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to encourage dd to play as nicely with her sibling as her friends?

(32 Posts)
PuffyPigeon Tue 25-Mar-14 12:42:09

Dd is 7, her sister is almost 2. Dd1 has always shared and played nicely with other children, she's always taken turns and been polite, usually being over generous or kind so people like her.

However, with dd2 she's the opposite. Dd2 adores her and went running into her room this morning, saying hello to her only for dd1 to snap: 'don't even think about getting in my bed.' Dd2 and I turned to get ready, dd1 ignored dd2 when she asked if she was coming. Dd2 was playing with teddies when dd1 came in and started whinging that dd2 had one of hers. It was a teddy I'd found at the bottom of a toy box that dd1 has ignored for at least a year. She pretended to play with dd2 then slowly sat on said teddy and sneaked it into her pyjama top so she could hide it from dd2.

Dd2 started crying because she couldn't find it and dd1 pretended she was clueless. It sounds petty but it's constant little things that build up. Sometimes she's great and if dd2 asks for something she's got she finds her something else she'd like instead rather than just saying no. But then other times I'll be getting dd2 dressed and dd1 will whinge that I never help her but always dd2. I do give dd1 one on one time but find her meanness to dd2 hard to see.

I was discussing it with a friend and said I'd reward kindness but punish meanness in dd from now on as I believe she's capable of playing nicely with dd2 if she can play nicely with friends of all ages. My friend said I'm being unrealistic and should just get used to this as it's what siblings are like. Aibu to think that's unacceptable?

YANBU to encourage it......maybe a little U to expect it though. At the end of the day it is the way of siblings, familiarity breeds contempt and all that.

As long as they get along and play nicely some of the time I suppose is key although there is quite a gap between the 2 so I can't imagine they play properly together anyway. I think at 7, a 2 yo is just an annoyance and really she won't play with her as she would her friends as obviously her friends are nearer her own age.

gamerchick Tue 25-Mar-14 12:49:57

In my experience younger siblings get tortured by the older until they're big enough and sick enough to snap and hoof big sibling all over the house to make them stop. (A figure of speech and not literally before somebody stamps on my head).

Personally I wouldn't punish as that might exacerbate any jealously she has towards her little sibling but I would intervene when necessary and encourage nice play as well as recognising that big sister might not want to be bothered on occasion.

I also explain that the little one will worship big sister and to be patient sometimes.

PuffyPigeon Tue 25-Mar-14 12:50:29

Dd1 wants to play with dd2 the majority of the time, actually. Dd2 plays nicely independently and dd1 will badger her until she goes to play with her.

Flicktheswitch Tue 25-Mar-14 12:53:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Flexiblefriend Tue 25-Mar-14 12:54:32

Yes definitely encourage her to play nicely but I do think you are expecting a bit much. Do you have siblings. Did you really play nicely with them all the time? I know I didn't, my sister and I would spend ages winding each other up, although we got on really well at other times. You have to remember friends are not there all the time, and siblings know exactly how to push each others buttons.

MexicanSpringtime Tue 25-Mar-14 12:56:22

Your older child is still quite small, no matter how big she looks beside her sister. I say this because I find people sometimes expect too much from a child just because they are bigger than the other children.

And is it always dd1 who is at fault? Little brothers/sisters catch on very young that they can do whatever they want and the big sister/brother will always carry the can. A problem your dd1 will not have with other children.

PuffyPigeon Tue 25-Mar-14 12:57:20

That's how I think flick. Dd1 will be mean to dd2 by taking her belongings or something then two minutes later call her away from what she's doing to go and play with her. Of course, because dd2 adores her she will do so forgetting what just happened but I've pointed out that if she carries on being horrible to dd2 then as she gets older she'll choose not to play with her.

PuffyPigeon Tue 25-Mar-14 13:01:54

Flexible she's kind to her friends six hours every day at school. She sees dd2 for half that time by the time after school activities are factored in.

Mexican dd2 is so far very good. If dd1 leaves a toy lying around, even if its something dd2 likes too, she'll go and return it to dd1. Dd1 will take it without thanking her and put it out of reach. If dd2 had started playing with it however, she'd have started moaning that dd2 'always takes her things.'

BarbarianMum Tue 25-Mar-14 13:02:11

I think if she wants to play with her little sister then of course she should play nicely but I don't think she should be expected to play with her, or give her her toys (even if you feel she never plays with them). Telling her to keep things that she doesn't want to share in her bedroom and teaching dd2 not to go in unless invited may be the way forward here.
Personally I still find it painful if ds1 doesn't find ds2 as lovely as I do but suspect I'm being unreasonable there.

