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Age difference between kid and their friends?

 
 
Reply Mon 20 Apr, 2009 07:11 pm
Is there some sort of calculation that is accepted for allowing your kid to have a certain friend who is either a few years older or younger?

Take Mo, for instance, who is 8. Should he be allowed to have friends that are 5? What about friends that are 11? Is three years too big a spread for little kids? What about two years?

How does one make such decisions when you don't know the "friend" well?

Thanks!
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Type: Question • Score: 9 • Views: 5,731 • Replies: 19
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Eva
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Apr, 2009 07:53 pm
With SonofEva, we've found that 4 years' difference causes the most problems. The older one becomes the younger's "hero" which invariably leads to trouble.

Two or three years sets up a "big brother-little brother" dynamic, which can be good or bad. You have to watch them playing together when they don't know you're watching.

One year apart...it's pretty even. Depends on who has the stronger personality, just like if they're the same age.
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Apr, 2009 08:03 pm
@boomerang,
As a very young kid, I was one of the first to learn to read so at recess time kids of all ages would gather around me and I'd read to them.

When I was growing up, most of my friends were two or three years older than me. Most of my peers bored me to death and I had more in common with the older kids.

The opposite was also true around home. I was always the oldest kid on a street with about 25 kids, most 3 or 4 years younger than me. I organized a lot of games and activities for all of us to do together.

I rarely had much interaction with kids my age other than in class at school.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Apr, 2009 08:15 pm
@Butrflynet,
Eh, I had one friend at eight, a girl in our apartment building. Once our mothers let us play with a girl in the other wing who was younger. I liked her, her name was Pooky. Never saw her again. (I suspect that was about religion, but what do I know. I do know I liked their apartment, lots of what I'd now call textured or woven materials..) The girl I did play with and exchanged many quite ordinary letters with for a few years after we moved (that was back in letter writing days) did visit me when we were both thirteen and I lived in California. Parents and us went somewhere for lunch, probably a then fancy restaurant like the Brown Derby. All I remember is that she wore layers and layers of makeup - and from that I distilled my longtime view that women in the eastern US wear more makeup than californians.

So, I dunno, seems to me more children are good, as a generalization, but I speak from not having many friends at all until suddenly I did, when I was nine. And I trust butrflynet's experience re her own behavior with the different ages. And Eva's about four years being too much older, and re peers too.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Apr, 2009 06:23 am
Thanks gals!

We've been trying to give Mo a bit more lattitude in adventuring by letting him go to the schoolyard on his own for short periods of time. I ususally spy on them from the corner a time or two during these intervals but I've noticed him joining up with a group of slightly older kids and one of the kids has been stopping by the house once in a while to see if Mo can "hang out" by going to shoots baskets, etc.

I've been wanting him to make some hang out type friends so I'm glad about that but am worried in that this kid is three years older and that seems like a big gap.

I was the youngest of four and our house was the hang out spot so I was always around kids my age and older but it was not until I was older myself that I started having older friends.
sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Tue 21 Apr, 2009 06:32 am
@boomerang,
Hmm... one of those things where there are so so many variables.

In that case, I think I'd be trying to figure out the older kid's motivation. There's the hero-worship thing Eva mentions -- younger kids are often ego-boosters, less critical than peers, etc.

But he also could just plain like to hang out with Mo. Nothing inherently wrong with that. My neighborhood crew when I was growing up was pretty varied, age-wise.

Sozlet tends to "steal" her friends' older sisters -- she goes to a (same-age) friend's house, plays with friend and sis, and sozlet and the sis connect (and original friend gets pouty). They tend to be two-three years older, most of those have been genuine friendships.
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Apr, 2009 07:10 am
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:

Is there some sort of calculation that is accepted for allowing your kid to have a certain friend who is either a few years older or younger?

Take Mo, for instance, who is 8. Should he be allowed to have friends that are 5? What about friends that are 11? Is three years too big a spread for little kids? What about two years?

How does one make such decisions when you don't know the "friend" well?

Thanks!

