Daughter's older cousin is a bad example!

Laura - posted on 05/27/2010 ( 9 moms have responded )

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I am at a total loss here as what to do! My daughter has a 4 year old cousin (along with others) whom she sees about once a week. And he is the WORST example for her. He is very misbehaved and doesn't mind at all! Which for a while, I just thought, not my child so oh well. but now, he is rubbing off on my daughter! My daughter hits me, growls at me, punches things when she is angry, and these are all things she learned from him! Just a month ago she was just as sweet as can be, but once they started being around each other a lot, she has become this mean little thing! I don't even know what to say to his parents about it for fear of them being angry with me for trying to say something bad about their kid! Also, he is her cousin, so it's not like I can just stop bringing her around him....I don't know what to do! I want my sweet little girl back!

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Pamela - posted on 06/07/2010

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Like many of the other Moms My Son also has an older cousin (3 1/2 year old) who is a bad influence. My sister and I are both Stay at home moms, and we live around the corner from one another so we spend a lot of time together with our kids. her daughter is know in our Extended family as "spirited" or "energetic" or "a handful" but basically she has a reputation for being misbehaved. if i catch her saying something mean spirited or mistreating my 22 month old son I speak up right away. this is for three reasons, #1 if no one corrects her behavior then she will continue her actions. #2 my son also learns from these corrections what mommy will accept and what will not be accepted. and #3 he learns that mommy will suport him and stand up for him when needed. That being said I also make sure I correct his behaviour infront of my sister and her daughter because I don't want them to think I have it in for my niece.

I have always had one theory on raising children "your job as a parent is to raise your child to become a productive member of society" this includes day care, school, playgrounds, public settings, jobs and social settings. these successful behaviours start at a very young age. you have to support your children to know how to act when you are not there.

i actually feel bad for my niece sometimes because i feel like she is being set up for failure, on a road paved with good intentions. parents today are way to concerned with making their children happy. nothing is earned and nothing is a "treat" things become expected and parents are viewed as equals.

if you feel that your child's cousin is having a negitive effect you are probably right, but the only thing you can do with out alienating your family is to continue to install your values, not only at home but make a point of paying attention to the interactions between your child and their cousin and inforce your values infront of the family, hoping to gently suggest that they do the same or at least demonstrate to the child that that action will not be tollerated.

Amanda - posted on 06/02/2010

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your kids will pick up things from all children, good and bad, it will happen all through life. Its really about how you deal with it. The behavior that your daughter is repeating may be behaviour that she perceives will get her attention, as it probably works for the cousin. She is also learning boundaries so its up to you when she displays that observed negative behaviour, to show her that its not acceptable. Don't get angry back, remain calm and reinforce her calm happy behaviour more than ever. She will slowly learn that the bad behaviour doesn't work but the good behavior makes you happy. Its all good practise for when she is a teenager and has one of those friends who you wish she would not be friends with as they are a bad influence. If all else fails, I am sure she will work this cousin out for herself one day!!

Natasha - posted on 06/01/2010

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i had same problem, what i did so i did not cause to much trouble was when my son was being silly around this child i would growl my son and say how silly he was being and explain to him that is not how we act, and if you do it in front of the parents they will eventually start pulling there child up maybe? even though your child is not the silly one it just makes all the people around know that your not happy with that behavior and maybe everyone will start stopping him. good luck horrible situation to be in :(

[deleted account]

You could try discussing the older cousin's behavior with your daughter. I didn't gather what her age is from your email, but "TA for Tots" is a classic book that explains to very young kids that there are good actions/behaviors called "warm fuzzies" and bad actions/behaviors called "cold pricklies" - funny words but they are extraordinarily effective to help kids visualize how what they do affects others. Also- Have You Filled a Bucket Today is a great book for 3-4 year-olds. How to Be a Friend is another good primer for good behavior. If the books are helpful, you could subtly mention their positive effects on your child to your nephew's parents, and I'd imagine they might appreciate hearing about them.

Jennifer - posted on 05/28/2010

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If they are in your home then they need to obey your rules! If his Mom doesn't think that is fair then she doesn't need to bring him around. I had the same issue with a cousin of the same age as my 4 year old. His Mom just lets me discipline him in my own house according to my rules. That started 2 years ago. Now when he is here he knows the rules and there are no problems. But when he is at his house it is a different story. We rarely go to their house anymore because of that very matter.

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Jan - posted on 06/05/2010

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there are always going to be bad influences in our childrens lives, i figure rewarding good behaviour, being consistant, and telling them you wont put up with bad behaviour infront of other influences if need be is all you can do, as they grow older they will understand what behaviour is expected from you, but whilst they are young they will try to push the boundries especially if they see other children doing it and geting away with it, just be consistant with discipline and i know it takes time and patience but rewarding good behaviour does work, when they see all the nice day trips, or new toys or whichever rewards you offer, and the naughty children dont get these things because lets face it, even if they are allowed to go on excursions, who has the energy to take them, they will soon see naughty behaviour means they will miss out.

Charlotte - posted on 06/03/2010

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My 21 month old has a 4 year old cousin with similar behaviour issues. His parents are finally starting some discipline but i have to admit until the last few months, we kept our daughter away. Kids are so impressionable and you can correct and 'undo' some of the bad stuff but they love to watch and learn from peers. Honestly, its so hard but try to talk to his parents or buy them a season of Supernanny!!

Laura - posted on 05/29/2010

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Yah, there lies the issue. We are always either at his house or my mother in laws (and lord knows there are NO rules over there!) I'm thinking i'm just gonna have to seperate them from seeing each other, other than family events for a while. I need to find her a new playmate, one that wont teach her all kinds of bad things!

Bobbi - posted on 05/27/2010

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unfortionatly this never stops... I have 3 kids... ages, 11, 10 , and 21 months. It has always been a n issue. My 4 year old niece influences my 21 month old, my 11 year old niece influences my 10 yr old, and my 15 yr old nephew influences my 11 yr old son. I am not saying that I have the greatest kids and all my nieces and nephews are bad... but I have different values than their parents and I raise my children a little differently. I do not like that there bad habbits rub off, but they are their cousins so it is hard. Sorry I am not much help on the situation... just thought I would share my similar story

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