What do I do when my sister gets Angry at me for discussing her problem son with her

Tronelle - posted on 09/08/2012 ( 6 moms have responded )




What do i do when i can't talk to my sister about her youngest son who is 6. I have 2 girls and they are 4 and 6. The problem i have is my sister's son is an extremely competitive boy and absolutely hates loosing. He plays computer or xbox or play station for hours. Even we go visit them, she also does not tell him to play with his cousins for a while. She does not find it rude at all. He also cannot play with my girls at all without hurting them (whether it be pushing them out of the way, telling them to get out of the room etc). He also does not like sharing his toys with the girls, when he sees them playing with a balloon of his for instance he will chase them grabbing it away from them but he does it in such a way that he hurts them.

His school teacher has also called her in to discuss his problem they have with him, which is the same "he knows every thing" and does not listen to them. She has given my sister things to work on with him. I have tried bonding with him on so many occasions but he is just to strong to tickle and play with. He also looses his temper badly and actually punched me in the face the other day. She just sat there not saying anything (if it was my child i would have reprimanded her right there and then requesting an apology).

This is now the second time that i have tried talking to her about it but she gets so worked up that it escalates into a huge fight. What do i do now? How can i talk to her about my problem i have without her getting angry???


Bobbie - posted on 09/08/2012




I see your point but don't understand why you are talking to your sister about him to make a difference in his behavior.

parents of boys will tell you that they are different at play than girls are and would agree that it isn't rude for him to continue to play and ignore the girls. That is what boys do, especially if the boy knows you will be expecting behaviors from him that he just doesn't want to be forced to do. Just because they are cousins doesn't mean that they don't have to forge their own relationship. That is of course with the two 6 yr olds. The 2 year old needs monitoring and will stress the older boy just being left alone with her. She will of course touch his things which is a big problem emotionally to an older boy. He is giving you all the signals to back off and stop being physical with him as well. you stated that he is too strong to tickle and play with. That isn't bonding to everyone. To me trying to tickle and physically play with an angressive showing 6 year old boy is like poking a tiger with a stick. Bonding can be accomplished by learning his interests. Talking, going for walks, playing non agressive family style board games.

Chances are your sister has faced issues with not liking the behaviors of your kids from time to time as well but doesn't feel the need to address them with you, she accepts your parenting style and it sounds like she accepts them as they are. If you accept her son and adjust your behaviors with your nephew it will improve his reaction to you. As the adult and loving aunt it is up to you to find how you can relate and bond with him on his level.


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Ariana - posted on 09/11/2012




There is nothing you can do or say if she isn't willing to listen. If you really want to help I would say you should offer to take him for a day a week (either to some activity with your girls or just say you wanted to have some special time with him). This might be difficult if you live far away or depending on how many other kids she has (not sure if it'd be strange to just take one).

Does she realize he loses it a bit sometimes? If she has problems at home with him you could always offer to watch him to give her a break (if she doesn't see him as any sort of trouble don't do that though or she'll just get angrier).

She's probably ignoring all of this because she can't control him so instead she denies that anything is wrong.

If you do manage to have him at your house by himself (without his mom) than you can enforce your rule, but also try to do something fun with him, like go to the park. I know it's not much but a good influence, or reasonable structure, even once a week can make a big difference.

I know it's hard to understand, but imagine if someone you knew came and talked to you and started telling you how your daughter is really mean to their child, and she says all these horrible things when you aren't looking. If you seriously do not believe them you would be outraged and upset with that other person. It's different because you are on the other side (and feel more justified) but this is how your sister feels. Plus it's like a punch at her as a mother 'you're sons disrespectful and you let him do what he wants'.

You could try to say you feel uncomfortable with your daughters getting hurt and that you'd like to work with him on being gentler with girls, say that your girls aren't comfortable with rough play (which sounds nicer than your son is a brute). I would just let things blow over and work from there. Ultimately he's not your child so you cannot do anything.

That being said I saw a little boy trying to wack my son (a toddler) in a playground once and I yelled at him 'don't you hit him!' and the boy stopped (don't know where his parents were). If your nephew is hurting your child you can tell them to leave her alone or that he can't play with your child unless he's gentle. The rest of it is up to his mother.

Bobbie - posted on 09/10/2012




After reading your follow up I think I have a better understanding of the situation and a different conclusion. From what I know of child behaviors it sounds as if he is not getting what he needs from his mother emotionally. When you said "when she comes back home from business trips he isn't the same kid" that was very telling . In addition when she doesn't correct him and allows him to push limits as well as make you feel guilty this is what I think is taking place.

