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Blended family - small child and teenager

(24 Posts)
montbelliard Mon 09-Jan-17 14:47:41

So ... my partner and her four year old daughter have moved in with me and my 16 year old son (who lives with me part time). They don't know each other well and the age gap is such that they have no shared interests. I suspect that for my son, the girl is just an irritating invasion of his space, and he has no incentive to develop any kind of relationship. What joint activities might both of them enjoy outside the home, without it seeming forced?

Underthemoonlight Mon 09-Jan-17 19:07:46

Why would you think it's a good idea to move in together when the DC don't know each other well

montbelliard Mon 09-Jan-17 19:26:40

Right, thanks for that.

cherrycrumblecustard Mon 09-Jan-17 19:28:29

Well, in the nicest possible way, I think a four year old and sixteen year old will struggle! He could babysit her for cash maybe ...

Lunar1 Mon 09-Jan-17 19:47:23

Does he like swimming, maybe he could take her to the pool with one of you to help her get changed?

Underthemoonlight Mon 09-Jan-17 20:50:06

Well surely you would establish relationships first before blending the two families together by moving in.

montbelliard Mon 09-Jan-17 21:15:48

You have no idea of the circumstances and they are not relevant to my question.

Thanks for the other suggestions, which are helpful.

NewNNfor2017 Mon 09-Jan-17 22:26:13

Where does your son live for the rest of the time? Is there a risk that he will decide to reduce his time in your home?

I appreciate you are presenting the circumstances as unavoidable, but if they were, then an open and frank discussion with your 16 year old, who is a young adult, about the impact the unexpected presence of your DP and her DC in your lives, should have taken place.

Ensuring that he has the support he needs outside the home, and knows that you are open to hearing and acknowledging his point of view is essential when blending families with teens; and even more so if it happens suddenly and in an unmanaged way.

Your OP suggests that you are guessing at your DS feelings, and are trying to engineer a relationship developing between him and your DP's DC without him realising what is going on. If your DS is a neurotypical young man, that has the potential to go horribly wrong.

Talk to him. explain to him that this is not the way you would have managed things if you had been given a choice. Find out what sort of relationship he would like with your DP and her DS, and how you can help him achieve that.

Evergreen777 Tue 10-Jan-17 08:36:10

Depends what kind of a person your DS is really. Some 16 year olds are great with younger kids, but a lot don't really know what to do with them.

My DS is 16 and has a 4 year old half brother at his dad's. They enjoyed an afternoon den building at the park recently. And DS generally enjoys being out and about, for walks etc which the 4 year old seems to be up for. Sometimes DS will play with him, but he does also need his own space and a break from pestering to play. DS also picks a different 4 year old up from school 2 days a week (for money, and to help my friend out) and they enjoy playing on the WiiU together sometimes.

Would your DS enjoy teaching your DSD to cook something? Or helping her with some junk modelling or Lego?

swingofthings Tue 10-Jan-17 17:19:52

Does he have younger siblings at his other home? If so, how's their relationship? I really don't think there is anything you can do as any relationship needs to come naturally. Either he will continue to consider her as just there, but have no interest in wanting to engage with her, or with time, he will grow fond of her and start to express some affection towards her. If so, it will be when he feels like it, not when it suits you (although I understand how you would very much wish he showed her an interest).

Frankelly66 Wed 11-Jan-17 11:29:36

What does your son usually like doing? i think you are right to not force things, what about going to park to kick a ball around with him whilst your partner and her daughter play another activity
close by? So rather then forcing them to interact, they just do their thing alongside one another until he's more comfortable. You are probably best doing things he likes, and then daughter comes along as she can be entertained by other stuff given she's so young.

Also, you don't want him to resent her by thinking she's ruining his old life, so still have time together just you two.

AndNoneForGretchenWieners Wed 11-Jan-17 11:34:58

There's a 13 year age gap between DS and his half brother, and what we found helped them to bond was DSS babysitting, reading bedtime stories, going on trips out as a family. Slightly different situation to you in that DSS and DS are related by blood and also DSS has always been in DS's life, and lived with us full time. However the age differential is similar and the potential for distraction from a younger children during exam years was the same. Offer responsibility but don't expect your son to be always prepared to babysit, and he may come to enjoy a chance of being like a big brother and someone to look up to.

Isadora2007 Wed 11-Jan-17 11:44:01

How often does your son come home?
I'd just ask him and try for things to be as normal as possible. If he doesn't spend the majority of his week with you make sure he gets one to one time still.
Speak to him and see what he thinks but don't push it.

