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Managing the Age Gap



My boys are learning to play chess.

I love that… except that one of them is 11 and one of them is 5.

Are you the parent of more than one child? If you are, you know they don't always get along and that's to be expected. But do you have an age gap bigger than 2 years? Or a gender gap — one boy and one girl?

How do you manage these gaps?

I have 2 boys — with very similar interests. My challenge is that they are 6 years apart. I thought sibling squabbles wouldn't be an issue. Boy was I wrong.

The 11-year-old wants to win and play by the rules… all the time. The 5-year-old wants to win too and have fun. Can you hear the bickering?

From the 11-year-old, I hear "No!" "Stop!" "You can't…!" "Don't!" "I win!"

From the 5-year-old, I hear whining, crying and lots of "Not fair!"

I thought sibling squabbles wouldn't be an issue. Boy was I wrong.

I've tried appealing to the 11-year-old's sense of pride in his skills and knowledge and encourage him to "coach" his little brother rather than playing a competitive game — work on skills.

That lasts about 10 minutes if I'm lucky.

I've explained the, "But you are 11 — of course you are better and everyone expects you to win" argument. That works for about 5 minutes.

They are such good boys, with good hearts, and they love each other very much. This is probably my biggest parenting challenge right now and it's driving me to distraction.

What's your trick of the trade for managing the age gap?

Hillary Chybinski is a crafty mom of 2 boys living the American Dream with her husband in the Philly burbs.  This post was adapted from her blog, My Scraps.

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