Is it proper to build a backroom for your son?

Does allowing your child the privacy of the backroom indicate a certain degree of trust in them, or are you setting your child up to be free and reckless?
Does allowing your child the privacy of the backroom indicate a certain degree of trust in them, or are you setting your child up to be free and reckless?
Image: STOCK IMAGE

Go to any township, and chances are that in households where there are male children, there are little backrooms that they live in outside their parents' house.

No, they have not been kicked out of the house. In fact, many parents have an agreement to build a backroom for their son/s to enjoy the privacy of their own sleeping area. But is this a good idea?

Does allowing your child the privacy of the backroom indicate a certain degree of trust in them, or are you setting your child up to be free and reckless?

Mohau*, who stays in a backroom in Meadowlands, Soweto, asked to remain anonymous so he can be candid about what he gets up to in his backroom.

The 21-year-old says it was a logical decision for his parents to give him a backroom as he was once caught escorting a girl home in the morning by his mother when he was 18.

"Obviously, all teens reach a stage where they want to experiment sexually, and I would bring girls home, sometimes through the window, into my room to have sex. Luckily my bedroom was two rooms away from my parents', so sneaking around was easier.

"But one day my mom caught me leaving with a girl, and when my dad got home from work, he told me that I was old enough to have my own outside room. I was honestly happy," he says.

In his opinion, his parents allowing him the privacy of a backroom shows that they respect he is a grown adult and that he does not need to be monitored like a child.

We also spoke to a parent, Jane, about her decision to build shacks for her two boys aged 16 and 19 in her yard.

Jane*, who stays in Tembisa, says that boy children are harder to control than girls and that at some point the bulls need their own kraal.

"For me, I did it for peace of mind. I'm a parent and cannot bury my head in the sand and pretend like I don't know that kids drink and have sex.

"So to avoid me not knowing where they are sleeping, I found that it is better knowing that they are in the safety of the home yard, and they can get up to anything as long as they don't bring any babies home," she says.

"[But] you have to still enforce a curfew as a parent, and lock the gate at a particular time to try and restrict their movements. Even if my boys do all sorts of things back there, I know they respect me enough not to let me see it."

However, she opposed the idea of girls having a backroom. "It is just not proper to have a girl child living in a backroom. In fact, it is taboo."

*Not their real names

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