Sharing the Bathroom …
by Joey and Carla Link
Do you have kids that just don’t seem to get along at times? At times they seem to be best friends, but when it comes to sharing a bedroom or a bathroom, they just can’t seem to work out their differences. You can set shower schedules and bathroom times but for one reason or another (one’s alarm didn’t go off, it took longer do her hair that morning), things don’t go according to the schedule for one, which puts the other one behind, which sets him/her off, which sets you off, which frustrates the whole family. Maybe one leaves his dirty clothes on the floor or forgets to hang up his towel, or only half the clothes make it into the clothes hamper, so the next person to go into the bathroom has to put the rest of theirs in the hamper. Or, one leaves the toothpaste cap off, or doesn’t put the tooth brush back in its spot, or one leaves her hair stuff on the counter. Need we say more? Can you tell we have lived through this?!
Sharing a bathroom is when a number of issues can come up which frustrates us as parents and we react to them vs. looking at it as a teaching opportunity. Yes, it’s easy to get frustrated (and none of us are exempt from this) because you know you have taught each one what they are supposed to have done in that given situation or at least you have given them the principle to think through. But your kids aren’t thinking it through. When they don’t think it through, this is your perfect opportunity to help them learn and grow some more, which will most likely cause some growing pains for them and time and energy for you.
When one child doesn’t put the toothpaste away or doesn’t get her clothes in the hamper where they belong, or he doesn’t get out of the bathroom on time – what is a parent supposed to do? Have a chat with the ones involved after they are home from church or school or wherever they had to go in such a hurry. This gives everyone time to calm down and get perspective. We would share with them this terrific verse in Romans 12:10. Assuming they are in 3rd grade on up, have each of them read this verse from their own Bibles.
“Be devoted to one another in love.
Honor one another above yourselves.”
“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love;
give preference to one another in honor.”
Ask your children what “Be(ing) devoted to one another in love,” means? Have them look the word ‘devoted’ up in the dictionary. Ask them each to share one way they can ‘be devoted to their sibling in love’? Then have them look the word ‘honor’ up. Ask each child:
- What it means to “Honor someone above yourself?”
- How does he/she demonstrate honor to each other in the bathroom?
- Is leaving things out on the counter, not hanging up one’s towel or being out of the bathroom on time showing devotion and honor to each other?
- Do they think they should work on it because of this verse? OR, Because you tell them to? Why?
- Then why does it continue to be a problem?
If your kids get silly or won’t talk, give them a few minutes to write their answers on paper and read them aloud when they are finished. Have them write on paper two ways they are going to show honor to each other. They need to show you what they wrote down but they don’t have to show it to their sibling – let the sibling be surprised!
Your goal Mom and Dad, is not to set their schedules (assuming they are old enough to do this for themselves). Your goal is to help them think through what is happening and how they can work this out on their own. You are preparing them for college dorm life and sharing a bathroom with a husband or wife someday. You want them to show preference to their roommate and spouse. You want them to honor their roommate and spouse by giving him/her first choice. Where do your children learn to do this other than in your home? Teach them to live with their siblings and show them the same honor, respect and preference as they each expect to be treated with.
Be positive Mom and Dad! This is a training time, not a disciplining time. Be prepared to share with them how you see them devoted to each other as siblings so they know you see the good with the bad.
Ah, sharing the bathroom…your kids’ future spouses will thank you!
DID YOU KNOW the Mom’s Notes presentations, “Dealing with Sibling Conflict, Part 1 & Part 2” CDs/Note set are on sale this month? “Dealing with Sibling Conflict, Part 1 and Part 2” – $15.00/SALE $10.00