10 yo dd still not adjusting to my 18mo dd - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 03-10-2009, 03:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My 10 yo dd was an only child for a long time with me as a stay at home doting mom. She is still not adjusting well to my 18 mo daughter.
She feels she is really getting a raw deal. I don't have help so I am at the stage where all my attention goes to watching my toddler - when my dh gets home we try to divide and conquer and on the weekends as well. I am still breastfeeding and practice AP so I am somewhat limited in the amount of time I'm willing to leave my baby. We go on special MDD -mother daughter dates once during the week and once on weekends and no matter what we do - it is not enough. She has huge sibling rivalry and literally acts like a 3 year old in many ways with the baby - won't let her touch her things etc.
Does anyone else have experience with this age gap with no kids in between. How do you ever find common ground and interests etc so we're not always dividing and conquering and so I can spend time with my husband as well? Will she always resent the baby and me for having her?
I have had one thousand talks with her about her feelings etc but it doesn't seem to help!
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#2 of 11 Old 03-17-2009, 11:59 AM
 
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I am interested in this thread because I have a 9.5 yo DD who has NEVER wanted a sibling, and my bf wants a(nother) child after we get married. Idk if my DD would ever accept one.
My other advice may simply be to give it time. Life isn't fair and it's best to learn these things gently and early! I supposedly never adjusted to my younger brother growing up, and we aren't terribly close to this day. I love him and enjoy what time we spend together, but I still remember my childhood resentment of having competition for attention. Obviously I do not in any way hold this against my brother (or my eventual younger still sister) but it drove a wedge between us as children. Eventually as they grew we could play together and build positive memories and experiences, but it had to be done on my terms. I had to want to connect to them and my parents bringing it up all of the time made it worse, like a constant reminder. Simply accepting her feelings at this time, and allowing her to have them, may actually speed up her acceptance by allowing her to grieve for her loss of place in her family. She'll come around eventually when she's ready and probably soon. Good luck, I understand how hard and frustrating this must be!
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#3 of 11 Old 03-17-2009, 12:06 PM
 
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I was almost 8 when my brother was born and I had an extremely difficult time. I was literally mad at the world and despised this little "thing" that took the attention away from me. Looking back, I think it would have really helped if my mom and dad gave me MORE responsibility over the baby...instead of trying to continue to "baby" me like I was still their only child. I was very mean to my brother for a long time and everything he did bothered me. I wish now that I could have somehow understood how much he looked up to me, I would have tried a bit harder.
Now things are great and he and I have become really close.

Blessed with two BEAUTIFUL little girls: Kylie (09/06) and Maggie (4/09) :
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#4 of 11 Old 03-22-2009, 09:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pooppants View Post
My 10 yo dd was an only child for a long time with me as a stay at home doting mom. She is still not adjusting well to my 18 mo daughter.
She feels she is really getting a raw deal. I don't have help so I am at the stage where all my attention goes to watching my toddler - when my dh gets home we try to divide and conquer and on the weekends as well. I am still breastfeeding and practice AP so I am somewhat limited in the amount of time I'm willing to leave my baby. We go on special MDD -mother daughter dates once during the week and once on weekends and no matter what we do - it is not enough. She has huge sibling rivalry and literally acts like a 3 year old in many ways with the baby - won't let her touch her things etc.
Does anyone else have experience with this age gap with no kids in between. How do you ever find common ground and interests etc so we're not always dividing and conquering and so I can spend time with my husband as well? Will she always resent the baby and me for having her?
I have had one thousand talks with her about her feelings etc but it doesn't seem to help!
I don't blame her for not wanting an 18 month old touching her stuff.

She needs to feel older and separate from the baby. She shouldn't have to share her pre-teen belongings with a baby. She needs her own space. I second the idea of letting her have responsibility over the baby.

