I don’t remember my mom and dad making any big deal about their bedroom being off limits. But I do remember the sense that it was different that the rest of our home. I’d move freely about the house wherever I chose, but I didn’t feel the same freedom about their room.
When we had our own kids, we instilled in them a similar boundary for our bedroom. I know it may not be the same in every family but I feel it’s worthwhile to do so.
I tend to think of our bedroom as our sanctuary. Both sanctuary and sanctity come from the same Latin root meaning holy, sacred, set apart, special, safe.
A special space, set apart for just the married couple. A safe place for private conversation. An intimate place. A restful place. Every couple deserves such a space.
My advice to young parents is to establish that aura about their bedroom with their kids early on. It gives you the privacy you deserve and it’s another way to teach your kids respect.
There were several ways we preserved that sanctity:
- Don’t enter without permission. Essentially, the parents’ bedroom is off limits unless you are given permission, invited in, or told to go get something.
Knock before entering. Whether the door is open or not, you knock. It’s a simple way to ask permission. And if the door is closed, you don’t simply knock and barge in—you wait for permission. This is a basic household courtesy for every closed door, but especially mom and dad’s room.
Parents sleep here—not kids. You might choose to differ with me on this one and that is your right as your child’s parent. Yet I’m convinced you’ll be better off by not allowing your child to sleep in your room—bed or floor. If a child needs special attention and comfort due to illness or a bad dream, better for a parent to sleep with the child in the child’s room. If you want to have a fun family slumber party, great—just anywhere other than mom and dad’s room.
If you currently don’t enjoy this special status of your bedroom, it’s relatively easy to make that adjustment. Explain the new boundaries to your kids who are old enough to understand. Gently remind them until they are trained. And show the same respect for their privacy when their bedroom door is closed.
Your child won’t feel loved any less. You’ll be doing them a favor to show honor to their parents in this way. And you’ll enjoy the privacy and peace.
Question: Do you have these same old-school boundaries for your bedroom? Share your answer in the comments below.