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to ask if anyone else has s huge age gap between their kids? I have 9 years between mine and I'm really struggling!

(56 Posts)
Marilynmansonsthermos Sat 06-Apr-19 22:47:49

Anyone else in the same boat? 9 years between dd and ds. Was ok the first couple of years, but now dd has hit puberty and they both seem to actively dislike eachother and have zero in common. Dd 12, ds 3. There are barely any activities for them to do together so struggling with ideas for days out. They both have totally different needs and they both need individual time but I wish we could spend more time together as a family. Feel like I've made a mess of things and wish I had had them closer together sad if anyone else is in a similar situation and has any tips or advice I would appreciate it so much ..

NutMeghan Sat 06-Apr-19 22:52:03

Wouldn't you just do what the oldest one wants/likes and the youngest just goes along. Cinema wouldn't be possible but other activities would be ok wouldn't they?

I don't think you can expect the 12 year old to do typical 3 year old activities like soft play etc

hayf Sat 06-Apr-19 22:54:54

I feel like you have to embrace their differences and not try and treat them as the same. They're vastly different in age, it will reduce over time but your eldest is particularly sensitive to what people think right now and it's normal to be wanting his own friends. If I were you I'd sit down with the older one and talk through what they want and what they feel they can share with the little one

Haworthia Sat 06-Apr-19 22:55:03

There’s 10.5 years between me and my brother, so I know what you mean. Although we never had a typical sibling relationship (it’s kind of impossible with such a big age gap) I do think of it as like both being only children, but with the bonus of actually having a sibling smile Yes, he got on my nerves when I was a teen but we never fought. That’s a bonus - there’s nothing to fight over!

Now we’re adults the dynamic is different but we’re still sort of a generation apart. He’s 28 and I’m 39 this year. But we get on and we love each other.

You haven’t made a mess of things!

MrsBlondie Sat 06-Apr-19 22:55:56

I have 6.5 years between mine. 12 and 6 now. We still do things together. Country parks, cinema, trampoline. Parks. Meet with friends etc.
They get on mostly though TBH.

steff13 Sat 06-Apr-19 22:56:25

Mine are 20, 17, and 8. My older two are boys, and they were (and are) very into video games. We would usually take our daughter somewhere (the park, the zoo, museums, etc.) and they were welcome to come if they wanted. They would choose to go about half the time. We also did geocaching and letterboxing as a family.

Soontobe60 Sat 06-Apr-19 23:02:50

9 years between mine. At 3 and 12 we would do different things such as a zoo trip, wacky warehouse, cinema, bowling. Often, DH would take one and I'd take the other so they did have lots of 1:1 time. If it was a younger outing we would let the eldest bring a friend.
They were less close when the youngest was a teen. Now they are very close as early 20s/30s.
The eldest would help the youngest get ready for bed, read a story, sing silly songs then have a couple of hours with us when her sibling was asleep. She would love getting up early and watching kids tv at the weekend too!

MsAwesomeDragon Sat 06-Apr-19 23:03:14

I've got 10 years between my dds. They're now 19 and 9.

When they were younger I mostly took dd1 to her activities and dd2 came too, but didn't participate. We didn't really do much as a whole family, bar the occasional big day out at a zoo or something. It was often me doing things with dd2 during the day (in school holidays because I work term time) and then leaving her with DH while I did stuff with dd1 in the evenings.

Both of them have had to compromise at times and just get on with the fact that life isn't all about them. There really aren't many things they both want to do as activities (this is getting better now actually, as we can do things like bowling or cinema to see a pg/12a ). That happens with siblings close in age too though. My niece's are only 18 months apart but they are like chalk and cheese, never want to do the same things either.

Tahitiitsamagicalplace Sat 06-Apr-19 23:06:01

There are 9 years between my two and I think it's a perfect age gap! smile Embrace it! Don't make the eldest go to toddler things, and don't drag the toddler to places he'll get bored just to try and appease your dd. There are things you can do with both of them - the zoo, country parks, bike rides, museums, the beach, etc.

