Positive stories of siblings with 4-7 year age difference? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 64 Old 07-10-2009, 07:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I would love it if people would share stories about having a 4-7 year gap between their first and second children.

While I was pregnant with my son we planned to have 2-3 kids, 2-3 years apart. Then I found out what motherhood was like! (actually, I had a very unpleasant birth experience and what with thankfully minor medical issues and general high-needs, Kiddo and I had a pretty rough first year) He's a little over 3, I'm just now starting to feel up to having a second baby. My husband and I are thinking of TTC this fall/winter. I was lucky enough to get pregnant very quickly last time, but in the spring I'll hit the magic age (35), so I know it may take a lot longer this time.

All the anecdotes I have about bigger age gaps are not positive. My mother was an only child until 10, and still resents her siblings today. My sister (6 at the time) tried to burn down our house when I was born! Now we love each other, but it was rough going for a good 12 years. The other anecdotes I know are less dramatic, but still not very positive.

I know there are great stories out there. Will you share yours with me?
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#2 of 64 Old 07-10-2009, 08:00 PM
 
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Mine are 4 yrs apart. DS1 absolutely LOVES his baby brother. From when he got to clean him up after birth, he has been smitten. He hugs, cuddles, helps and plays with him. He has had zero resentment, no acting out... DS1's preschool teacher says DS2 is the best thing to ever happen to him- he takes such pride in being a big brother. He looks for all "brother" things, he calls DS2 "my baby", they play and giggle. He shares everything with his brother. He even wanted to share his bike racing medals that he got in the city tournaments ("One for me, and one for DS2..."). He fed him his first food, he pushes him on the swing, and when we pick him up from school, the first kisses are for his brother.

And, with a little distance between them, DS1 has his own thing going on- he can play, visit friends, go to school, be (sort-of) patient, can do a lot for himself so they are not competing so much in needs or attention. Because DS1 has a whole different life at 5 than an infant, it is easy enough to work it.

Really- its been great and I'm so glad we waited a bit.

I really think it is not age between them but personalities of the kids involved.
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#3 of 64 Old 07-10-2009, 08:01 PM
 
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I think it all depends on the individuals and there are no age spaces that guarantee a harmonious relationship. You should be just fine.

I am 5 and 7 years older than my sisters. I was thrilled to death when they were born, we played together a ton as kids, I both mothered them and played at their level. When I was older I took on more of that role as I 'sat' them and was allowed to be the boss.. I will admit I was too controlling sometimes - that's one thing you have to account for when one kid is older, smarter and stronger than another, it's all too easy for us to get our way. But I always got along better with both of them than they did with each other - they fought a lot. Now that we are 24, 19 and 17 we are pretty much peers and don't even argue anymore.

My 5-year-old nephew has two sisters 5 and 6 years older than him. They adored him when he was a baby, but don't play with him much at this point because they are busy with tween stuff. In general they have a positive relationship - they get along better with him than each other, fight like cats and dogs. And they are only 17 months apart so if a very small age gap makes for a good sibling relationship, they are outliers.
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#4 of 64 Old 07-10-2009, 08:09 PM
 
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We have a 6 year gap between DS and DD. DS is so adoring of DD and has been a HUGE help since she was born, he can do a lot for himself & me which is indispensible!! He's more capable of compassion, understands how to be gentle and patient.

Any time he hears her crying, even when he is playing with friends, he rushes to her side and she stops to smile at him A life saver when I can't seem to comfort her.

It is a bit of a gap so they each kind of get a taset of being raised like an only child. I don't see that as good or bad but, an interesting experience.

wife to DH 2/03, mama to DS 3/03 & DD 1/09
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#5 of 64 Old 07-10-2009, 08:26 PM
 
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NAK...
Mine are 7 yrs apart and so far there has been NO downside. Granted, dd2 is only 1 so there might be negatives in the future but so far it's been wonderful. Big sister comes running if the baby so much as sticks her lower lip out and little one will stop fussing for my 8 yo faster than for me sometimes. I try not to ask too much of my older one as far as baby care goes but it sure is a huge help to have an older sibling around to hold the baby while I go pee all by myself!
I'm sure the individual kids' personalities play a huge part but it sure is working out great for us.
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#6 of 64 Old 07-10-2009, 08:37 PM
 
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We have a 4.5year age gap between my girls & almost 10years between my youngest dd & 9mo ds. I love it. We tried to have everyone closer, but took me a long time to get preggo w/dd#2..and then never thought we would get pregnant w/ds it took sooo long.

I loved the age difference between my girls..I thought I would never do it any other way. A lot easier than 2 in diapers for sure! The 10year age gap is certainly not ideal, but my girls dote on 9mo ds...he is one lucky babe
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#7 of 64 Old 07-10-2009, 08:54 PM
 
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I'm 8 years older than my brother but less than a year older than my sisters. I didn't play much with my brother and mostly I remember him pitting me and one of my sister against each other when I was babysitting him. But we are still family.

