Question for mom's with only children - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 07-23-2012, 01:31 PM - Thread Starter
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How do you help your older only children understand younger children? I thought this is something my dd would grow into but she is nine and hasn't yet. She has very little patience and understanding for younger kids. Until now this didn't bother me because she doesn't need to be around younger kids, our house is where her friends like to hang out because their siblings aren't here and all of her friends are her age. Her father is back in her life now though and he lives with roommates who have three younger kids so it is something I really want to help her through if I can so she enjoys her time there without being so irritated by the younger kids. I don't even know if that is possible but any advice would be helpful.
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#2 of 4 Old 07-23-2012, 09:08 PM
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DS is 6, also an only, and we have tried to focus on how older friends were really patient with him when he was younger (true, fortunately!): letting him go first, letting him make choices, reading books that he wanted to read, and so on--the idea being that now it's his turn to be kind and patient to those who are younger.  We've tried to frame annoying/challenging behavior of younger kids as "Well, it's her job to test your limits because she is 3!"  to help him see what is appropriate or normal, and we've shared anecdotes about what he used to be like at that age. We've also tried to set aside toys a younger visitor would like, etc.


For us, though, younger visitors go home eventually.  Dealing with the roommates' three little kids so suddenly would be a big challenge!  I hope she and her dad still find some time and space of their own.  Good luck!

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#3 of 4 Old 07-24-2012, 08:33 AM
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Hi One_Girl.  I have an only too (who is 5.5) but I've seen a pattern with her cousins which leads me to believe that there is perhaps a general impatience with younger kids - even with those who have siblings.  DD's cousins (who all have siblings) who range between 8 and 11 are extremely impatient with younger children, even their own siblings.  Whenever we go to visit family, the older cousins will hide out somewhere to avoid the younger kids, including DD.  I'm starting to think this is an age thing more than anything else.  If I reach back in my own memory, I remember doing the same thing to my younger siblings and cousins.  DD's 9-year-old cousin is also mortified and embarrassed of DD in public.  DD is just acting like any 5.5 year old would, but the 9-year-old acts like she wants to crawl into a hole and die.  LOL.  The whole tween thing is fascinating to me in a lot of respects.  The 9-year-old so much wants to be adult (or at least a teen) and do adult/teen things, but they're still stuck in this 9-year-old body with the inability to cross age and social strata effectively.


That being said, younger children do have feelings, and I think my approach would be to adequately explain this to your DD and work out a way for her to handle her feelings and perhaps a strategy for gently telling the younger kids "No, I'm not interested in doing this but why don't I set up this for you to do."  I think younger children are easily deflected and if it pains your DD to play with them, maybe she can figure out creative ways of keeping them busy.  Even my DD gets impatient with 3-year olds, but when they are over, I tell DD to pull out her old toys and that seems to do the trick.  She even gets interested in helping them with stuff.  I think when she's in a position where she feels superior and that she's the "boss" she has a lot more fun and has an easier time dealing with them.


Sorry for being long-winded, but I also think this impatience will pass with time.  It is interesting to me, but teenagers love DD and will engage with her.  I do think part of it is that your DD is going through a certain growth and age where she's struggling with her own place in the world and wants to disassociate herself from little kids.  I don't think it's "only child" issue, though.  I just think it is a normal 9-year-old thing.  How she handles her feelings toward the younger kids, though, will probably make a huge difference.  Yeah, little kids can be annoying, but what can I do as the older kid to keep the annoyance to a minimum and have some fun (or peace) myself?

"Lawyers, I suppose, were children once." Charles Lamb.
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#4 of 4 Old 07-24-2012, 11:12 AM
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this is new right? i think you have to give her some time to adjust. 


i think her reaction is a normal state of being. my dd is 9 too and apart from babies and toddlers is v. irritated with younger children.


remember our kids have to change their lives to fit in younger kids. like what to play with, what movies they can watch. when they want to be left alone the younger child cant understand why. so i can totally understand why your dd is irritated. plus if she is shy and has sensory issues - then it might also just be overload for her too. 


when she comes home and cribs just listen to her. 


apart from that i really cant help you. its really embarrasing for me coz the younger siblings of dd's friends ADORE my dd (one of them even want to marry her :)) and they want to be around her - poor things. THAT irritates my dd to no end. what's adding to it is that the older siblings find their younger siblings very irritating too. but i talk to my dd and remind her about hurt feelings. so when they have a playdate in my house i have to make sure i insist that the younger one gets his playing time too with dd. i think though after all this talk about hurt feelings, i think she is finally getting it. 


is your dd getting some space from those children? for instance if she goes into her dad's room is she allowed to close the door and have some space to herself. 

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