I find the toughest part is making sure my eldest gets enough attention. But we have little coffee or cinema dates just us two, which is nice. With such a big age gap, your children don't need to have much in common. They aren't going to have similar interests at all, so don't try and force it. They'll develop their own bond, quite different from "close in age" siblings, but it doesn't mean it's not as special.

EleanorOalike Sat 06-Apr-19 23:09:52

There’s 19 years between me and my oldest brother and 11 between me the youngest brother.

I’m not at all close to either. My big brother really resented me being born and was quite cruel to me despite already being an adult.

I think it’s hard for siblings with such an age gap to be close as they don’t have anything in common age wise. It may get better when they are adults though.

Jjacobb Sat 06-Apr-19 23:13:01

My dc are 31, 18 and 11.
Eldest has left home now but when they were younger we tended to do what suited the older child and younger ones were happy to join in. So dog walks, farm visits, fun fairs, swimming, circus.
Nowadays the youngest loves having sleepovers at her big sisters house.
I worried about them having nothing in common when they were younger but it gets better as they get older.

Taneartagam Sat 06-Apr-19 23:16:12

7 years between mine and yes I remember those years when I couldn't do anything to suit both. We ended up suiting the younger more often and then I would take a day off to take the elder for lunch and a film for being such a great big sister, they are fine now at 10 and 17 but i think 2- 5/ 9-12 were the hardest years.

WYP2018 Sat 06-Apr-19 23:27:07

I have a 9 and 11 year old...and a 2 year old. I’m lucky that the older two love playing with the youngest and in a way it’s given them an excuse to be young for a few more years, eg. they will come along to soft play and end up tearing around the biggest playframes themselves. The youngest does have to get dragged to the older kids’ activities though, that’s just how it is. She spends more time playing on my phone than I’d like.
I find the older kids get on better with the youngest than they do with each other, the rivalry between them is intense and drives me insane at times. So a small age gap can be a pain in the arse too!

PlatypusPie Sat 06-Apr-19 23:28:59

My brother and I were nearly 9 years apart ( him the elder). It was rather like being sequential only children - he seemed like one of the grown ups by the time I was old enough to really consider age. He was lovely to me, very kind and I have never had an argument with him in my life. He taught me to ride a bike on the roads and play tennis. He was very good looking and glamorous in his teens and my friends all had crushes on him. So, not a typical sibling relationship!

But our parents didn’t try to do too many activities with us together, apart from normal family routine and occasions - I can’t see how that would have worked, with our very different interests and stages of life.

The age gap narrowed as we grew older - at one point, when he was going through a marital breakdown, I felt like I was the older sister, giving him advice and perspective. We are great friends and I can talk to him about anything.

keenwasalad Sat 06-Apr-19 23:32:57

DS is an only and is 15. I'm seriously considering another now so I'm watching this thread very interested.
Am I crazy for even considering it?!

Boom45 Sat 06-Apr-19 23:46:35

I'm from a big family (Spanish, Catholic - you get the picture). There's 15 years between my oldest and youngest sister, I'm in the middle.
We tended to do stuff to "suit" the eldest that was around (because of the age gaps it wasn't usual that all of us went out together) and the younger ones did their stuff alone. We did a lot of going walking because that meant we could find stuff that suited us.
If it helps at all i am probably closest to my youngest sister who is 9 years younger than me, we have always been close but as adults we get on really well - she's one of my favourite people.

Boom45 Sat 06-Apr-19 23:49:33

And also, i know some people are very against asking older siblings to look after their younger siblings but my parents gave me a lot of responsibility for my younger brothers and sisters (with always the option of saying no) and it i loved it. I felt so grown up and it was great fun being involved in teaching them about stuff

HalfBloodPrincess Sat 06-Apr-19 23:55:08

Mine are 15, 14 and 1yr 9months, and due #4 in May.

