Post # 1
Hey bees with kids or expierence dealing with kids (which I have neither!), I need some help in how to handle something…
So my sister got remarried about a year ago and inheritated a stepson – I guess that makes him my step-nephew so I’ll call him SN. He’s 13 and a very sweet boy, but has a LOT of emotional issues and has a diagnosed personality disorder. SN craves attention from adults and causes scenes when he doesn’t get it. Some of the stories from my sister blow my mind – I’m actually pretty much expecting him to cause a scene at our wedding. Which I’ve already wrapped my head around and I know it’s not his fault and it is what it is (or what it’s going to be rather!).
Last week I got an email from SN asking if he could call me aunt… aww, of course you can buddy! Today I got an email asking if we could spend a whole day together just him and I when I was home before the wedding. Well, I haven’t been home in nearly two years (live in another country) and probably won’t be home again after the wedding for another year at least. But of course I have a ton of stuff on the week before the wedding, not to mention a million other people I want to spend time with. He is a wonderful kid, but I have honestly met him about three times ever. So a whole day together just him and I is really not realistic, as much as I would love to give the kid the time and attention he craves.
My question is- how do I respond? I’m home the weekend before the wedding, and he’ll be in school during the week, so that explains a good chunk of the time. One evening I will be at his house and he will see me then. I emailed my sister confirming which day so I could tell him that and he’d have something to look forward to. When she responded she said they saw the email he sent me and told him already it wasn’t going to happen. Well, that’s not really the response I want to give him because I think that makes it worse! I don’t want to make him feel bad. What’s a delicate way to explain to an emotional-disturbed 13-year-old that I am not going to be able to spend an entire day alone with him when I’m in town? 🙁
Post # 3
@midwestgirl80: I would just say that you have a lot going on, but would love to take him out to lunch. That way, he still knows you want to spend time with him, and you’ve given him expectations of how long you have to spend.
ETA: Sorry, apparently I can’t read. He’ll be in school, so lunch is probably not going to be an option… What about an after school option such as ice cream or just going for a walk together?
Post # 4
Aw that’s actually really sweet that he wants to hang out with you and that you’re concerned about his feelings.
I would be honest and say that you are looking forward to seeing him and spending time with him, but there will be a lot of stuff/work to do get ready for the wedding. Tell him that you want to see him but you’re trying to fit everything into a tight schedule (he’ll understand that, since he’s in school) and that you’re excited to see him with his parents on the night that you’ll be at the house, and at the wedding.
Post # 5
@midwestgirl80: I would tell him that a whole day is a tall order, but if he picks a favorite restaurant and a movie he wants to go see, you guys have a date!
Post # 6
Explain that he’ll be in school, but you’d love to see I him after. Maybe pick him up and go to lunch, or do something cool like batting cages or go karts. This kid is desperate for a connection with an adult – make some time for him alone but it can be short.
Post # 7
@midwestgirl80: Tell him it means a lot to you that he wants to spend time with you, and you’d love to do the same, but you only have time to XXX (go to lunch, take him to the arcade, whatever your sis suggests). It’s awesome that he wants to spend time with you AND that he is willing to e-mail you to ask you, but you aren’t obligated to spend the whole day with him. If you have the time, doing something special one-on-one would be great. I might also suggest to him that you want to have some sort of ongoing relationship/contact (if you don’t mind.) Maybe a monthly phone/Skype call, or even old-fashioned letters. Whatever feels right to you. He is clearly wanting to be a part of your life, and if he feels that he will be part of your life in the long-run, he may not worry about the day so much.
If you feel comfortable, you may also want to promise him a dance at the wedding (and follow through). Give him some sort of time-frame for the expectation (I have to dance with XXX and XXX, and then some time before 8:30, you and I can dance, too). This may deter a fit at the wedding (it may not…depends on him of course. Without knowing him, I can’t give a more specific suggestion).
Post # 8
@midwestgirl80: I’d say offer to take him out for a snack/coffee after he gets out of school, since he craves attention and desperately wants to feel important and included is there some task (no matter now small) that he and only he could do (it doesn’t matter if it could be done by anyone in the wedding party, the point is that he has a sense of specialness and belonging). Offer to do one or maybe two other activites with him, but whatever you do don’t offer if you don’t seriously mean it and can make the commitment (he needs the connection and stability). Remember that it’s more about quality than quantity. You’re doing a great things by putting forth the effort.
Post # 9
These are all fantastic ideas!!! Thank you. Yes, I can grab hhim for an hour after school one day and committ to a dance with him at the wedding. And also the ongoing Skype is a great idea!! Thank you thank you thank you bees!! I think he will be okay with all this as an alternative!
Post # 10
@midwestgirl80: You are an awesome aunt! One note on the dance: MAKE SURE you follow through. If not, i can pretty much guarantee a meltdown. Put someone else in charge of reminding you (because you will have a lot on your mind), and make sure it happens.
Post # 11
Can you toss him into the wedding as an usher, too? He could escort some other teenagers to their seats or something.
Post # 12
@Jess1483 Yes, I will do that! Good idea, things will be chaotic so I definitely don’t want to not follow through. I’ll have one of the bridesmaids put that on her list.
And to the other girls that suggested giving him something to do during the wedding – that is also a good idea. I’m sure we can find something J
Post # 13
@midwestgirl80: I would offer to spend some part of a day with him but explain wedding planning is like huge party planning and there many little things (not fun things like talking to the ppl who make the food and the flowers and running aroudn that must be done or they dont do their jobs right)
I would say if he like to tag along he be welcome to and we could do a nice lunch or grab fraps at starbucks and have a lil one on one time but there are many people (like boring ppl -even say that-) who i must see or they will ruin the party part
just try and relate to him even if he has behavior probs he is 13 kids at 13 are pretty smart logical minded … they are old enough to baby sit
they get annoyed with home work and are given ip to 3 hours a night starting school just relate the papar signing andchecking thigns like its annoying stuff u dont wanna do and u rather be doing something fun with him all day but if u don’t they wont do things right … like they will forgot the cake or what flavor … or the ppl wont send enough stuff
but do offer to bring him for an afternoon after school relate that it will be boring stuff u have to do … and then offer the opton of maybe metting up later for dinner or lunch or go grab fraps at starbucks or icecream at dq
make sure he feels wanted and make it almost like u think the wedding planning is a pain in the ass but if u dont get it done right they wont do it right (kids get that its like dead lines for homework if they hand it in one day late they lose 10 20 %) so he will understand the concept of having to do it by this time and u only have a week to get ti all done
maybe sit down and do lists and tick things of let him get involoved a little till he loses intrest least then you gave him a shot and didnt just wave him off he will get if ur stress about ur wedding tasks (assignments) but they all are due by these dates and times … that its alot like him and home work … but if u tell him no and dont let him try and help he feel like u just didnt want him there
Post # 14
@kissed_by_lightning – thanks! Those are some great tips on how to explain it to him!!
I appreciate everyone’s help and ideas. It’s escalated now to my sister getting upset that I wouldn’t have one-on-one time with my “real” nephew (her words, not mine!!!). Sigh… I cannot win!!
I will figure something out between all these ideas. After my sister’s reactions, I still have not responded to the poor kid’s email!! 🙁
Post # 15
I’d tell him that you live so far away, and will have soooo many people to see and visit when you get there that you cannot give him a full day. Rather, when you visit his house, give him ten minutes of your undivided attention, and tell him what a wonderful time you had with him showing you all his things, and now it’s time you go visit with the adults some more and you will see him at the wedding.