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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:
Appletreehouse · 19/11/2019 06:33

In my experience it's improved a lot recently for our two (2.5 and 5), but last year I would have said the same. They've always loved each other, but I found it hard especially when at home feeling I was neglecting one while I did something with the other.

Now the little one is older they play together a bit and although there are fights, they often do 30-60 mins where they go off together and play a game. The older one starting school has also helped as she's getting more stimulation with her own age group (she had grown out of her private nursery as she's one of the eldest in her year) so doesn't crave our 1-2-1 attention as much. We do try to do some separate activity though every day, even if it's just writing/reading with one while the other plays with us in their bedroom etc.

themuttsnutts · 19/11/2019 06:46

Yes, to some extent, I agree. Mine are 10 and 15!!

My eldest still winds her brother up and he still takes the bait.

Because of the age difference, though, they do do their own thing more.

The only thing I find is that when the older one is out, the youngest gets quite attention seeking

stayathomer · 19/11/2019 06:46

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.

Ditto here. I have 4 (5,7,9,11) and we always said how lucky we were the oldest two got on. Now with 4 where the youngest can properly play with the others, we get the bickering thing a lot but when they play together it's just the best and funniest thing in the world!! I would say try not to segregate them, it'll just lead to them heading off in different directions for life. They may click, they may not, but after watching my best friend bury her mother last week standing there with her brother's arm around her, I'd say at least they have the option to come together

stilltiredinthemorning · 19/11/2019 07:00

It's not exactly that they don't get on (though they have their moments!) it's more that they just find each other over-stimulating or something. At first I did think it was because my son was 6 months when he came to us and obviously I wasn't pregnant beforehand, so I thought they just needed longer to get used to each other. They LOVE each other, have cuddles and kisses, don't like to be parted etc. but my daughter can't share with my son and can be very rough with him. He does seem to wind her up deliberately (though maybe he's too young) by grabbing her toys (during complex pretend play games....) and running away laughing hysterically towards me (because I'll save him Grin) As a PP said, the more I intervene the worse it seems to be. It's basically one long catalogue of tears and sulks, which is exhausting for everyone. If I try and say to my daughter why don't we go and play in your bedroom where your brother can't bother you, she wants him to come too!

It's making me quite sad tbh because when we're all together I'm just grumpy and stressed and the kids are constantly in tears, but we don't have that much time as a family as we both work and I'd like to see my husband sometimes and be able to enjoy both of my children.

OP posts:
RedSheep73 · 19/11/2019 07:04

Completely normal. It's the interaction between kids that causes 90% of the problems - people who only have one don't know they're born! 1.5 is still really little, it will get better (or at least different) as they get older.

TheElfFellOffTheShelf · 19/11/2019 07:37

Some comedian said once that when you have a 2nd child you think you're giving both children a best friend for life; in reality however, all you're doing is giving the 1st child their arch rival.

My dc are 7&8 and for the most part they get on really well and love playing with each other. They make up the most complicated games and work together to create props etc to go with those games. When they fall out though it's spectacular and some days it feels like they argue from the moment they wake to the moment they close their eyes. On those days the only thing that works is divide and conquer.

Whattodoabout · 19/11/2019 07:40

Pretty normal sibling behaviour and hard to say whether they’ll naturally grow out of it and learn to get on. Some siblings just completely clash and never really get on, you’re not forced to like them just because you have the same parent/s.

dottiedodah · 19/11/2019 08:20

I am an "Only" as well and found it hard when my two (older now) didnt get along .However DH as one of three. recalled arguing with his DB (Good friends now!) DS recently said the same as you, her two squabble and are bad after School as well .Try to include things like swimming or walks in the Woods maybe .This wears them out I found!

Sewbean · 19/11/2019 08:23

Mine are lovely alone, nightmare together.
None of them can walk away from an argument. They are so wearing.

Spinderellacutituponetime · 19/11/2019 08:30

Entirely normal but can be distressing to hear them argue. Doesn’t mean they don’t love each other and doesn’t mean it won’t change. Plus as another poster said the times they do get on are golden. I’ve always been immensely grateful for my siblings even though our relationship has been rocky at times. Now we are older it’s lovely having that extended family and recently, having lost both my parents, a form of solace having people to share that loss and comfort one another. I’m not saying that should be the only reason to have more than one of course!! But I do think it’s our job as a parent to try and foster good relationships between siblings. We play a lot of family games together and try and get them to help one another out as much as possible, then reward that behaviour. Doesn’t always work of course but getting better.

Elbeagle · 19/11/2019 08:37

They’re still both so young. My 2 oldest are 6 and 4 now and best friends. Yes they still bicker sometimes but in general it’s pretty peaceful.
Having 2 pre schoolers is hard. It gets easier!
We actually went on to have a third... he’s 10 months now and the girls dote on him!

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