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Ds1 won't play with ds2 unless he gets his own way. Cue tears from ds2 - how to handle this?!

(10 Posts)
GinAndaDashOfLime Tue 23-Jul-13 16:03:34

TIA for any ideas ..

Ds1 (7) and ds2 (4) play nicely most of the time together, but if they disagree on anything ds1 immediately says "well I'm not playing with you then", and just gets on with something by himself. Ds2 dissolves into sobs because, unlike ds1, he seems unable to play on his own, and NEEDS ds1 / someone else - if I suggest playing by himself he doesn't want to, and will end up giving in to ds1 just to get him to play..

I'm worried how its affecting them both - ds1 becoming an autocrat and ds2 becoming a pushover. Obviously neither good for friendships.

WWYD? Punish? Which ds? I also have baby so can't always easily play with ds2 to make up for it, and anyway it won't solve the problem of poor play behaviours ... Thanks for any ideas!

GinAndaDashOfLime Tue 23-Jul-13 22:01:41


Snazzyenjoyingsummer Tue 23-Jul-13 22:09:26

Not sure I have great advice but didn't want to read and run. Is DS2 in school or nursery? How does he get on playing with others (or not) in those settings if so?

MegBusset Tue 23-Jul-13 22:13:39

Sounds like a pretty normal sibling dynamic to me. DS1 & DS2 (similar ages) are exactly like this. I don't think it's punishment-worthy tbh, it's good that they play together nicely most of the time. I do remind DS1 to be kind to his brother while reminding DS2 that DS1 is not just there to entertain him!

GinAndaDashOfLime Tue 23-Jul-13 22:48:31

Thank you Meg for letting me know its not just my kids! And thank you snazzy for replying - ds2 is at preschool and starts reception in sept. I fear he's a pushover very amenable with his friends there too!

DeWe Wed 24-Jul-13 09:35:13

Dd2 (age 9yo) does that to ds (age 6yo) too, although she's getting much better at that.
I do punish dd2, I'll either send her to her room, or find her a job to do. So that she doesn't feel that she's got the upper hand on that.

It's not that I'm feeling ds ought to always have his way (as she sometimes complains) because dd2 is a wonderful manipulator and most of the game is hers usually anyway, without ds realising. So as soon as he suggests something her first reaction is "no, not like that, I've a better idea..." most of the time he goes with her idea, it's the times he says he wants his way that she strops.
Ds isn't a push over either.

GooseyLoosey Wed 24-Jul-13 09:39:01

Mine are a little older 10 and 8, but this has always happened with them (although interestingly, over time, the balance of power has shifted to the younger one).

I listen to them squabble for about 10 seconds and then say I am going to count slowly to 20. They have until I have finished counting to reach a negotiated agreement. I will not accept a solution where one dc gives in to the other. If they don't reach a solution, I will impose one of my own. The results are generally very good and I have done this since they were much younger.

chickensaladagain Wed 24-Jul-13 09:49:31

Your older dc is entitled to play by himself if he wants, personal space means they will get on better if they are made to play so no punishment required unless he is being outright mean

There is a big difference between 7&4 and he shouldn't always have to accommodate his brother

My dds used to have a rule that if older one was in her room then the younger one was to leave her alone, if she was elsewhere she was fair game

cory Fri 26-Jul-13 11:35:58

I think it is important to recognise that while the older child mustn't become a bossy boots, he has no obligation to act as the entertainment committee either. Your younger ds needs to learn to accept that people won't always be playing with him. If we are talking manipulation here (not a nice word to use about children, I admit): it cuts both ways. There is also an element here of "if I do whatever you like, you have to play with me because I can't cope if you don't". Your younger ds needs to be told gently that "no actually, he doesn't, and sometimes he will want to be doing big boy things by himself and then you have to leave him alone".

DeWe Fri 26-Jul-13 20:52:19

In my case ds is very good at playing with himself. Often he's playing a game with his things, and dd2 comes and asks to play. She's very persuasive, so even if he initially says he wants to play on his own, they'll usually end up playing together.
Then she will completely rearrange the game, whenever he suggests anything, she'll counter it with "oh I know, lets..."
Often ds doesn't notice or is happy to go with her suggestions. But then if he really wants something, then that's the point she'll go "well then I'm not playing..." and leaving him upset and with the initial game he was playing completely turned upside down.

Another one she does, is "we'll play my game first, and then we'll play your game." Inevitably she goes off about 2 minutes into his version. She then will say "oh I have a headache," or "the sun was getting in my eyes" or some other excuse.

Really drives me crazy, because from having ds playing happily (and he can for a long time) he'll be upset and miserable, and often not want to go back to his game.

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