One amazing thing about TikTok is that it really shines a light on the human experience and reminds us that we’re all different, but share so many similarities. Like the latest “parenting style” question that’s going viral now: Are you a “bedroom parent” or a “living room parent?”
For example, when you were growing up, where did your parents spend most of their time? Some millennials can relate to having parents who were always sequestered in their bedrooms away from us kids. Some remember their parents always being in the living spaces of the home. (Some of us had one bedroom parent and one “I’m going to escape the toxicity of this house by working constantly” parent, or maybe that’s just me!)
TikTok mom Marissa Kile shared a video where she talked about the bedroom vs. living room parent thing—hers were strictly bedroom parents. They spent a lot of time in there decompressing, working, etc., and kids were NOT allowed in.
“I grew up where like my parents hung out in their bedroom,” she explains. “like 24/7, they were never in the living room, okay? So, like, going into my parents’ bedroom was like a sacred thing. Like, you stood at the door, and you waited for permission to go in, okay?”
One of her followers responded that they didn’t know being a “bedroom parent” was a thing, because their parents spent most of their time in the main living area. Kile’s own husband says his parents were “living room parents,” which mystified her.
“I didn’t know that living room parents were a thing until I was much older because my parents were bedroom parents, but also my best friend growing up, her parents were bedroom parents. Okay? So, I thought that was normal,” she says in a follow-up video.
She also says since she is now firmly a “living room parent,” she hasn’t decorated her own bedroom because it’s basically just a vessel for sleep and nothing else, as she’s never in there unless she’s going to bed.
“I would rather spend most of my time focused on everything else than the space that I don’t spend any time in because I literally wait until the last second to go to bed or like the special time with the husband and then I spent an extra time in my room,” she explains.
For further clarification, the bedroom parents that are part of Gen X and the Boomers aren’t the same kind of “bedroom parents” millennial moms and dads are today. Before, the bedroom was off-limits and kids had to entertain themselves solo while their parents did whatever they wanted (or needed) to do in their sanctuary. Bedroom parents today are like “Yeah, we’re tired, let’s watch TV or read books in here together while we’re lying down comfortably instead of sitting on the couch.”
So what kind of parent are you?
A version of this article was published in August 2023. It has been updated.