Is it normal for older children to be mean to younger children?

[deleted account] ( 1 mom has responded )

All of my friends children are 3 years of age or older and I noticed they all seem to be mean to my one-year-old son. They say things like, "I don't like him" or "leave me alone, I don't want to play with you." I know this seems silly but it breaks my heart because he is just trying to play with them and they look at him as if he is some alien. Is this normal for older children to do to younger ones and am I just being an overly protective and emotional mother or could it be that my one-year-old is a pest? I just pray my child doesn't have a hard time making friends in school. :-(


Ariana - posted on 10/14/2012




This is normal, it's not acceptable, but it is normal. These kids are at different developmental stages, of course a 4 year old is going to be bored entertaining a 1 year old. Plus 1 year olds don't really play with other kids so it's not really entertaining for them.

You should tell the child, that's not a nice thing to say, can you say ________ I feel like playing alone right now, or for leave me alone teach them to say, please don't mess up my toys or w/e. They are also just little kids so they need to learn how to get their feelings out without hurting other childrens feelings. Your child will be more in tune with these kids once he hits 4/5 then he can hang around a 7/8 year old without it being to big a deal, but at 1 and 4+ they just are not on the same page.

Find a play group with either kids your sons age or a variety of ages so that your child can be around children closer to his developmental level. Even then he's not really going to make 'friends'. They don't really start to make friends until age 2/3 and even then it's pretty superficial, they don't know how to share yet and all this other stuff.

I'm sure your child will have friends when he's older, you have nothing to worry about. They're just at different developmental stages right now. Work on keeping your child from bothering them to much (if he legitimately is) and teach your friends children what they should say instead of 'leave me alone'. If they're that old they can be taught a nice way to say something and a mean way to say something. They have a right to express their feelings, nicely.

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