Now my 4 are 2.5, 4, and 13.5 years part. My youngest has more in common with his 4 yo nephew than his sisters. He has grown up as an only child in a family of 5 adults. His relationship with his 2 oldest sisters is more of an adult/child relationship. It's his 3rd sister that he has a semi sibling relationship.

My sister's 2 are 6 years apart. While they might not have played much together as children, as adults they hang out together as much as possible.

My dad is 10 years younger than his next sibling. He is the "baby". I don't know much about how he interacted with his sisters but, as adults, I remember growing up visiting my aunt for holidays and of them coming down to visit several times a year.

But you can't assume that your children will have similar relationships if they are far apart in age. It's really going to depend on their personalities and your family dynamics.

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#8 of 64 Old 07-10-2009, 08:56 PM
 
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I plan to have children at least four years apart... hopefully closer to seven...

My little brother and I are almost seven years apart. He absolutely adored me, and while we had occasional problems, they were really due to financial constraints, not our age gap. I think our age gap was perfect. We remain close.

My dp and his little brother are almost ten years apart, and they are the closest siblings I know.

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#9 of 64 Old 07-10-2009, 10:05 PM
 
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I ended up being a sort of 3rd parent for my little brother. Not out of any expectation of such, but because I was old enough to be given permission when I asked to do stuff with him. Which was often.

He's the person we've chosen to be Lina's guardian if the need should arise.

One thing my mom did that really helped encourage us to do stuff together was we didn't get in trouble at all if we did something together, had to clean it up, but not even an angry look about it. Also, we were allowed to not like each other all the time. There was no pressure that things had to be perfect between us. It also helps that I asked for him.

Two of the best siblings I know are a 10 year old and an 9 month old. ( nvm, I see Minmoto2 already posted about them.)
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#10 of 64 Old 07-10-2009, 10:38 PM
 
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My fantastic kiddos are a little over 5 years apart. While they obviously are in different age groups, with different wants/needs/likes/dislikes, they get along great! DS is very gentle with DD, plays with her,totally protects her, and is such a great help with her too. He entertains her in the car by making faces, they love to chase each other around, he reads to her, helps her eat, etc. Now it's not like they're throwing a ball with each other or having super in depth coversations, but it works. When I see other adults with this type of age difference with their siblings, I tell myself, once they're adults it doesn't matter what the age difference is. What matters is the type of relationship they have. Of course I hope my children are always close! Oh, and it sure was nice not having 2 napping,2 having too many sharing issues,2 not sleeping thru the night, etc. Plus I've gained a lot of knowledge and experience raising DS without a sibling for so long.

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#11 of 64 Old 07-10-2009, 10:45 PM
 
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My friend's DP is 12 years younger than his older sister and I don't know tons about his childhood, but I do know that he loves it that way and he told my friend he wants a long gap between kids, when they get ready to have them.

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#12 of 64 Old 07-10-2009, 10:47 PM
 
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There is 7 and 8 years difference between my brother and sister and I.
I don't have anything bad to say about the age gap between us.
I actually am a bit sad that my kids are not really old enough to have a clear memory/ understanding of pregnancy and birth with a younger sibling.

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#13 of 64 Old 07-10-2009, 11:02 PM
 
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my dd is exactly 5.5 yrs older than ds, and it has worked out beautifully. she was old enough to really be involved with my pregnancy, and we really encouraged to take an active role with ds. she adores him, and he thinks the sun rises and sets because she tells it to. seriously. i am so glad we spaced them like we did. there havent been issues of jealousy, and i feel like my dd benefited from being an only for so long, and ds is thriving having such a loving big sister. it is nice to be able to focus on him while dd is busy with her own interests also.

plus, i don't feel ragged out and spread too thin with the ages they are at. i would lose my mind trying to parent 2 very small tots at once. i would totally burnt out and overwhelmed, and i know i would feel like i couldnt meet each one's needs. i know plenty of other mamas can do it, and i admire that, but i couldn't!

edited to add
my little sister and i are spaced the same-5.5 yrs-and we are very close. we weren't always, especially not during the first decade or so of her life, but in hindsight, my own parents didn't do alot to foster a relationship between us.

