more inclined to leave doors open than to close them. I don't see anything dysfunctional in my preference, nor do I see anything dysfunctional in others' preference for sometimes closing a door.
post #51 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerchild View Post
Then why did you say you'd be fine if your child shut the door in the bathroom, but that you'd perceive it as cutting off contact with the family if they closed the bedroom door? It's your argument. I don't get why one would be bothersome and not the other--or if one is fine, the other wouldn't be. It's all about the person deciding what level of privacy they want, isn't it?
No that's not my argument at all actually. What I said was that we currently shut the bathroom door only because otherwise people out on the street can watch you pee. Family is one thing, random college students another.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eclipse View Post
I honestly think you're reading too much into this. There are plenty of healthy families that allow family members to close their doors if they choose. That's why most bedrooms have doors, no? Most bedroom have doors because the buildings reflect the predominate culture. That does not mean it is right for everybody. Most babies in Western culture have their own bedrooms, but that doesn't mean co-sleeping is unnatural.

'll be honest and say that I'm very uncomfortable with the idea of a parent controlling their child in that way - and that it borders on abuse if the child is craving privacy that they are not being allowed.
I think strong communication would determine if a child's needs are not being met, and then the family would go from there. I just don't see why the default ought to be 'closed is ok'.


In any case, I chose to get married and have children and live in a family environment - my kids didn't choose that. They deserve to be able to choose the level of togetherness they prefer. That is a very good point.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerchild View Post
I really don't understand why you're casting aspersions on people and families who allow their members to communicate a need for private space by closing a door or people who feel that this helps create the space they need on occasion. Really, people who allow their kids to close their doors are horrible parents that must be abusive otherwise the kids wouldn't ever want to close the door?
I'm not 'casting aspirations' on anyone. I am only referencing my personal experience with families I grew up with. I know very few families with children now, and I have no idea how any of them finesse the privacy issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by odenata View Post
Chamomile Girl - if your children do want to close the door, I'm curious - how will you address it?
I don't know. I have not thought about it until today. In fact I did not even realize that my family's situation was unusual until I read this thread.

I think it would depend on why they wanted to close the door. I was talking to my DH about this just a little while ago. In his house growing up he lived in his room with the door shut because he did not want to have to interact with his family in any way. And you know his family is totally dysfunctional when it comes to communication. They do not speak with one another about important things...especially negative or difficult things. I mean DH never even got a sex talk growing up because his folks weren't up to it (other than the "premarital sex is against god" crap he got from the very very conservative church he attended.). My poor DH sees the relationship he is forming with DS as something he has to create from scratch because he has no real model from his folks to base it on. Part of the reason why is that they are all such private people...and were allowed to isolate themselves so much from one another... it has crippled their family relationships.

But although DH agrees that closing the door certainly contributed to this dysfunctional, he points out that it was a symptom not a cause.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
Chamomile Girl,

I can see how if it was just you and your mom in the house, you probably felt like you had all the personal space you needed and there wasn't any need to close a door to get that.

I also had a lot of fears of monsters and ghosts and spooky stuff, and simply felt safer when my door was open and I could hear other activity going on in the house. My brother, in contrast, preferred closing his door.

I'm still more inclined to leave doors open than to close them. I don't see anything dysfunctional in my preference, nor do I see anything dysfunctional in others' preference for sometimes closing a door.
You know, I had lots of fears of monsters and such too growing up, and even now I too feel safer with the door open. Its a good point about feeling like I have/had personal space regardless because of the limited number of people in my house. I also like having the front and back doors open as well. Of course since my cat brought a live rat in last week the back door no longer remains open. Sadly.

My mom was always the one who insisted on having the doors open. I wonder if it was a rule when she was growing up?. She was one of eight kids in a two-bedroom house, so if it was a rule it was probably to protect everyone from eachother.
post #52 of 113
Huh, I am actually surprised that some of you feel so strongly about this.
We have a no closed doors policy, not really stated but everyone lives it. The exceptions are if the bigger kids are playing legos or board games and the littles will be a risk of upsetting that. No closed doors when friends are over.That is really the only time I have had to make an issue of it...some of the kids friends seem very intent on closing the doors. If there are multiple kids in a room I don't see a closed door as giving privacy anyhow, so open they stay. I am not super intrusive, the kids play just fine with the doors open. We also keep bedrooms to sleep in. Toys(other than said legos) are in a large,open playroom. No door available :P .
None of my kids are introverts. If they felt that they needed more privacy I would work with them to get some. Gavin likes quiet to read...I will let him go in my room and he is happy...the door stays open, but it is quieter. We have a swallows nest swing that provides a quiet secluded place that the kids love to swing in. There are plenty of opportunities for them to be alone should they want it(they definitely crave each others company!)
We all brush our teeth in the same big bathroom, we all share bedrooms, we eat together, watch tv together, play together. Yeah...it bothers no one here to have doors open.
So...all that and I would change my "rule" in a heartbeat if it was beneficial to the children and they needed it. They don't, we are all adjusted and happy. They aren't missing out at all.
post #53 of 113
I'm so surprised people think shutting a door is somehow anti-communicative. It's just a door. Fire barrier at night, sound barrier by day. Also, the way our house is configured we have a door between the living room and the bedrooms (it's a bungalow) and we keep it shut because it keeps the bedrooms cooler and the A/C bills down.

