is this normal behaviour for 'step' siblings

(7 Posts)
loveyoumummy Mon 25-Apr-16 07:56:05

I have 1 dd (4) and oh has 2 ds (2 and 5). For the most part they get on. For example bedtime routine and mornings.

However if we spend the whole day together, perhaps 40% of the time they do, 60% the time they don't.

Spending the whole day together on a weekend is pretty infrequent though due to the days we each have the children. When they do spend time together they are all rather excitable because it's not a daily occurrence - my dd especially as it's a 'break' from being on her own.

The 2 boys are used to have a sibling around all the time, the sharing and the playing, but my dd has been used to being an 'only' for so long that I think she struggles.

She wants to mother the 2 year old a lot. She looks after him constantly, but he starts getting agitated/whine as he doesn't want to be looked after and will push her out the way. She doesn't take the hint and will continue to 'look after him'.

My dd is also at the stage where 'boys are smelly' and so she doesn't want to play/share with the older one. If he tries to play she gets annoyed and will start being 'alpha' and then they'll argue in a "he said" "she said" manner. They never fight, but it feels like they need 'refereeing' and they spat. It is usually my dd starting it.

I want to say this is mostly normal, but I think it probably isn't? How do I deal with the situation?

crusoe16 Mon 25-Apr-16 09:49:10

I think it sounds quite normal OP. I have a DD5 and a DD2 - they're full siblings and quite a lot of the same stuff happens here...DD is rather vocal about not wanting to be 'looked after' and DD5 doesn't always take the rejection well ;-)

We also have DSD and DS who are older but close in age. They swing from wanting to play with each other to declaring the other to be 'revolting' several times a day. I can also relate to what you say about the kids becoming excitable when they're all together.

It's a generalisation but I think you quite often find little girls being more assertive than little boys so I'd say that's normal too!

What to do about it? We tend to mostly leave ours to it and only get involved if things escalate. Not sure there's much more you can do.... flowers

Fourormore Mon 25-Apr-16 10:17:00

Sounds normal to me - for full and step siblings. Like crusoe, we generally let them get on with it, maybe chipping in with encouragement here or there. Works for us smile

Bananasinpyjamas1 Mon 25-Apr-16 12:36:36

Do you think it might help to show your DD how to play with younger one? And set limits on how long? It is pretty irritating to have a bossy older one, but fairly normal. But if she can really help the 2 year old in something that he loves, for example building blocks, for a little while.

I'm not sure I'd just let them get on with it all day, it's too much and younger ones/outsiders can be walked all over and tempers are bound to fray. I'd have activities that you supervise to break up the day too, like taking just two of them out swimming for example. Or sitting down with your DD for just an hour both of you while she watches her own TV.

loveyoumummy Thu 28-Apr-16 22:30:49

Thank you for your comments. I spoke to someone who works at dd nursery and she said that it's quite normal behaviour and to intervene less. I'm inclined to do that but my oh feels the need to intervene - I think he feels protective of his DC and is worried it'll get back to his ex who he really doesn't get on well with. She's already said that my dd saying she doesn't like playing with boys and that boys are smelly is not normal.

Bananasinpyjamas1 Fri 29-Apr-16 12:16:42

I'm surprised the nursery said not to intervene. I would want a nursery to intervene and say 'come on, that was mean, you need to say sorry'.

I know there is helicopter parenting, constantly standing over, which is too suffocating. But addressing bad behavior doesn't have to mean looking over their shoulders.

Kids are often pretty mean to each other, and they need to be shown how not to - preferably straight away while it is clear what the problem is - and if you are not there are the time then it is left to the one who is more dominant to have free rein.

It's a bit like saying to kids in school, oh just stand up to bullies yourself.

Kwirrell Fri 29-Apr-16 12:36:34

I look after 3 grandchildren (cousins) of similar age and what you describe is normal. However the step-relationship does add another dimension.

I think the 4 year old is old enough to understand that it is not right to say unkind things. Maybe this is a conversation to have when you have her on her own. The desire to mother, when the little one does not like it, is harder. I think distraction is the only method suitable, as your DD is not doing anything wrong.

My grand-daughter likes to take on this role, and has been told very firmly by the 3 year old, "you are only my cousin, you are not my teacher".

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