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To severely reprimand my nephew

(42 Posts)
MaryRobinson Tue 02-Apr-13 08:18:22

My sister is visiting with my two nephews just 13 and 12. For the last year or two there has been picking/needling/ teenage sibling nastiness between them. What seems to happen is that the older will say something until the younger explodes. Then they will get separated until it starts again.

This visit the older seems to have upped a notch. Even on the bus from the airport it was (whilst speaking only to me) "my brother is a freak" and the like. I answered in conversational tone that they'd be brothers a long time, that his adored grandmother always says if you can't speak nicely - don't.
Speaking to younger brother it is all impotent rage.

If it starts today would IBU to tell older his behaviour is spiteful, bullying and absolutely unacceptable around me.

pictish Tue 02-Apr-13 10:17:04

I despise this sort of behaviour...my older brother was similarly cruel, unpleasant, scathing and bullying of me in our childhood, and it most definitely had a grave effect on my self esteem as a child and beyond. It is not nice to feel hated by a sibling actually...no matter how many of you claim it's normal. It is not good for anyone to be forced into living with a person who has nothing but contempt for you.

My own kids are simply not allowed to behave that way. I decided it was a big NO from the very outset, owing to how I felt as a child myself. As a result I do not have these problems. My kids get on well, and are kind to one another.
It is only 'normal' to those who accept it.
I don't.

OP - yanbu...I don't want to be party to that shit either. However, while reprimanding your nephew may help in the short term, I think approaching your sister would be more sensible long term.
You certainly do not have to tolerate bad behaviour in your home, no.

Pagwatch Tue 02-Apr-13 10:19:39

If one of my nephews was being rude and offensive to anyone in front of me I think i would call them on it. Otherwise they think it's fine.
I have grown up dc. I don't accept being vile about each other as ok although I know some loving familes do. I was teased and mocked growing up. I just don't think it's ok.

My niece screamed at my sister in front of me once just as I was about to take her and her younger sister out. I lost it and said 'what the hell are you doing. I am horrified to find out you behave like that. I'm not taking you anywhere now. When did you get the idea that screaming at people is fine. ' and I took my sister and her other DD out.

My sister wept and I felt awful. I was waiting for her to be mad as hell and to have to grovel because she is fantastic. I did imediately apologise and explained how hard it was watching her standing there being screamed at (she is unbelievably nice and kind) but she was actually grateful. My niece was shocked as hell and apologised when we got home. Like someone said upthread she suddenly saw that other people didn't think it was fine.

excellent post pictish

HappyDogRedDogToss Tue 02-Apr-13 10:26:40

Frame it with "in my house," so 'in my house we talk nicely to each other," "in this house we don't use that word."

pictish Tue 02-Apr-13 10:29:33

Thank you.

My brother was the way he was, owing to our father being a drunken, aggressive prick. We get on well as adults and have a good relationship. He knows what he did, he is ashamed, and although he knows it can't make up for the damage it did me, he is extremely generous to me and my kids these days. He is a fantastic uncle.

We both know that our mother turned a blind eye to his abuse of me. She would say 'all siblings fight', and to be fair to her, I think she really believed that.

Thankfully I know better than she...there are disagreements, but namecalling, disrespect and bullying behaviour as a matter of course, is quite different.

YANBU,
there are times that people have intervened in stuff between my boys that I just don't hear anymore, I welcome the slight smack round the chops that reminds me that just because I hear it all the time doesn't mean it is right.

it isn't dissimilar to having a toddler tugging your trousers saying Mummy over and over again, an outsider will almost certainly acknowledge it before the parent who has heard it a million times before.

Good luck, how long are they staying for?

hmm, not sure, I used to hate two of my siblings. I mean hate, I'd walk out the room if they walked in, i didnt have a good word to say to, or about them! one has died, but the other is now my best friend... I think its normal... but then I doubt my experience of anything could be considered normal...

~big splinters in arse from the fence!~

5eggstremelychocaletymadeggs Tue 02-Apr-13 10:47:13

Its only normal if you let it continue surely?

