Post # 1
DH and I had a child together about 5 years ago when I was 19 and he was 24.
Lately, life has really been going well. I’m about to finish my PhD and DH has a steady position in the military. We’ve been thinking about having another child. However, our children would be about 6-7 years apart depending upon when DH returns from deployment and how long we TTC.
What are the benefits of having children this far apart?
What are the drawbacks?
Feel free to ask more questions. I’m not expecting WB to make this decision for me – it can just be good to throw around ideas with others to consider new things (w/o bringing in bias family ).
Post # 3
@aliavenue: I don’t have any experience from the parental viewpoint as I have no kids, but my brothers and I are all spaced that far apart. I’m the oldest, when I was 6 my first brother was born, and when he was 7 (and I was 13) my second brother was born.
Growing up like that always ensured that I was the built-in babysitter. Because of the large age gap, I’m particularly protective of both boys, especially my youngest brother, who just started high school (which is crazy to me). We weren’t very close growing up in the same sense that siblings of the same age are, but as we get older we all grow much closer. It’s awesome to see my little brothers grow into responsible young men.
Post # 4
my FI is 7 years older then his oldest younger sister, and then 10 years then his youngest sister.
He is very protective of his younger sisters, and looked out for them as he grew up. The biggest issue was when he was 17, 18 and they were 10/7. He just wanted to be alone and they wanted to be around their older brother! Now, we dont see them very often (we live in a different province then them), but they’re still pretty involved in his life. He says the hardest part for him was that his parents really focused on his younger siblings because they thought they “needed” parenting more then he did. He also had some jealousy when his first sister was born, as he had been on his own for so long that it was weird with a new kid introduced. His sisters are also way closer to each other then he is with them, as he has long left home and they are still growing up together.
But he loves his little sisters. There’s no issues at all with the age difference, and it’s been fun watching them grow up.
Just as an opposite opinion- I’m within years of my siblings, and I see no difference between my relationship with my siblings and the one he has with his, but only NOW as adults. When comparing the two childhoods, there’s a lot of difference. But I’d rather have a sibling 6 or 7 years younger then me, then none at all!
Post # 5
I think that most of the negatives can be reduced with careful planning and good parenting. Like @DelilahDiamond: mentioned, the older child can find it hard to get personal time aloen and can feel like they don’t get much attention.
I would try very hard to not make them feel like a 3rd parent also, although this will happen from time to time as it does with most older siblings of a 3 or more year age gap.
6-7 years is really not that big of a gap. Your eldest isn’t studying and therefore a newborn in the house isn’t disrupting a super important time in their life.
As long as you prepare child 1 for it then I think it will just make your family that much merrier.
Post # 6
@aliavenue: I am 8 years older than my only sister. I basically helped raise her and I’m fairly certain I changed more diapers than my dad. We grew up very close, with her seeing me sort of as a third parent but one she could confide in more. My parents were well aware of the mistakes they made with me by then and were able to adjust their parenting style… and often asked me for input on discipline & stuff since I had better perspective.
My cousin has a stepdaughter who is 8 years older than his younger daughter, too, and I see the same motherly/protective relationship going on with them.
Personally, I think I’d prefer how I grew up to my cousins with sisters closer in age. They were always fighting/competing with each other! I never had that kind of relationship with my sister.
Post # 7
@aliavenue: I definitely would. I think it would be easier to have a newborn and a 7 year old, than a newborn and a toddler.
I basically raised my moms ex boyfriends kids. There was a 6 year old, a 4 year old, and a baby. The 6 year old made it SO much easier. She’d throw away diapers, entertain the 4 year old when the baby needed my attention, watch the baby so I could use the bathroom, ect.
I also used to baby a 2.5 year old and her baby brother, and it wasnt nearly as easy. Course the 2.5 year old was basically a demon in a toddler costume (I loved her, but seriously, demon child) so I’m sure that had something to do with it. 😛
Post # 8
I guess the positive is that your older child should be fairly independent, so you don’t have the same problem you would if you had a toddler and a baby. The main downside would be the length of time you’re going to be raising children – you had your first baby at 19, but your last one won’t be an adult until you’re 45ish. Obviously raising kids is something you do for the long haul, but I know a few people that choose not to have more kids when they have a 6-7 year old because they don’t want to be raising children for the rest of their lives.
