Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Very much younger ds upset that his cousins won't play with him - any ideas?

(37 Posts)
CMOTDibbler Fri 27-Dec-13 13:38:43

MIL likes to have the whole family round on boxing day, always has. DHs brothers have 5 children between them aged 22-17. DS is 7 and an only.

When the others were young, they had each other to play with, at least two parents would look after them, and as youngest adults we always played with them.

Yesterday, we arrived at 11.30 and everyone was drinking alcohol and had been for a while. Once we'd done presents, ds wanted to play Monopoly with someone. But no one would - just drinking and fiddling on phones. Then bil1 decided that it was time to go to the pub, and so a contingent went there. Ds and I played monopoly... They came back, drank more. Tried to interest anyone in a game of anything, but still no.
After dinner at 3, most of them fell asleep. DH was helping his mum cook/washup etc - none of the cousins help at all.

Ds is just desperate for any of his aunts/uncles/cousins/gps to interact with him, but its not happening. I don't want to do this again next year, but MIL would be hurt.

Any ideas to manage this better?

colditz Fri 27-Dec-13 13:41:18

Well, your son was hurt this year. Whose feeling are more important?

MisForMumNotMaid Fri 27-Dec-13 13:44:46

Could you have a family gathering at a place that would bring out the inner children in the adults, like Diggerland or Alton Towers? Somewhere where Alcohol isn't going to create a barrier between the ages (not at this time of year but maybe a shift to annual gatherings at Easter could work.

Alternatively is it close enough you could just go for lunch for a couple of hours and your DS could take an interactive game like a DS or play aps on an IPad?

Floralnomad Fri 27-Dec-13 13:44:48

You played with him ,next year you do the washing up and get the MIL to play with him . I don't think you should expect the cousins to play , I'm surprised they all went I would imagine that in future years they won't even go as they'll be at Gfs or BFs .

NatashaBee Fri 27-Dec-13 13:45:29

I think there's a limit on how much you can expect teenagers to play with a young child, but it wouldn't have killed them to play monopoly for a bit. Maybe you could ask MIL to enforce an hour of family games next time? It would be fun for everyone to do something together.

CMOTDibbler Fri 27-Dec-13 13:46:21

His feelings, totally. But we'll get a lot of grief, and it is the only time to see the extended family and this is all he has

mysteryfairy Fri 27-Dec-13 13:50:07

I would rather cut my own throat than play monopoly and my older DSs age 18 and 17 are not keen. However there are tons of things they would play with littler ones. Could you plan ahead and take games that are a lot shorter - guess who, chinese checkers etc so not one person gets stuck for too long? Also I know its not ideal but console games might well bridge the age divide e.g. My 18 year old will sit and talk about best candy crush moves with his 11 year old sister. Also my boys will take guitars and oblige younger sister cousins by playing chart songs by ear - obviously not every 18 year old could do that but its another option.

Bowlersarm Fri 27-Dec-13 13:50:47

I don't think you should, or feel like you should, be able to make your DSes cousins play with him, however much you would like them to. It's not their responsibility to entertain your DS, although it would be nice of them. It's a shame your mil doesn't want to play a game with her grandson, though.

CMOTDibbler Fri 27-Dec-13 13:51:45

Misfor - no one would do that! We did take a tablet for ds to play on, and he did for sometime, but in a room full of people he just wants to do something.

Floral - mil wouldn't play with him. Am suprised the others all go tbh

Cerisier Fri 27-Dec-13 13:53:59

Poor DS, it is a difficult one. If you go another year I would suggest taking along some more interesting games than Monopoly. Something like Risk or Civilisation might go down well with the cousins, and could also be played by DS.

Other suggestions would be Cleudo, Rummikub, card games and Railway Rivals. Or let him have a tablet to play on alongside his cousins, they can always share their favourite apps and challenge each other on games.

Cerisier Fri 27-Dec-13 13:54:39

Oops, x-posted re tablet!

Kitttty Fri 27-Dec-13 14:10:41

Wondering if it is the only child thing here - is there any expectation that he should be entertained by adults - because you do this.

I think extended family, adult events like this are a lesson that the world does not revolve around your ds - and you/he needs to learn to know you place etc.