Other than swimming and crafts/messy play they don’t really ‘do’ much together, but I’ve let my oldest take him to the park at the end of the street a few times which they both enjoyed

Dutch1e Sat 06-Apr-19 23:59:01

16 years between my kids. It is like raising two only children but I'm lucky that they adore each other

MadameJosephine Sun 07-Apr-19 00:07:47

Dutch1e I could have written your post word for word! DS is 22 and DD is 6 and I worried that they would be too far apart but they are very close. DD tells me she loves her brother more than me and her dad put together times a million

QueenArseClangers Sun 07-Apr-19 00:10:32

There’s only me and my brother and we have a 27 year age gap!

With my own DC there’s 14 years between the eldest and youngest but with 3 others in between.

Mammyloveswine Sun 07-Apr-19 00:17:27

Queenarse how is there a 27 year age gap if you dont mind me asking? How old were your parents when they had your sibling?

Ginseng1 Sun 07-Apr-19 00:29:09

Like another poster above mine 11,9&2. The big 2 always bickering n competitive with each other but will do anything for the 2 year old n she loves them. It gives the big ones an excuse to be childish again. I know though as they get older things will change. We do tend to do what the olders want n she's happy to tag along at the moment & Often dh n I split up for activities especially for some days on holidays.

BlueSlipperSocks Sun 07-Apr-19 00:36:02

25 years between my eldest and youngest. Never been a problem. Youngest dd absolutely adores her elder brother and vice versa.

WidowTwonky Sun 07-Apr-19 01:05:23

It’s really tough, especially if you don’t have a partner to help out. Youngest needs to be out everyday - park, soft play...general toddler activities. It’s fine if there’s someone to watch the eldest but if not then what do you do? Leave them home alone? Drag them along?
It’s tough OP, I get that

marylou1977 Sun 07-Apr-19 01:36:34

My kids are 13 years apart. They were always close and are still close. It was a mind boggle, though, to see your college student drive away with your kindergartener.

RedHatsDoNotSuitMe Sun 07-Apr-19 02:41:43

Firstly, me and my DSis are 23 months apart,and fought like cat and dog when we were kids, so don't go thinking that being close in age = close. It doesn't necessarily. It could just mean rivalry.

Second, my DM and DAunt are 10 years apart (WW2) and my DH and his dearly missed DB are also 10 years apart (--my ILs rarely had sex!--)

I think sibs struggle with each other when they're young. But appreciate each other much more in adulthood. So hold tight, and good luck!

Rezie Sun 07-Apr-19 09:06:05

Im the youngest and my brothers are 12 and 16 years older than me. I feel like we had enough of a age difference so it
Didn't matter. Same goes for the peo9le comemmenting on 20+ age differneces.
They were old enough to understand that I was small and had enough patience with with me and the parents. We are all really close and do things together all the time as adults. When the older kids are adults it's not necessary to have similar family activities and there is different maturity to go to soft play that with a 12yo.

I think one good way is that older child could bring a friend to some things. Also things like museums, sports etc. That are not dependent on age.

onlyconnect Sun 07-Apr-19 09:21:10

I think you are at the most difficult point just now with two children still (ie not independent) but different needs. In two years' time at the most your older child will be doing her own thing more, being with friends etc or can be left at home alone. I have two children 8.5 years apart who don't get on. The elder seems to think the younger is favoured. I'm as sure as I can be that he's isn't.
I would talk to the older one about it and explain what the situation is. Point out the advantages she gets being older ( which may be things like later bedtime, pocket money, hobbies/ clubs or whatever it is).
I know that some people think siblings shouldn't be asked to look after each other but I think it's a very natural thing as long as it's not overdone. You could point out to your eldest that in a couple of years' time she could earn some pocket money babysitting. We leave ours (now 14 and 5) for up to an hour and a half and sometimes bung DD14 a fiver.
For now you will probably have to accept it's very tricky but very temporary but try and ask the eldest to see that and maybe help by understanding a little. She'll probably be more cooperative if she can see what's in it for her.

