12 answers

Siblings and Playing Together

I would love to hear from moms that have a teenager and a 8-10 yr old. Does the two siblings play a lot together ? Is it right to help the teenager give the younger one attention . I am afraid that this summer will be a bit trying to have the older child pay attention to the younger child. They do play well together for the most part . 2 girls 9 and 12. But I can see some issues with the 12 yr old. My way or the high way. I thought that was not being fair. Of coarse the younger one will play whatever just so there is attention given to her, but she would like her big sis to do things she wants to play and not always be the one to give in.
So I was setting up a odd and even day thing............ Even days, the older one plans and they play for 2 hours and then on Odd days, the younger one plans and plays for 2 hours. Is that asking too much from the older one ? When is it time to say, sorry sweet young daughter...........big sis is not intrestead in you anymore and it is okay that she does not want to play ???????
thanks for your advice.

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I totally agree with what your all saying, but let me add..........they want to play with one another. They ask for it and want too. the 12 yr old is a little bit immature for her age by the way. The thing is......... the 12 yr old only wants to play when she wants to and what she wants to do.....the younger one never gets a say. So the 12 yr old won't play with the 9 yr old if it is not her way......

Yes they are busy and have separate activities and separate friends...this will just get less daily as we have the summer....can't be with friends every day, so they will have eachother but how do I keep it even so it is not all the 12 yr old point of view and decision....or do I let it be.

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My mom forced me to play with my younger sister all my life, we are only 14 months apart. even as teenagers she would force me to go to my sister's parties to "keep an eye on her". I was always the chaperone and I was freaking 15 years old! that backfired in so many ways so many times.
This completely destroyed my relationship with both my sister and my mother and I resent my mom to this day for destroying my relationship with the only sibling I have. And my sister resents me for sticking my nose in her business and being compared to me all her life.

now I'm 36 and I'm always the third wheel and my mom lives with my sister and her family, helping her raise her children and always there for her. she might as well have only one child because we don't see or talk to each other that much. I'm ALWAYS left out of the loop...

whatever you do, don't force playtime. good luck,

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Don't force it! You don't want your oldest to resent you and your youngest for making them play together.

Instead of scheduling each moment that they "play together", why not just plan activities that you all do together? Maybe go to the beach, a park, the zoo, shopping, etc. That way they're still spending time together, but it's not about forcing the older one to pay attention to the younger one.

ADDED:
I still think you should let them figure it out on their own. If you feel it's necessary, let your 8 year old know that she doesn't *have* to play what big sis wants to play....maybe your 12 year old will get the hint that she needs to comprimise and sometimes give in.

3 moms found this helpful

Ugh. A 12 year old has very little in common with a 9 year old, and I PROMISE you the 12 year old will resent forced playtime with her little sister. I know from personal experience :(
Your girls need to be involved with friends and activities that are appropriate for their individual ages.

2 moms found this helpful

Siblings won't always be playmates, friends, or have things in common. That's reality. You can't force relationships, nothing good comes from it. Having children, does not mean they will be playmates for life. The 12 year old probably is doing this (the only doing what she wants,) because she doesn't like doing what the 9 year old does. She probably doesn't enjoy it. You can't plan playtime, that's not fair. If they don't want to play, then they don't want to. 3 years might not seem like much, but those are significant years. One is a teen, and one is a kid. There is not likely to be much common ground.
Let it be. let them figure it out. If they want to play, they will. If they don't, they won't. They should be allowed to say no.

2 moms found this helpful

I think you are trying to manage their relationship too much and be the fairness police, which I also have a tendency to want to do. My husband is always encouraging me to let them work things out on their own more, but I still do try to use my judgment and step in when I feel the little one is being taken advantage of. What is your end goal, and what do you want to happen between your children? I'm not sure that your approach of trying to micromanage everything will achieve the desired result. Things will be fair, sure, but they won't have learned anything. Even if they don't end up resenting you, they will be doing things for the wrong reason -- because mom made them -- and not learn valuable relationship skills.

