Age gaps between siblings

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Age gaps between siblings

Post  sarabone on Wed May 13, 2009 8:59 pm

What do people think is a good age gap between children? Is it better to have them close together, so the oldest doesn't remember life as an only child or is it better to have a bigger age gap between children?

Personally I'm not sure it makes as much difference to the relationship siblings have as people suggest in the long run. Me and my sister have what most websites and books say is the worst possible age gap (I was 2 and a half when she was born) and because she was very very poorly at birth i was hideously jealous very angry that my mum slept in the hospital with her and not at home with me and in fact tried to crush her when they first brought her home. By the time I was 5 she was my best friend and it's stayed that way. Though it's entirely possible that my parents see the attempted murder of their premature baby by their toddler in a different light to how me and Becka see it and would reccomend against that age gap.

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Re: Age gaps between siblings

Post  Zog on Wed May 13, 2009 10:33 pm

There are 4 years between my 2 boys and I think it's a good age gap. DS1 started school soon after DS2 was born which meant I could give DS2 lots of attention and take him to places where I couldn't have taken a baby and a toddler eg baby swimming lessons and bumps & babes group. Also DS1 was quite independent so I didn't have to dress both of them as he could dress himself, and I only needed to buy 1 lot of nappies. At the same time they are close enough in age to play together.
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Re: Age gaps between siblings

Post  Cadiva on Wed May 13, 2009 10:37 pm

There's 19 months between my brother and I. James is now 14 months and I'd hope to have another one within the next year, two at the very most, because not only don't I want a big age gap between them, but I don't want to be over 45 with two toddlers and I'm 39 already.
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Re: Age gaps between siblings

Post  Jeliwobble on Thu May 14, 2009 1:21 am

I think there's a lot to be said for very small age gaps, of less than a year, and long age gaps, of longer than three years. The small age gaps, there is very little jealousy as baby doesn't know what they are missing and you have almost a twin-like companionship between the two. Longer than three years and you are able to explain fully to your pre-schooler what's happening, why it's a good thing and how cool having a baby brother/sister will be! It's that messy time in the middle that I think is horrible! between 18 months and three years is a horrible time to have another one as the jealousy thing is in full force and, unless you've got a REALLY chilled out toddler, you get all sorts of behaviour issues.

There are 18 months between me and my brother. We pretty much hate each other's guts...well, I don't, he just hates me. He feels he's always been compared to me intellectually (which is rubbish because I might have the book smarts but he's got the common sense smarts in spades) and I feel him being the only boy of four that he's always had the best of everything (which is mostly nonsense except where my grandparents on my dad's side were concerned). Fought like cat and dog and still do if we're in the same room as each other...

Until they got to their teens, my sisters, who have four years between them, were good friends. Their teens weren't kind to them though and they don't have much love for each other now...

There is five years give or take a week between my first two and three years give or take a fortnight between my second and last. Both gaps have things to recommend them. Eldest was in school by the time Middlie arrived. I could concentrate wholly on her as a baby. It was great also because I was off work for the first six months of Eldest being at school which was fortunate because she really struggled (and still does to a certain extent). Only having one in nappies helps too!

The three years between the latter two is nice as well, mostly because they play so well together. Middlie might not have been in school but she was in pre-school soon after he was born. But they are much closer because they spend so long together most of the time. Thick as thieves! He winds her up, to be fair, but it's fleeting, and the love between them is much greater than the distance that's sometimes between her and her older sister. Not that they don't love each other, just that there is definitely less love between them than between the middle one and her brother. But that might just be their personalities too!

I was very adamant back in the day that I would never have less than three years between them, from my own experience. There would have been three years between the first two except that she came a bit early in my plans! It's worked out pretty well, though.

