My feed

to access all these features

Mumsnet doesn't verify the qualifications of users. If you have medical concerns, please consult a healthcare professional.

Children's health

Your views on a child being given a bedroom with no window for 3.5 years - I was this child

106 replies

MarcL · 26/09/2023 14:59

Hello All - Your opinion would be really appreciated.

I recently read a thread about a 16 year old boy wanting to move into a bedroom with no window but I wanted to hear other peoples opinions on my experience. When I was 5 I had my own window and bedroom in a 3 bedroom council house, my sister had been born and was 1 year old when my parents moved me out into my brothers room which we shared for 18 months to 2 years. Then when I turned 7 my dad put up a partition wall and I was given the room with no window. This room had its normal access and then a door into my brothers room whom had the window. When it was time for bed my brother would close his door and I would have to close the normal access door making it completely dark in my room with hardly any ventilation exception from under the doors. The sun came up in my brothers room and went down on my side of the wall in our house. I had a budgie that everyday I had to carry into my brothers room so it had light. This I endured for 3.5 years, the room was stuffy especially in the Summer. To wake up and not know if it is day time is a very tough thing to understand, I'd have to go to the hall to see if it was light. The room was big enough for my single bed and a small wardrobe but I never played in the room as it was too dark, so much so I don't remember what was at the bottom of my bed (if anything). I did have a bedroom light though. I started wetting the bed and had nightmares, had my brother knocking on the wall at night saying winding me up "You're in the dark, you're in the dark" and when I moaned to my parents about this he was merely told to stop saying it, to close his door and then the entrance door was closed too....still leaving me in the dark. After about 1 year I became different and started fighting other children at school, my school work standard fell, it was like I was at war with everyone and to go from a very caring loving child to a 'you're not going to get the better of me child' wasn't healthy. Moving forward I'm not sure what I'm trying to justify on here? I have spoken to my parents about the room as being a parent myself to 3 children I can't even believe that they did this. Their excuse is "Marc you argued with your brother aged Me 6 and him just under 2 years older than me age 8 say and left toys lying around so this was the best option? Also adding that if they could have afforded a window then they would have got one BUT they didn't instead my mum said she saved one of her pay packets for a whole year to take us to Majorca in 1986 (being when I was 9 and 2 years into having that windowless room). Today they still avoid any discussions about the room, I don't have a good relationship with them and we have never been close as they can't accept that they are wrong for keeping me in that room. I know its hard for anyone to understand unless they have been through anything like this but a few last things before I ask my question.

Nobody I think can understand the dark room situation but you've all had this when you were younger and that's your parents either get annoyed and shout "Go to your rooms and stay there" and "Right you can go to bed early for being naughty (so sent to a prison room - actually no as prison rooms have windows)" but you all had windows and fresh air, when you didn't it was hell!

I have always hated the winter nights, even as a 47 year old now, I can bare it but when I was 7 and it was getting dark early that dark would last for 15 hours a day e.g. 5pm-8am this is due to the dark room too.

I have had M.E (an illness which I really do budget right) since I was very young. If you read up on M.E it can be caused from ever suffering a very stressful, traumatic experience (the room was). I even spoke to 2 doctors at the same time and brought the above up and they confirmed that yes the room experience could definitely caused this.

Waking up feeling groggy and with headaches.

My mum always said that out of the 3 children that I was the most anxious child but I think she is that stupid that she cannot see that to keep a child in a windowless room at such a young age can create massive anxieties from a young age.

So my question is this as I need to try to bury the past is how do I go about getting over something that just makes me shake my head in disbelief over this, I could never do this to my children at such a young age.

Do you think my parents were right to do this as they could easily have asked my nan for a loan for a window to be put in but never did. They never got Building Reg's to convert the room as only a partition wall was put up by my dad?

Were they right to do this?

Lastly how can a parent/s put up a partition wall and see that side of the room becomes dark and then put their 7 year old child in it?

My mum recently in a heated phone call stated in a sarcastic way "Well I'm sorry if it messed you up when you were younger but that was what was best for you and your brother" which I find to be the most ignorant comment I have ever heard. I am not a negative person very positive and have a massive strong will to never quit 'Life is a fight, fight to live', I'm happily married to my wife and have 3 wonderful children, own my own conveyancing business and achieved many amazing things in my life even though M.E can knock you on you ass far more times than you'd ever believe. I never quit anything but this childhood room business niggles me no matter what. I think its a case of my parents cannot and will no accept responsibility for their stupid actions when I was so young.