I gotta say:
when I was 8, if I had stopped to think about it
(which I did not) I certainly woud have deemed it within
my sovereign personal autonomy to decide to whom
I shall be a friend.

On second thought,
I remember my father conversing with other adults,
as a result of which he demanded that I befriend
some other kid, to whose parent he had spoken
on the subject. I refused. He felt bad about it
and (unsuccessfully) tried to extort me into this
friendship because he had (without consulting ME)
committed me to it. He was afraid of losing face.

I acquainted him with the fact
that this was HIS problem, not mine.
I counselled him to learn from his mistakes
(and stop committing me to things).


Friendship is a matter of personal taste
and judgment; it comes into being sua sponte,
except
for the time when my mother successfully convinced me
to stay away from a girl (whom I liked, mildly) because she was dangerous,
to wit: she was known to have head lice.

To this day, I have never discriminated anyone on the basis
of age in friendship, neither too old nor too young:
I am very approachable. I 'll talk to anyone (almost).

Do u believe that Mo woud actually LET U control him
in such a matter ? At that age, I 'd have deemed it
an intrusion on my personal rights.

At that age, visiting friends in the neighborhood,
their relatives of all ages were hanging around
their own homes. It is a natural part of life
to speak to them and be friendly,
unless there is something about them that u find offensive.



David

P.S.
This concept of personal freedom
clearly does not apply to situations
that we have already discussed qua "playdates"
wherein u are called upon to chauffer him somewhere.

U clearly have the right to decide where u are going
to drive and where not.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Apr, 2009 07:59 am
I worry less about the "hero" thing (though I know it exists) than I do about the older kids getting the younger ones to do their dirty work -- which is what my sisters and their friends did to me!

Also, trying to fit in with an older kid or crowd can lead a kid to take chances that they aren't quite capable of getting themselves out of. But I did that, too, and I survived.

I agree to a certain extent, David, I remember my cousins visiting and my goody two shoes cousing absolutely boring me to death. My mom always thought we should be best of friends simply because we were close in age.

But you do have to set limits, that a huge part of being a parent. Teaching your kid how to make good decisions is really hard and sometimes you just have to put your foot down.

And I say this as a firm believer in making mistakes. Mistakes are good. Mistakes help you learn. But some mistakes are irreversible and those have to be avoided.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Apr, 2009 08:04 am
@boomerang,
Yep... I was trying to get at that, re: "motivation," you say it much more clearly. Basically, WHY does the older kid want to hang out with Mo? To get him to do his dirty work? To unquestioningly obey questionable commands?

Or just to hang out?

Maybe next time the kid comes over, invite him in and observe a bit as he and Mo interact?

But yeah, I get your hesitation, and I totally get the part about taking chances that they aren't capable of getting out of, too.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Apr, 2009 08:15 am
@boomerang,
I think an older child could be a great friend - in the sense of a role model or mentor. However, only if that older child would be a good mentor and is mature enough to realize the age difference - in other words you don't want that older child to be teaching a younger kid about the birds and the bees/introducing your child to drugs and alcohol. It could be a good relationship to teach sports/to tutor, or to teach how to be a good kid in general. The older child gets the benefit of being a leader.

It is one of those situations with the right kid, it could be great with the wrong kid it would be the opposite.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Apr, 2009 08:21 am
As my personal experience having two girls four years apart, I see this older/younger interaction quite a bit.

My older daughter will be around my younger daughter's classmates. The just adore her - I think the older girl loves the attention. Also, she enjoys helping them and yes she does like to be bossy at times and does have her younger sister do things for her. As long as it isn't extensive I leave it alone. Her younger sister has a strong enough personality that she will draw the line and be completely pushed around.

The younger one in reverse loves my older daughter's friends. She will run up and hug them. Sometimes these interactions do cause problems between them as so and so is taking my friend, but overall there is more positives than negatives.
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Apr, 2009 08:43 am
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:

Quote:
Yep... I was trying to get at that, re: "motivation," you say it much more clearly. Basically, WHY does the older kid want to hang out with Mo? To get him to do his dirty work? To unquestioningly obey questionable commands?

Or just to hang out?