Post # 9
I thought I was crazy for having my kids 7 years apart! It turns out to have been a great desicion. My daughter is 16 and my son is 9. They get along really well, though its sometimes a result of my daughter’s amazing amount of patience. Her brother thinks she hangs the moon, and sometimes she gets a little crowded. I try to do one on one with her from time to time to make that part a bit easier.
My FI is also 5 years younger than his brother, and they also have an older sister. He’s really close to both of them, though some days I wish he were a little less close to his brother. (He’s currently a roommate and that can be… trying.)
Post # 10
Post # 11
Also, my sisters are 9 years older than me (they’re twins). And they are my bestfriends. I think big age gaps are great!
Post # 12
I am the youngest of four and my two older sisters and I are each six years apart (I also have a brother who is 10 years older than I am. My sister who was 12 years older than me was my idol growing up and her success in studies and career spurred me on in my own life. My sister who is 6 years older was a great friend growing up . We are all relatively close now as adults and I love them dearly. As the youngest I did eventually have a long period alone with my parents in high school and they were grown or in college which led to my sisters slightly resenting all the things my parents could afford for me that they couldn’t afford when they were supporting four but that has sorted itself out now that we are adults.
Post # 13
My kids are 4 years apart. I waited until my oldest was more independent, potty trained, get in and out of the car by herself, buckle her seatbelt, etc…before i had my 2nd kid. I like the age space between the 2. but now that they are getting a bit older, they do fight LOL but it’s a brother/sister thing. They don’t play well together sometimes.
Post # 14
Just to add to PP, I’m almost 6 years older than my brother. When we were little, it was great because I thought he was so cute – like a real life doll. I’m assuming I helped my parents out a lot with him? I don’t really remember to be honest.
There was an annoying stage in the middle where my brother wanted to go wherever I went (16 vs 10 year old) but that ended when I went off to college. Then, my brother kind of grew up as an only child for a bit because I went home so rarely during those years. I think that helped my brother become much more independent. I was also able to give a lot of good advice about transitioning from high school to college – and then again from college to the work force.
I don’t I would say we were ever “friends” growing up but we got along well. Now as adults, we are definitely much closer. I’m really proud of the man my brother has become. He impresses me all the time.
Post # 15
I don’t have kids yet, but we are going to plan for four and for them to be at least two years apart. That is more because of the fact that we will be 28-29 and 30-31 when we start trying than because we have given a lot of thought to their age differences.
I was the baby growing up and my brothers are 9 and 16 years older than me. Like you, my parents had my oldest brother when they were just 20 years old. I wouldn’t change it because I feel like we were given the opportunity to each be the baby and really develop our own identities. No one was in anyone else’s shadow. My brothers are both very protective of their baby sister. Growing up, I wished that we were close friends as well as siblings like some of my friends were with their close-in-age siblings, but as an adult, I appreciate our bond. I am more friends with the brother who is closer in age to me, but am close to both of them and love them so much! I also really enjoyed getting to basically be an only child for part of my childhood. I got to have my parents at all of my school and sport events and have more of their focus than if I had siblings close in age. I feel like I got the best of both.
I think the age difference will affect the dynamics when they are children, but I would definitely rather have siblings no matter the age difference than not have had them at all! Good luck to you!!
Post # 16
I am not planning have another child until my daughter is at least 5 or 6. Purely as we woulld not be able to afford to have another before that due to childcare costs.
I think if you were young when you had your first child then there is no reason not to wait that long before having another.
As a PP said i think its important to get the balance right and not make the older child feel like a 3rd parent which can be tricky but then again 6 year olds can make fantastic helpers. Maybe earn a little pocket money by helping mummy with baby.
There are 6 years between my brother and i. I am the youngest and my brother has special needs. My parents gave us both as much of their time as they could. My brother never felt abandoned when i came along and i never felt left out when my brother had to have extra attention due to his needs.
The only thing i would say is my mother was older when she had me and she hated being the older mum in the playground.
I say go for it