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Looking ahead to the future, me and my partner often discuss how we would raise children. In these conversations, recently, a theme of sleeping arrangements has emerged.

We appear to agree that a lot of teen and preteen isolationist tendencies could be curbed if we had a single communal bedroom. We also believe it would foster a tighter family bond, and would likely be cheaper to boot.

Now, it made us wonder why this is not the norm? Why do we give kids their own rooms? By extension, and in essence, what would be the disadvantages of such a communal bedroom arrangement?

Incidentally, but of note, we believe sex would not be an issue, as we have no intention of ever hiding that from children in the first place. We want it to be normalized before any questions need to be answered.

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    That is an introvert's worst nightmare, and it's not a question of hiding that sex happens, but do you really want them there during the act? – Newbie12345 Feb 4 at 18:26
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    Having had a shared bedroom situation for a significant portion of early life, I can say it drove us nucking futs. It will create a higher pressure situation certainly, but that can break bonds as easily as make them. – Radhil Feb 4 at 23:19
  • I couldn't have sex with a cat in the room... – WendyG Feb 5 at 22:10
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We put our kids in their own bedromms, because

  1. We want to have sleep. And they also want to sleep. We have 3 kids. The first 2 always woke up if I turned in my bed. Or when I went to bed. Or when I went to the toilet at night. This is NOT tightening bounds.
  2. Moreover, every time the kid moved, You will wake up.
  3. Show sex or not is not the discussion here. But really ... do you want your kid asks questions during sex? At least I would have a strange feeling explaining what I am doing there during .... you know.

Actually, we had all our kids in our bedroom for some time. But as soon as they did not need breastfeeding every 2 or 3 hours, we moved them to their bedrooms. We have a very close relationship to all of them, so it does not seem to be a problem.

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While there are many cultures, in which communal sleeping (and sex in the presence of others) is the norm, leading such a life might become problematic for your children in a culture where sex is a taboo and where involving children in sex (even if only as spectators) is a crime.

Also, while your family might feel unashamed about sex, your children might learn shame from the surrounding community (peers, media, ...) and not be comfortable with having to explore their own sexuality (masturbation, first sex) in the presence of their parents.

Even such simple and harmless activities as sleepovers will become impossible, as most other parents might not want their children to sleep with your whole family, especially not if your children tell them that they regularly watch you having sex.

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I saw people doing this simply because they could not afford a bigger house. However, this question seems to be out of choice. The cons:

  1. What about the couple's private time and sex life - the concept need not be hidden from children, but definitely do not want them to see you in the act. So you have to wait till they are fast asleep - and they may wake up at any time.

  2. The practicality of adults and kids going to bed at different times and disturbing each other. For example, my older one has to be woken up by 6:15 am which will be disturbing to my younger one. Also, only one parent is involved in sending the older one to school, and the other parent need not wake up at all.

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In many cultures this is the norm. In western cultures we have typically moved away from this as we have moved to larger properties and a generally capitalist philosophy quite far removed from the earlier subsistence ways of living which didn't really give any opportunity for non-essentials..

Where I grew up, it was only 4000 years ago when all houses were single room, with alcoves for beds.

In terms of disadvantages, disturbing one another is not necessarily one. Cultures that live in single rooms manage just fine - this is a case of what you are used to. Personally, I like a bit of quiet, so our 3 kids got moved out to their own rooms once they were weaned.

And regarding privacy - I'd want a bit, but some cultures do not value privacy highly at all.

You mention that you don't mind the privacy side of things - best check the country where you live agrees with that one - and have a think about how well you sleep in noisy situations, because children can be exceptionally noisy...

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Not knowing where you live (and the culture of that area), I will answer rather simply:

I haven't come across anything that says you cannot share a bedroom with your spouse and offspring... in fact, most of what I've seen suggests that the (US) government doesn't want to tell you how to live. But, that doesn't mean that there aren't local laws on the books that would prevent you (from having 8 people living full time in a 400 square foot apartment). Many regional districts, cities, and state government entitites have laws on the books regarding occupancy, overcrowding, housing codes, and something considered "livable floor area", which outline how many people (related and unrelated) can share a dwelling.

So, if you are thinking about this strictly as a lifestyle choice... (you are building a 3,000 square foot house that has one enormous room for everyone to share as the primary sleeping quarters.) No one is really going to care. Do as you wish. But, if you are in a 435 square foot 1 bedroom flat in NYC... (and you want to have three children sleeping in your 10x12foot bedroom with you.) Well, that might be something altogether different.

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