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Re: Age gaps between siblings

Post  Zog on Thu May 14, 2009 9:52 am

Jeliwobble, that's interesting about you and your brother. There are 17 months between my 2 brothers and while they were growing up they hated each other. They literally didn't speak to each other for years. If one walked in a room the other would walk out. My parents had to make another bedroom in the attic for one of them because they were sharing a room and there was such a bad atmosphere. They get on OK now though.
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Re: Age gaps between siblings

Post  phoenix on Thu May 14, 2009 5:42 pm

There are 10 years between my eldest and youngest. I can highly recommend that gap!!

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Re: Age gaps between siblings

Post  Anybugger on Thu May 14, 2009 7:32 pm

Well, I have 3.4 years between DS1 and DS2 and 3.9 years between DS2 and DD.

They have been good age gaps for us because,
1. only one in nappies at any one time
2. the elder child/ren have been able to understand the new baby
3. the elder child/ren have been in some sort of childcare school and/or playgroup for some of the time
4. in respect of school fees it has worked really well as by the time Lara starts K will be just finishing Prep so hopefully (if he doesn't need to go to a private secondary) we will only have 3 lots of fees for a short time.

However I do think that alot depends on the gender of the children and, of course their natures. I am lucky in that DS2 is a very sweet natured child and is happy to muck along with both the older and the younger one.

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Re: Age gaps between siblings

Post  Henri on Fri May 15, 2009 7:15 am

There are 24 months and nine days between my brother and I. I have NO memory of him as a small child. At two, I should have been old enough to have some vague memory of what life was like with a new baby, but I really just don't. The only memory I have of my brother before I was about 7 is of my mom breastfeeding and even then it's not really a memory of HIM, it's a memory of her. He just must have been there. Honestly I have very very few memories of my brother until I was 11. I know I was FIERCELY overprotective of him and I once almost beat up a kid who was bullying him. We spent our teen years hating each other. We physically fought very violently for years. He nearly snapped my neck, I tried to stab him, it was not the very picture of sibling love. I think had a social worker ever peered into our home we would have been put into care! I was 19 and he was living halfway around the world before we had a conversation with each other. Now we get on ok, but that's purely because we're never around each other. He has always resented me for being the oldest, for the perceived favouritism, for the 'attention' i got when I was ill. He could never understand that it wasn't favouritism, it was pressure to be perfect. That none of that 'attention' was positive. He has a much better sense of self and much more self esteem than I ever had because I took the heat as the first child. At 18 he is much more confident and sure of himself (big-headed and egotistical!) than I will be for years, and he got there himself, without having to find a soulmate that saved his life.

This has all been a long-winded way of saying that IMO, for MY family, the perfect age gap is a lifetime. I never want another baby after this one because I honestly don't think growing up with a sibling ever contributed anything good to my life. I wish I could say 'I love my brother, but...' but the truth is I don't even really love him. He's alright, but he's much less part of my life than my sister, who I didn't meet til I was 16 and she was already a grown-up, and he has less space in my memory than my cousins, who I haven't seen since I was 11. The idea of 'siblings' is just alien to me. It makes me feel cold. I see so many people who say 'Oh my sister is my best friend!' and I feel jealousy for that relationship but I would never have another baby on the off chance that it was another girl and the off chance that they'd like each other and the off chance they'd be best friends. It's too scary and alien to me. It's too much of a risk.
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Re: Age gaps between siblings

Post  Torm on Fri May 15, 2009 1:22 pm

Well i have 2 sons and there is 10 years between them, i have to say i think it is fab , my oldest son helps round the house and look after his little baby bro when i am doing dinner he is responsible enough and loves playing with him. I have to say maybe the gae i am now i dont thinki could handle 2 children that are a few years in difference, i would end up nuts lol.

I am one of 5 and my oldest brother was 9 years older than me and my youngest is only 2 and a half now (Mum and Dad both remarried ) so there is a pretty huge one there between my youngest and me. I did find it funny to begin with but now i dont see a problem. But may change when i am 50 and he is 20 lol
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Re: Age gaps between siblings

Post  mad_hatter252 on Sat May 16, 2009 12:59 am

Imo it dosnt make much of a difference. They is just over 6 years between me and my sister and i think weve always been very close even as a child she used to have to pick me up from school. We didnt play together when we were younger but we were close.

