My 4 yo nephew is downright mean/bad kid

posted 3 years ago in Parenting
Post # 3
3165 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

@AquaGrey8962:  I think what you are feeling is understandable. I think deep down you love your nephew which is why this is bothering you so much. i would share my feelings with my sister if I were you. (I’m a direct person) & tell her that he’s not enjoyable to be around because of his behavior that she allows. Otherwise, tell her you don’t want to be around him If he’s going to continue to act like a little snot. 

Post # 4
536 posts
Busy bee

@AquaGrey8962:  At that young of an age, there’s no such thing as a bad child; only bad parents. Your sister is a bad parent.

Post # 5
5697 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

I feel bad for a multitude of people here. The kid, you and the people who have to be around him, and even your sister. If she ever wants him to behave she’s going to have to work REALLY DAMN HARD because she’s instilled this behavior in him. Ugh. Just not a good situation.

Post # 6
2364 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2014

Bad parent?  Wow…that’s an unfair assessment on the part of a stranger, don’t you think?  Unless you know the child’s mother personally and have seen her in action in which case, I apologize.

Is he in school yet?  Because that’s going to be a biiiiig problem if she doesn’t reign him in now. 

I don’t blame you for feeling the way you do!!! 

Post # 7
3557 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

I’m an only child so these are my cousin’s kids, but OMG does my cousin have some awful kids. She doesn’t watch them at all and they deliberatly disobey adults. They’re hyperactive, loud, and destructive. The 4 year old had the gall to tell my mother to her face that she would not obey any rules in my mother’s house…and there were no repercussions from her mother or grandmother who were right there. The 7 year old runs around like a maniac and tries to get all the other kids misbehave with him. In the past he has ridden his bike around my parent’s house including up the wall and refused to stop trying to play with my father’s BB gun despite my father blowing up at him after it had already been moved to a room with a closed door and should have been out of reach (I’ve never had my dad yell like that at me, it’s scary and the kid was hardly phased). They eat nothing but sugar and no one ever tells them no. After 7 years of my cousin’s crappy parenting my family has had it and the grumbling is getting louder and louder. After last Christmas Eve FI and I have officially decided that those two kids are going to be explicitly excluded from the wedding. My cousin can come if she wants, she can bring a date if she wants, but she cannot bring her children even though my other cousins will be. I will not have my wedding be ‘that wedding where so and so ended up in the river’.

Post # 8
1666 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2015

@AquaGrey8962:  Little guy is only 4. At that age, he is still attempting to learn what is and isn’t acceptable behavior. This isn’t entirely his fault – I’m more inclined to blame the adults in the situation for poor parenting.

I understand why you feel the way you do. I think that you do honestly love him deep down and it hurts to see him behaving in this way.

This is a tricky situation. Most parents don’t take kindly to being told that their kid is a little hellian. . . but you also don’t want the kid to grow up with no concept of what the word “No” means.

Has anyone (other than his parents) tried disciplining him when he acts out? What happens when someone tries to do so; meaning, do his parents step in and stop people from disciplining him or do they allow him to be punished?

Post # 9
545 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@AquaGrey8962:  Does he go to school? If he doesn’t yet, there’s hope that his behavior will make a major turn-around when he does. Even in preschool, there are rules and expectations about everyone’s behavior. There’s a huge emphasis on listening and being kind to others. If his behavior at school is anything like how he is at home, his teachers will notice it immediately and likely work with your sister on behavioral management strategies. For some kids, just plain old being strict and constantly saying no doesn’t work and require you to be more creative. The TV thing sounds like he requires a lot of stimulation, which can be really exhausting for parents. If they don’t know what REALLY interests him, engages him, and makes him happy, I can totally see why they’d just want to give in at put the TV on his favorite show to pass the time. She has to determine what will motivate him (outside of getting his way every time) to behave better and it can be HARD! 

Post # 10
536 posts
Busy bee

@BurlapnLace:  Actually, everything she has mentioned points to poor parenting.  It’s unfair to have negative feelings towards a child that young when his behavior is a product of choices his mother is making while raising him.  I agree that I was blunt in what I said, but it’s not an unfair assessment of the situation.