LadyVampire Sun 15-Jan-17 14:44:17

Think the age difference makes it hard to find joint activities. Maybe a day out to a funfair or bowling, pool, arcades where they can do some thing together, some apart?

I have siblings 10-13 years younger than me. Love them to bits but didn't hang out with them as much at home because they wanted cbeebies and I wanted to listen to music. As long as they get on with eachother. It doesn't sound like they don't get on, more because of the ages less in common. My little siblings wound me up all the time as a teen.

feelingAncient Sun 15-Jan-17 15:28:14

A trampoline park!

Everyone loves a dog you don't have to get one borrow one on the weekend.

4year olds are happy with everything you can take the 16 year old to do something he likes and the chances are she'll enjoy it too.

Nature walks.

Give him £20 for him to take her shopping in like Clair's accessories. She'll think he's god he'll love it 😂
Plus the other teen girls in their will think he's cute and he'll probably get a few numbers😬

Just a normal park with swings he could teach her football.

Get him to pick her up from places only if he's not doing anything and is in a good mood so it's not a chore.

The beach is always fun somewhere like Brighton.

Hope this helps!

ImpetuousBride Fri 20-Jan-17 13:56:12

I don't think you should be too worried about joint activities OP - I am a decade older than my flesh and blood brother and we never did common things as it wasn't really possible with such a big age gap.

The important thing is to teach them both to be respectful and nice to each other. They'll probably establish some connection over family activities, such as meal times, trips, movie night. But my advice is to let it happen naturally, do not pay him or force him to do what he will view as a chore in desperate effort to unite them.

Marilynsbigsister Sat 21-Jan-17 08:29:14

Honestly OP don't listen to the nasty unhelpful snippy posters . We don't all live in 'the waltons' where everyone loves everyone else and the family does everything together all the time. !

Between us we have 8 children ranging from 32-14 yrs. The relationship between my DH eldest (as a teen) and mine was pretty non existent. Why would there be ? He was 16 and my daughter was 5 . The kids parents had a relationship not the children. DSS didn't want to hang out with either us or a 5 yr old.

He was kind to her which is all we could ask. Other than that we just let him get on with his normal teenage life . He did the occasional thing with his dad, couple of rugby matches. Cycling holiday, regular fishing trips (DSS main hobby) - but read to her ? No way ! Play with her ? Christmas morning perhaps but anything else that doesn't come naturally is just forced and will be resented.

Let your son be a normal 16 yr old. He won't want to hang out with you lot anyway if he's anything like the vast majority of teenagers !

patronsaintofglocks Mon 10-Apr-17 20:04:11

Why on earth would you move two kids in together who don't know each other?
Yet another couple of adults who put themselves first.

SoTheySentMeA Mon 10-Apr-17 20:12:57

The OP does not need to explain themself to strangers online, they are asking for suggestions. Every situation is different. Just because you cannot conceive of it, doesn't mean this is not the best for their family.

OP, do you have one of these near you?

I strongly recommend family days out doing active things and getting DS to teach DSD den building/sand castle making and stuff

Nobodyyouknow1 Mon 10-Apr-17 21:07:19

Agree with Marilyn. No need to push a relationship. It will come in time. Just eat meals together maybe and don't expect too much as they will have little in common but this would be true even if they were siblings as opposed to step siblings.

saracrewe2 Tue 11-Apr-17 22:49:34

Does he like swimming, maybe he could take her to the pool with one of you to help her get changed?

Did you miss the bit where they don't know each other well? I find the suggestion that a 16 yo boy/young man helping a 4 yo that he doesn't know well to get dressed a rather bizarre one. A swimming session is one thing, but getting changed together is quite another.

Thistly Mon 17-Apr-17 23:26:00

Ice skating!

But more importantly, as others have said, don't "suspect" how your son feels, talk to him! Ask him! He will find it easier to get over feelings of annoyance if he had an opportunity to express them, and have them validated. Then he may feel like making an effort in his own way.

Good luck.

WyfOfBathe Tue 18-Apr-17 23:13:20

Saracrewe I'm fairly sure the poster meant that a parent should help her get changed so that the 16yo could take her swimming.

wheresthel1ght Wed 19-Apr-17 07:46:54

saracrewe read the line you have quoted - the poster suggests one of the ADULTS gets her changed

montbelliard the children not knowing each other before your partner moving in is a huge mistake and one that has potential to cause you to lose time with your son. He is old enough to make decisions with his feet if he feels uncomfortable having a 4 year old about.

Why would you not have introduced them/discussed this with your son before making such a huge decision that effects him?

16 & 4 is a difficult gap to try and find shared interests I am afraid. Perhaps you would be better talking to him would be your best bet and see what he would feel comfortable doing.

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