I have an 11 year old daughter, and her dad and I have been divorced since she was 5. I met a man when she was 7 and him and I eventually moved in together. We have had a son who is now 1.5 years old.

My daughter has been very standoffish towards my son since he was born. I tried to prep her before he was born and she was very excited for him to be here. I even made it a point that she would be the first to hold him in the hospital when he was born (after my husband and I).

My daughter has always been standoffish towards him and it is driving me crazy. I have asked her about it and she tells me he doesn't do anything. She said once he starts sitting up she would play with him. He started doing that and she still wanted nothing to do with him so I asked again and she said once he starts walking then I can play with him, and so on and so on. I feel like she just keeps making excuses of reasons she doesn't like him.

He LOVES to follow her around and is dying to play with her, but she just shrivels up her nose and won't even hardly look at him. It breaks my heart when he follows her around wanting to play and she goes into a room and shuts the door in his face, and he cries because he just wants to be with her.

I have grounded her, taken away privilages, etc. but I am just at a loss on how to fix this at this point. Anyone have any great ideas on how I can get her to develop a relationship with him?

  • 1
    I really feel as though the half-sibling part is far less the issue here than the age spread.
    – Jax
    Jul 31, 2016 at 18:06

1 Answer 1


Please put yourself in your daughter's position for a moment:

You are 11. You are starting to discuss "cool" things with your girlfriends and can't wait to be a bit older. And with a bit of luck, puberty is already messing wth your brain.

Your brother, on the other hand, is not yet two. He just walks around, babbles, dribbles, has sticky fingers and even if he is your greatest fan (how uncool....), he doesn't respect your posessions and boundaries.

Plainly put, those two live in two different universes right now. Your daughter is solving math equations and reading books, is participating in sports or other activities, the greatest achievement of your son (from her perspective) is probably stacking two Lego Duplo bricks together. Whenever your children are supposed to play together, it means she has to go down on his level - physically and mentally. (And sorry, a 1.5 yo. isn't even a good doll substitute.) That's funny only in really small doses.

So from your perspective as a parent, you have less a pair of siblings, more two "only child"s.

Does this mean she dislikes him or that we have a half-sibling issue at hand? Not at all. They will develop a relationship (in fact, they have already), but it will be quite some time until they communicate on the same level and enjoy each other's company. They might be at different stages most of their life (she might have started a family by the time he starts college, for example), but trust them to find a way to communicate. There is nothing to "fix" for you as parents apart from the usual "sibling diplomacy" if they quarrel.

You can't force love, but you can foster it - by giving both what they need individually. Do not punish her for not playing with him, this will only make her resent her baby brother. If you need her as babysitter, communicate clearly, and treat it like you would any other household chore, including the consequences for non-compliance.

  • 1
    This, exactly. In particular, "You can't force love, but you can foster it " should be bolded - that is the heart of the issue, I believe.
    – sleske
    Jul 28, 2016 at 9:28

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