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sibling rivalry during playdates

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I have a 12 year old son and a spirited 7 year old daughter who loves her brother dearly. Just about anytime my son has a friend over it is a disaster if my daughter does not have a friend over too. Usually my son is pretty tolerant of her tagging along but at some point he wants his space with his friend. At this point my daughter becomes very distraught. I have tried redirecting her but as soon as she thinks my son wants space she has a meltdown. We have had family discussions about it and at one point my daughter agreed to give them an hour space if they would play with her the rest of the time but many times that ends with the boys wanting to climb trees or run away to get away from her when she starts complaining about not wanting to play the game they want to play.My son wants to have the freedom to do what him and his friends want to do without having to figure out a way to please her. Maybe my only solution is to just not have friends over for my son unless my daughter is involved in someting else but it is hard as we homeschool and are home together alot! Any suggestion would be greatly appreciated!

post #2 of 5

I think this is very unfair to your son. 12 yo boys are a lot different usually then 7 yo girls. It's totally reasonable for him to want space. I assume that when she has friends over, your son leaves them alone? I think you need to make very clear expectations for your daughter. Maybe you can have a fun activity set up for her when he has a friend over, but regardless, she needs to know it's ok if your son doesn't play with her while he has a friend over. I would have resented it if I was not allowed to have friends over because my younger sister threw a tantrum when I did, or demanded we include her the majority of the time. 

post #3 of 5

Yes, I agree with PP.  Dsd is still okay with her younger sibs tagging along most of the time (and her friends have all been really into "babies" to play with so far!) but we still ask that dd (and now ds) give her sister some private time with friends, whether they go into her room or outside or somewhere out of the main play space.  If your son is okay with it, maybe ask that he include his sister for a certain amount of time, but then your daughter is old enough to be able to give her brother some time to himself when requested too, even if she is upset about it.  It sounds like they got lots of time to play together otherwise since you homsschool (love that benefit! :) so though it may frustrate your daughter to see him having fun without her, hopefully she will in time get used to it.  I also agree with tryign to set up a fun activity just for her while he is playing with his friends, maybe something that he doesn't enjoy doing that you two could do together. 

post #4 of 5
I don't know if this perspective is helpful as food for thought, but my dd has friends with siblings and the ones with parents who force inclusion are the ones she stops wanting to see unless they can come to her house because it becomes a negative experience for everyone involved rather than just a learning experience for the child throwing a tantrum. A few of her friendships did dissolve because she didn't want to be in that kind negative environment so see forcing inclusion as a bad thing. I also think you are setting the stage for resentment between the siblings and showing a lot of favoritism, something I remember being quick to spot as an older sibling, but I may be totally off since I don't have two kids and can really only give the viewpoint of a mom who has seen the pov of the guest.
post #5 of 5

I would not force inclusion between a 7-yo girl and 12-yo boys.  I would maybe find something else for your daughter to do, or let her do something special (like watch a movie, etc.), but I wouldn't force inclusion. 


I would be a bit more in favor of including a younger sibling if the younger sibling was only 2-3 years younger.   I wouldn't force it and I wouldn't say that the child with the playdate had to pander to the younger sibling, but I would want them to let the younger one play as long as the younger one was able to keep up, play their game, etc.  But, I think that only applies if there is a smaller age gap.


We homeschool and for various reasons, I can't always make it so that each of my children gets an "equal" number of playdates with their friends, so I prefer if they do have playdates, that everyone who  wants to be is included in play.   I dont' force it though...although so far, my kids have all been very willing to include their siblings.

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