In my family growing up the rule was "knock" - and we did.

The cats are the biggest objectors to closed doors in my house.

My husband's office doesn't have a door but mine does and I close it, but he's welcome to come in anytime.
post #54 of 113
DS has always been able to shut his door. He doesn't have a lock on his door so that's not an issue anyway. I don't let him play in his room with kids though because the last couple of times we tried that he and his friend snuck into my room and the other time he and his cousin were playing doctor a little too intensely.

I always knock on the door before entering if he has it shut. DS is almost 5.
post #55 of 113
Shutting a door is not pathological.

It isn't unhealthy.

It doesn't reflect an unnatural alienation, shutting off, isolation or dysfunctional communication in a family.

One could easily say that always needing to hear and see what everyone else is doing reflects an obsessive dependence on others, a fear of being alone, an unhealthy intrusiveness into the affairs of others, paranoia, and stalking behaviour.

Or just the ultimate in nosiness.

Of course, one would be wrong to apply these descriptors to everyone who wants/needs doors in the family home to be open always. Just as one would be wrong to say that doors closed is unhealthy and dysfunctional.
post #56 of 113
I'm wondering how broadly the "doors always open" folks apply this rule? Who gets included?

A friend of mine married the man she had been dating for a few years. After the honeymoon, she reported that her new family was a "doors open" family - even with the bathroom. They didn't close the door, even while using the toilet. Now that she was one of the family, they routinely walked into the bathroom while she was in there showering, etc.

I suppose it showed how completely they accepted her into the family, but personally, I'd prefer just a speech at the wedding at the reception.
post #57 of 113
Close yes. Lock no. Luckily we have those little master keys to get in if the doors do get locked. I'm sure as they get older, the stance will be revised. They also all sleep with closed doors.
post #58 of 113
Quote:
Maybe its because I am an only child, and I grew up in a family without any abuse, but I honestly don't understand why my kid should want to shut himself off from his family? To isolate himself from the rest of us...it seems very alienating to me.
Goodness. My DD (6) goes into her room and closes her door fairly often because she is a major bookworm and her younger brother (2) is noisy as all get-out and like to climb on her and get her in her space and try to get her attention. She also goes in and plays elaborate games with little tiny toys that he is too little to participate in. In fact, he isn't allowed in her room without a grown-up because it's full of art materials and chokables.

They have a great relationship and dote on each other, but she is very much allowed to have space from him. I encourage it, and have since he was an infant learning to crawl. Of course he can have space from her too, but he doesn't seem to want it (yet).

Also, I am sort of surprised that I am in the minority about allowing playdates with closed doors. I didn't allow this at 3, but at 6? I respect their space.
post #59 of 113
My children can close their doors as soon as they can open them again... so all of mine do except the 2yo.
Only one of the bedrooms has a lock and it's only on one of the doors to the room so yes, the girls in that room can lock their door. The girls in there are 15 and almost 14.
post #60 of 113
Dd is an only, 8 yo. Yes, she can close the door and spend as much time alone as she wants to. In our old house, the doors don't even latch, let alone lock. We respect dd's privacy and knock first. Only a couple of times has she said, "Just a second!" I have given her that "second" when she needs it, without asking why. Even at 8 she has a right to privacy.

It's curious to me that there are people who do not require ANY alone time at all and this thread has been enlightening. I truly thought that everyone, as part of human nature, needed some time for themselves... to think, do a hobby, read, whatever. The thought of never having any time to myself almost frightens me. I REQUIRE some alone time a couple times a month. Usually it's to finish a good book that I'm working on, but sometimes it's just to meditate or journal. I'm the only one in the house that doesn't have her own space, so perhaps privacy means something more to me because I don't have it. Dh has his office, dd has her bedroom, and my mom has her suite. There is no place for me to go in my own home to be by myself, in my own space, so I am probably hyper aware of letting others have theirs... including dd.
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