nieces mean to my son

Margaret - posted on 07/02/2014 ( 3 moms have responded )

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Hi. I am completely new to this but am really upset and need perspective. My son is almost 5 and as an only child loves company. We moved house to be closer to my family hoping that his cousins and he could develop close relationships. His cousins are all older and all girls. I also hoped they might keep a protective eye on him at school. This has not really happened. In fact two of his cousins who are not sisters are really mean to him. He doesn't understand what's going on and loves them. They were playing a game which also included a neighbours child. The game was to take a toy away from my wee boy and run off leaving him to chase them in tears while they screamed don't give it to him. I intervened. Now the nieces have developed a real attitude with me. My siblings treat me as over protective mom. This may seem trivial but it's one incident of many and it's getting worse

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Chet - posted on 07/05/2014

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I would probably try having just one or two of the nieces over to your house at a time, and planning some really fun, but structured, activities where you are closely involved to mediate the interaction. So your son and the 6 year niece bake cookies or make pizza together and you're right there help with the social dynamic. Or try taking your son and just one niece on a really fun outing together - something where they will get to really spend time together though, not a movie.

The thing is, your son is the youngest, he's a boy, and you moved there so he's new. You can't assume that he'll instantly fit in. Also, in both of the examples you gave it sounded like it was your son, the nieces, other kids and no close adult supervision.

Anyway, I think that if you lay it on a little thick for awhile, so going to your house to visit the boy cousin is super fun, that will help. I think that if your son gets to know the nieces one at time rather than part of a group that will help too. And if you're right there with activities that require you to be there (you're driving the kids to the Science Centre, or you're supervising in the kitchen or with a messy craft) you won't seem overprotective, but you can be right there to steer meanest in a more positive direction.

Also, try to understand where your siblings are coming from. If they have older children, or multiple children, you may legitimately seem like an overprotect parent. Parents do typically ease up as their kids get older, and as they have more kids.

I think too, that you may be able to get some traction by giving the older nieces responsibility with your son. You could also try having the older cousins come over one at a time in a sort of "mother's help" capacity if you think they would be open to that.

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