My brother is 4 years older and were not close and i hated him when i was a kid but i think thats down to him and his communication with others. All of us have a great 'sense' of closeness as adults.

My ds will be 5 this year and weve only just begun TTC so there will be at least 5 years age gap, i always wanted my children to be close together but it hasnt really been the right time until now.
I would never want my DS to be an only child it would be my worst nightmare, i think everyone needs siblings (no offence to only children though) I really do not want him to feel alone when he's older as having family has been so important to me whislt growing up and even now.

I dont think age gaps matter it is a case of personalities which determines how close siblings are.

There is more than 15 years between my mum and my uncle and she is closest to him out of all her siblings
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Re: Age gaps between siblings

Post  Jeliwobble on Sat May 16, 2009 2:16 am

Henri, that's harsh. There's no guarantee that your children will have the same personality clashes that you and your brother did. OK, I know there's no guarantee that they won't either, but you have the benefit of having been there and can forestall that kind of shenanigans!

Having had a close brother and two much younger sisters, I have seen it from both sides. I loved being 10 years older than my sister and 14 years older than the other one, though because of issues mum had at her birth, I ended up being more like her mum for the first 4 years of her life. We never had any clashes. Even the clashes my sisters had in their teens were simply spats.

I don't want anyone to feel that single children are a bad thing! My dh was an only child who didn't really miss out as he had several close cousins. Even so, he decided that he never wanted our dd1 to be a single child as he always wished for a sibling (which he got when he was 16 but he didn't actually find out about her until she was 10 and she didn't find out about him until she was 20...) so he would also keep me barefoot and pregnant until I couldn't do it any more! It's only me that's put the kybosh on that!

Zog, I don't know what it is about that 18 month gap. It's just horrible. Actually, the 24 month gap doesn't seem too nice either!

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Re: Age gaps between siblings

Post  Henri on Sat May 16, 2009 2:53 am

Jo: I know it is a little, but this is bearing in mind that I'm also not keen on another baby for all sorts of other reasons. So I'm not really resigning her to life as an only child JUST based on my relationship with my brother...it's more a case of 'Well it's not practical, it might not be possible, if it is possible it will probably be quite bad for me (health wise)' and then as an aside 'and I don't see siblings as that much of an advantage.' So it's more like just another in a long list of reasons I wouldn't, or it wouldn't be enough of a reason for me to change my mind about alll the other reasons, if that makes sense?
I think I've just had a really bad run with sibling relationships. I have never really had a lot of exposure of healthy, happy sibling relationships, but almost every only child I know has loved being an only child, so at some point it all melted together to form my opinion that I'd rather have an only child. I don't think everyone should, of course, it's just personally me and M have too much sibling-baggage going on on top of all the serious issues a second pregnancy and a second child would throw up for me to happily skip into having more.

If I did ever change my mind though, I think five years would be a good gap. Madam will be at school and old enough to be excited or at least understand about the new baby, and I like to think that in five years time M will have a better job and we'll have more money and we'll actually be on the property ladder. I don't think I could face having another baby before we were MUCH more financially secure and had been for a good couple of years.
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Re: Age gaps between siblings

Post  Moomin76 on Sat May 16, 2009 10:38 am

There's no such thing as a 'good' age gap imo. Large gaps have their advantages and disadvantages, just like small gaps. We all make decisions on what gap we'd like (or not as the case may be) based on our own sibling experience don't we. I have one sister, 4.5 years younger. I hated her growing up and we didn't really have any kind of friendship until I left to go to university. We're good friends now, but it took a long time to get there. As a consequence of that, I decided that I didn't want my children to be anymore than 3 years apart. That was the plan, but then fate stepped in! My dd is currently an only and will be 3 in September, so if I was to have another than she would be well over 3. As things stand, it's highly likely that she will remain an only.
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Re: Age gaps between siblings

Post  dirtyqwerty on Sat May 16, 2009 12:46 pm

I agree with the pp who said that under 18m and over 3 yrs is probably best. Based on no evidence at all of course! I have a 23 month age gap. It wasn't much fun!

