Post # 1
Bees, I’m very frustrated with a situation and here it is: My sister and her longtime boyfriend have an 8 year old son – who is an absolute nightmare.
My sister and I very close, she’s the love of my life. And I love them and my nephew. Problem is they don’t discipline this kid at all. They are very passive to him and have a really lackluster approach to him. They let him get away with all kinds of terrible behaviour, that…I wonder if they actually think is ok because he’s ‘a kid.’ I’m starting to lose all tolerance for him and I don’t know if I should say something to her.
He has zero boundaries. He is hyper, rude, destructive, disrespectful, he acts like a cartoon character, he completely takes over and disrupts family get togethers by crawling all over and under furniture, turning off the lights, making demands and rules, gets in people’s faces and makes pretend fighting moves, breaks things (and never takes responsibility), and just overall is – I’m sorry to say – getting more and more unenjoyable. It’s not at all cute anymore. It’s been going on for years. And it’s only getting worse as he gets older.
So right now, no-one says anything because we feel that it’s not our place. So then what happens at family gatherings is everyone sits around feeling annnoyed and bothered and looking to them to act and they don’t. They just let him go. It really affects even our quality time! We can’t even carry on a conversation! He’s that noisy and disruptive.
So just the other night, it was the same thing, and of course he ended up knocking over a table of drinks – so my Stepmom and stepbrothers girlfriend end up cleaning it up – while he sits back on the chair like a king and weasely blames it on someone else! And my sis and bf did nothing! And then he continued to jump around. I can’t believe he hasn’t yet broken something of serious value. It’s only a matter of time. And my Dad tries to be close to him, but he’s a holy terror, same other night he called my Dad a ‘big fat monster’ and then stuck 2 cheese knives into his face. Seriously.
And my DH says to me that he can really tell that I’m losing all patience for it and he’s absolutely right!
Is it ever ok to tell a family member that they have to step up and discipline their kid???!!!
Post # 3
The ONLY time it’s permissable to let a parent know it’s time to engage in discipline, I find, is in your own home. I will not tolerate nasty, rude, destructive behavior from any child in my home, period.
I will go to the parent, say, “Jane darling, your son is terrorizing my greyhound, broke a table lamp and is currently running back and forth on my sofa, please take the lad into hand or I will.”
If they do nothing, the boy gets taken into the kitchen for a talking to and some time out, if further correction is needed, I happily administer some benign chore to keep those idle hands busy, and with no exception have I ever had to raise my voice or become angry, and find the children almost happy to have someone notice and put them in their place….or course the spell is broken once they leave my home, and I’ll get a call from Jane the next day saying she doesn’t understand how Little Andrew is such an angel at our house and a terrorist at theirs.
Parenting isn’t easy, every kid is different, I find with the right approach, parents are happy for help, because it really does take a village.
Post # 4
Fiance and I are in a similar situation with his niece and nephew. We feel weird disciplining other people’s kids, but there are some things that we can’t let slide. It was really important to Fiance that they be included in the wedding as flower girl and ringbearer, but I’m kind of terrified as to how that’s all going to work out.
Post # 5
@Sunshine09: Is it ever ok to tell a family member that they have to step up and discipline their kid???!!!
No, I don’t think so. Especiallly if you don’t have children of your own. That said, I don’t think anyone else would be in the wrong to discipline him themsevles, but only when it’s in their own home OR when their personal space has been violated (i.e. a knife in the face… By the way, what the hell!?!). Outside of that, the parents ulimately make the call.
Just like the parents are giving this kid entirely too much power, everyone else is doing the same by idly sitting around and stewing in discomfort! Next time he acts up, as long as it’s under those conditions mentioned above, say something. Maybe that will light a fire under his parents ass!
Post # 6
I have no problem when we have other kids in our home inforcing rules and expectation we that we have for our own children. By saying things like “In this house we don’t jump on the couch, feet down please” or “I’m sorry we don’t talk to people like that here, if you do at your house that’s fine, but at my house we don’t use words like that” it inforces the rules without necessarily disciplining them. Maybe if he learns that at Grandma/Grandpa’s or aunt sunshine’s those behaviors aren’t acceptable he will behave a little bit better (fingers crossed, right).
Beyond doing this I don’t think you can say anything directly to your sister about disciplining him. I would start asking her or the boy to clean up his meses “Hey sis, Johnny just nocked over that table would you mind cleaning up the glasses while I grab some towels”.
Post # 7
@Sunshine09: The only time I ever discipline someone else’s child is when they are exclusively in my care and their parents are not present – ie, “in our house, we don’t speak that way,” “You need to stay next to me while we are crossing this busy street or we will go back home.” It’s not your place to discipline your nephew and I guarantee that his parents won’t take it well if you do. The exception to this would be if he is doing these things in YOUR home, in which case, enforcing the rules for your home is perfectly acceptable, as @Nona99:
said. It’s absolutely fine to say “Sister, little nephew seems to be a little overexcited and I don’t allow this kind of behaviour (breaking things, jumping on furniture, whatever) in my home. What can we do to distract him and calm him down?”
