Me and my now wife are living together since January. We ended our previous marriages in order to be together and we still have issues with her ex-husband to this day. She has a 12yo boy from her previous marriage who lives with us. I have a 5yo daughter who stays with us on weekends, but since the covid outbreak she has stayed every other week with us.

Although we have several issues in dealing with our family arrangement, I’d like to ask about the relationships between our kids. The young one loves her new brother and wants to be with him all the time. This annoys the older one, which is a more reserved boy and wants to be alone with his videogames most of the time. This upsets him and makes him sometime treats her bad such as complaining a lot at every little thing she does, cutting her off when she talks, and so on.

It’s very hard as parents to deal with two very different kids coming from different upbringing, and we are still understanding the different ways in which we have raised our kids before getting together.

I’d like to get some advices on how to deal with this issue. In particular it breaks my heart when I see my daughter getting such a hard time. On the other hand I don’t want to be so harsh on the boy because this sometimes upsets my wife.

  • 2
    Are you sure this is related to the “new family arrangement” and not just normal sibling stuff, especially with the age difference?
    – AsheraH
    Jun 4, 2020 at 5:39

2 Answers 2



Don't push them together, leave them to work it out themselves. Explain to your daughter that he just needs to have some space to do boy things, and that he'll come round in time.

We have a 7 year old introvert son who likes to have his own space, and a 4 year old extrovert daughter who likes to see what her biological brother is up to. This often causes problems, as he likes to be left to his own devices, especially when he's actively engaged in something.

There are often times when they do however actively engage with each other without input from us, and other times where we encourage them to work together on something, or we go somewhere as a family.

Why not try having a movie night where you sit together as a family and enjoy some popcorn? If the 12yo walks off 1/2 way through, that's fine... don't make a deal of it. Hopefully, the next time you have a movie night, he'll remain engaged.

To add a little context; I was an only child until I was 15, and then my half-brother entered the world. Clearly we had nothing in common, and I didn't really interact with him on any sort of reasonable level until he entered his teens. I didn't live with my mum at the time, although if I did clearly we'd have interacted more.


I agree with the first answer, it sounds like normal sibling stuff – especially since the age gap is so large. I wouldn't stress about it too much but would encourage activities you can all do together as a family (movies, board games etc.)

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