Fierce territorial battles - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 11-25-2012, 08:42 PM - Thread Starter
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We are just finishing up renovations that have changed our two bedroom house into a three bedroom house (previously, dd had a room and ds just shared our bedroom) which means each child has their own room. Ds adores dd and wants to play with her, but he is big and strong for his age, and can be a little malicious at times towards his sister's toys. I totally understand that she doesn't trust his playing with her stuff. I have also seen plenty of examples of him playing  nicely and her swooping in and causing a problem. She can get extremely bossy. Dd (5) will, at times, play with ds (2 1/2) in his room, which he loves, and welcomes any time. I know he's not perfect with her toys, but he really does try hard. I'll catch her at times racing back to her room with him right behind her... only to shut the door in his face. This makes him so sad, you can just see how crestfallen he is that his favorite playmate has shut him out.


I want to respect Dd's need for privacy, but our house it too small for a shared playroom and I don't want her to bar ds from ever coming in to play.  Right now, I have been trying to give time limits (you can play alone in your room with the door shut for ten minutes, but then you need to come and play with  your brother for 5)


How should I handle this? I can create a shelf for off-limit favorite toys, but I want to encourage sharing and respect, and dd is becoming extremely rude and bossy towards her brother lately. I don't want her to sit in her room with the door shut all day. When she acts like that towards any of us, it's frustrating. For our 2 1/2 year old,this usually sets him off and we have a battle on our hands!


How do you handle inevitable disputes over territory?

Mom to Delia  (5/25/07) and Alex  (4/10/10) and 2 spoiled kitties
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#2 of 6 Old 11-26-2012, 04:01 AM
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I would let her play alone in her room if she wants to, and not set a time limit. If you make her play with her brother, she might get resentful of him. I would insist though that she behaves nicely with him. Running away and shutting the door in his face is rude. I would teach her to say: dbrother, I'll go play alone in my room for a bit. And then probably you or the dad will need to intervene and keep your ds entertained. shrug.gif He'll get used to it, and I bet he'll be much happier to have one of his parents as a playmate. Also, your dd won't be able to sit alone in her room if her brother is having fun outside (although I wouldn't count on that).

Ds 9 and dd 5
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#3 of 6 Old 11-26-2012, 12:08 PM
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My mother often forced me to play with my sister when we were kids.  I was alone for almost 3 years, had developed a great imagination and sense of independance to play by myself, but when she came along I became a plaything - a way for my mother to not have to entertain my sister the way she did me.  We're 2.5ys apart, and to this day at 26 and 29, I can't stand to be with her for more than a few hours at a time.  Thankfully she lives in SC, I'm in CT so the separation makes it easier when we are together.  I have said it to my mother and to my husband, I will NOT take that approach with our kids. DD is 1 and there are no plans for a sibling until she is at least 3 and in school.  I don't want that kind of animosity between my own children that there was/is between my sister and I.  Sure your DS wants to play with your DD - he's never known life without her.  She on the other hand did know a life before him.  He needs to learn that independance just as much as she needs to maintain the ability to have it as she did before. On the other hand, closing doors is a no-no in my book.  Spaces are to be respected regardless of barriers like doors.  My sister's bedroom was actually more a room/hallway to get to my bedroom and I was never allowed to linger in her space even though there was no door, and I was not allowed to close my door either (not til we were MUCH older).  They both need to learn that if one says 'enough', that needs to be respected.  They could be in the same room playing totally serperate and that should be as good as being behind a door.  Doors being closed at that age are asking for trouble - especially if she's learning that it's acceptablee to slam it when she's angry.

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#4 of 6 Old 11-26-2012, 01:17 PM
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I agree that forcing her to play with him will increase resentment. I also think that if it is her room, she should have the say as to who is allowed to come into it and when (except for health or safety issues). Slamming the door to keep her brother out is not okay because she could hit him, or his fingers could be in the door jam.


Could both children be taught how to stand outside the room and ask for permission to enter before entering? Then how to gracefully accept, "not right now?"


The younger one wants to play with his older sister, of course. What did you do when your older daughter was 2.5 and wanted to play with someone? Does he have any friends he could invite over?

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#5 of 6 Old 11-26-2012, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by sassyfirechick View Post

. On the other hand, closing doors is a no-no in my book. 

Totally agree with you sassyfire, except for the quoted part. I wasn't allowed to have my bedroom door closed until I left home at 18 y/o. I can't explain how frustrating and humiliating it felt.

My ds can close his bedroom door, if he wants to play by himself, or he's just frustrated and needs a good cry. When his bedroom door is closed, I always knock before I enter.


JMO, of course

Ds 9 and dd 5
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#6 of 6 Old 11-26-2012, 08:44 PM
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I don't force my kids to play with each other either and I think it helps them learn that if they want to have playmates they need to act nicely. My 4 yr old has major issues in the playing nice area. He and my 9 yr old have the most trouble. Sometimes ds1 will let him in but I have always said if ds3 is being mean, not respecting the room rules, etc. I will go get him out.

It's always my ds1 choice and sometimes he agrees, sometimes he doesn't.

I don't want to influence their interaction negatively, especially when my goal is to facilitate the brotherly bond kwim?

It is hard all around though. God luck. :-)

Wife to dh, Mommy to ds1 12/2002, ds2 9/2005, and ds3 9/2008.
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