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#14 of 64 Old 07-10-2009, 11:03 PM
 
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My dd and ds are 4 years and 6 days apart and I absolutely LOVE it! The gap is large enough that there isn't a lot of competition. Ds (currently 9) has always been so kind and loving to his little sis (currently 5). He loves to "teach" her how to do things and help her. Dd looks up to ds and thinks he is just awesome. I think that they just feel very comfortable in their roles in our family. Ds has never seemed to feel like dd was taking anything (affection, love, stuff) from him. He has always seen her as an addition to his fun. Now I am 24 weeks pg (this one will be a 5.5 year gap) and I am sooooo looking forward to it. It's been quite a while since I've had a baby! The kids can't stop talking about it and are really excited also...although they both were hoping for a sister and I'm having a boy.
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#15 of 64 Old 07-10-2009, 11:24 PM
 
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My sons are four years and four months apart, and it is wonderful. It was so nice to have an independent little guy when baby #2 arrived, and my older son has taken beautifully to the role of 'big brother'. I was just saying to my mom last night that he was a part of our little circle of three for so long, that it must have felt to him like we ALL got this new baby, the baby is for ALL of us. He's taken an active role in the baby's care and -- as a mama of a boy you might appreciate this -- has elected himself "Captain of the Poop Patrol", in charge of alerting us to a potential "Code Brown" if we don't catch it right away. He's very protective of his little brother and now that Teddy is 14m and starting to be lots of fun to play with, things are just getting better.

My brother and I are almost 7 years apart and I just adore the kid. Again, there were enough years where it was just me and my parents that I was very secure in my place in the family. If anything, I may have acted too much like a "little mother" to my brother -- but on the flip side, he loved me too and would follow me and my friends around. Now that we're both grownups we still think highly of each other and hang out by choice.

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#16 of 64 Old 07-10-2009, 11:24 PM
 
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My girls are 4.25 yrs apart and the spacing has worked out wonderfully thus far. DD1 will be 8 in a couple of months and she mothers her little sister and adores her and as dd2 gets older, they do more peer-like playing. I'm so, so, so glad we waited until we were truly ready for another baby instead of rushing into it!

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#17 of 64 Old 07-10-2009, 11:37 PM
 
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I don't know if this is the kind of story you wanted, but DH is 6 and 7 years older than his sister and brother and they have always been a very close and loving family. In fact, as adults the age difference has all but disappeared. They all became parents with a year of each other so that gave them something to bond over in a new way. My MIL says she wouldn't change her baby spacing for anything, and that DH was a big help to her and thoroughly enjoyed his little sibs!

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#18 of 64 Old 07-10-2009, 11:41 PM
 
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No negative stories here. My sibs are 16, 13, and 11 years older than I am. We've always been close and still are. The generations in our family are completely wacky (ex: my DD is the age of my great-nephews), but who wants to be like everyone else?

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#19 of 64 Old 07-10-2009, 11:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexsam View Post
Mine are 4 yrs apart. DS1 absolutely LOVES his baby brother. From when he got to clean him up after birth, he has been smitten. He hugs, cuddles, helps and plays with him. He has had zero resentment, no acting out... DS1's preschool teacher says DS2 is the best thing to ever happen to him- he takes such pride in being a big brother. He looks for all "brother" things, he calls DS2 "my baby", they play and giggle. He shares everything with his brother. He even wanted to share his bike racing medals that he got in the city tournaments ("One for me, and one for DS2..."). He fed him his first food, he pushes him on the swing, and when we pick him up from school, the first kisses are for his brother.

And, with a little distance between them, DS1 has his own thing going on- he can play, visit friends, go to school, be (sort-of) patient, can do a lot for himself so they are not competing so much in needs or attention. Because DS1 has a whole different life at 5 than an infant, it is easy enough to work it.

Really- its been great and I'm so glad we waited a bit.

I really think it is not age between them but personalities of the kids involved.
I could have written this post but my second baby is a DD and there is a 5 year gap between them. DD just turned a year so things may change in the future but as of now, DS is very sweet to his sister and they play together well. He loves to make her laugh and loves to help me take care of her.
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#20 of 64 Old 07-10-2009, 11:52 PM
 
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I purposefully decided to have at least 4 years between mine and actually wouldnt have minded 5. My dd was so sweet and protective of ds. She is 4y12d older than he is. She started school just shy of 5 so that allowed me to have 1 on 1 time with ds I wouldnt have other wise had. She was sleeping well by that point and was old enough to understand a lot better when ds needed me when she wanted something.

If I had been going to have more kids there would have been at least 4 years between them as well. It is so much easier to deal with a newborn when you dont have a toddler needing you as well.

 
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#21 of 64 Old 07-10-2009, 11:59 PM
 
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We have 7 years between our first two (DS from a previous marriage was 5 when we got married), and almost 6 years between dd1 and dd2.

DS and DD1 have never had a negative relationship- they aren't close, but never any sibling rivalry stuff. The issues between them now are the typical teenager-being-annoyed-with-tween-sister stuff.

DS adores DD2, I think as a function of being 13 when she was born. He's very protective, very loving. I see them having a great relationship later in life.

DD1 and DD2 are great friends. The only issues we have are now that DD1 is wanting some privacy (she's turning 11), but they still play together daily. DD2 worships both of her older siblings.

