or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Stay at Home Parents › LONG: How do you keep an older child from being back-burnered by a younger/more demanding child?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

LONG: How do you keep an older child from being back-burnered by a younger/more demanding child?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Sorry for the novel.  Can you tell I'm having a hard time with this?  :/

 

I have a ds-6 (almost 7yo) and a dd-2yo.  We homeschool, so both kids are with me all day.  The thing is, my 2yo is overwhelmingly demanding.  And she doesn't really nap.  PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE do not give me advice on getting her to nap because I have had multiple threads on MDC trying to deal with it.  Take "get her to nap" off the table.  She has a few issues and sleep is one of them (she is adopted and was drug exposed--which might contribute to these things).

 

But my ds needs me.  My family has been through holy heck 42 ways to Sunday in the last nearly 2 years.  It has hit all of us (seemingly except my 2yo!) VERY hard and we are in "healing" mode.  So asking my ds to be understanding of his very demanding sister is really doing him more harm than good.  And asking him to share me with her at a constant is really hard, too--and only because he is recovering from such a horrible season of our life.  Otherwise, I would absolutely "get" that this is just a necessary part of growing up in a family--ya know?  We have endured multiple deaths including a second trimester pregnancy (and so, emotional "absence" and sadness from parents), physical absence from multiple trips out of state for relocation and for a court case, multiple house moves (4 in the first 6mo of this year) and then a relocation halfway across the country--away from everyone we knew and loved.  Oh, and the fighting (loud & verbal only--but really bad) that comes with parents trying to weather all of that together and probably not doing it really well.  :/  Oh, and ds was already not well attached.  He had severe developmental problems as an infant that made it such that he didn't even know we were in the room until he was 18mo-ish.  :(

 

I don't know what to do.  My husband thinks that dd should go to daycare 3 days/week for 5-ish hours/day.  Three days because one day ds goes to homeschool classes and I have to be there all morning and there's not really a place for her to play for 4 hours.  An hour or so, yeah, but not 4.  And later that day, ds has a swim lesson where I need to be in the pool area (his behavior has really gotten bad and I need to witness what goes on to decipher what's really a problem and what might be instructor misunderstanding) and I can't have her in there.  And then another day we go to a Bible Study where the kids attend nursery/kids Bible study.  Neither day gets me any significant one-on-one time with ds (well, the bible study is morning only) so there's two days there... and I'd rather dd not be going from the Y nursery to the bible study nursery to another place for me to get a fully day with ds.  I don't think she'd handle it well at all and it's just not necessary (or right for us).  Where she is going isn't really my issue.  There's a place we are totally comfortable with, and affording it would be a stretch--but it could be done.

 

I just hate, hate, HATE the idea of putting her in someone else's care.  I hate the idea of handing her off to someone else... no matter who it is.  I did it for 3 weeks (to the place we are considering now) because she needed help learning how to eat solid food and she often responds to doing what kids her own age do (although it wasn't a huge impact for the eating).  On the other hand, my son is suffering and I know that the weekly "date" he gets with each parent are truly not cutting it.  Even when I CAN get my dd to nap, anything I do with ds is interrupted and ended when she wakes up.  There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING you can get her engaged in that she doesn't want you right there in the middle of.  If you even try, she will stop and come do what you're doing--which is wonderful, but not really helping matters with my son.  And he's starting to be resentful towards her (not in any physical way).  I've even resorted to allowing her to watch a TV show (Dora) and even though she LOVES it, she wants you to sit with her (she's not scared, just loving).  If you don't, she'll come do something with you.  She just loves to be together.  And it's hard because it's so hard for my son right now.

 

I don't know what to do.  I guess I'm just thinking out loud.  Not even sure this is the right forum for this except that I'm a SAHM with my kids all day and so are many of you.  :(

post #2 of 8

I did preschool for my older child so I had one on one with the baby when he was a baby. Now I do preschool for the younger child so I have one on one homeschool time with my daughter. If you can swing it, I think it could be really valuable for both kids. Just keep in mind that it will change when they're both older, because they will get more independent and able to do more on their own. 

 

The other thing you could do in terms of one on one time for each kid is to split up one parent to one kid for an evening, or a Saturday morning, or something. My DD treasures her "Daddy-Daughter" time, and DS loves "Daddy-Dude" time. They are really so much easier one on one, and having one on one time helps me remember when they're challenging how lovely they are individually.

 

Oh, and is there any time where your DD does sleep when your DS is awake? We've done homeschool "nightschool" or educational activities at night after the younger child is asleep. The reverse could work too, some dedicated time with the older child early in the morning while the younger is asleep or while the younger has dedicated time with daddy.

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by EviesMom View Post

I did preschool for my older child so I had one on one with the baby when he was a baby. Now I do preschool for the younger child so I have one on one homeschool time with my daughter. If you can swing it, I think it could be really valuable for both kids. Just keep in mind that it will change when they're both older, because they will get more independent and able to do more on their own. 

 

Yeah... I just see this being a few months.  Maybe 3 months at 3 days/week.  Just long enough to get my son in a place where we can get through this difficult, initial healing.  We had two house sales fall through and are waiting to find out where we're GOING to live--and ds is TOTALLY aware of that.  :(  I'm hoping that we'll be settled by June.  I just need to get him to a point where he's feeling more secure and attached.  In fact, we're going to be scheduling time with a therapist to help with all of it.

