Sharing a room with your sibling can be difficult, especially if you don’t have a lot in common. However, by agreeing on certain rules, respecting each other’s space and working together to resolve conflict, it doesn’t have to be impossible.
1. Agree on boundaries
Talk to your sibling about which boundaries you should both respect, such as:
- not touching the other person’s belongings without asking
- being respectful and quiet if the other person wants to rest
- how many of your or your sibling’s friends can come over at one time, and when
- rules for sharing some furniture, such as dividing up space in a wardrobe
If you or your sibling are finding it difficult to respect each other’s boundaries, ask your parent or carer to help you put in physical boundaries (e.g. a curtain that divides the room and gives you both more privacy, personalised labels on your belongings, etc.)
Sometimes, your sibling might overstep a boundary by accident. If this happens, don’t shout at them – simply ask them calmly not to do it again.
2. Share cleaning responsibilities
Make a schedule that says who will take out the rubbish, who will vacuum the floor each week, etc., and stick to it. If you want to be really official, create a contract that both of you have to sign and hang it on the bedroom wall!
3. Respect your sibling
Sharing space with someone you don’t have a lot in common with can be challenging, but always try to resolve any conflict with kindness and respect. Your sibling might annoy you, but they are also a person with feelings and wishes that are different to yours.
If you disagree with your sibling on something, speak to them respectfully instead of shouting at them. Respect their privacy by never reading their texts, emails or diaries.
4. Give each other space
Even though you’re sharing a room with your sibling, you don’t have to spend every minute of your time at home together. If you need a few minutes alone, try finding another private space somewhere else in the house when your sibling is in the room.
The kitchen table, a quiet spot in the living room or a guest room might be a good place to start. If you don’t have enough space in the rest of the house, try to create a private space in the bedroom.
5. Agree on quiet hours
You both need your sleep, so agree on a set time when you should prepare for bed. You could ask your sibling not to play games after a certain time, so that you can both prepare for bed.
6. Be a supportive sibling
We might think we don’t like our siblings but we do love them and care about them. If they seem sad or upset, be there for them and ask if there’s anything they need.
If you’re both feeling frustrated and annoyed with each other, try to find a solution to the conflict quickly. Take responsibility for your part in the conflict, try to find a compromise and encourage each other to be open with one another.