CMOTDibbler Fri 27-Dec-13 14:24:12

I don't have any expectation that ds be entertained by adults. But I think that if I went somewhere as an adult from 11am to 7pm that I'd expect someone to talk to me and that I wouldn't be expected to just sit in the corner and read/play on my phone

Floralnomad Fri 27-Dec-13 14:53:44

It sounds like the cousins go under duress or because it's the only way they're going to get fed that day ,they probably go home as fed up as your son .

RedLondonBus Fri 27-Dec-13 15:12:14

kitttty I kind of agree with that tbh

SlowlorisIncognito Fri 27-Dec-13 15:15:23

This sounds a bit similar to the situation in my mum's family although there are less cousins overall. At family gatherings, there's usually myself, my cousin and his wife in our early twenties, and my younger cousin who is now 12. When he was a bit younger, all the family would try and join in and play a game together or do something that he could join in with too at least some of the time.

However, we also want to spend time in adult conversation, and as I don't see my aunts and uncles that often, they usually want to talk to me about how I am, and what I am up to and so on. I will also sometimes spend a little bit of time on my phone at Christmas as I like to keep in touch with my friends and see how they are.

Maybe next year, shorter games like card games might be better, or ask your MiL or BiL if there is anything that their children might enjoy getting involved in. One we sometimes do as a family is the one where everyone has a post-it with a name of a famous person stuck to their head and you have to ask questions to work out who you are. However this might be a little bit old/complicated for your son, and it can be hard to think up enough famous people that everyone will know.

However, equally it may be that his cousins just want to enjoy their time off from study/work, and whilst it would be nice for them to play with their cousin, entertaining a child can hard work, and may not be something that they are very comfortable doing, especially if they only see him a few times a year. Unfortunately, you may just have to accept that with such a large age gap it is not that likely your son will ever be that close to his cousins.

PowderMum Fri 27-Dec-13 15:39:14

My DC were the first DC to very bring into my DH extended family all DH cousins were late teens or young adults, we got together every Christmas, someone was always willing/happy to play with my DC. There was plenty of adult conversation and alcohol but everyone was included.

Now my DC are the older teens and they have young cousins and more in the extended family, when we are together they are happy to play with the younger ones.

None if the DC grandparents generation would consider leaving out or ignoring the little ones, even if they were involved in the food prep.

Why does your MIL not interact with your DC?

diddl Fri 27-Dec-13 16:15:07

" but in a room full of people he just wants to do something."

What does that even mean?

I do think it's odd that no one would play monopoly for a while with him-especially his own dad & GM!

But what did you take for him to do?

HellonHeels Fri 27-Dec-13 17:36:07

TBH I couldn't imagine a anything more boring than the family gathering you describe - everyone just sitting around drinking then half of them taking off to the pub.

Would bore me to tears, not surprised your DS didn't enjoy it.

diddl Fri 27-Dec-13 17:39:00

I agree with Hell

We always stayed at home so that the kids could play with their new stuff tbh, although I realise that that isn't possible for everyone.

But tbh, CD was always about them-adults caught up with each other on other days over the period.

LeBearPolar Fri 27-Dec-13 17:46:54

I do feel for you and your DS. My DS is 10 and an only; he has lots of cousins his age but I love the fact that he's developing a strong bond with my 17 year old DN. DN is really good with DS: they paint their Games Workshop models together, DN plays his computer games with DS and on holiday they will go off together. DN helped DS do his Christmas shopping this year!

I guess this is the kind of relationship you were hoping for? This one has built up over years of making sure that we get together two or three times a year, but it is one that DN and DS have created for themselves - I guess the will has to be there on both sides sad

OddFodd Fri 27-Dec-13 17:58:03

Well it's not their job to entertain your DS. I don't think 6YO DS's 23 year old cousin even spoke to him, much less played monopoly with him!

I think your expectations are too high. Either I play with DS or he amuses himself. But I wouldn't take him to something that long tbh

blackandwhiteandredallover Fri 27-Dec-13 18:03:54

You need something like a Wii, or a big tub of lego! We all played pictionary which went down well with all the age groups.

perlona Fri 27-Dec-13 18:17:52

Nothing would make me play board games, I hate them and leave the room if anyone starts.

Teens to early twenties aren't interested in anybody who isn't of a similar age, seven year olds aren't even on their radar.

Next year, don't waste your time with the inlaws insanely boring company, stay at home, watch xmas movies and welcome friends/neighbours who'd like to drop in for an hour.

Wii just dance would work with teenagers.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now