Struggling with family issues

posted 2 weeks ago in Relationships
Post # 2
Member
3868 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: April 2017 - City, State

That’s so tricky. I wish I had good advice but all I can think is that you have to protect your children first and foremost. I’m glad your sister has her children in therapy and it sounds like she’s doing so she can to give them more stability and a kinder, more loving environment. People get up in arms when you say you don’t like a kid but honestly, it’s not a stretch to not be fond of a kid who is hurting your children, even if you know that kid is likely going through a lot of turmoil and well. Honestly I think the only thing you can really do is keep intervening when she behaves badly and explain that her behavior is unacceptable and won’t be tolerated. Maybe you and your sister can work together to come up with an effective strategy for managing her behavior. Full disclosure,I don’t have kids yet (got one on the way right now) so please take my advice with a grain of salt. Best of luck to you and your sister!

Post # 3
Member
7133 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2016

She sounds pretty horrible, OP. I can understand why it would be challenging to like her. It sounds like your niece is her family’s “Identified Patient”. I’ve been talking a lot about this recently, but the book The Deepest Well by Dr. Nadine Burke-Harris is really really good at explaining the impact of adverse childhood experiences on kids (and on adults as well). It’s also great at explaining why compassion is so helpful and necessary in these circumstances and ways to develop resilience and healing practices.

That said, it’s impossible to be genuinely compassionate to someone who is acting like an asshole to your child, even when it’s another child who has been having a hard time. Especially if you don’t feel like you can do anything. Personally, I would interrupt her EVERY. SINGLE. TIME she was engaging in these behaviors with my kids. I would not allow her to deliberately upset my kids or my household just because her father is an asshole- that’s allowing his toxic ripples to impact your home. I’d have a series of other things she could go do instead. I’d also have an Auntie conversation with her and just say, “Hey, that’s not an acceptable way to treat your younger cousins. They love you and they look up to you and it bums me out to see you being unkind to them and making them sad. It also makes me really angry and I feel protective of them. You need to find another way to play with them or you need to take a break.” And I would just keep interrupting those behaviors. She’s probably mad as hell, though, and she needs an acceptable place to get all of that out of her system. She should join a martial arts class in addition to being in therapy. Something where she can be really physical and push herself and exert that intensity while also developing some self discipline.

When my SIL was going through her divorce from her waste of skin ex, I called her once on the phone and her daughter (who was about 7 at the time) was SCREAMING like a fucking lunatic in the background for the entire converation. It was so goddamn obnoxious and ridiculous that I spoke directly to her about it the next time we all go together (I did ask my SIL if she would be okay with it). I let my niece know that I understand that it’s scary and upsetting when parents are divorcing (I’ve been through it- I definitely know) but that I did not ever want to hear her screaming at her mother like that again and that it was unacceptable. I also made sure to let her know that she was loved and if she needed someone to talk to about it, I was there.

Post # 4
Member
1246 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 1983

You cannot have a mean child around your children, even if your sister and your other niece become collateral damage. Maybe things will change for the little girl after a year or two of therapy, but–you can’t let your own children be brutalized and terrorized in the meantime.

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