2rebecca Tue 25-Mar-14 13:04:02

I agree that your expectations are unrealistic. 7 year olds are rarely friends with 2 year olds. Also if the teddy she confiscated was actually hers then I don't see why that is being mean, I think you were unfair to give it to DD2 without asking DD1 first, it wasn't your toy to reallocate. If DD1 took something of DD2s and DD2 wanted it back I'm sure you'd ask her to return it so DD2 wouldn't need to sit on it to reclaim it.
We used to fight regularly and were regularly sent to our seperate bedrooms to restore order to the house and calm down.
We now get on really well but maybe get DD2 to give DD1 some privacy in her bedroom and ask her before giving away her stuff.

Nohootingchickenssleeping Tue 25-Mar-14 13:07:48

Does DD1 have her own space to play with her own toys in? Does she get enough time with you alone?

Scholes34 Tue 25-Mar-14 13:25:01

Certainly unreasonable to accept that this I what siblings are like. You've just got to keep reinforcing the fact that you expect mutual respect of each other and each other's belongings and if that's the atmosphere they grow up in, it will hopefully stick.

wigglesrock Tue 25-Mar-14 13:26:39

Yes, but you pick your friends, you don't have a choice with your siblings. It's quite a big age gap. I tell mine off (they're 8, 6 & 3 - all girls) for being unkind to each other & I won't tolerate name calling/ meanness etc but my eldest doesn't have to play with my youngest just because the youngest wants her to.

I am fully aware that my 3 year old can push & push her older sisters. I have a younger sister, I still remember my mum making us play together, I felt quite resentful.

PuffyPigeon Tue 25-Mar-14 13:27:54

Yes dd1 has a big bedroom to herself but never wants to play alone, she always wants to play with dd2 and she gets a bit of time alone with me every day and a full day once a month or so.

2rebecca she only realised the teddy was originally hers when she asked where dd2 had got it from, assuming she'd bought it recently. Reclaiming it, therefore, is just plain selfish as it's just for the sake of it. Dd2 would return something to dd1 without complaint, but I don't want everything segregated into belonging to one child or another. Bar personal, sentimental or delicate belongings I think things should be shared and turns taken.

DrankSangriaInThePark Tue 25-Mar-14 13:30:11

A five year difference at that age is like expecting me to be best friends with a 14 yr old. It is not going to happen.

Sounds to me like you are putting a lot of pressure on someone who is still very much a little girl herself to take responsibility for entertaining someone she is so much bigger than, that they have nothing in common apart from being sisters.

PuffyPigeon Tue 25-Mar-14 13:30:13

To reiterate - it is my older daughter who always wants to play with the younger one, not the other way round.

MexicanSpringtime Tue 25-Mar-14 13:41:34

Puffy Pigeon: she only realised the teddy was originally hers when she asked where dd2 had got it from, assuming she'd bought it recently. Reclaiming it, therefore, is just plain selfish as it's just for the sake of it.

Of course you don't want her to be selfish, but I am sixty years old and if I saw someone else with something I liked and then found out it had originally been mine and been given away behind my back... !!!!

It is impossible for two children to get on together all the time, but don't set dd1 up to fail.

PuffyPigeon Tue 25-Mar-14 13:44:52

It isn't given away just because someone else is playing with it!

DrankSangriaInThePark Tue 25-Mar-14 14:16:03


She is jealous.

She had your undivided attention for 5 yrs. Then didn't.

And now, there's this wee cratur, who looks like a doll, so sometimes she wants to play with her. But sometimes, like when the littler one goes in to dd in the morning, she doesn't. I think she has the right to say that.

You really are setting them both up for a lifetime of resentment unless you cut your older daughter some slack.

My friend has 2 girls, one of 12 and one of 9. The younger one is really babied, and the older one gets blamed for absolutely everything. As an outside I can see the unfairness of it sometimes and have pointed it out to my friend (who does agree with me).

Most of the time though they are fine and yes the older one will make do with the younger ones company when there is nothing better on offer.

Be impartial and try and see it from DD1's POV as well......the younger ones get manipulative very early on so even though she is only 2 she def knows how to work things to her advantage.

PuffyPigeon Tue 25-Mar-14 20:55:40

Drank she does h

PuffyPigeon Tue 25-Mar-14 20:58:35

Drank she has the right to say it, yes, but there are ways of talking kindly and respectfully - there's no need to be rude. I'm very much of the school that you treat people how you'd like to be treated. If dd2 told dd1 to go away from her/her bed/her room dd1 would come moaning to me.

Pinkcustardpurplecustard Tue 25-Mar-14 21:00:27

Rewards. Find daily reward she can have for being nice to siblings. Up the one to one time and ensure you talk nicely to her.

RandomMess Tue 25-Mar-14 21:03:43

I would recommend reading "Siblings without rivalry" it will help you manage your expectations and foster a good relationship with them. Most of all your dd1 probably both loves and resents her little sister you need to help her manage those feelings and know that both are valid and normal.

I'd recommend that book to everyone btw!

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