Trying to do the right thing with three kids and a hubby. 
ds20, dd18, ds17
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#5 of 11 Old 03-22-2009, 11:01 PM
 
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I had married into a family like yours. There were two sibs, the father was killed and the mother remarried and later had two more.
It NEVER got better for the older two, they are only one year apart. The gap between the first set and the second set was almost 10 years.

Constant talking may not be your answer. Something never get better and forcing it DOES NOT HELP!!
Later in life the real problems can happen, not saying it will be so, I just speak from first hand. To this day the first two are close and the second two are and all together they can't be in the same room and not fight. It came down to just the mother left (step-dad died years ago) and when "mother" died was the last all four got together. The years leading up to her death were HELL!!!! -to put it nicely-

The biggest problem was the first set of sibs was a b & g and than another b & g. were never close at all.

There are those that are close, not saying things won't change but when you look at what they have in common, the gap gets wider and it is really hard for the older one to relate. Going from the center for almost 10 years to not!
I won't expect things to happen fast if ever.
Knowing they may never be close and excepting it is the start. You throw in a ten year old soon to enter puberty, it's really going to be hard for her.

As others have said, keep the younger one away from her stuff and don't push her. You should not expect things to change and not put your needs for your time with DH so up-front, it sucks for you, but think how hard it is on your 10 year old?
I'm sure the resentment is not just for the "new one" but all that goes with it. The older one is the harder I think it is to deal with.

Having been married to someone who dealt with this most of their life, you really will never know what pain they feel and expressing your disappointment about it, I can tell you personally doesn't do anything to help but keeps adding gas to the fire! I really think some people don't think of others and how in the long run this will effect the children. I'm sure there are some great families out there where ever thing just works out wonderful, NOT saying things won't change for you.

The more your DD knows this is bugging you the more upset she MIGHT feel, knowing she didn't cause you to have this other one and she is not feeling what you want her to feel.

 

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#6 of 11 Old 03-22-2009, 11:10 PM
 
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I also want to add--
about responsibility

She MAY resent it if she is asked. She didn't have the baby and doesn't seem to WANT it, adding "responsibility" may not be the way to go for her. Having to HELP with someone she doesn't want at this point may not work for her, perhaps in time, but she may be off doing her own things and not want to "babysit" even later.

Are you in counseling? I don't think it would hurt, would go first and NOT send her first, she may view this negatively too. Don't let things go too long, 18 months to a ten year old is already a long time.

 

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#7 of 11 Old 03-22-2009, 11:46 PM
 
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Did your dd have much experience with babies/little kids before getting a baby sister? If not, it may be just as much a not-used-to-babies issue as a don't-want-a-sibling issue.

My older ds was almost 8 when his baby brother was born. He had previously asked for a baby sibling, and was thrilled to hear it would happen. Ds was used to sharing me, though. He had a sort of "little brother" when he was a 2-4 year old-- a baby that I took care of twice a week.

Older ds loved to help me with our baby, but I never required it. If dd feels put-upon about helping with the baby, you might want to try paying her to be a "mother's helper" sometimes.

Does your dd have any friends with baby sibs? Maybe talking with a friend could help her put her "plight" in perspective. She might also be better disposed towards her little sis if her friends are!

FWIW, I have a friend with 2 sons, 10 years apart. The older son does miss getting all his mom's attention, but he adores his little brother, too. The older son is a very "take things in stride" kind of kid, though.

18 months isn't really that long to get used to a life-changing event. Maybe your older dd will settle in to her new circumstances soon. :
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#8 of 11 Old 03-23-2009, 12:36 AM
 
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I was 9yo when my sister was born. For me, that 1st year wasn't a problem. I understood that my sister, being so much younger and needier, required more attention than I did. Our problems came later when she was a toddler/young child and I was a moody hormonal tween.

