I posted a long time ago about this subject when my emotions were running really high about it... Most of the things I have posted in the blended families forums have resolved themselves over time or have been resolved due to positive approaches on my husband and I's part (thanks for the advice everyone! :) usually it helps me look at things more objectively and calm down!)
So awhile back I rambled about how my husband was very protective of his child's space (from previous relationship, I have 2 from previous relationship, and we have one child together. All the same gender, the oldest 3 are all VERY close in age- early elementary- and our common child is an infant) to the point I was starting to take it personally. My two oldes have always shared a room, but my oldest has pretty severe autism, and wakes up very early, is loud, can be destructive, and I can see my second oldest get frustrated a lot these days- though he is also a very good brother :) ... We rent a 3 bedroom house, no family room or office or anything, just 3 bedrooms and a living room/dining room. Our goal has been to get a bigger home, but we really finally accepted we won't be in that position financially for some time. Currently the baby rooms with us, and my two bio kids room together and SS has his own room. SS is at our house overnight 8 days a month, and 2 other evenings. My children are at our home every other weekend, every week day(6 am until evening at least), and over half the overnights in the month.
My frustration before was I didn't feel like moving- I like our yard, our area, and our house despite it's small-er size. Our main focus on a "bigger house" was spreading the kids out more... mainly to give the baby a room as he got older and- in my husband's ideals- to preserve his child's room to themselves. Our children have lived together half their lives now- if you talk to them, they don't really remember a "before" time, just vaguely. It's not quite like older kids moving in together. The only obvious distinctive factor is they also live with their other bio parents and have their rooms there.
So we decided we should stay here for quite some time yet, and really settle in. It made the subject of rooms come up again- because though we co-sleep with our youngest/ they have a crib in our room, I would like a place to safely put him from time to time, and I thought- oh, if his oldest and my typically-developing child shared a room, I could definitely make it so there were no small parts/ dangerous toys in my child with ASD's room, (other boys are all about small parts- legos, puzzles, marbles, etc). So when my kids were at BD's house, our youngest could spend time in the other room, to play or to give us a little "space" at night. When I brought it up to my husband he was really supportive- wow, a change! it just took a little time! and in tandem to our conversation the two children started, on their own, talking about how cool it would be to share a room.
I brought it up to SS again, suggesting we try it out for the summer, and he basically flat out said no thanks. I get it, he's a kid, it's a big change, so we chatted a bit more and I dropped it. Then I brought it up to DH again. he was really (politely) defensive about his child having his own room once again. "I think he likes his own space". yeah, well duh. But let's also look at how my two older boys don't have their "own space" and we don't even have our "own space" with baby rooming in! It kind of seems a little absurd when I let myself sit with the thought. Especially... because his child is there the least amount of time as anyone in the family. I don't let my kids play in his room when he isn't home, so it's pretty much a shrine while he's away.
I love my SS. As much as my own. I miss him when he is away. But just as I love him as my own, I don't favor one of my kid's "space" above all others- I am only thinking of giving my child with ASD a room mostly to himself because of his loud/disruptive/destructive habits, and because he doesn't have any "choke-able" type toys so using the room for a toddler when he is away would be pretty easy.
. The thoughtful mom in me does see that SS is accustomed to his own space, and despite not being there often, it helps him feel like he has ownership and protection of his property in our home when he IS here. My kids may feel that more in general just because they are always here. He has never had to share a room, and maybe it would just be rough on him. There is also a distinction between toys- a difference that predates our cohabiting- where he has a lot of toy weapons and action figures, where my child has a lot more building/ craft/ manipulative type toys, because I am not big on the weapons thing. I kind of like keeping that out of my DS's play routine/space.
SO... I guess I would like some more input either way. Now that I KNOW we aren't moving any time soon, and we need to make our 2 kids rooms work for our brood of 4, I want to see what other parents have done/felt. The non-confrontational part of me is like "fine let SS keep his room, just clean HIS room really good when he isn't there and let the baby (as a toddler) nap/ play in there on the 22 days of the month he isn't there, and don't really talk about it? That is obviously a decent compromise, but it doesn't fully resolve the issues with my oldest waking my second oldest up/ breaking toys etc. However, I recently let my DS sleep in my SS's room when he wasn't there when his brother woke him up at 5AM. it seemed to work out- DS slept until 7, instead of being tired and awake at 5. it kind of breaks my heart when he gets woken up almost every morning. It has to be tough on him.
What would you do? what are the supportive arguments FOR letting SS keep his own room? What are the supportive arguments for having him share a room? Do any of my ideas sound doable?
Edited by mamakitsune - 4/28/13 at 3:24pm