Sleepovers - prioritising friends over family

(198 Posts)
motheroflight Sun 15-Sep-13 15:45:11

I'm just feeling a bit upset and not sure if IABU. A few years ago, DCs stayed with their cousins at my sister's house for a couple of weeks due to unforseen circumstances. DCs played up a lot (had just been through some tough times, long backstory) but it became the longest fortnight of their lives due to the hostility to which they were subjected. It was made very clear that we were a liability and we were not wanted there. I even heard a phone message from sibling to GPs telling them that it was too much and we really needed to leave as they could not stand it any more. You would have thought that we had been there for years rather than a couple of weeks in August. it got to the point where we were excluded from their days out and not even offered drinks when they were all having them. We really had nowhere else suitable to go and felt extremely cheap. Even the youngest child became openly hostile and rude and condescending. DCs never behaved well, as I said, but nothing beyond the usual naughty excited occasionally hyper (in bed at a reasonable time and I would keep them out of the house as much as possible to avoid conflict with their cousins). Previously, the relationship had been good it has just about returned to being fine several years on but the wounds have not completely healed.

At the time, sister explained that they were terribly unsociable and the idea of house-guests never came naturally to them and was too much to bear.

Now, one of those children's friends is starting boarding school in the UK as parents live abroad and the girl (13) who was an old friend of one of the children (but haven't seen each other for ages and not exactly inseparable) has asked to spend every weekend at their house. My sister has readily and happily agreed to this even though a long round trip to the home counties is involved.

This is the AIBU bit - we go back a lot further than someone who is (at best) an old acquaintance - am I right to think that sister is rather out of order - she barely knows the parents and whilst I can see it as a good turn on her part, it is quite telling how enthusiastic she is about the whole idea and taking on this regular commitment when my DCs are not considered suitable for sleepovers, parties where their schoolfriends are invited round.

motheroflight Sun 15-Sep-13 16:42:14

Can't you invite your sister and her family to join you and your family on the occasional day out?

Yes, this does happen sometimes but it feels as though the children would rather be somewhere else with other people and see any communication with my SN DC like a grand act of charity.

Bowlersarm Sun 15-Sep-13 16:42:49

OP, don't beat yourself up about it. They are two separate events. Don't look to the past with resentment. Move on and wish your sister well with this 13 year old girl.

Cravey Sun 15-Sep-13 16:44:11

YAbu. It's up to your sister who she has to stay in her home. And your children played up. She may have found it hard work. The reason doesn't matter really. It's up to her. You red to suck it up I'm afraid.

motheroflight Sun 15-Sep-13 16:45:17

What did you do about the 'terrible behaviour'? Well, I would try and stop it, of course but probably not forcefully enough. I was conscious of the fact that the DC were vulnerable (and my own emotions were all over the place) so it was a more relaxed approach then I would objectively endorse with the benefit of hindsight. With SN DC, once again, the discipline is completely different and they failed to appreciate that completely.

motheroflight Sun 15-Sep-13 16:47:07

OP, don't beat yourself up about it.

Thanks, it just makes me feel so crap and rejected. I never tgreated her children any differently to mine and liked to imagine that they were almost like siblings in the early days. I guess I was naive.

Cravey Sun 15-Sep-13 16:47:32

But it doesn't matter if they appreciate the way you deal with your kids. It's your sisters choice. Nothing more to say. You can't do anything about it.

MissStrawberry Sun 15-Sep-13 16:50:30

Maybe your sister has grown up and realised that it is much better to treat people nicely and help them than treat them like shit.

Lizzabadger Sun 15-Sep-13 16:50:55

Yabu. It's not prioritising friends over family. It's two completely different and unrelated situations.

Can you build bridges with your sister?

Retroformica Sun 15-Sep-13 16:51:51

A pleasant 13 year old will be nothing like have naughty toddlers to stay. Worlds apart. How badly did your kids behave during the stay?

hermioneweasley Sun 15-Sep-13 16:52:27

3 DCs plus you is at least 4 people (you didn't mention a DP) for several weeks. If she started off nice then there's no difference to what she's doing for the friend's daughter. After 2 weeks I'd be sick of having you make you drinks etc, and woukd just go about my normal life.

Retroformica Sun 15-Sep-13 16:52:44

I agree start building bridges with your sis. Have her kids to sleep over etc

ZZZenagain Sun 15-Sep-13 16:55:48

if the children's behaviour descended into something approaching street fighting, you know it wasn't within the normal range of what people expect from guests in their home - even from family. I think what is done , is done and they have made their judgements about your children on the basis of that. It is a shame since as you say they are family but I think you can only really leave it to time and continued positive experiences to get past that.

