Need Help W/ Unruly Niece and Inconsistent Dad - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 3 Old 02-25-2015, 08:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Question Need Help W/ Unruly Niece and Inconsistent Dad

Thank you so much for reading!

DH and I are raising our DD in a small one-bedroom studio. There's just enough space for the three of us with her at 21m. All is wonderful! Well...

Until my brother-in-law and his girlfriend of 6 years split. The split was two months ago but, it only started affecting us this week.

They have a 4 year old, the mother has retained "custody" (nothing is legal yet). HE is currently staying with US, on the couch. He and his ex came to an agreement that the daughter could stay with her (the ex's) mother when he was supposed to have her because we simply do not have the wiggle room in which to squeeze another body. We have her for a few hours of the day while she's in town. It's a messy situation but, we're working with it.

I'm here asking for advice on the parenting of his daughter. As her aunt, I love her bunches and heaps. I really do.

But she is OUT OF CONTROL.

We're only on day two and I am losing my mind. She is the most unresponsive child I have ever dealt with as far as discipline is concerned. And he is the most inconsistent father I've ever met! I love love love love love them both so much. But what can I do to help him gain consistency with her?

She refuses to share my DD's toys with her, although she'll talk to us about how nice it is to share and tell us she will. She makes a point of walking to her to hold toys over her head or briefly offer them before snagging them back and screaming for Daddy.

She will not take "No" as an answer. It is always followed by a why or a demand that we meet her expectations.

He makes empty threats. "If you don't sit down and watch your movie I'll turn it off." But then she gets away with it for another 45 minutes, only to have he current movie replaced with something else, like spongebob instead of tinkerbell. "If you don't share, you can't play with the toys," is followed by NO CONSEQUENCE! He repeats the instruction over and over and over but never does anything. It' like he's afraid of making her cry.

Her time-outs are short lived and he talks to her through the whole thing. She never has a moment to realize what she's done before he has her back in front of him trying to make her talk to him.

I don't know what to do! I don't know how much of what she does is age but I DO know that she's ill-behaved. I know that I do not want my DD around her sassy cousin.

He's asked DH and I to give what advice we can and help with his daughter when we feel appropriate because he believes in our parenting methods. DD is loving and kind and independent. She spends her time at home quietly playing or giving kisses (unless she's tired!) and her time with other children giving them pats on the back and helping them up when they fall. At the park, she pets sticks and gives flowers to trees. Niece spends her time arguing, snatching and rolling her eyes.

This is hard for us. There's only so much we feel we SHOULD do. HE is Dad. The repercussion for not listening to Dad should be DAD. Not Uncle, not Aunt.

What advice should I give? I'm not sure how to go about this?! HELP!

--Thank you so much for your time and I appreciate all of you who read! Well wishes to all!
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#2 of 3 Old 02-26-2015, 04:32 AM
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I wanted to acknolwedge you and your post and let you know I will be back later to comment--I have to run to work right now!! This sounds like a really difficult situation and I want to give it some thought!

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#3 of 3 Old 02-26-2015, 08:09 AM
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Since he is asking for advice, I think you should try giving him a little advice and see how it goes. You seem to have good parenting instincts, so maybe you should give advice based on your own experience and instincts.

You can learn a lot if you can get some time with the kid when the dad is not around, you can test your parenting skills. You may find the kid is instantly better around you. Even some four year olds have experience dealing with a number of different adults and can spot various types and adjust their behavior to the type. On the other hand, she has learned how to control her dad and it will take days or more than a week for her to change even if he changes, and those first few day can be rocky because she will up the ante and try new tricks before she starts improving.

Instead of time-out, he should use short restrictions of TV, etc. and planned ignoring:

Using time-out requires a high level of skill and you don't need it except perhaps for aggression. But if she is aggressive against another kid, you can just take that kid away.

Short restrictions of TV are better than long. Repeat as needed, may take a few days to see improvement. Don't talk much, act don't yak.

Catch her doing good. Yak at good behavior.

Here's the kind of advice I would give:
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behavior , consistency , niece , single dad

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