Her touching my possessions was a real problem. My room was supposed to be the safe place for me to keep my things as well as my haven to retreat to when dealing with my sister got to be more than I could handle. My sister was quite clever, though, and would sneak in when no one was looking. Being a toddler, she damaged or destroyed a lot of my things. This made me quite possessive and hypersensitive to her touching anything that belonged to me. She would also throw a tantrum anytime I retreated to my room for some peace and quiet. It made my haven not feel so safe, iykwim. This got better when my parents put a lock on my door so I had some control over protecting my space.

Over all though, I think the biggest problem I had was my parents expecting too much "adult/grown up" behavior from me when I was really still just a kid in many ways.

My sister's behavior was excused for what it was, developmentally appropriate toddler/kid behavior. I however being the older sibling was expected to handle things like an adult. I lost count of how many times I was told as the older sibling I was expected to act more grown up. The problem was that I was a tween, not an adult or even a teen, and as such my behavior was also developmentally appropriate. I didn't have the kind of control over expressing my feelings that a teen or adult would have, but I was still expected to. Also, AF started when I turned 11yo so on top of everything there was a lot of hormonal chaos going on in my body to complicate things around that time too.

For what it's worth, as adults we are now very close and the best of friends. She lives near by, and we get together at least once a week. Just because they might be having trouble getting along now, doesn't mean it will always be that way. There were periods of time when we were not very close but as adults, we had a lot more in common to share with one another.
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#9 of 11 Old 03-23-2009, 09:45 AM
 
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My kids are 13, 5, and 1 year old. My 13 year old had a pretty severe period of adjustment when the middle child was about 18 months old, until she turned 3...the age when they could talk to each other. Giving her more responsibility over the little one was not the answer here, she didn't like 'being treated like a babysitting slave' <insert eyeroll here> so what was most helpful was giving her somewhere else to go. In my case it was my youngest, childless sister's place, a few blocks away. She's always been my sister's pet, and it was comforting for her to be able to go there and still be unconditionally #1 during that tween phase.

They aren't 'best friends' now, but they do get along much better, and actually commiserate to each other about my toddler and how she gets into their stuff and requires so much of my attention. #1 and #2 are on a team now, with that in common, and it has helped much with their bonding.
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#10 of 11 Old 03-23-2009, 10:29 AM
 
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My 10yo dd was not an only child at the time, but she made it VERY clear that she did NOT want to relinquish her place as the "baby" in the family. She was openly opposed to our wanting to add another sibling, and cried hysterically when she saw the +hpt!!! Once her baby sister began to show dd2 outward signs of affection, things changed dramatically. dd2 felt needed and important to the baby....Now, she realizes that she has the best of both worlds....she is the "baby" of the big kids, while also a big sister herself! Thankfully it has turned out well for us, but every child has specific fears and needs. I would focus on finding out what "specific" issue your dd has reguarding the baby. Has she been able to verbalize any worries or fears about the baby's presence in her life, yet? Instead of splitting time with the girls and hubby, I would try just the opposite. Stressing the importance of "family" time and both girls being together with mommy and daddy. Soon, she may see how much her baby sister loves her, needs her and looks up to her.

me-45, DH-46, ds1-23, ds2-18, dd1-17, dd2-14, dd3-4....hoping for #6.....

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#11 of 11 Old 03-24-2009, 05:13 AM
 
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I'm 9 years older than my sister. I had tremendous responsibility over her - more than I should have. Our current nanny is practically raising her much younger siblings, and I don't think it's healthy. I don't think that responsibility over a much younger sibling's always a good thing. She's in college now, and sometimes I still struggle with listening to her talk about her experiences without trying to parent her.

That said, I don't remember resenting my sister. I was happy to have a sister, but I know that I did go through a period of not wanting her to touch my things. She was a toddler; she broke things. Luckily my mom was good about enforcing with her that my room was off-limits to her grubby little hands.

I think you probably have to give it time. Toddlers are tough for parents, and they're doubly so for much-older siblings. Heck, there are only 2 years between my DC, and DS went through a stage of griping because his sister touched his things.

It's us: DH , DS ; DD ; and me . Also there's the . And the 3 . I . Oh, and .
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