WorrySighWorrySigh Sun 15-Sep-13 16:56:46

Reading your subsequent posts it seems that you are wanting your sister to force her DCs to have a relationship with yours. Why? Why should she and why should they? They are cousins not siblings. You are wanting to impose a relationship on them to suit you not to suit them which is very self-centred.

We got this from my DM trying to guilt trip me into forcing my DCs to have sleepovers with their cousins. They didnt get on, so that was an end to it.

She gave you a roof over you and your DCs heads at a time of need. You should be ever grateful not resentful about some slight which is in your head only.

motheroflight Sun 15-Sep-13 16:57:02

They were VERY badly behaved, sometimes almost uncontrollable (previously they had always got along well during short visits so completely unexpected all round. However, the bad behaviour never went as far as causing damage to fixtures and fittings, or interfering with their normal family routines or meals.

I thought we had rebuilt our relationship but these feelings make me realise that there remains some work to be done.

WorrySighWorrySigh Sun 15-Sep-13 17:00:03

Have her kids to sleep over etc

Why? They dont want to spend time with the OP's DCs and why should they? I have always hated this idea that DCs should get on just because they are cousins.

These are teenagers now, they are old enough to have a choice about who they spend time with.

motheroflight Sun 15-Sep-13 17:00:39

It just hurts that mine were the ones being crappy and antisocial. I have put as much effort into their upbringing as the next person and I really wish I had something to show for it. I almost feel that (given lack of other friendships) if my sister had made more of an effort to help me in socialising them, then they would not become so hyper and excited by the rare/one-off opportunities to socialise and treat it as normal life rather than going off the rails. I don't expect class parents to go the extra mile but a close sibling, possibly.

Hawkmoon269 Sun 15-Sep-13 17:01:11

I grew up with a cousin with sn. 4 years younger than me. I absolutely hated being forced to play with him - we had nothing in common and his sn meant he got angry, frustrated, destructive easily.

All the adults explained his sn to me and as adults we get on really well and I appreciate and accept him for who he is.

But as children I really resented being forced to spend time with a child who was absolutely no fun at all (wrecking my things, hitting me etc).

I'm just trying to put things from your sisters children's point of view. It's very hard to share your home with children who are "challenging" in any way - whether they have sn or not!

motheroflight Sun 15-Sep-13 17:01:43

I would add that they are generally lovely at home and behave well at school.

Cravey Sun 15-Sep-13 17:01:51

So you couldn't control your kids and are wondering why your sister doesn't want them there. Are you for real ?

motheroflight Sun 15-Sep-13 17:03:44

Thanks for your insight hawk - I am sure that the cousins definitely see DS exactly as you describe. Did you ever find out how your cousin felt about the opportunity to socialise with you. I am sure it meant a lot to him and if so, surely that makes it worth it and made you a better person for having endured those playdates?

Floralnomad Sun 15-Sep-13 17:04:09

YABU , friends you choose ,family you are stuck with . Just because you are related that should not oblige your sisters children to 'like' your children .

ZZZenagain Sun 15-Sep-13 17:05:08

Can you find a way of socialising regularly with the children as a family - perhaps at the weekends so it becomes more of a regular and normal thing for them? I don't know what you could imagine doing but perhaps something connected to sport?

You say they don't have many friends. This seems a shame. I suppose you could focus on building up school friendships atm and think a little less about your sister - take the edge of it.

alpinemeadow Sun 15-Sep-13 17:05:41

Mol, have you explained to your dsis about your dc who would love to go, and asked if she can help out as a favour by having that dc to stay for a night? May just be that she doesn't realise how important it is to you/your dc? Could be worth a go - though apologies if you already have and she's refused!

motheroflight Sun 15-Sep-13 17:07:33

So you couldn't control your kids

Cravey, I don't think that is fair as kids who become wired as a result of the novelty and exhilaration of a rare experience are pretty uncontrollable until the novelty wears off? An that is before I throw the Sn into the mix

Tee2072 Sun 15-Sep-13 17:10:08

Even kids with SN, and I have one, need to learn how to behave to the best of their ability. It seems you are using it as an excuse. What's you excuse for your NT kids?

And I think Hawk is lucky that she's now friends with her cousin. Many would have continued to resent being forced to play with them and not have anything to do with them when older.

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