I have a similar dynamic between my children who are two years apart. The older is dominant and sometimes manipulative, and they love to play with each other. I'm sensitive to what I see between them because my younger sister was very dominant and has a strong personality and I felt I lived in her shadow (but we still always got a long well and are neighbors as adults. I point out to my kids what wonderful friends siblings can be). I sometimes wish my parents had stepped in a little and offered some parental guidance. So I step in sparingly, mostly by private conversations, teaching them individually how to interact with others. If I give both my kids a piece of licorice, the older one gobbles his up and then talks his little sister into giving him half of hers that is left. So I've pointed out to my son that he is taking advantage of her and talked to him about being less greedy and more generous with others. And I've asked him to back off when she says no and stop trying to talk her into everything, that that it isn't kind and respectful. He has responded well since he has a very sweet heart and wants to be good.

I teach my extremely caring and generous daughter very differently, since she already has the compassionate thing down. I tell it's nice that she's sweet, but it's important to stand up for herself and not let people take advantage of her. It's good to be concerned about others, but I've taught her to respond to her brother when he's acting/talking nicely, and to ignore his behavior if he's throwing a fit (she is easily influenced by tears). It's okay to want to keep her candy for herself. It's not selfish to consider your own needs. It's okay and very important to take care of yourself and not let other people push her around. I've taught her things she can say to her brother to tell him she needs respect and it's her turn for something, and I've taught him to try to recognize that on his own. When I hear her occasionally stand up to her brother, I love knowing that she does have a voice, a little fire inside her, some boundaries she will enforce when she feels she's being violated. She just has very few boundaries and is accommodating by nature, so it's not often that she feels the need to stand up to him. I wanted to manage things too much but I've realized, with my husband's help, to just accept the fact that she's okay with many of the things I wouldn't be okay with. We are all different, and it's a good thing we've got the movers and shakers and a good thing we've got people who are perfectly content going with the flow.

1 mom found this helpful

My younger sister is 4 years younger than I am. I did NOT always want her around, and I definitely resented it when I was forced to play with her. ESPECIALLY when I had to take her with me when I went with my friends. Ugh. I hate to admit it, but I started bullying her quite a bit out of that resentment, until she didn't WANT to hang out with me any more. I actually traumatized her on a few things (like, ditching her in a graveyard right before dark, after telling her that souls of dead bodies could take over her body... Yeah, that was pretty messed up. lol.)

The funny thing is, after my parents stopped forcing the issue, we had a lot more fun together. We would play 'my level' games AND 'her level' games. One thing that may help is to buy things they can both be interested in... like board games or nail polish and makeup... stuff like that. Some of our best times were had were of giving each other makeovers. ;) (As long as they aren't wearing it out of the house... I see no problem with kids that young wearing makeup. I know some parents disagree, but it's just for fun.) Let them direct their own relationship... even if it doesn't seem like they are playing 'fair' to you.

My sister and I are now fairly close. I don't think we would even be friends now though, if we had been forced to continue on the path our parents initially tried to force us on.

1 mom found this helpful

My mom forced me to play with my younger sister all my life, we are only 14 months apart. even as teenagers she would force me to go to my sister's parties to "keep an eye on her". I was always the chaperone and I was freaking 15 years old! that backfired in so many ways so many times.
This completely destroyed my relationship with both my sister and my mother and I resent my mom to this day for destroying my relationship with the only sibling I have. And my sister resents me for sticking my nose in her business and being compared to me all her life.

now I'm 36 and I'm always the third wheel and my mom lives with my sister and her family, helping her raise her children and always there for her. she might as well have only one child because we don't see or talk to each other that much. I'm ALWAYS left out of the loop...

whatever you do, don't force playtime. good luck,

1 mom found this helpful

When my sister and I were that age(she is older) we still played together and she, too was immature. Mom never set a time limit or had any structure similar like what have. You may have to discuss compromising on playtime but also understand and make sure the youngest understands that any daay now the oldest might start pulling away. My sister was in 8th grade when we stopped playing together and started fighting-we never were really friends until after high school again:). Now we are besties-like old times!
Just had a thought-maybe the oldest daughter's attitude toward the younger one regarding playtime is her starting to pull away? Maybe she shouldn' feel compelled to play with younger sis-not saying you are forcing the issue but maybe the oldest percieves that she is being made to.

1 mom found this helpful

I think the "siblings as playmates" things only lasts so long. Once the kids are old enough to have their own set of friends and/or are in different age/development/interest brackets, I don't think it's fair to make them play with each other.

Don't they have friends, or activities, where they associate with kids their own age? It seems kind of odd to make kids at such different stages/ages play with each other day in & day out and have a forced schedule set up.

Plan playdates, activities, etc.

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