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I am a 20 year old female living at home with my mother, her boyfriend and my younger sister who is 12 years old. We live in a 3 bed council house. My mother has now discovered that she is pregnant with a baby boy and is now saying that me and my younger sister are going to have to share a bedroom. My sister and I do not get along at all. Also, I see it as wrong: in my eyes I am an adult and she is a child and we shouldn't be sharing a room.

Will being forced to share a room make our relationship worse? Are there any strategies to help my sister and I share space without being at each others' throats the whole time?

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    Hi KaZz, and welcome to the site. I've edited your question to make it a bit more on-topic for our site, and hopefully generate some discussion that will be a bit more productive. I fear that the original question of "what are my options?" will result in a lot of "you're an adult; if you don't like it, get your own place," which admittedly does strike me as perhaps one of your best options (financial situation permitting). – user420 Apr 18 '12 at 12:11
  • Downvoted, sorry. I don't feel this question (even in the edited form) is appropriate for a parenting Q&A site. It sounds like you are trying to find support in criticizing your mother. – Paul Cline Apr 18 '12 at 17:16
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    @PaulCline If you feel the question is still off topic, please either submit an edit to improve it (if you feel it can be improved), or vote to close the question. – user420 Apr 18 '12 at 20:14
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    me = tardy. I don't get the "trying to find support" vibe at all from this question. – monsto May 24 '12 at 7:08
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Are you paying rent to your mother? If you are paying rent, you should ask for a reduced rent since you are no longer getting your own room. Is there a basement? Another room on the main floor - something like an office or a den? Consider moving to one of these rooms.

If you are not paying rent, you are unfortunately going to have to abide by her rules. It's her house, and she can decide how she wants to use it. If you don't like the rules, you have the option of moving out. However, moving out, is not always feasible.

A 20-year old and a 12-year old sibling would rarely get along - given that you have so little in common at that point in your lives. However, you have to make an effort to do with what you have. Consider getting room-dividers that also function as bookshelves to increase privacy. Treat her like an adult, and agree on some ground rules. Instead of being bossy, try to work things out. "I like my privacy, and I am sure you do too, so how about we agree on a couple of things?" This could include not sharing clothes, defining closet space, working out a time of the day where each of you are given privacy in the room, etc. The key is to treat her as your equal instead of appearing to be entitled, simply because you are older.

I hope you understand that your new sibling (the baby) has to sleep somewhere. You have the option of sharing the room with the sibling, of course, but I would highly recommend against it. They sleep 16 hours a day, sure, but they wake up 10 times during the night too.

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    +1 for treating as a peer, and for not being entitled to special treatment. – Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Apr 21 '12 at 9:59
  • she can't pay rent to her mother, Its a Council property (translation: owned and managed by local Government and allocated according to need (in theory)) and such sub-letting would be a tenancy violation. – bigbadmouse Nov 22 '17 at 11:55
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While there may be laws on this in some countries I am certainly not aware of any (I am in the UK)

While it may not be ideal for you, unless you have a bigger house it may be unavoidable, so you might want to look at ways to keep your privacy/sanity. Some cultures manage perfectly well with multiple generations sleeping in the same room (or in some deprived areas - extended families living in the same room) so it can obviously be managed.

If you look at some of the cultural traditions that have grown in Japan you can get an idea of how to get some privacy/control when living in very close proximity. Try sites like http://factsanddetails.com/japan.php?itemid=647&catid=19&subcatid=122 and http://www.everyculture.com/wc/Japan-to-Mali/Japanese.html for examples.

You ask for options - well, I guess moving out is always an option if you feel so strongly.

  • if you can't live with sharing, that's pretty much your only choice. Do you have a grandparent you can keep company? – bigbadmouse Nov 22 '17 at 11:56
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Certainly your age changes the dynamic: when we had two younger kids sharing a room, ages 10 and 2, it was OK. But you are older now, and your bedtime habits are quite different from those of a 12-y.o. If you can't adjust, I don't see how you can avoid moving out. I'm sorry you're in such a difficult circumstance.

Can you do it for a little while, say a few months, and then -- if your younger sister takes well to the baby -- could they move into the same room?

  • that depends on how well the baby sleeps. I can't see an average baby being able to co-exist with a near-teen – bigbadmouse Nov 22 '17 at 11:52

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