~He is not getting the extra attention he needs from missing her.

~She feels guilty for not being with the kids all the time

~She releases her guilt by placing the consequences of her actions on you

To a 6 year old who doesn't know how to work through the emotions of sadness and can't vocalize that he needs hugs, attention and especially eye contact from his mother, the next best thing is to act out. When she turns and looks at him he gets her attention and it makes him feel better. When he tells her no he is releasing his frustration. When she doesn't correct him he doesn't feel like he is winning. Chances are he feels more frustrated because his cry for attention wasn't answered. Now, since she doesn't realize it isn't about the yogurt but about him needing her, she gives in and feels better herself because she has given him something to make up for being gone. You having yogurt for your children and her saying something about it is again, not about the yogurt. She is releasing her emotions over not being able to spend time with her kids onto you because you get to have your girls with you. So in her hurting state of missing her kids so much she is lashing out at you, who in her mind, gets to be a better mother. Then when you say something about her children she gets upset because it is unfair to her that she not only doesn't get to see them all time.

Then only person reacting normally is you. If you are able to get her to spend time with her boys and hug and love on the 6 year old a lot more often they will both react a lot better to these kinds of issues.

You may want to think about taking on something that she needs to get done so that she has some quality time with her boys all by herself when she first comes home from a trip. This will allow them all to feel better about the loss of time without each other.

Tronelle - posted on 09/09/2012




It's no that i don't understand that boys and girls have different ways in playing, i really do. The problem i have is that he is a totally different little boy when my sister is around. When she goes away on business trips, he is a lovely boy and shows me, my girls, my mother and his own father affection (in a really good way). But when she is back from her business trips it's as if all respect for grown ups goes out the door. If you say to him for instance, please say please and thank you when you want a lolly or something not "give me xyz", then he will raise his voice and say "i don't like you" and storm off. She does not do anything about it.

If for instance we are at her place and he goes to get himself a yoghurt she will tell him to put it back and he'll just say NO and cary on eating it - she won't get up and take it away from him and tell him that he can wait until the girls are gone, when my girls then ask if they can also have one she'll say yes but complain that she has nothing to give the boys for school now. It makes me feel so bad that i go out and actually replace the 2 my girls have eaten. Should me as a sister have to feel this way??? I even take her fruit once a week for in case my girls want a banana. I mean if you know you haven't been shopping yet and you only have enough for the kids for school for the next day before going shopping - surely you put your foot down and take for later. This has also not only happended once!

Another thing is her oldest son just turned 11 and she said to him that he can no go to sleep half an hour later than usual. She'll put the youngest (6) into bed at 8pm and he'll keep getting up for "a drink" for something else and then something else again that it annoys my sister so much that she'll send the eldest to bed just to keep the youngest in the room. This is not fair either.

All i feel is that she is not doing something right with the youngest and i don't know exactly what it is but when we talk in general and something comes up about her youngest that someone says (I don't like the way he did this) she gets all worked up and will cause a huge thing. Every time something like this happens we'll have a huge fight and after she has calmed down she'll realise where i am coming from. she will then turn around and say "If you have a problem with something that my son did or how he did something etc" let me know and i'll talk to him about it" which i absolutely appreciate from her side that she wants to try, BUT when i do mention something she causes a huge booha. So i actually do not know what to do???

Maybe i should just leave it and console my girls softly when they get hurt and tell them to harden up as i can't talk to her about it because of the way she reacts???

Mary - posted on 09/08/2012




Anytime we feel like our parenting is in question we automatically go into defense mode. You are in a hard situation. Maybe it would help if you wrote down your feeling in a non-judgmental way and be sure to point out the positive things about your nephew as well. The things he excels at or parts of his personality that are favorable. Often, when our kids do wrong we ask ourselves where we went wrong in our parenting. Perhaps she has too much pride to admit her mistakes as a parent and it may be hard for her to hear. Talking with her in a loving, supportive way while pointing out the good things she does as a mother can produce more desirable results. When you start these conversations with her are you coming "at" her or are you talking "to" her and with her? Where does the conversation turn into an argument?

Vicki - posted on 09/08/2012




You cant control how someone else is going to behave. Sounds like she is very aware of her sons behavour it also sounds like she isnt doing anything about it at the moment. Maybe her defensiveness is coming from not knowing how to change it? Or not ready, as im sure when she starts putting her foot down with her son will definately cause a reaction with her son, maybe this reaction from him his what has her not willing to take that step? In the meantime it isnt your place to see to it that she does do something about it the only thing you can do is to make sure your own kids are being treated right. Maybe start having visits at your house instead of you going there?

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