Maybe next time the kid comes over, invite him in and
observe a bit as he and Mo interact?

That makes me think of Eddie Haskel
on Leave It to Beaver about 50 years ago,
in his somewhat abrasive relations with the star of the show.



0 Replies
 
CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Apr, 2009 08:49 am
I would play it by ear and see what direction and motivation drives this friendships. Sometimes it can be perfectly harmless and a common interest can
spark a friendship with age gap.

We had a much younger boy (3 years younger) next door who adored my
daughter just because she was into "star wars characters" like he was. That was
their common ground for playing together. They still needed to be monitored
though! Once I caught them playing queen and servant where that poor boy
was at the mercy of my kid.

Like I said, monitor it and see what the common interest is and go from there.
0 Replies
 
mismi
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Apr, 2009 08:59 am
I think it is a personality thing as well. There are some of the twins friends that play so great with G-baby - the 6 year old (the twins are 9) but then others that do not. There is a type of personality that seems to be able to span the age difference and just enjoy being with that child...but three years is the furthest apart I have seen it work this way. I think Eva is right in saying to watch and see...since compatability seems to have so many factors.
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Apr, 2009 09:17 am
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:
Quote:
I worry less about the "hero" thing (though I know it exists)
than I do about the older kids getting the younger ones
to do their dirty work -- which is what my sisters and their friends did to me!

Yeah; I see your point.
I failed to consider that possiblity in my earlier post to u.
Depending on Mo 's personality
and how robust is his natural sense of self-defense
from the social impositions of older children,
u might feel a need to help him defend himself, if u think he needs it.

Is he strong in that area of concern ?




Quote:

Also, trying to fit in with an older kid or crowd can lead a kid to take chances
that they aren't quite capable of getting themselves out of. But
I did that, too, and I survived.

I agree to a certain extent, David, I remember my cousins visiting
and my goody two shoes cousing absolutely boring me to death.
My mom always thought we should be best of friends simply
because we were close in age.

But you do have to set limits, that a huge part of being a parent.

Is he willing to ACCEPT the limits ?
From the way u wrote that,
I surmise that u did not accept your mother 's advice
about adopting your cousin as "best of friends".



Quote:

Teaching your kid how to make good decisions is really hard
and sometimes you just have to put your foot down.

Certainly that must be true,
depending on how severe the situation is.
If u think his friends are robbing too many liquor stores,
u may well wish to insulate him from their bad influence.

How well he chooses to accept your advice, remains to be seen.



Quote:

And I say this as a firm believer in making mistakes.
Mistakes are good. Mistakes help you learn.
But some mistakes are irreversible and those have to be avoided.

As a thought experiment,
u might consider putting yourself in Mo 's position:
how 'd u feel if someone tried to make u adopt a new friend
or reject a friend of your 's ?

From my perspective,
it is a bit of an offense to one 's personal dignity;
however, if the situation is sufficiently dangerous,
then emergency intervention might be necessary.





David
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Apr, 2009 10:15 am
Queen and servant <snork!>. That sounds like what my sisters tried to pull on me.

That's an interesting perspective, Linkat, about mentor or big brother type figures.

We haven't reached any kind of critical mass -- the kids just officially met each other last weekend, (they've played basketball and stuff together at the schoolyard before though) Mo and I were hanging out in the yard and this kid went by on his bike and stopped to visit. They discovered they were playing the same video game and that they could "visit" each other online by trading codes and that they both liked military type toys. That led to a lot of hanging out over the weekend, bike riding, basketball playing, etc.

It just really did get me wondering about how many years is too much difference.
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Apr, 2009 12:03 pm
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:
Quote:
Queen and servant <snork!>.
That sounds like what my sisters tried to pull on me.

With some trepidation, may I allude to perhaps a sinister
aspect of that mental phenomenon ?
I have read of older guys who pay ladies of the evening
to do that to them. I once overheard a rather rugged looking lad,
a friend of my cousin (something like a biker affect)
tell my cousin that he likes to lie down and have ladies
march over him, wearing spiked heels.

This way of thinking is alien to my mind.
I have no idea of the reason that anyone woud desire that.
I wonder Y that is ?