FWIW, I am the oldest of 4, each about 2.5-3 years apart. I'm by far the closest to my youngest sister who is 10 years younger than me.

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#22 of 64 Old 07-11-2009, 12:02 AM
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My kids are 5 years apart. They love each other dearly. (Of course they still have normal sibling rivalry.)

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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#23 of 64 Old 07-11-2009, 02:47 AM
 
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Mine are 5 and 4 years apart.

When they were younger, it was actually very convenient for me, as I only had one in diapers at a time, one in a stroller or sling at a time, one nursing at a time, etc.

I think the older ones had less jealousy of each new baby too, because they were in school or preschool and had sort of a life outside of me, so they didn't seem to resent the baby taking up so much of my time.

And while they were in school the baby and I would have time together...when the baby napped, then older ones would have time with me.

It worked out really well for us from a practical standpoint.

It's hard to say if my kids fight more or less than kids who are closer together....there's a lot more to how siblings get along than just the years between them, you know? Their personalities are what they are, regardless of when they were born.

I know you wanted only postive things, but realistically, there are less than positive things...like everything else there are pluses and minuses.

My oldest sometimes resents being the house babysitter, and I try to be sympathetic to that but there are times when I just have no choice and it is part of her contribution to the household. I just try to make sure she still has plenty of time to herself and that I'm not taking advantage.
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#24 of 64 Old 07-11-2009, 10:55 AM
 
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My kids are six years apart. They are now 8.5 (dd) and 2.5 (ds).

They are very close. They sleep cuddled together in the same full sized bed, by choice. Dd adores her little brother, and ds worships his big sister
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#25 of 64 Old 07-11-2009, 12:07 PM
 
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Well, my dd is 5 and I'm about to "pop" in July...so i can't speak for *her* experience with her soon to be baby brother - BUT -

My brother is exactly 5 years younger than me. We definitely had our share of fights - but we had a lot of fun playing together once he was older (4 and up, i think...probably sooner, but that's when he could actually "play"). We each had our own room but sometimes we'd willingly "move in" together and turn an entire room into a fort and play with ALL of our toys at once - barbies, gi joes, mc donalds toys, blocks - lol. It was quite the crazy city!
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#26 of 64 Old 07-11-2009, 01:55 PM
 
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Mine are 6 years apart, the twins are 7 and DS2 is 20 months old. It has been good, but sometimes the twins are busy with their own stuff. Im not going to deny that DS adores the twins, especially DD becuase she's the one that's always looking after DS2. But they are not close.

It was the samething with my siblings and I. I'm the youngest of 4 children, the oldest was 16 when I was born, my other sister 13 and my brother 10, they are very protective of me now though and we have a good relationship.
I'm sure the same will happen with my kids.

Lorna, mommy to Leonor & Leonardo (31/10/01) and Riccardo (14/11/07), wife to Ignacio (98')
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#27 of 64 Old 07-11-2009, 02:39 PM
 
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this is all very encouraging i was so worried about how everything would work out between our kids. we have two right now 5 and 7 who get along great and fight horribly at the same time. we want to add to our family but not until DP is done with school in about 3 years so its great to hear how it all worked out for you guys!

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#28 of 64 Old 07-11-2009, 03:16 PM
 
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#29 of 64 Old 07-11-2009, 03:22 PM
 
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We'll see how it goes for my kids too. My older two will be 7 and 4.5 when this one is born. I am not too worried though...I think they will love their new baby brother or sister.

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#30 of 64 Old 07-11-2009, 09:54 PM
 
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I was five and a half years old when my little sister was born. I remember my mum being extremely attentive to me while she was pregnant, and reassuring me that I'd always be special to her.

My little sister and I were best friends from the get go. When she became verbal, I was often forced to play the role of translator between her and my parents. We grew up in a very rural area, without a lot (or any) kids our age to play with. Maybe that's the reason we became so close. For a good five year period, she was basically my little clone. Anything I did, she wanted to do.

Sometimes, when we were riding in the car I would look back at her in the backseat with my face COMPLETELY blank and her little face would flicker back and forth between happiness and sadness, because she couldn't figure out what I was feeling. When I'd smile, her face would light up, and when I'd frown, she'd look crushed. That's how attached to me she was.

I moved out when I was sixteen, and due to issues w/ my parents, we don't get to talk much. At this point she is 16 and I'm 22, but when we do get to talk it's like nothing has changed (except we're both much more mature). She is my favorite person in the world (besides my DF) and we still have this incredible bond where we pretty much always know what each other is thinking.

photosmile2.gifcavale treehugger.gif*wannabe radical doula*
*plotting with sammodifiedartist.gif until we have our own little ones*
planning to TTC in May '11 (just in time for my birthday!)
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