Cheers for reading this and all comments welcome as this may make me realise they were right or confirm that they were wrong. Cheers Marc

I actually also contacted a friend who lives in my old house now and he has taken a photo and filmed the room and house. He stated that when the people moved in back in 1986 they knocked down the partition wall as that room was too dark. They also added a window where it should be and this is my wall paper on my mobile phone now as that's what I wished to see for the 3.5 years I was behind the wall.

OP posts:
Cocothepoodle · 26/09/2023 15:03

Sounds like you need therapy.

MarcL · 26/09/2023 15:08

I in the 9 months have been offered this but where do you start when the people who did this 100% do not accept any responsibility for causing this. Weirdly only in the last 10 years has this really come to light as I see my children hitting the same age and it just makes me shake my head. I will read all the comments on here and see what others think about that experience. Cheers

OP posts:
DonaNobisPacem · 26/09/2023 15:08

These days a bedroom without a window would be against building regs so no, it wasn't ok that this is what you had.

That said, I think it sounds like you are fixating on the window issue and blaming everything in your life on it, which probably isn't very healthy or accurate. If therapy is a possibility for you, it would be a good idea to help you to move on.

Wrongsideofpennines · 26/09/2023 15:17

Gosh, there's a lot going on here. But I'm not sure all of it is because of the bedroom. There are many people around the world living in much, much worse conditions and I doubt they all have ME because of it.

I imagine that your parents thought that sharing a room with your brother was more problematic and thought they were doing the best thing by giving you all your own space in the most affordable way. I don't know anyone who had a windowless bedroom growing up, but that's probably because it's not something that comes up in conversation as they aren't routinely distressed by it like it sounds you are.

Maybe having some therapy to unpick your relationship with your parents and your childhood might be helpful.

smallshinybutton · 26/09/2023 15:18

I'm sorry you were made to sleep in a cupboard please seek therapy

MarcL · 26/09/2023 15:25

Yes, I think this is the first time I've ever put anything down on the internet and have only spoken to my wife and best friend about this. I think I should have maybe shortened all I wrote but its out there now. All comments are welcome too. I think the more comments I read, the more people will say speak to someone about it. Thank you.

OP posts:
greenspaces4peace · 26/09/2023 15:28

No window but in theory you’re own room and only for a few (although formative) years.
I assume they were trying, maybe not their best but some attempt for your own space.
i wouldn’t judge anyone for not borrowing money. Home reno’s and ownership can be complex.

ladykale · 26/09/2023 15:30

Why didn't you just have a lamp in the room?

I don't think this is a big deal. I think because you were opposite sex siblings your parents were actually trying to give you your own space? If nothing else was amiss give them the benefit of the doubt. Tons of rooms have black out blinds to waking up in the dark isn't really that big of a deal.

NotMeNoNo · 26/09/2023 15:33

I came on to say my bedroom was an "internal" room during my teens but it did have glass doors into another room so I could still see daylight. OP your situation sounds like it was awful and probably contributing to your difficulties. I hope you can get some therapy or counselling to help you let go. It can work with expert help.

Highlyflavouredgravy · 26/09/2023 15:36

I think your parents did the best they could with the resources available and it is unfair of you to blame all your problems in life on this.

PyramusandThisbe · 26/09/2023 15:39

I'd have taken a windowless room any day over my experience of sharing with two siblings (one double, one single bed in a room so small there was no space to stand up between the beds, and you had to climb over the beds to reach the door) or my other childhood bedroom where I shared a small double with my very unwell grandmother who got up multiple times every night to use a chamberpot under the bed.

I appreciate your experience wasn't great, but I'm assuming your parents, like my parents, were poor.

Yes, I resent the overcrowding of my childhood, and I think my parents were deeply irresponsible to keep having children they could barely feed and house, but they were both from deprived, dysfunctional backgrounds, and had grown up with similar.

AgnesX · 26/09/2023 15:42

People do what they think is the right thing, I don't imagine that your parents did it with the intention of leaving you traumatized. So it wasn't the right choice but you can't turn back the clock so what do you want them to do.

