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To only enjoy my children separately....

36 replies

stilltiredinthemorning · 18/11/2019 22:23

We have 2 children. One is nearly 4, one is about 1.5. I love them both dearly, but together they are a nightmare. They wind each other up, copy/encourage each other's bad behaviour and generally can't settle.

They obviously do love each other, but rarely seem to actually 'enjoy' each other's company and tbh with the exception of the very occasional awwww moment, when they're together I find them pretty bloody infuriating!

I used to think it was just being outnumbered, but actually it's not any easier when my husband is there and it's all 4 of us together.

I've noticed that I've started organising our time so the children are together as little as possible. This means they can have nice, calm play and enjoy age-appropriate activities etc. but I can't help wondering what's the point of having a family if you can't enjoy time all together???

I'm further depressed by all the recent threads on here about bickering siblings and siblings who hate or ignore each other as adults.

I was a happy only child and am beginning to wonder if that's the best way? I obviously don't regret having 2 children as I love them both, but only enjoy them separately.

AIBU? Please tell me this will change?

OP posts:
MrsKoala · 18/11/2019 22:29

I have similar. Both Dh and I are onlies and we wanted lots of children. Now they are 7,5 and 3 its so so hard. DS1 (7) and DD (3) okay. DS2 (3) and DD okay but jesus fucking Christ DS1 and DS2 together is horrendous. Alone they are all amazing.

What we have is 3 perfect only children who happen to have siblings who ruin everything.

ezbem · 18/11/2019 22:31

I might sound awful right now but I don't plan to have anymore children after my recent tragedy so to hear you was a happy only child kind of made me smile.

Anyways In regards to your two little munchkins, it's just the age is quite different now, I watch my dd 18 months play with her uncle who is 6 and they start to annoy the hell out of each other. (Mainly my dd annoying him) But I think as they grow older and the gap closes, they will start to "bond" more as friends as-well as siblings. I was always closest to my cousins whom was 3 years older than me, compared to my brother who was only 18 months younger :)

It's just you have a lil toddler with different needs. It will get better and more enjoyable! (I see it all the time)

stilltiredinthemorning · 18/11/2019 22:34

Noooooooo MrsKoala don't tell me that!! Grin. I suppose maybe I should console myself with the fact we've stopped at 2....?

OP posts:
Dudewheresmyvan · 18/11/2019 22:37

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MustDust · 18/11/2019 22:37

No, they're different ages with different wants and needs, especially as pre-schoolers they're poles apart. I've always enjoyed days with my 2 separately and still actively do so at 15 and 11, it means you can fully immerse yourself in the activity one enjoys without worrying the other is bored. It'll get better in terms of family days as they get older but 9/10 there'll be one more into something than the other. FWIW mine get on quite well now despite being nothing alike.

MrsKoala · 18/11/2019 22:38

AAarrgh - I meant ds2 is 5 and dd is 3.

We have found the older DD is the worse it is. When they were 6,4 and 2 it was okay or 5,3 and 1 it was way easier. But the 5 year old (middle one) is the real spanner in the works atm. He ruins everything. :(

We have no frame of reference as we were onlies and my parents who, obviously, had only me are also shocked by how awful it is/they are together.

stilltiredinthemorning · 18/11/2019 22:39

Thank you ezbem. I'm so sorry to hear you had a recent loss Flowers.

I really was a very happy only child and I can't help wondering if my two would have been happier as only children too.

They are actually adopted, so in theory they could have been, though they are biological siblings and we thought it would be wonderful for them to grow up together. (I should say we did not do this for selfless reasons, which I think would have been a mistake - we really wanted a second child!)

OP posts:
Summercamping · 18/11/2019 22:39

I have one brother and I imagine my mother felt the same about us, we were not a good combination and never really got on

If it's any consolation to you, as adults we are on very good terms, look after each other's kids and although we will never be best friends- we just don't click- I still would rather have him than not. We do love each other, and watch out for each other. We just wouldn't choose to spend too much time together

Gruesome2some · 18/11/2019 22:39

Mine are 8 and 5 now and whilst they do definitely wind eachother up a lot there are also moments where they will play together for a good couple of hours and I dont have to intervene!! I see this as progress! It works best when they have a shared goal, this weekend it was a magic show they put on together Grin. Having said that on Saturday they were horrible and snappy which eachother all day!

Peacenquiet2 · 18/11/2019 22:40

You are not alone for sure..I have 3 dc, dd 13, ds 9 and ds 5. Was lovely with just dd and ds1, then along came ds2 and all help broke lose. Ds1 was very jealous of his brother and that thread of resentment has carried on and worsened until ds2 now resents his brother just as much. They have odd days where they get along and it's heaven then, but those days are getting less. It's awful just being in the same place as them, they fight, wind one another up, it unsettles the whole house and I'm recently looking at ways to make it so that I don't need to be home with them both too. From people I know with more than 1/2 dc, it tends to be when it is boy/boy combo that are close enough in age. Sisters and brothers/sisters seem to fair much better. My dp and his brother never got along and now don't even talk unless they are hurling insults, it's like a repeat of history.

Caterina99 · 18/11/2019 22:43

Mine are 2 and 4. They def wind each other up, but it’s easier than it was 6 months ago as the 2 year old is less destructive. Sometimes they do actually entertain each other briefly

MrsKoala · 18/11/2019 22:43

I will say tho OP, the sound of my children laughing together (which does happen about 15% of the time) is possibly the most sublimely perfect sound I have ever heard.

stilltiredinthemorning · 18/11/2019 22:46

I'll hang on in there for that then MrsKoala Smile. If I ever allow them in the same room again....