Sallycinammonbangsthedruminthe Sun 07-Apr-19 09:31:19

21 years apart for my two ...My 7 yr old and my 28 yr old! I have no advice for you OP except to maybe let the 12 yr old decide which way they want to take the relationship forward...Can you find a bit of common ground for bonding?Maybe ask the 12 yr old if they could help you teach the little one certain things?This gives the impression of valuing the older childs input and being helpful and responsible.So for example Hi sam you know you are brilliant at mario cart...could you please do me a favour cos I have no idea how to do it can you let tom have a go and would you teach him?or sam you know you have just done that project at school on plans and flowers?You did it amazingly I was wondering if you could take tom into the garden for me as he is getting a bit bigger now and show him what plants he can and cant touch as he needs to know what not to eat and you would be the best person to ask I thought? followed by I will just be in the kitchen putting your favourite pizza in for dinner.....kidology helps loads,! Also to recognise when older child needs space away from smaller one is vital...he is a brother and not a babysitter so if he wants to do something on his own thats really fine.You want to get to the point where he is wanting to be with his brother out of choice...I rambeled a bit but I hope it was helpful and I hope you get the drift of what I was trying to say OP!

madcatladyforever Sun 07-Apr-19 09:33:15

There is 15 years between me and my sister. Guess who babysat every single weekend while my parents went out?

DragonMamma Sun 07-Apr-19 09:40:16

There’s 24 years between me and my Dsis. I mean, there’s clearly no need for my mum to arrange activities for us but she is my 3rd child and I treat her as one of my own.

We still bickering and wind each other up like siblings do though 😊

Mocha3105 Sun 07-Apr-19 09:44:06

I'll be following this too. I've 2 DS 11 and nearly 8 and trying for a 3rd. Had been worried about the age gap and being and older mum (38)this year. So glad to know I'm not on my own!

Dana28 Sun 07-Apr-19 09:50:03

There is 10 years between my eldest and my youngest with 2 children Inbetween..let a activities didn't suit them all and that's fine ,they haven't grown up thinking the world revolves around them.they have always got on well

IVEgottheDECAF Sun 07-Apr-19 09:54:09

Dc 1 is 11
Dc 2 is 9
Dc 3 is 6
Dc 4 is 2

Out of his three younger siblings dc1 prefers the two year old! Really difficult relationship between dc1 and 3 (5 year age gap)

QueenArseClangers Sun 07-Apr-19 13:28:02

Mammy my lovely DM was 17 when she had DB then 44 when she had me. We have different fathers so she’s been both a teenage mother (and widowed then too) and a ‘geriatric’ mum too.

Rubusfruticosus Sun 07-Apr-19 13:39:44

Almost 11 years between me and a sibling. I was like a third parent when they were young, then something in between, then friends and equals from when they were 16. It's not going to be your usual sibling dynamic.

Jinxed2 Sun 07-Apr-19 13:41:45

I hear you, mine are 12, 11 and 2. I’m praying for nice weather so we can do parks, walks, farms etc. I do miss being able to take them to the cinema x

DontCallMeCharlotte Sun 07-Apr-19 13:52:26

When I was born my siblings were 11, 10, 8 and 3. The three eldest had left home by the time I was about 8 and we two youngest were like a separate "litter" altogether. As adults though, we were very close and the age gap was completely irrelevant (in fact sometimes I feel like the eldest!). They'll be fine OP smile

theworldistoosmall Sun 07-Apr-19 14:04:22

Oh I remember the puberty and toddler years. Soo many tantrums. Had a 3-year-old, 12, 13 and 15-year-old.

I took them cinema, trampolining, random walks around South Bank and other areas that would have an interest to them all. They also all loved arty stuff so we go out and do activities and of course at home.

