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To wish my two sons had more in common?

(19 Posts)
lecce Fri 04-Apr-14 20:11:41

They are 4 & just 7. I was an only child and, until the age of 12ish, always wanted a sibling. For a while last year they seemed to play really well together, but now, as they get older, it seems they have less and less in common.

It is so frustrating in that ds2 seems to go out of his way to dislike anything that ds1 likes and takes great delight in refusing when ds1 asks him to play. Ds1 for his part seems determined to have ds2 play with him when he can see that it's not going to happen - like some sort of masochist smile.

At the moment, it seems all ds2 wants to do is sing along to Horrible Histories female-sung songs while wearing a dress, and all ds1 wants to do is whine that ds2 won't play with him and that he's lonely, or wants to play things like chess that require require adult help.

Dh has MS (is pretty well atm but tires pretty easily), is working from home while being a SAHD and has a poorly df in another city, and I am a f/t teacher so time and energy are not plentiful. In addition, ds2 is still recovering from a fractured leg so is not completely mobile.

I don't know - am just finding this stage of parenting tough and wondering why the two of them don't get on better. What do people who know more about siblings think?

126sticks Fri 04-Apr-14 20:33:10

It is possible that you are projecting a little.

But they are a the stage where DS2 for example cannot join in with chess.

I think I would encourage and sometimes insist that DS2 plays with his older brother. Something that DS2 can actually manage though!

EmpressOfJurisfiction Fri 04-Apr-14 20:36:54

Also it's early yet. DSis and I (6 year gap) didn't really get on until I left for university but we're very close now.

Bowlersarm Fri 04-Apr-14 20:42:24

My three DSes are chalk, cheese, and .....chocolate. No similarities whatsoever. I hope they have the bind of 'family' , other than that, there is no hope. All way too different. A huge gene pool, and no dipping into the same pool from our experience.

myitchybeaver Fri 04-Apr-14 20:43:12

I think siblings are no more likely to get on than any two random people in life. When I look at both mine and DH's family, neither of us have a history of close siblings.

I don't really expect mine to get on, just kind of hope they will as they get older, or at the very least appreciate having each other.

Writerwannabe83 Fri 04-Apr-14 20:53:21

My sister has children with the same age gap as yours OP although they are different sexes. They used to get on really well but now the 7year old (the boy) seems to hate his sister. They are always arguing!! He often says he wishes she didn't exist and wished he was an only child! I think the issue is that she just wants to play with him but he finds her childishness very, very annoying. I struggle to be in the same room as both of them to be honest - it's just constant bickering!

There's only 1 year and 3 weeks between me and my sister and we grew up incredibly close as we went through the same stages of life together and had the same interests and friends etc.

My DH has a brother (who is 3 years younger than him) and they have absolutely no contact with each other. They never got on from when they were young. His brother didn't even come to our Wedding. I think there is mutual hatred on both sides.

Sibling relationships are a gamble - some work and some don't.

I always said that if I were to have more than one child I would have my 2nd very quickly in order to keep the age gap as small as possible as I genuinely think this works in favour of whether siblings form good bonds or not - however this is solely based on my own experience with my sister.

cloggal Fri 04-Apr-14 21:02:19

My DB and I are like chalk and cheese, but as adults are very close, whereas DH and his very superficially similar DB aren't. Admittedly there are other family issues at play but I think sometimes similarity breeds competition, whereas my brother and I were very relaxed about that.

It's a complete gamble, as writer said. This could be a phase. Your boys sound great.

itsmeitscathy Fri 04-Apr-14 21:41:13

My sister and I were chalk and cheese as kids - same age gap. She would NEVER play with me. She's my best friend now. Chin up, give them time!

NewtRipley Fri 04-Apr-14 21:47:38

Yup, mine were like that. It's not uncommon for siblings to deliberately, or unconsciously, distinguish themselves from each other to assert their individuality and not compete.

My two are very different in temperament, abilities, and to some extent, interests - the interests part is the bit they have some control over as I mentioned above. It's actually a great advantage that they now celebrate their difference and don't compete (they are 13 and 10)

My advice: don't expect them to be best buddies, don't allow one to encroach on the other because it's convenient for you. Don't project your fantasies of what siblings should be onto them. Expect politeness and respect, and hopefully a greater closeness will come later. They are at very different developmental stages.