Yes siblings bicker and squabble but repeatex and consistent nastyness and name calling is not ok. I pull mine up on any name calling etc and will say if you havent got anything nice to say dont say anything at all. I have four boys and they can get on well but yes they fall.out but they are not allowed to be mean amd nasty and there are consequences if they do, generally it takes a 'look' if i see/hear them starting or they get seperated etc.

My eldest is 13 and ds2 is coming up for 11, so similar age gap and i can see how this type of behaviour can start and escalate if given the chance.

Your house so ywnbu at all to say something. If my nephew started telling me hia brother was a freak i would be having words!

maddy68 Tue 02-Apr-13 10:57:28

Yup sounds normal sibling behaviour to me. It's your sisters job to reprimand not yours

ParadiseChick Tue 02-Apr-13 11:05:36

It is not normal. My oldest dn bullies his brother, it's disgusting and unacceptable.

Gruntfuttocks Tue 02-Apr-13 11:06:37

It takes a village to raise a child....

Absolutely agree that perfectly ok for you to say something, for all the reasons given above. I might take older DN to one side and say something to him quietly out of earshot of younger DN in the first instance.

JenaiMorris Tue 02-Apr-13 11:09:18

I wouldn't be happy for my child to see his cousin acting like this - for that reason alone I'd have to say something.

Pagwatch Tue 02-Apr-13 11:09:48

I think it's common. I am not sure sustained nastiness by one sibling is normal unless no one takes steps to stop it.
Siblings arguing is one thing. One sibling endlessly going after the other isn't arguing because it's not equal.
I hate bullying. Just because you are siblings doesn't make it ok.
I still dislike two of the siblings that bullied me unchecked because it was 'just normal sibling stuff' .

The way I see it none of my children should wake up every morning in their own home with someone entitled to sneer, bully and name call at them. It's supposed to be home. They have the rest of the world to have to cope with nastiness.

pictish Tue 02-Apr-13 11:15:04

Absolutely Pag. Absofuckinglutely.

DIYapprentice Tue 02-Apr-13 12:26:14

Well said Pag!

Siblings will pick on each other, but it should NEVER be seen as acceptable. Inevitable at times, just as all NAUGHTY behaviour is inevitable, it doesn't mean that it should be ignored or accepted. There should be clear discipline for it.

I think sometimes within a family you tend to 'pick your battles' when there is so much going on, and you can miss how bad some things actually are to someone outside the immediate family.

One of my DFriend's DD was being a painful teenager several years ago and really backchatting her mum. I was over there once, to go out with DFriend after dropping DD off somewhere and after a particularly nasty bit of back chat just said 'Sammy!' in a really horrified voice (note, not really Sammy!). It stopped her in her tracks. Later that day when she and her mum were talking about the incident her mum pointed out how bad it must have been for me to pull her up on it like that (she was a fanastic kid, I adored her and she adored us, had I never had to say more than an 'oi, Sammy,' with a raised eyebrow prior to this). It really got it through to her that she had been way out of line.

EldritchCleavage Tue 02-Apr-13 12:37:41

When my Dneph1 was picking on Dneph2 I mentioned it to my sister-what I'd witnessed, and that Dneph2 was actually very affected by it. I didn't tackle it myself, except to tell Dneph1 I was going to listen to it and he wasn't to share that stuff with me any more. Their parents squashed it and the two brothers are great friends now.

I'd only really wade in if I felt that the parents weren't doing it and weren't going to, so Dneph2 really really needed someone to say it was wrong. But bear in mind Dneph2 needs to see his parents stand up for him much more than anyone else, so taking your sister aside and letting her know how serious you perceive it to be and how you think it urgently needs a proper intervention is a better bet than taking over the discipline yourself. Tread carefully though.

Where I have lived in Liverpool, mainly “rough” areas, I have seen this a lot. Always ignored by the parents, even when serious violent assaults are happening. Most of the younger male siblings, by no coincidence, always end up with anger issues and I've seen it connected to future DV issues . There is teasing, which everyone laughs about and then there is bullying, which shouldn't be ignored just because the parents think that it is acceptable. If this is ignored by others who are supposed to love the victim, then that will eat away at the child even more so. This isn't just a matter of opinion about parenting, which is a no-no, when correcting other people's children, this is stopping unacceptable, cruel behaviour, towards someone who has no other protection, than the adults around them.

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