Puberty is a hard age. They still want to do 'childish' things but don't want their mates knowing. The younger sibling was a great cover as mean mum made them go. You know what they both like. I would also get the older ones to think of stuff to do. They never really babysat for him apart from when we were doing some activities, it was their way of having fun!

Spending time with the older ones was easy, once the younger one was in bed. We also had a Friday night arrangement that we had movie and snack night once he was in bed, and the older ones went to bed when tired.

Now youngest is a teen and still really close to the older ones, and they still do things with him.

theworldistoosmall Sun 07-Apr-19 14:06:50

And for cinema at 2 and 3, we used to go to Autism friendly screenings. Not as loud or as dark. If the youngest did really start I could take him out and the older ones were fine watching.

Heymummee Sun 07-Apr-19 14:15:26

10 years between my 2 sons and the biggest issue we’ve come across is my older son finding it hard to adjust to no longer being an only child. They absolutely adore each other and we tend to do activities to suit both (we go to the park a LOT) but we always invite one of his friends along so I can entertain the baby whilst DS1 and friend play football or on the older park apparatus.
I know it will get harder as the baby gets older but by that time I imagine DS1 will want to be out with friends rather than us anyway.

Handletree Sun 07-Apr-19 14:23:33

I have an eight year age gap and do find it quite difficult. The eldest complains about going anywhere but will enjoy taking his brother off once we are there and running around with him . We do things like parks, museums, walks, zoos, gardens etc. We do baking together also and sometimes film nights but that can be difficult because the films have to be quite babyish. At a park the eldest does often go off and find his own friends. We do board games with eldest once youngest is in bed. They fight a lot because the three year old constantly tries to wind up his older brother and then the eldest teases and laughs at him if he’s disciplined. It’s quite hard. I have recently spoken to the eldest about the fact that his brother would like some attention from him and that if he wants them to have a close relationship, he needs to actually spend time with him. He does seem to want them to be close but not put any effort into that. He seems to have taken that onboard. The younger one often wants to do toys and imaginative games, but my eldest has never really played imaginatively (used to drive me insane because he can’t really entertain himself) so they tend to do physical playing instead. Hide and seek, dragging each other around the house on slippery things, bouncing each other all over the trampoline. It doesn’t happen lots and I don’t want to force it, and the eldest often wants to play out with friends instead. I tend to announce a screen free time and then they will play. We’ve also found a couple of games we can play as a family, usually with the youngest teamed up with someone. The best we’ve found recently is a scavenger hunt card game in your home. It’s simple to understand, no real rules and not much reading. They both loved it and seemed to bond a bit as a team.

There’s not much I can do - I can’t go back in time and create a smaller gap. And I definitely don’t want to force it.

Askma Sun 07-Apr-19 14:39:40

I have 13 years ish between my two, they're 19 and 6 now. It's nice, although DS questioned why DD wasn't counted as one of his parents the other day when we were going to parents evening 😂.
We tend to do a mix of things, so we might go to a wack warehouse type place, throw DS in the soft play but that will be a nice chance for me and DD to sit and have a coffee and a meal together and catch up. When they were younger there were places they'd both enjoy like the zoo or theme parks, museums etc. and we would usually let DD bring a friend a long too which helped and as she got older she'd tend to just go do her own thing more.
She helps out with her brother now and then but I don't expect her to put it ahead of her own plans. They have a lovely relationship, both only children but siblings at the same time.

Redcliff Sun 07-Apr-19 17:01:17

I have an 8 year gap and its hard to find something we all want to do. Trampoline centres are good - last school holiday we did a weekday vist with my 4 year old and the 12 year old brought a friend which worked well. We all did a walk today ending up at a lunch place and the 12 yo went home with DH while the 4 year old and me went to the park. There is the odd film that works (Lego movie being one) for cinema trips but we mostly do different things.