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Re: Age gaps between siblings

Post  beadyeye on Sat May 16, 2009 8:26 pm

there is 17 months between DD1 and DS and at the time i didnt find it any harder but now they fight like cat and dog, I know that this is normal sibling rivalry but sometime I do wonder if part of the problem is that they are to near in age.
There is 9 years between DS and DD2 and we all adore her. I am a more relaxed mum this time and I am getting to enjoy my baby as I have a better Idea of what I am doing.
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Re: Age gaps between siblings

Post  EeeGee on Sun May 17, 2009 12:53 am

I'm not sure it matters? Although now speaking from experience, it's BLOODY HARD on the mother being pregnant with a toddler in tow!!

My brothers are 16 (I think!) months apart and then there are 5.5 years between me and my middle brother. I think the gap between me and my brothers was hard when I was little and they were a bit bigger and didn't want me joining in, but then they wanted to protect me, and now we're really close - most of the time, except when I want to kill them! LOL!

My two girls are 23 months apart - all bar a couple of days - so I shall have to wait and see how that goes! I hear good things about close sisters/siblings in general.
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Re: Age gaps between siblings

Post  Cadiva on Sun May 17, 2009 8:31 pm

Jeliwobble wrote:Zog, I don't know what it is about that 18 month gap. It's just horrible. Actually, the 24 month gap doesn't seem too nice either!

Not sure I agree, there's 19 months between me and my brother and while we fought as kids, once we hit our late teens/early 20s we got on fine and we're now incredibly close. Even our fights as kids were only spats, we never fell out and we never hated each other and woe betide anyone who said anything bad about the other one because we would both go into ultra defensive mode.
Maybe our closeness is because we come from a relatively big family, my mum is one of six, my dad one of three and we have lots of cousins, half cousins, step-cousins etc, so there were always lots of kids around us growing up.
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Re: Age gaps between siblings

Post  Moomin76 on Sun May 17, 2009 9:11 pm

Cadiva wrote:Maybe our closeness is because we come from a relatively big family
Gender has to play a part too. Shocking generalisation coming up......... girl siblings are the worst of all! It is the mixed gender siblings that seem to be the closest growing up.
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Re: Age gaps between siblings

Post  EeeGee on Sun May 17, 2009 9:30 pm

Moomin76 wrote:Gender has to play a part too. Shocking generalisation coming up......... girl siblings are the worst of all!

OH NO!!!!!!
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Re: Age gaps between siblings

Post  phoenix on Mon May 18, 2009 9:10 pm

Moomin76 wrote:girl siblings are the worst of all! It is the mixed gender siblings that seem to be the closest growing up.

Oh, hell no!

My sister and I were 19 months apart and we were best friends. As kids we played together and defended each other against all comers, even while bitterly fighting lol. The whole reason I really wanted two daughters was to give them a chance of enjoying the same relationship my sister and I had.

So I can't agree with your horrific generalisation there, and I'll say it is down to the children's individual personalities and circumstances.

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Re: Age gaps between siblings

Post  aloveofeachcolour on Mon May 18, 2009 11:08 pm

There's 3 1/2 years between my two. So far (and it's early days) they are pretty close, and get on well. DD was old enough to understand what was going on when ds arrived, and has also been old enough to mother him a little, which is v cute. There was also enough time that they weren't both in nursery at the same time, so it was better financially than if they had been closer.

So far, so good....

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Re: Age gaps between siblings

Post  EeeGee on Tue May 19, 2009 1:14 am

aloveofeachcolour wrote:
Liz
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Liz, eh??? Hmmmm..... I STILL don't know who you are No Embarassed (Sorry for off-topic!)
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