OP posts:
Starlive23 · 18/11/2019 22:47

Gosh I'm interested in some of these replies, I am thinking of trying for DC2 next year!

GettingABitDesperateNow · 18/11/2019 22:52

I have the same age gap as you. 4.5 and 2. And I'd say mine actually play fairly nicely together (as far as a 2 year old can 'play') and the eldest is really good with her, patient and kind.
And I still find it a million times nicer with them individually. When they're together I feel like I'm just organising logistics eg of getting out the house, and when my back is turned the youngest destroys anything she can get her hands on so I've got to sort that out then we're late and I get snappy and the eldest is bored. I dont know how to do things better.

When I'm on my own with them I can really chat to the eldest and realise how funny she is, its only when we're on our own I manage to hear about her day. Or I can teach her stuff and practice numbers or letters that you need concentration for without a 2 year old trying to rip the page apart etc.

And with the youngest she is at the age where it's nice just to potter around and take the time to do stuff like look at squirrels in the garden or play peekaboo with a mask or try everyones shoes on and seeing her fall about laughing if I blow raspberries on her. Just doesn't happen when there are more of us

I'd always assumed it would get better but seemingly not from others on this thread! I think we actually need to divide and conquer a bit more, we spend most of our time doing family things and it's not really working

megletthesecond · 18/11/2019 22:53

I have two and it's like a real life version of that puzzle where you have to get the chicken, the fox and the grain across the river in one piece.
They're only nice together if we go climbing. They can't fight up a wall.

ghostfromholidaypast · 18/11/2019 22:55

Ds14 and ds 12 have always got on well, truly love each other and have supported each other since they were little.

I remember when a child at the park was being mean to ds1 and he got up set ( he gets rashes in his mouth) , ds 2 about 3 at the time came along and told the dc off. It was so cute.
But they have always had time when I spend days saying ' stop touching each other, keep your hands to yourself' and my favourite ' I heard that'.
I wouldn't worry to much.
I did the same separating them, still do. I love spending time with them together and separating. Your get the balance don't worry

UFOLover · 18/11/2019 22:58

I have the same age gap but mine are about 2 years older than yours. For the last 6 months or so, They have got on fabulously. The youngest can now play games and understand them which helps because they can do something together. Quite a lot of fighting before we got here though, mainly due to the different ways of playing.

Elbowedout · 18/11/2019 23:10

I am very lucky. Mine all get along pretty well. The 2 teenage boys squabble a bit but it is all fairly low level stuff - what game to play on the x box or whose turn it is to set the table for dinner, that kind of stuff. What I would class as proper arguments are very few and far between. They have only recently got their oen bedrooms in fact as up until recently tgey actually preferred to share. They did fight as toddlers but that is all long forgotten now. Don't despair OP. Some siblings do get along well and yours are at an age when they both need lots of individual attention and are still learning about boundaries. Just because they can't get along now doesn't mean it always will be that way. My sister and I fought like car and dog when we were little but are really close now.
Plus two under 5 must be really hard work for you. I always find that I am less tolerant when I am physically tired so my children squabbling when they were very young would wind me up far more than the same level of disturbance would now. I also find discipline a lot easier when you are dealing with older children whk really understand what is going on. Based on what others say on the subject I realise I might be a bit odd, but I honestly think that it is much easier and more fun being the parent of tweens and teenagers than of toddlers. In my experience at least, yes, it definitely does get a lot easier. I think your children are at very difficult ages now and will have quite different needs and interests. As they get older the age gap will seem smaller and they may well develop more common interests. It sounds like you are doing a good job to me - try to keep positive.

Andysbestadventure · 18/11/2019 23:25

It's normal sibling behaviour. Onlies tend to find it much harder to deal with than those who grew up with it. Siblings do what you've described. Entirely normal and it's them sorting boundaries and pecking orders.

scrivette · 18/11/2019 23:41

It's completely normal and I remember being like that with my brother.

My children drive me mad when they don't get on and shout at each other... then drive me mad when they do get on as they are usually trying to run around the house and shouting with excitement (which usually ends in tears anyway!)

GetUpAgain · 18/11/2019 23:50

I find when mine argue that if I wade in it gets worse. If instead I ask how THEY are going to sort the problem out they tend to come up with something or it at least changes the conversation slightly. Does the circumstance of their adoption have any relevance do you think? It sounds positive that they are not 'clinging closely' to each other, that they are secure enough to fall out?

Someone was asking me about my children recently and when I described their interests and personalities, he said wow you have such a RICH life. And I thought actually yes, here I am parenting two amazing kids, so different to each other and also both different to me. It's no wonder they don't always get on but I wouldn't change their personalities for the world. We live in interesting times Grin

BlueJava · 19/11/2019 00:30

Yanbu! Separately angel chuldren, together devil's spawn!

Ozgirl75 · 19/11/2019 05:02

I have two boys, 9 and 7. I do completely understand where you’re coming from, when they were younger they would just bicker and argue and complain. From when they were about 4 and 6 they suddenly got on much better and now, I would say 70% of the time they are great. They even like having a sleep over in the same bed.

They do more stuff separately anyway, as they are both into various sports and having the time apart seems to make them get on better when they are together.

Alte · 19/11/2019 06:05

My kids are 12 and 14. When they were younger they were a nightmare, but now they're fine around eachother. If they do argue, they both know how to remove themselves from the situation.

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