AdoreTheBeach Sun 07-Apr-19 18:12:53

I have similar age gap (mine are now DS32, DD23 and DD19). We did DS activities and took DD along. Things got tricky when our youngest DD was born. Then my DH went to all the sports practices/events as it was hard coping with two little ones. Days out we did do together would be walks in the forest/beach, swimming at larger leisure centres w indoor water park, bike riding (one with the child’s bike clipped onto an adult bike, youngest in a baby seat on another adult bike). We also often invited one of DS friend along if we went to amusement parks to even the seating for rides and as older, they could break away on their own to do rides the younger children couldn’t do.

ErickBroch Sun 07-Apr-19 18:15:31

I have two brothers (half brothers). I am the eldest, 8 years older than one and 15 years older than the other! I understand you are worried but are you sure they're struggling? I have never had any issues with our age gaps and I actually feel they helped.

MondeoFan Sun 07-Apr-19 19:34:25

I have a 9 year gap too and it's worked out well so far but they are both DD's.
We go cinema, ice skating, swimming, park, lunches, museums, shopping, dog walks (forest etc) and theme parks altogether.
My 13 year old sees her friends sometimes on a Saturday and I will do something with the 4 year old just us two.
We went to Peppa Pig World recently and I was a little worried about it but it worked out fine, we all went in little rides in the morning for youngest one and in afternoon went into the other side Paultons Park and did what eldest one wanted.
That's just how we keep everyone happy here.

Marilynmansonsthermos Sun 07-Apr-19 20:11:25

Wow thank you so much for all your responses, some of the replies are so helpful. It's really made me feel alot better that some people think I'm in the worst stage at the moment and that it will get better. Definitely going to hang in there and pray they will be friends in adulthood. Its just tough as my dd is in the real throes of puberty and is incredibly moody and bad tempered, plus my son is pulling the usual 3 year old temper tantrums on occasion too. The little one hero worships his dad and I just wish he felt that way about his big sister. She barely leaves her room though lately so I just sometimes feel hopeless about them ever getting on. Anyway, I'm probably just in a negative mood so thank you everyone for pointing out the positive side and also for giving me some great ideas for days out etc. Was thinking maybe bowling as a one size fits all activity..

Handletree Tue 09-Apr-19 21:33:01

Ooh, we have done bowling and that worked really well because of being able to have the bars raised for the little ones and the ramp thing but as standard for the older. The eldest got to pass on some ‘experience’ but the three year old did get a bit bored towards the end of the second game. The only problem was the cost!

Sexnotgender Tue 09-Apr-19 21:37:43

DD is 15, DS is 9 weeks.

Tiddler7 Tue 09-Apr-19 21:42:59

My DS is 14.5, DD5. We struggled a bit when he was 12, but now he does his own stuff, and joins us whenever he wants. No pressure. And they do like each other a lot. Yes, she annoys him sometimes, but also goes to him for cuddles. I have "boyish" boy, and "girly" girl.

ShesABelter Tue 09-Apr-19 21:48:00

My eldest and youngest have 8 years between them. She's 14 now and basically doesn't do any family things with us She prefers to go see friends. It's crap but we offer her repeatedly and she just doesn't want to except the occasional meal out which is lovely when it happens.

Marilynmansonsthermos Fri 12-Apr-19 20:06:41

Yes I can see dd12 being the same way when she's 14 in terms of only seeing her friends. She's pushing for that now. It really is like raising two only children now. Just feel sad about it guess it's just their personalities. The funny thing is all dd's friends think her little brother is absolutely adorable and love playing with him..

MarthasGinYard Sat 13-Apr-19 03:27:01

9 years and 11 years between me and my siblings

I grew up like an only dc and barely see them now.

aytheweeun Sat 13-Apr-19 03:31:07

12 years between my brother and I. He's 18 now and we don't have much in common in our lives at the moment as you can imagine BUT our personalities are very similar and I love him to bits - we're very close.

There's also 8 and 5 years between me and my two sisters and we are all very close.

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