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Teenagers and a toddler - how do you deal with the age difference?

(9 Posts)
CountingPennies Tue 04-Feb-14 13:53:39

Anyone in this situation? How do you stop the toddler being exposed to too much teenager-dom without being unreasonable on the teenagers?

DH's teenagers will slob around for hours given the chance, glued to the TV/their screens (or both), snap-chatting their friend as they sit next to them. Our toddler of course wants to see what they are up to and join in. I hate it. I don't want our toddler growing up with life revolving around the TV/phones.

I try to get us all out for fresh air (impossible - the teenagers refuse) so end up just going out on my own with the toddler. It feels like we are 2 separate families that just happen to be lodging under the same roof. I suppose we are.

Is there an answer?

bonnymiffy Tue 04-Feb-14 16:57:19

Yes, we are too (or nearly, DSS is 12 and DDs are 2 1/2 and 1). No idea how to make it work, it drives me up the wall. DSS gets in from school, usually in a foul mood and insists on watching TV in the living room and builds a wall made from the coffee table, high chairs and anything else he can find to stop the girls from coming too close and touching him or his precious i-pad. Aaargh. I'm in effect a SAHM as I haven't returned to work following the end of my mat leave (no part time work available at my employer and child care costs too much to go back full time) so it's me who is at home when he gets in, not DH, and he takes sod-all notice of anything I say as I'm not his "real" mum. (his phrase, not mine).
So, if someone has some wisdom, I'm marking my place...

CountingPennies Wed 05-Feb-14 09:27:13

Oooh, the little monkey. I'd be seething too if I got the 'Real Mum' phrase flung back at me. Fortunately we are past that point. I think they got bored of me saying 'No, I'm not your mum. They are house rules. But I can tell your Mum if you like'. I got as far as picking up the phone and dialing before they decided it wasn't helping them. Does DH back you up?

I hate the iPad. They don't treat their gadgets with any respect either, they just think they will be magically replaced if it gets damaged.

I'm fortunate that all the kids get on like a house on fire, but that makes it more difficult to keep the toddler away from the TV, youTube and other teenage things that I don't want our toddler copying. No one wants a twerking toddler (or teenager, for that matter) damn you Miley Cyrus and the music industry

How do other parents manage?!

bonnymiffy Wed 05-Feb-14 10:17:43

Yes, DH does back me up, he is very good, particularly compared with some of the Dads I've read about on other threads. Don't get me started on the i-pad!!
I guess the thing with this forum is that if you have it worked out then you won't need to look here for advice, but maybe someone who has come out the other end will take a look..
As far as the "Real Mum" thing goes I just say, well I may not be your real Mum but being your Step Mum certainly feels real to me. No-one said it would be easy, did they!

CountingPennies Wed 05-Feb-14 10:48:07

"being your Step Mum certainly feels real to me" - that's a much nicer way to say it, why didn't I think of that! Good luck with your DSS.

GirlRunning Wed 05-Feb-14 23:20:30

Are you me?! I came on here tonight to post the exact same thing. My DSCs are 12 and 15. My DDs are 3 and 1. I cannot keep them all happy it's impossible.

DH and I work full time so have 2 days a week to spend with the children. The older ones don't want to do anything let alone the farm or soft play. The younger ones need to get out of the house so we usually let the older ones stay and watch tv/homework. Now they don't want to come to our house as it's boring.

I'm at the end of my tether it feels like a student house when they are with us with lots of people lying around on their phone, waking up when they like, choosing to do their own thing. Please someone how can we change this?

ThingsThatGoBumpInTheNight Fri 07-Feb-14 00:36:46

As a mum of teens and toddlers/a baby ages 19,16,5, an five months, simple answer - you can't.
When dscs used to come over I'd try to juggle the lot (they are 12 and 11) my older kids used to help with entertaining them, mainly my ds (16) by taking them out locally but I didn't want him doing lazy bastard Disney the kids dads job for him, any requests from me for him to take them out was met with a resigned sigh and 'their mother doesn't take them out/spend money on them' err fair enough mate but taking them a walk or bike ride or swimming wouldn't kill you anything to stop SD hogging the iPad and SS from sprawling all over my bed with his shoes on playing the Xbox but he always refused.
I used to get annoyed that he spent the entire weekend with them surgically attached, one on the iPad and one on the iPhone, watching him sitting in his underpants playing the Xbox and only emerging to tell me they were 'starving' and wasn't surprised when SD refused to come saying it was boring.

Anyway that's by the by. My own teens do huff and puff about being interrupted by 5yo, or having to hide things so he can't modge but by and large they help me out a lot.
The hardest role is mine, when one needs help with homework, the little one needs seeing to, they're all draining the internet at the same time, we do muddle along together though and help each other, be nice, talk to each other with respect. Family rules help but do them together, be prepared to hear some home truths, and set ones that really matter, five MAX, also the parent nurturing class I'm doing at the moment via SureStart and being able to have a moan on here really help.

Don't be afraid to set rules. Parent tough but fairly. and scream in another room grin

Take the iPads away until certain stuff is done and whip them out when you need some peace.
I hereby unashamedly admit that things are better here since SS and SD don't come any more but that's not them, its p's crappy ineffectual parenting.
Look at the parent if you want to solve the problem with the child. An I don't mean that in a nasty way x

CountingPennies Fri 07-Feb-14 11:32:26

"The younger ones need to get out of the house so we usually let the older ones stay and watch tv/homework. "

Yep, that's what happens with us. Fortunately they've not decided it's too boring to join us yet, but they do disappear off to friends for hours at a time.

"simple answer - you can't." sad That was my fear. You are right about the parents. Fortunately my DH does pull his weight and wouldn't be seen dead in front of mindless telly/Xbox, but he doesn't seem to have a problem with his kids being surgically attached to their devices (clogging up the internet). Probably because it makes life easier for him (stops them fighting) and he can get on with cooking/cleaning while I end up entertaining the toddler/cooking/cleaning. He's not keen on 'official rules', prefers to haul them up and discuss problems as they arise. However I don't let his kids watch TV on week days until the toddler has gone to bed. Weekends, on the other hand, are a whole other kettle of fish. The crappy weather doesn't help.

ThingsThatGoBumpInTheNight Sat 08-Feb-14 03:03:05

Not being able to change it might not be a problem, there is always a workaround - know what you mean about the gadgets and making life easier, it works that way here too. Fortunately little one stays round us and leaves older ones alone pretty much, they chill upstairs, now and again I have to step in bc little man is prodding poking or being annoying, others I have to say something because the older lad is getting huffy with him getting in front of the tv ect.
Fortunately they get along 99.9% of the time.
My biggest fear is that I'm not noticing the one needing help because of the other - for instance little one needs help with reading or wiping his butt grin while older ones may struggle to make friends and be upset (dd) an need a sympathetic ear while ds is charging round wanting to know where this item of clothing is for sport/college/cadets (busy lad) I don't want to neglect ones needs for the other, both are at high need ages.

I'm becoming a pro at juggling smile

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