I need help!! This is killing me!! - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-26-2007, 05:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hey y'all.. I have three daughters. Abigail is my oldest, she's 8. Madison is 6 and Georgia is 3.5.
About two years ago my aunt and her family moved back into town. My cousin is 9. We'll call her Sandy.
The girls and Sandy started playing together all the time. But after a few times it became apparent that Sandy did not want to play with Abigail. And to enforce her exclusion of Abigail she makes up mean things about her to the other girls, leaving Abigail left out and hurt. So over time I've talked to the girls about it. I've explained to my daughters that their sisters are the most important people in their lives and to never, ever turn your back on your family. I've explained to Sandy that it hurts Abigail to be left out and she appears receptive to my reasoning. But it never changes, in fact it gets worse all the time. Now its gotten to the point where Abigail will make up an illness just so that the other kids don't think her exclusion has anything to do with them.
In the past, I've made the mistake of forcing them all to play together, which was a huge mistake. After they walk away from me pretending to be friends, I'll sneak back only to hear Sandy telling the other girls that they got in trouble because of Abigail, that Abigail is a tattle tale and a baby and blah blah blah. This is killing me ... its breaking my heart. My protective mama bear wants to come out roaring, but I can't. Nothing I do seems to help. I can't take it anymore. I'm starting to feel a definite dislike for my cousin and an simmering anger toward her. Its not right, but I don't know how to combat this enemy. How do I protect my kids from this? As I speak Abigail is crying in my room where she is watching a movie on her own, because her "ear hurts". Madison and Sandy are playing on their own, excluding even Georgia right now. I can hear my heart break and need to fight back tears every time I see them. Please help..
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Old 07-26-2007, 05:56 PM
 
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You might not like my take on it, but here goes -

I had a situation with my niece that drove me to decide that we had to just keep the kids apart for a while. It absolutely broke my mother's heart (their grandmother), but my momma gut told me to do it. I love my niece, but her influence on my child was damaging at that time, and I wasn't willing to let that happen. The happy ending is that after about 9 months, when I got them back together, things were much better and we've been able to "be normal" about things. I didn't make a big deal out it - I didn't tell my niece or my daughter what was going on, we just didn't see each other during that time.

There may be a lot going on with Sandy - maybe she feels threatened by Abigail? Maybe some time apart for all of them would be good? I know it's hard - good luck!
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Old 07-26-2007, 06:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for your advice.. I'm going crazy right now...

We've tried that before. Not as long as 9 months, but for about 4. Things never changed.
My aunt is one of those parents that as soon as I talk with her about possible issues from one of her kids, she jumps into defense mode, immediately suggesting that her kids are REACTING to mine. I'm all reason, all the time, even with my own kids.. in fact, especially with my own kids. So this situation with my aunt makes the situation even harder to deal with since I can't talk about the issues with her and together have us deal with them.
My hubby wants to cut my cousin out of our lives, but that doesn't work. My aunt and I have always been close, and they're our family which makes it even harder to disrupt contact. I get guilt trips after guilt trips when we don't see them for awhile.
this is really, really hard.
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Old 07-26-2007, 06:38 PM
 
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I am so sorry. This is really hard.

I would be tempted to say outloud everytime this happens, "This is not acceptable in our family. We do not treat our family like this. Girls, please come out here, and do ......" and have some activities your bring with you for your girls to do together or near you.

The little girl is both power playing with your daughter AND you. You need to set some boundaries with her as to how you will be treated. In doing so you set them for your daughters to.

I am so sorry. I hate this sort of behaviour and it literally drives me nuts.
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Old 07-26-2007, 06:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thank you ...
I just created a picnic and gave everyone a job. Abby's was making sure everyone had juice. Lol.. juice is ever important on a hot day!

Here's the issue with talking to my cousin and girls all at once.
As soon as I suggest that my cousin has done anything that is disappointing, she starts to cry, then calls her mom and says I've embarassed her in front of the girls and then the s*it hits the fan within my family. I've done it before.

*sigh* they're all playing together right now. We'll see how long it lasts...
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Old 07-26-2007, 07:04 PM
 
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I'm sorry, this is going to sound harsh ... As I read this, you are allowing your children to be hurt to avoid hurting the feelings of your aunt and/or her child??? This seems very backwards to me. Your primary job is to nurture your children, not anyone else's. If you can do that and then reach out to others, great. But it doesn't seem that you can.

I understand the occassional family gathering might be unavoidable. For those cases, I would suggest not leaving the girls alone to play but supervising and intervening as necessary. Other than that, why have Sandy over to play? Plan other activities for your girls. Help them find friends of their own chosing. Especially help your eldest find friends so she does not decide that this is her fault or something is wrong with her.