I cannot begin to guess at what age such desires begin,
nor can I begin to guess who desired it more: the queen or the servant.


Quote:

That's an interesting perspective, Linkat, about mentor or big brother type figures.

We haven't reached any kind of critical mass -- the kids just
officially met each other last weekend, (they've played basketball
and stuff together at the schoolyard before though) Mo and I
were hanging out in the yard and this kid went by on his bike
and stopped to visit. They discovered they were playing
the same video game and that they could "visit" each other online
by trading codes and that they both liked military type toys.

It sounds like a good friendship.
U gave me a nostalgic memory of when I was 6, my father offering me my choice
of imitation Thompson Submachineguns that shot sparks out the muzzle.
I coud have either the straight stick magazine
or the round drum magazine; I requested both,
but that did not work out.

Inasmuch as Mo likes military toys,
maybe u coud buy him some illustrated books of small arms
that he might like (help him practice reading too);
e.g., pictures n diagrams of pistols, revolvers, submachineguns
and famous battle rifles. He might love those.



Quote:

That led to a lot of hanging out over the weekend, bike riding, basketball playing, etc.
It just really did get me wondering about how many years is too much difference.

Age need not be a dispositive factor.
When I was in my 30s, I met my dead friend, Neil,
who was 2ice my age. I accepted him as a tenant,
based upon his admirable ability to argue n reason,
tho he was unable to pay rent for the first few months.
He had a lot of good advice, based on intelligence
and his experience from a very adventurous life
in many heterogeneous n disparate jobs.

I learned a lot from him and respected his mind.
He contributed a lot of value to my life.





David
0 Replies
 
strawberry pie
 
  1  
Reply Mon 22 Jun, 2009 02:27 am
@boomerang,
I'm 14 - I guess that means I'm a child...
I really don't think you should worry about that. Friendship doesn't depend on age, gender, origin or anything of this kind.
If your children are happy with younger or older friends, let them be happy!
It's not for how the distinguish from each other. It's for how they find answers and great feelings together.
At the age of 8 I guess it's not that possible for kids to become drug dealers, so.. at least for now, don't pay so much attention to that.
That's my point of view.
0 Replies
 
celebritydiscodave
 
  1  
Reply Tue 5 Sep, 2017 11:02 am
@boomerang,
Well, I`m sixty two, male, and I not only have friends, come admirers, as young as thirteen, I also believe in it, I think it`s a brilliant thing both for them, and for myself, all kinds of benefits. We all enjoy it and its being so different is what makes it special. They tend to being less relationship vulnerable than adults, in my opinion, (not all of them of course) because they are so exceedingly well practised in this art. They made me an exception, this circumstance is extremely unusual, but also I believe, very healthy. Does this help in answering your question?
celebritydiscodave
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Sep, 2017 01:12 am
@celebritydiscodave,
There are of course many different natures of friendship, and those friendships to which I refer are only fine because my followers (they show me friendship on account of their fascination over my world record attempts) are all mature enough to retain a healthy/appropriate divide. The interest is only on their part, but I am interested enough to answer questions, and respect enough not to throw gests of friendship back in their face. I treat them all as individuals, none as children, and all communications are out in the open, so in a highly public place.
N0, I do n`t think ones first concern should be with age disparities, but there are tendencies which accompany them. For instance, older children are statistically more likely to bully their younger counterparts. Where there is self interest life experience comes with leverage. Life experience can also be used solely in the younger persons favor, obviously. Ultimately, adequate social awareness/intellect to be able to treat everybody as an individual would be utopia. The media wants us to be overly suspicious of disparity in years but statistics tell an entirely different story. The media is only in the business of providing us with the exception, the sensational, for no other outcome would even be read. My experience is that many, not all, young people have good to very good instinct, some better than most adults. Adults are not even tested on the same terms, with multiple decisions to be constantly processed. It makes no difference the disparity of years for the same issues, watered down for less disparity, should be considered. Bullying, come psychologically pushing around, is the biggest problem going, this coupled with what some people may think.
0 Replies
 
 

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