 

 

 

Quote:

The other thing you could do in terms of one on one time for each kid is to split up one parent to one kid for an evening, or a Saturday morning, or something. My DD treasures her "Daddy-Daughter" time, and DS loves "Daddy-Dude" time. They are really so much easier one on one, and having one on one time helps me remember when they're challenging how lovely they are individually.

 

That's what we're doing now and it's not really doing enough for him.  In fact, i see more resentment in him now that he's getting these little bits of time and it's not enough, he's really unhappy with dd.  He loves her so much and at the same time is really angry and sad about the whole thing.

 

Quote:

Oh, and is there any time where your DD does sleep when your DS is awake? We've done homeschool "nightschool" or educational activities at night after the younger child is asleep. The reverse could work too, some dedicated time with the older child early in the morning while the younger is asleep or while the younger has dedicated time with daddy.

 

Dd has serious sleep issues.  Nobody has time without her because by the time she finally goes to sleep, ds has been out cold for at least an hour and mommy & daddy need to get to bed unless we're going to suffer the next day (like I'm doing now while dh works).

 

 

Thanks.  It's actually very comforting to hear that someone has done this.  HUGELY comforting.

post #4 of 8

I don't think you can entirely.  My second daughter really did suffer when my third child was born.  He was premature, in NICU, then had a stomach condition at 7 weeks with surgery, then severe GERD which meant constant crying, all of my attention.  Then he started having seizures.  He's still more than half the work of all of my four.  And that is what we chance when we have children.  They are not all the same.  They will not all require the same effort, time, attention.  Some children will get less.  It won't always be equal.  
Sometimes, one is a standout at taking a lot of resources from a family.

It's unfortunate, but you can't give the kids back or change who they are of course.


So, my opinion is that all you can do is your best.  Your one-on-one time might not be enough, but if it's all you can possibly do, then it's all you can possibly do.  
Be with your child in his feelings, and explore your own as well.

 

You might find more advice in special needs parenting.  There may be families there that face this issue as well.
((hugs))

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sanguine_speed View Post

I don't think you can entirely.  My second daughter really did suffer when my third child was born.  He was premature, in NICU, then had a stomach condition at 7 weeks with surgery, then severe GERD which meant constant crying, all of my attention.  Then he started having seizures.  He's still more than half the work of all of my four.  And that is what we chance when we have children.  They are not all the same.  They will not all require the same effort, time, attention.  Some children will get less.  It won't always be equal.  
Sometimes, one is a standout at taking a lot of resources from a family.

It's unfortunate, but you can't give the kids back or change who they are of course.


So, my opinion is that all you can do is your best.  Your one-on-one time might not be enough, but if it's all you can possibly do, then it's all you can possibly do.  
Be with your child in his feelings, and explore your own as well.

 

You might find more advice in special needs parenting.  There may be families there that face this issue as well.
((hugs))


 

I'm actually a frequent flyer on the SN boards, but I don't have a ton of occasion to post anymore.  My son was "that child"--he just happened to be the only child at the time.  If he hadn't been the only child at the time, I would've been considering the same thing for whatever children there were so that they were getting some enjoyable time to just be a child even if it was with some other caregiver if I felt that their well-being was been significantly compromised and I had the means to do something about it.

 

What I'm doing now isn't all I can possibly do.  I CAN put dd in care 3 days/week.  Heck, I could put her in more.  I just don't love the idea.  I'm trying to figure out the lesser of the two evils.

 

But you know, I never looked at it like what you're talking about.  And I think you helped me answer the question for myself.  Thanks for that.

 

 

post #6 of 8

I understand that you feel guilty about leaving your dd with someone else, but it really sounds like it could benefit EVERYONE right now, including your dd.  You and your dh need a break from her from time to time, your ds obviously needs more time and attention, and since your dd is so loving and attached she might well enjoy all that company and friendship.  You're not dropping her off just because you want to go party, etc, you're doing it for the betterment of your family, so please don't beat yourself up over the decision. 

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by happyhats View Post

I understand that you feel guilty about leaving your dd with someone else, but it really sounds like it could benefit EVERYONE right now, including your dd.  You and your dh need a break from her from time to time, your ds obviously needs more time and attention, and since your dd is so loving and attached she might well enjoy all that company and friendship.  You're not dropping her off just because you want to go party, etc, you're doing it for the betterment of your family, so please don't beat yourself up over the decision. 



I know you're right.  She does love the place that we'd be taking her.  They have been good with the fact that she doesn't always nap, too.

 

I guess I never looked at my son's case (as he is now) like a special needs child until I was responding in my last post.  And then it really hit me that this is something that I need to do (given that we CAN do it--and I thank God for that ability, although I don't know how long it will last!).

 

Thanks all.

post #8 of 8

Have you considered bringing in a "mothers helper" or playmate into your home rather than shuffling DD off to daycare. That way your son can have your attention while DD is being played with and loved on but no one is being "pushed away". Perhaps DD would love to go for walks on nice days so DS can have a bit of quiet time with you or you can go to some of his activities and still have the flexibility of whether or not your son needs the extra quiet time with mom that day. It might be a happy medium for everyone involved especially if the other mother has a little one of a similar age as your daughter.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Stay at Home Parents
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Stay at Home Parents › LONG: How do you keep an older child from being back-burnered by a younger/more demanding child?