Its hard to distance yourself from family, but thing of the long-term damage that could result for your children. Heck, think of the long term damage this does to Sandy -- to be able to manipulate and hurt like this all the time.

You don't have to have a confrontation over this is you don't want to -- simply phase out playdates by replacing them with other things.
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Old 07-26-2007, 07:13 PM
 
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What your cousin is doing is bullying.

You owe it to your girls to put their emotional safety first.

If you are not willing to cut off contact for the meantime, might I suggest you setting up a baby monitor, so that you can keep an ear on their conversations, that way you can intervene quickly.


Good luck with your family, it sure can be tough.
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Old 07-26-2007, 07:52 PM
 
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I wouldn't let her play with my girls. It's as simple as that. You have tried..and she goes behind your back and does it again.

If her mom questions you tell her why. Her mom might be appreciative that she knows of her daughter's behaviour.
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Old 07-26-2007, 08:15 PM
 
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It seems that Sandy has been successful at "getting rid of" Abigail, & now has moved onto "getting rid of" another one(this time Georgia).

When they play do the girls have to do what Sandy wants?

Have you asked Sandy why she doesn't want Abigail to play with her?

When things like this happen, I'd pull Sandy away from their play & have her to a different task for a while. I wouldn't suggest to her that it's because of her behaviour(since it wouldn't stop it anyhow) but that you need her to do xzy right now. She's old enough to help sort laundry, do some dishes, some cleaning, help with baking/meals, etc.

You could also change the activity they're doing, make that time to read books, colour, play with playdough. something that they're all involved in but individually doing.

Is your aunt there when these incidents happen? If not then are you doing any disciplining when she acts mean like that? Right now Sandy knows she can get away with it so there's no reason for her to stop.

how often is Sandy over? I'd cut back on the visits. If your aunt isn't happy with that then she's just going to have to learn how to deal with it. It does sound like Sandy has picked up this behaviour from your Aunt. She doesn't like what she hears about Sandy so she runs & starts saying bad stuff about you to your family. your aunt is just as much as bully as her dd is. your aunt is manipulating you by guilting you when you try to not spend time with her dd.

I doubt your are the only family memeber to see this behaviour from her dd, I doubt your dd's are the only children who've had this problem with her.
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Old 07-26-2007, 08:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just talked to my aunt on the phone and told her of this behaviour.. again. She said that this is a part of childhood and seems to be a circle with them, meaning that they do it, then get over it, then do it again. So I told her that I gave them a task to do to redirect their attention, and her reply was "good, that probably helped Abigail get over whatever it was their issue was" She suggested, again, that the exclusion is not without merit.

To hell with the problems it might cause.. next time I see it happen, I will step in and remove my cousin.
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Old 07-26-2007, 09:00 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sage_SS View Post
To hell with the problems it might cause.. next time I see it happen, I will step in and remove my cousin.
Good for you, mama. Your daughter will appreciate it more than you know.

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Old 07-26-2007, 10:23 PM
 
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I would be tempted to say outloud everytime this happens, "This is not acceptable in our family. We do not treat our family like this. Girls, please come out here, and do ......" and have some activities your bring with you for your girls to do together or near you.

The little girl is both power playing with your daughter AND you. You need to set some boundaries with her as to how you will be treated. In doing so you set them for your daughters to.
and

Quote:
What your cousin is doing is bullying.

You owe it to your girls to put their emotional safety first.
:

Not much to add to the above, it was said so well, but I wanted to lend my support and tell you that you have the right to teach/model to your children (and any others that may be, ahem, listening) appropriate, respectful behavior.

Family dynamics are hard, but your immediate family is first priority. You don't have to cut off all contact; see your aunt alone if you like her, go to (and monitor the kids at) family events. Just follow your heart, protect your kids and let the other child know that her behavior is unacceptable. Anywhere, but especially at your home and in your family.
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Old 07-27-2007, 02:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So I think she heard me talking to a gf about this on the phone, cuz its all been happy and giggly since a couple of hours ago!
My hubby and I are walking on eggshells keeping our ears peeled...

Thank you all for your advice! You all told me just what I needed to hear!

Hugs to all of you!!!!
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Old 07-27-2007, 03:01 PM
 
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You might also find the book "The Bully, The Bullied and the Bystander" helpful. I agree with a pp - your cousin is bullying, your daugther is being bullied, and right now the other girls are in the role of bystander. None of those are good dynamics.

Good for you for stepping in. Keep doing it. She just might need more structure activities with your kids.

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