Post # 8
Oh, hell no. Someone needs to step in and put this kid in his place. You need to talk to your sister about his behavior ASAP.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand that kids will be kids, but this goes WAY beyond that. My cousin’s daughters (2 and 3) can be naughty, but they’re mostly okay. One of them grabbed (HARD) and hit my face on Thanksgiving, and I immediately took her hands off my face and told her NO, and that we do not hurt others. No one said anything to me (her mom was right there). Had they, my response would have been that they need to parent their children, then. My other cousin’s son PULLED her hair (maliciously, he was not playing) over the summer, and was half heartedly told no, and put in a corner, where he stood, sobbing for two seconds before he ran back into the room. Nothing was done about that, and Fiance and I were horrified. I love them both, but I will never understand why parents allow their kids to be unholy terrors.
Post # 9
@vorpalette: was half heartedly told no, and put in a corner, where he stood, sobbing for two seconds before he ran back into the room. Nothing was done about that, and Fiance and I were horrified
This! Yes! Sometimes they gave him a halfhearted ‘son…stop….’ but that’s about as far as it goes.
I do agree about being able to enforce rules in your own house. I just have such a hrad time understanding how anyone could let this be their child’s behaviour. Really??
And DH and I don’t have kids at the moment, and I appreciate that parenting is hard, but we both agree that we wouldn’t stand for half of what this kid does.
Post # 10
He is going to be a hellan as a teenager. I don’t really have any advice since I don’t have any children. But, these parents really need to do something before he gets really really out of hand (even though it sounds like he is there now..)
Post # 11
and people get mad at me for saying that there are those who shouldn’t be parents.
Post # 12
I would actually have my parents talk to my sister if this were an issue. But it should be a sit down meeting specifically to talk about the concern. Obviously everyone wants this child to grow up to be a sucessful young man so they need to start teaching him how to behave in certain social situations. If they want him to run around like a madman at home thats fine but when they are at a family gathering they should have more control over him. My dad stepped in a few times when my cousin was growing up, he was a handful and my aunt was a single mother. My aunt didnt mind my dad diciplining him since he didnt have a father figure but this situation may be different since the dad is in the picture. That cousin tho, I should probably say, since he is now an adult he really dislikes my dad. He sees him as a mean person because he whipped his butt a few times. I hope you are able to get through to your sister. I really think talking to her about it would be better than just trying to disciple the child. I hope this helps…
Post # 13
OP, I totally sympathize with you. It simply infuriates me to see some of my tiny nephews and nieces. Unfortunately, I can’t do anything about it since we meet them at my parents’ house and mother NEVER says a word of protest. I don’t know why.
Post # 14
“Is it ever ok to tell a family member that they have to step up and discipline their kid???!!!””
Yes, when they get on my nerves. I have three children, all boys, and they weren’t allowed to be brats. I’m definitely not putting up with anyone else’s, especially family. We all had our kids close together so it’s nothing for us to say something to the parents or the kids. Strangers I will say something to when it’s obvious they have forgotten they’re responsible for that child.
I was in church the other day and this girl was letting her son, maybe 2 or 3, play in the pew. I understand she was trying to enjoy the sermon but she should have taken his little behind in the kid’s room if she didn’t want to watch him. After not listening to her for 30 minutes, he decided to walk down the pew and dig through this women’s purse. The women was standing up looking forward and her purse was on the pew behind her. I look at the mother and she’s just looking at him about to reach his hand into the purse. She hadn’t said a word. I finally asked her if she was going to get him. She gave me a stupid smile and went and got him.
My family is close so we would have never let it get go 8 years. It would have been handled at year 2. One of us would have picked him up and brought him back to his parents. Now your sister probably assumes no one minds or that you are use to it by now. Next time it happens I would just ask her “are you going to get him,” “are you going to stop that,” or “do you want me to get him?” She can take it anyway she wants to.
Post # 15
Ugh. I feel your pain, OP!! Imagine a whole hoarde of little monsters like that in company. Years go, my parents were part of this Friday prayer group gathering where the host provides dinner. It turned into a weekly party of sorts, and for the most part it’s a great thing. However, several of the members had young-ish children (between 7-10), and they went completely berserk in each other’s company. I have no idea why this was ok with all of the parents, and thankfully since I was mostly away for college then grad school, I didn’t have to deal with it too often.
One time, however, my ExH and I were visiting over Christmas, and it happened to coincide with my parents hosting a Friday night gathering. It was going ok, mostly stayed with the grownups (haha, that’s how I thought of them even though I was technically one too). I went up to our room to get something or another only to find the door locked! Shocked, I pounded on it and demanded whoever was in there to open it, and it was ALL OF THE LITTLE GIRLS from the party crammed in the guest room all over OUR stuff. They had even gone so far as to raid my luggage and go through the boxes of presents from Christmas. They were wearing my lingerie on their heads, and one had on the necklace ExH hadn’t even gifted me yet!!
Now, admittedly I did not react in the best way, but I was too shocked and angry to get a hold of myself. I screamed at every little monster to get out of my room and to put my things down and that they were terrible children. They all ran to their parents in terror, but all that was done was that they were laughingly consoled and only half-seriously told that they shouldn’t go in other people’s rooms. That was it. My mom also laughed it off and told me that they’re just kids being kids. The rest of the night I stood guard at the stairs and would not allow anyone to the second floor without good reason (second common bathroom was up there for example). Harumph!
I think it’s a good idea to have your parents sit down and gently talk to your sister about it. Sticking knives in people’s faces is not acceptable behavior, and disciplining him needs to start ASAP, or his teenage years are going to be kind of horrible for everyone in your family. Good luck.
Post # 16
You don’t have to have children to tell a parent they need to stop allowing their child to terrorize you and your home.