Post # 16
I was all set to not be on your side, but you probably do need to do something.
8-9 is a difficult bratty age. It’s my least favorite age actually. I have a girl that age. But she is never made to feel like she is any less special than the other kids. Kids thrive in positive environments. The more you beat a kid down, the more of a jerk they are. They just don’t know how to handle negative emotions maturely – duh they’re kids! That’s why I roll my eyes when people who don’t have kids go on and on about how tough they would be as parents so they don’t have “brats.” Defensive, spoiled, bratty kids are deficient in something, like love, kindness, caring, attention etc. Kids aren’t dumb, they know if you’re just giving them stuff to shut them up. And kids who are constantly told off by their parents can overcompensate by being know it all or what not. The only person who is going to say nice things about Anna is obviously going to be Anna, and she knows it. It’s terribly sad.
Maybe you could ask your sister if Anna could stay with you for a month or so, just to “help your sister out” since being a mom of 2 is such a trial. She might start to really miss her and reevaluate. You could also ask her if she has seen a family therapist. Maybe suggest little Anna is having some sibling rivalry, which is normal, and a family therapist can help the whole family through it. In reality, it might end up being a good parenting class for your sister. She might need someone to teach her how to be a mom. But if you tell her she’s a crappy mom and needs a parenting class she will probably not take your advice. That’s exactly what she needs, though. She needs some education in normal childhood development and a parenting class.
Good luck, it’s a tough situation.
Post # 17
Call her out when she tells you things like she’s calling her daughter a heifer and not smart. Try to spend as much time as possible with Anna and praise her often in front of her mother. I’d try encouraging Anna to speak to her school guidance counselor or her teacher when she brings up a concern if you can’t directly help her with it or don’t want to confront your sister.
Where is Anna’s dad? Do she and Jane have different fathers?
Post # 18
Where’s the father in this? I would confront her with your mom as well, husband too if he’s seeing this disgusting behaviour. I would do it without the kids there. If she gets bet and refuses to change, which is what I would expect, sped more time with the girls. Reach out to them and give them an escape when they need it. I was raised by an abusive mother and really would have appreciated someone speaking up for me.
Post # 19
Honestly, this is complicated, because the last thing you want to do is piss off your sister to the point that you’re completely cut off from your nieces. Anna needs you in her life. I’d suggest going out of your way to spend more time with Anna. Having a respite from her mom and a supportive adult in her life would be huge for her.
This dynamic with your sister is very common with narcissistic parents, who tend to make one child the “golden child” and the other one the scapegoat for all that’s wrong with their life. Does your sister show other signs of narcissistic behavior, like making everything about herself, or not being able to see others’ points of view?
Post # 20
This turns my stomach! From what you described, my advice is to not say much to your sister so you don’t get cut off, and stay in this poor girl’s life as much as you can. You will be her bouy in a sea of emotional abuse. Honestly, if it were me, I would seek out a family/child counselor and ask for advice on how to make ‘Anna’s’ life a more bearable.
P.S. I want to smack your sister really, really hard.
Post # 21
Both girls have the same dad; my sister’s been married to her husband (their father) for many years but…they have a relatively bad marriage. He is a pushover and not much help. But he is a glimmer of hope for Anna…as Anna is actually her dad’s “favorite” and he says this openly (which of course will eventually cause problems with Jane…UGHHH the family is just a hot mess!!) but he does little to protect Anna as he’s always working and my sister is the kids’ primary parent. My sister would feel immensely betrayed if I “went behind her back” and talked to her husband about this. I talked to my older brother about this and he agreed we should both try to have Anna at our homes as much as possible.
And I did say something to my sister as I rushed her off the phone…something along the lines of “wow, you said that to your 10 year old? That’s pretty effing mean…” but I definitely should have said more. I was honestly at a loss for words. I literally got off the phone and cried about it. It’s pretty scary really because my sister is so sweet, compassionate and giving with everyone else…except Anna. And her husband sometimes, but that’s a different story. I’m wondering if she’s bipolar or something.
Post # 22
Wow, that is terrible. Maybe Anna is gaining weight because she is lonely and verbally abused by her mother? And your sister said she wants a 10 year old out of her house???? That is messed up- Maybe take up on that claim and offer to have sleepovers or babysit Anna to boost her self esteem!
Post # 23
Can you offer to help her out with Anna, as a way to spend more time with Anna and without confronting her? I just fear that if you call her out and cause some fight, you’ll never see the girl again.
Also, send her some parenting articles on preteens. Like “Hey, I saw this and thought maybe it could help you a bit with your problems with Anna.”
See if you can set up a regular schedule where you can “help your sister” by watching Anna. Like Wednesdays after school and Sunday nights. This little girl needs you, so be very careful with the phrasing of any criticism of your sister’s parenting. Frame everything as if you are just trying to help her, and maybe you can become a great, stable fixture in Annas life. I fear for her when she heads into middle school. This is really sad.
Post # 24
Yes, your sister IS crazy, and no, talking to her won’t do anything. She can’t possibly not see how she’s treating her children. It’s good that Anna has you and her grandmother. Since your sister actually went and said she’d like Anna out of her house (I can’t even…) that’s an opening for you or your mom to offer to take her in, either for a while (school breaks?) or for good, depending on how bad you feel the situation is. I know it’s a huge thing, but it sounds like she’s being abused and neglected.
Maybe Anna is actually the lucky one in this situation. Her little sister is the favorite, so it’s going to take her a lot longer to realize how toxic her upbringing is.
Post # 25
One of the worst things your sister said actually seems like it could be the key to the solution: “I seriously just want to call the police for them to come and get her sometimes…she needs to just GET OUT OF MY HOUSE.” And then she laughed.
This means that any time you can take Anna away from her, your sister can see it as doing a favour for *her*. Take the girl for a weekend, a week, a month. Basically just spend as much time with her as possible. It would really be ideal if she could go and live with either you or your mother permanently, because she just shouldn’t have to deal with constant emotional abuse in her own home. But you don’t have to jump to that immediately; you can just start building up your time with her and see how it goes.