Older Sisters and Younger Brothers

Updated on August 01, 2013
M.T. asks from Chandler, AZ
8 answers

I have a 13 yr old and a 10 yr old.They really want nothing to do with each other.She is nicer to her 2 younger sisters but not her younger brother.She will just start argueing with him etc. We used to make them play for 10 minutes a day but have fallen out of it.My sisters were horrlble to me growing up but now we're the best of friends. We were allowed to be as mean as we wanted to with each other.Do you force kids to do things together? I don't want to tolerate bad behavior but I also want to understand the 13 yr old. Advice?

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answers from Portland on

My grandchildren are a girl, 13, a boy, 10. They have nothing in common except living in the same family. Why should they play together? They are exexpected to show respect. Even that is difficult for them and we adults to monitor and teach.

I suggest that you expect them to get along in whatever way works for them. Help them find a way. Require respect but don't try to force them to play together or even do chores together. Doing so will only increase their anger. They will need to be together just because they live together. Learning how to do that gracefully is difficult enough.

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answers from Jacksonville on

I would imagine it is fairly normal for a teen girl (she's what? going into 8th grade?) to want her space away from her 10 yr old little brother (who's going into 5th? Is that right?)

8th grade is pretty drama filled for a lot of girls. How do her friends treat their siblings?

I would not force them to play together. But you can encourage it gently. As far as "doing things together"? I don't know what you are trying to say. Do you mean like working together on chores? Do you mean like taking them to movies together? Do you mean actually playing together?

My son and daughter are the same age difference, but my son is older than my daughter (so the reverse of your situation). They are our only 2. So no other younger sibs. They get along well for the most part. Son is 15, and is really hitting the "I'm too cool to hang out with anybody in the family" stage. He's a little moody and grumpy quite a lot these days. But that doesn't mean he is allowed to be mean to his younger sister. He doesn't HAVE to do things 'with' her, but he isn't allowed to be rude to her. They aren't opposites. Totally different things is what they are.

But, they do chores "together" sort of. She sets the table, and he makes the drink glasses for dinner. He takes the kitchen garbage out and she puts a new liner in the can. Etc. They accomplish things as a team, but work independently.

Try to keep the things they must actually do truly together, fun things. And recognize that hormones are playing a role now. Your daughter may just be grumpy and moody some, and it's ok for you to call her out on that. Don't expect miracles, but don't allow her to be rude to family, either. Basic manners ALWAYS apply.

We have NEVER "made" our kids play together. They usually do so on their own as they see fit. Some days it is a lot. Some days it is not. They are different people with different interests, but they can still make each laugh and have fun. They have inside jokes between them. But she loves to curl up with a good book for hours or play on the piano. He would rather wander around outside or play video games/watch movies sometimes. Or re-build skateboards switching out wheels and such. To each his own.

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answers from Washington DC on

i would have murdered someone if i'd been forced to play with my next-younger brother when we were kids. really. don't do that.
you can insist on civil behavior, but you can't force liking.
i fought like a banshee with that particular brother, and when we were very small, unending battles with my older one. we're all quite close now.
you can't make kids get along. as the mom you CAN and should expect and demand courtesy and reasonableness.

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answers from Baton Rouge on

You cannot make children like each other, even if they're related. And trying to force a 13-year-old girl to "play" with a 10-year-old boy is just not going to work. At that age, they might as well be different species from different planets.
You can make them be polite to each other, but that's it.

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answers from Washington DC on

My kids are 6, 8, and 10...two boys and the oldest is a girl. They mostly get along and do things together, but not always. If it gets too bad, they all take a time out. I don't force them to play together, but I encourage it.

My kids are very in to sports (6 = football, 8 = baseball, 10 = dance). All 3 will do all 3 activities and take turns. As my daughter gets older I see more changes in her with what she will do, but she still plays with her brothers.

I wouldn't ever force it though. They do have to be kind to one another whether they like each other at the moment or not.

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answers from St. Louis on

She probably argues more because she thinks it is unfair that you force her to be nice.

Obviously if we go out as a family they are being forced to do things together but other than that no, just because you are siblings doesn't mean you have to be friends all the time. All that does is make them angry and they always take it out on their sib when it should be directed at the parent forcing the issue.

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answers from Seattle on

I occasionally do have my children play with one another. However, it is never forced as much as just pointed out that it would be a nice thing to do. My daughter is 9 & my son is 6. They're as close as they can be considering their age gap and my son's ability, autism. I know they are at two completely different places in life and do not always want to play with or be around one another. However, I also know it is imperative that, at least while living at home, they try their best to be friends. I'm lucky that they are.

I am also very close to my younger brother whom is 7 years my junior. He and I have always been close. Try to foster the relationship between your children and also allow for differences and freedom from each other. Definitely make it known that the 10 year old treating the 13 year old meanly will not be tolerated. There is a difference between typical sibling rivalry and downright meanness.


answers from Chicago on

My 11 yr old daughter is mean to her 7 yr old brother, but nice to her 3 yr old brother (most of the time). She has been jealous and resentful of the 7 yr old since the day he was born. I don't force them to play together. I try to encourage it, but it usually never lasts for more than five minutes before they're fighting. I give consequences for the nasty words, but nothing seems to help. I hope that they will be close as adults, but only time will tell.

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