Bullies, Victims and their parents...

Jodi - posted on 04/25/2010 ( 3 moms have responded )

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Please help, my family relations are on the line! Here's the situation: My sister has a son who is 2 and a half, my daughter isn't quite 14 months yet. My sister and I are very close, we get together SEVERAL times a week so the kids can play including one night a week at our parents' house for a family dinner with our other sisters and their kids and one week day at my parents' house while I help my dad watch her 2 boys (he's just not comfy with it.) Anyways, ever since my daughter started walking my nephew has been pushing her, hitting her and throwing things at her, so this has gone on for pushing 5 months now and only getting worse. She has gotten bruises, cuts, scrapes and goose eggs from his bullying. The most recent was he pushed her off of our little kid picnic table unto cement, she has a HUGE egg on her head now, then he tried to push her down the stairs, but I caught her before she fell, it was my last straw!!!!

My sister will not do anything other than time outs, where she talks to him, hovers over him and does not use a firm voice and she will not allow anyone else to try to discipline him. I talked to her about it today and simply stated it was unacceptable and that we needed to find a solution. She refused to try to think of anything else we could do to get a handle on this. She was VERY defensive and walked away. My husband and I agree that my daughter can not play with him anymore until we can find a solution, but that means I don't get to see my family together anymore.

My daugter flinches when he gets to close and runs to me or grandma when he walks towards her...I need advice on what I can say to my sister and what kind of punishments would be appropriate for a 21/2 yr old for this behavior.

Please help, I'm at my wits end and ready to pull my hair out!!!!

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Geralyn - posted on 05/05/2010

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Jodi, that is an awful situation. As close as you are to your sister, your daughter comes first, and you have every right to be pissed at what is happening. Its totally inappropriate that your sister is downplaying the significance of what is happening. And I don't think that it is possible that you can change the "disciplining" that your sister chooses to use with her son. The only solution is not to have them together. That may drive a wedge in between you and your sister at least for the time being, but that is an unfortunate consequence. As her son gets older and is around other children - playgroups, preschool, etc. - she is no doubt going to have problems with him, and other moms will not want to have their children interacting with him. She needs to teach appropriate play skills, communication, and social interaction to her son - not just "discipline" and its going to be time consuming, but if she doesn't start right away, it could lead to him being kicked out of a preschool and definitely being isolated with no "friends." I think most moms would feel the way you do- sisters or not, and to make you feel like you are overreacting and should not worry about it is definitely the wrong response. Perhaps on some level - since she is getting defensive - she knows that there is something that needs to be done, but she feels that nothing is working. No one likes to think of their child as a bully. However, your daughter cannot be put in that situation.

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Jodi - posted on 04/26/2010

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It hasn't been a matter of watching him closely, I (or anyone) can be 2 inches or 10 feet away and he goes after her...about every 5 or 10 minutes! My issue with the time outs is that she hovers over him and talks to him about bugs and books and what not and then he says "all done?" and she'll say yes!!!!! GRRRR!!! It's been very frustrating and my limit has been reached so when I do have to let them be around each other, they will not be playing together at all. But thank you for validating my concern for my daughter! I was told it was just a "bump" on the head and not to over-react...

Jennifer - posted on 04/26/2010

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Ouch! I would not allow them to be around eachother for several weeks or mnths, he will probably outgrow this, but you must do everything to protect your daughter. He is only 2 1/2, so there's not much more you can do other than time outs, seems like somebody should have been watching him more closely and maybe try to prevent the problems before they occur. Please stay away from them until this phase is over, head traumas sometimes don't end well. You have great instincts, and I know it's hard on you and your sis, but your baby's safety is most important.

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