Post # 12
9019 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

@AquaGrey8962:   I can understand how you feel, but PLEASE don’t let this become a self-fulfilling prophecy for this child.

A kid will believe when someone labels them “bad” and will live up to the label.  You have a very unique opportunity here to make a huge change in this child’s life.  You can influence him but you have to get past viewing him as bad.  What he is is afraid and out of control.  Children desperately need strong, healthy boundaries.

Stricter discipline isn’t the key, although that would help some, but mostly that ship has sailed.  By the time a child is age 4 they’ve learned to manipulate the adults around them if they’re allowed to.

However, you can help make a positive change in this kid’s life.  Begin by clearing your mind of the idea that he is bad.  He isn’t, he is just untrained.  Your sister is being selfish, lazy and taking the easy way out.  But she’ll live to regret it if she doesn’t get some help with her parenting skills.

What you can do is the next time you’re with this child take a different approach with him.  Be calm, quiet, patient and kind.  Tell him you believe that deep down he really wants to be a good boy.  Tell him you can see and feel his goodness but that it is being hidden by his bad behavior.  He is not bad, but his behavior is bad.  Convince him of that.  Tell him he’s good.  Ignore, as much as possible, his tantrums, but praise him a LOT when he behaves properly.  Encourage his goodness, encourage his innate desire for respect and communication.  Don’t let his tactics work on you.  Tell him you are different and the negative things will not get your attention but when he behaves properly you will give him attention in a positive way.  Stand firm and never give in.  It will work if you’re strong and persevere.  You  can, if you will, influence him for the rest of his life and see him grow into something wonderful instead of something bad.

It is not too late!


Post # 13
1253 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

@AquaGrey8962:  Yikes, thank heavens my nephew doesn’t act like that! If he did I would honestly probably inform my sister that I refused to be around him at all. Might be the wakeup call she needs, anyhow. When she realizes her horrible parenting will lead to the ostracization of him, even by those who are close and love her and him, she might realize how damaging and unfair her cowardly parenting is.

Post # 14
918 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

I usually suggest positive reinforcement for parents, but it sounds like someone needs to tan this nightmare kid’s hide a few times!

Post # 15
668 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2014

Yeah, your sister needs to enforce discipline! My niece started getting bratty and I mentioned the concepts of self-soothing and a baby’s ability to know right from wrong to my sister. To her credit, she took a new approach and now disciplines my niece so she isn’t always a monster (terrible twos are still rough, though). My niece knows I don’t put up with brattiness, and I follow my sister’s discipline plan so visits are generally fun again.

For those of you that think 4yrs old is too young to know right from wrong, multiple studies have shown that children as young as 8mos can distinguish and understand the concepts of right/wrong, fair/unfair, and reward/punishment. The argument that babies don’t “understand” is BS and I think people use it to justify lazy parenting.

Check out this summary here if you’re curious:

OP, I’d tell your sister that you don’t enjoy visits with your nephew because he is a brat. Don’t pussyfoot around it; just tell her the truth. Maybe it will strengthen her resolve to confront the issue head on.

Post # 16
837 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2014

@AquaGrey8962:  Honestly, I’m surpirsed its gone one so long like this with out anyone saying anything.. 

My mom and dad (mostly my mama lol) were PSYCHO parents. Seriously, my brother and I were on “tight leashes” — literally, she made us wear wrist leashes so we couldn’t get too far from one of them when we were in public places (haha, it was so “uncool”).

If I were your sister, I KNOW my mom would have a serious talking to me about how poorly the kid was acting. I know parents don’t like to hear what a pain the ass thier kid is, but I feel like if it comes from close family i.e. the grandparent of the poorly acting kid – it could be accepted, and helpful.

I can’t imagine myself critiquing my brother on his and his FI’s parenting though, he would probably tell me to mind my own business, but if my mom said it he would probably have a long hard think about why his kid acts the way it does.

Maybe rather than you saying something to your sister, get you mom or dad to. Then its coming from a place of experience rather than a place of judgement.

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