The best thing you can do to encourage closeness is to do things they both enjoy together as a family, and to have time alone with each of them And relax

NewtRipley Fri 04-Apr-14 21:49:22


I thought my older one would always hate his younger brother. They used to fight like cat and dog. Now I know they will continue to have ups and downs, but I have seen that both of them will help and support each other when one of them is down.

DramaAlpaca Fri 04-Apr-14 21:55:45

I know it doesn't help now, but give it time, they may well grow much closer as they grow up. I think they are at the stage where the age gap seems bigger than it is and the younger one is not yet developmentally able to do the same things as his big brother, such as playing chess.

My three DSs used to fight a lot when they were small, but now they are late teens & early twenties they have become much closer, even though on the surface they don't have much in common. They still annoy each other at times, but it is obvious that they do genuinely like each others company and choose to spend time together.

MarthasHarbour Fri 04-Apr-14 21:56:36

Oh dear your thread title made me shudder as this is what my DM says even now. I am 41, my DSis's are 34 and 32.

We just dont get on as 'friends'. Never have done and it drives my DM mad. My Dsis's are close-ish but my DM still tries to push us all together to be mates and it isnt going to happen. I have never had anything in common with them, mainly due to the age gap but also due to the fact that we are just different. I always think that my DM should be happy that she has 3 individual DD's but she doesnt see it that way.

Whilst i do sympathise with your DH's position - it cant be easy looking after two young independent boys whilst managing your own MS - i would let the boys just be who they are, they dont have to be best friends. I would be encouraging their independence.


MarthasHarbour Fri 04-Apr-14 21:57:30

disclaimer - i do love my DSis's and would do anything for them - we just aren't best friends wink

exexpat Fri 04-Apr-14 21:59:25

I found this quite useful reading when DS was being absolutely foul to his little sister: Siblings without rivalry.

No magic solutions, but it's not exactly an unusual problem, and it does seem to get better as they get older in most cases.

NewtRipley Fri 04-Apr-14 22:00:43


Me too

I actually think my two have got on better and better as they have got older. There was none of that "Oh X loves his little brother!" when DS2 was a baby. But it has grown

Glitterandglue Fri 04-Apr-14 22:02:27

Not a helpful response, but I am giggling at how specific your DS2's current interest is. Not dressing up in dresses, not singing female-sung songs, not Horrible Histories recreations - but all three! Bless 'im.

The difficulty there is just like it would be with any two random people - they just don't have that many shared interests, so trying to shove them together to do things will end in resentment and/or war.

Okay, to try being useful: Maybe you could try getting them both to write down a list (well, maybe you or DH writing) of all the things they like to do, even down to 'watch X DVD' or 'build stuff with boxes' and then see what overlaps, and maybe show them what things they might be able to enjoy together and kind of help them along. Direct it a little so for example if it's making a den, give DS2 the job of collecting sheets/chairs etc, give DS1 the job of designing it, and then let them get on with it.

NewtRipley Fri 04-Apr-14 22:03:52


That's really helpful

Mine loved to build dens. I bought a couple of toys that were specifically shared toys so they practised sharing and taking turns

badidea Fri 04-Apr-14 22:07:37

I don't think the age gap is the issue, they're both different and you've said they've got on in the past, it might just be that at 4, DS2 is trying to assert his independence by disagreeing iwth everything his brother wants. In a years time, it could be completely different.

I was the youngest of 5 in my family, and there are 7 years between me and my next sibling, but I am close to them all. There is only 15 months between 2 of my sisters and they have never gotten on - totally different personalities and they always have been - I don't think age gaps determine closeness or similar interests, it's all pot luck.

I've got a 3.9yrs age gap between my 2 boys, eldest is 4.5 just now and does love his baby brother, but I fully expect that to change when his little brother becomes less cute and more of a PITA to him! I just hope they'll both come out of the other side okay.

LetTheRiverAnswer Fri 04-Apr-14 22:23:59

No advice, but lots of sympathy. My eldest two (5 and 3) occassionally get on now, but are so much in the habit of being rivals that they very readily slip back into being mean to each other without any real rsason or even trigger. Very tiring and fustrating but I think there are perhaps a few signs of hope as they get older. Its better than it was, because how it was was so very very bad, iyswim.
What makes it worse is that I seem to hear from everyone else how great it is that their children adore each other, have a special bond, are the best of friends and will play together for hours etc.
I have to remember that my mum says the ssme things about me and my sister, and I definitely remember rolling around the floor fighting and seething with hatred after arguing with each other.

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