I'm assuming that being in a council house 20+ years ago meant they weren't exactly rolling in cash and a holiday was for the whole family (including those who worked for it). Borrowing money from relations isn't/wasn't the done thing in a lot of families. You're judging yesterday's actions by today's culture and knowledge...and expectations.

You are very fortunate that you don't have to inflict something you disliked so much on your own children.

SisterAgatha · 26/09/2023 15:42

I shared a room with my brother till I was 14 (im female) In the UK. In the 90’s. It’s not a normal experience but it was honestly not the worst part of my childhood.

Thegoodbadandugly · 26/09/2023 15:43

Where did my post go to?

Flightorflounder · 26/09/2023 15:47

I'm very sorry you're feeling this way. I agree I wouldnt put my child in a windowless room but I do also think the post speaks to an unhealthy fixation. I have close friends who didn't have a bedroom at all growing up, oned who moved frequently, one who shared with multiple siblings... all not ideal but I don't think any of them would suggest it defined them in the way you allude.

This is clearly very real and very painful for you so well done for addressing it. You state you were sent to your room, did this happen often? Could it be less about the room and more about the fact you felt displaced and no one listened to you and helped you? In theory the bedroom is for sleeping so if I'm honest, I wouldn't consider a lack of window the worst thing in the world especially if the rest of the house was happy and welcoming.

I will echo the others and recommend seeking professional support to unpick this but well done for starting to talk.

Blondebutnotlegally · 26/09/2023 15:49

I lived in a windowless room for 4 years and it didn't bother me. I feel like you want to be angry at your parents and this is what you are coming up with...? Would family therapy work?

Desecratedcoconut · 26/09/2023 15:51

It sounds like it was a poorly executed tactic to give everyone space and privacy. I don't think it sounds malicious or that, assuming you had other space in the house you could occupy, that your parents would have any idea that it could initiate all these unintended consequences for you.

I mean, parents screw up like this all the time. I'm not sure why you like they need to be held to a higher standard of trying to get things right but accidentally screwing up.

AgentProvocateur · 26/09/2023 15:52

This was quite common growing up in the 70s and 80s where I lived. The stud wall was ‘temporary’ and didn’t need planning permission. Some people had a window in the stud wall, others didn’t. Not ideal, but also not a massive issue if you were otherwise in a happy family situation

Thegoodbadandugly · 26/09/2023 15:52

Op you had a light in your bedroom? The partition wall was put up so you and your brother had your own bedroom, probably the best way your parents could do it.

I spent a life without the love of my parents, no hugs or kisses or I love you, no holidays abroad, no attention what so ever, I used to watch my father beat the crap out of my mother and spend lots of times visiting pychy wards, used to get the belt and taken out by my mother pissed for most of her life, the list is endless. Do you know what? Life is way to short to blame things on other people, I do my best to make sure my children's up bringing is completely the opposite to mine, from every negative there is always a positive.

jolaylasofia · 26/09/2023 15:53

erm even when rooms have windows the majority of windows are closed and we get black out blinds for our kids. This is really dramatic. unless you were forced to stay in there 18 hours a day i don't see a massive problem

Cheeesus · 26/09/2023 15:53

I agree that it sounds like there is more to it than the window. I feel like much of the problem would have been solved by leaving your bedroom door open, but perhaps o am missing something.

Children reaching the same age as when you had an upsetting time can bring everything to its head. I know I’ve found that hard.

BoohooWoohoo · 26/09/2023 15:54

I think that a lot of parents would try and enable their child to have their own space- especially if they were arguing with their sibling. While it's not ideal, I would have given you a clock and lights to help it be less dark. It doesn't sound like you were living like Harry Potter but you know best because it was your room.

Your parents will clearly never apologise so you need to work on that trauma without that expectation.

Thegoodbadandugly · 26/09/2023 15:55

This reply has been deleted

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Desecratedcoconut · 26/09/2023 15:57

This reply has been deleted

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Bit harsh.

Ladyj84 · 26/09/2023 15:59

Unfortunately my parents had to do this and they made it lovely for me lamps etc I sure was a happier bunny being in my own room than having to share with 2 mucky brother's lol. I think your extremely unfair on your parents would you rather they adopted you out. I still know a few who've had to do this half a room because they can't afford to up the mortgage and all kids involved seem happy. I think you have some obsessive nature about this very odd and need help. I find it an odd a Dr to totally agree this caused ME but anyhow you need professional help tbh

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.