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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.

Tee2072 Sun 15-Sep-13 15:47:13

There's a big difference between a weekend, even if it's every weekend, and a couple of weeks in a row.

And how badly behaved were your children really?

Having someone in my house for more than a couple of nights, friends or family, makes me mental.

Yonihadtoask Sun 15-Sep-13 15:50:51


Your dsis can choose who she wants to stay.

What she is offering sounds a little over generous to me. But its up to her.

For whatever reason, she didn't like having,your dc around for the two weeks.

The saying is "you can choose your friends, but you can't choose your family"!.

zatyaballerina Sun 15-Sep-13 15:53:04

There's a big difference between having a few very badly behaved children who don't get along with your own in your house for a couple of weeks with no break and one (presumably) pleasant, well behaved one to entertain your child every weekend.


lainiekazan Sun 15-Sep-13 15:53:33


Guests are like fish. They start to smell bad after three days.

And it's up to your sister if she wants to offer hospitality to someone else. Clearly she finds your dcs hard work.

gobbynorthernbird Sun 15-Sep-13 15:55:04

You say you weren't wanted there. Maybe so, but you were there. I've done the same for people in need, but I wasn't particularly happy about it.

YABU, it's not your business.

Chocotrekkie Sun 15-Sep-13 16:01:40

I think having children's friends are a million times easier than kids they don't get on with - especially if they don't behave well
When mine have friends round/sleepovers etc it's very little trouble and can be easier than having just mine - they run off and play together. Their cousins on the other hand are a different story....

cory Sun 15-Sep-13 16:02:31

Were your children younger at the time? A well behaved 13yo who is used to staying away from home might not be any trouble at all- in fact, can be a useful asset.

Also, it's not just about the children: it is also about the hosting family. The fact that your SIL felt unable to cope with a certain a few years ago doesn't mean she must never feel able to cope with a similar situation for the rest of her life.

For one thing, her own children will be a few years older now and take less of a toll on her.

meganorks Sun 15-Sep-13 16:02:36

I think YABU really. 1 person for weekends versus lots for several weeks is very different. I couldn't handle anyone staying more than a few nights. And with lots of people all on top of each other and your kids behaving badly sounds like a nightmare.
Besides, she may be OK now with someone staying every weekend but there will be times she wishes she had not agreed I'm sure

ZZZenagain Sun 15-Sep-13 16:05:58

How many dc did you have staying at your sister's home and how old were they?

TigOldBitties Sun 15-Sep-13 16:09:58


Your sisters house so her up to her is the primary reason.

But also one 13 year old girl who she probably know will be well behaved or fit in well for the weekend is very different to having people for a prolonged period.

Plus maybe your sister feels better prepared for having house guests now, she's experienced her limits and know what to expect, also her own children must be older. Maybe she's making the sacrifice as she think it would be nice for one of her own DC.

motheroflight Sun 15-Sep-13 16:13:26

All that is true - she is more experienced (thanks to the baptism of fire my three provided), children are older and more compatible BUT surely, a friend in need .... etc. One of my DC is a loner who has few school friends. SNs and LOVED the idea of staying with them. He talks about them incessantly and really longs to be accepted. Unfortunately, all we seem to get is forced tolerance. What is such a relationship worth really?

motheroflight Sun 15-Sep-13 16:15:32

Even if it feels as though IABU on the level of social convention, surely IANBU in terms of feeling rather wounded

Bowlersarm Sun 15-Sep-13 16:17:58


I woukd struggle with houseguests staying for weeks at a time. One or two nights a weekend would suit me better.

Also who can say it will turn out well for your sister? She is doing someone a massive favour. It's very kind of her. But who knows whether she will be tearing her hair out after a couple of terms? Only time will tell.

Tee2072 Sun 15-Sep-13 16:27:36

You are always entitled to your feelings and never BU about them.

But they are your feelings. Not anyone else's. And it's not really up to your sister to provide entertainment for your children, unless she wants to. Just because you're related, still doesn't give her any obligation.

Perhaps make some friends instead?

Floggingmolly Sun 15-Sep-13 16:28:12

Why were you staying there? I'm assuming it wasn't just a voluntary holiday? Tbh, I would be pushed to display more than forced tolerance to an entire family moving into my home for a couple of weeks; especially when, by your own admission, your children "never behaved well".
She helped you out when it was needed, you can't say fairer than that.
Why would you be pcted to be included in their trips out?
Sounds like they just got on with their usual lives nd expected you and your family to do the same.

givemestrengthorlove Sun 15-Sep-13 16:28:50

You can't do anything about it... Some people do not want their house to be invaded by children with poor behaviour.

It hurts, but it is their house.

Floggingmolly Sun 15-Sep-13 16:28:52

Why would you expect

WorrySighWorrySigh Sun 15-Sep-13 16:30:39


If you recognise your children were badly behaved, just how bad do you think it felt from your sister's POV when you were there and not stopping the bad behaviour?

You sound as though you are resentful that this girl has been willingly accepted. How many were you and your DCs? There is a huge difference between one teenager and an adult and a couple of children. There is a huge change in the dynamic.

How much choice did your sister have in accepting you coming to stay? You say there was no where else for you to stay.

ZZZenagain Sun 15-Sep-13 16:32:14

yes, I was also thinking she may come to regret it. She probably means well by offering to help this Family, just as she meant well offering to help you out but in reality it sounds as if it was just too much for her.

Try not to take it to heart , I don't think she is favouring this girl over your ds with SN specifically, athough I am sure it feels like it. It is just easier for her to have a 13 year old schoolfriend of her dd over to stay. They will toddle off and play together than to have a boy who accoridng to you was one of 3 playing up quite a bit.

My dd has a 12 year old school lfriend over to stay this
weekend and it is an absolute toddle. They are both out of my hair all weekend really and it is no extra work IMO. If I had 3 and none of them were my dd's age or her particular friends, it would be more of an effort of my part to get through the weekend.

littlewhitebag Sun 15-Sep-13 16:32:19

These things appear to me to be completely unrelated. You stayed at your DS's years ago and it didn't work out well and now you are miffed that she is hosting a teenage girl every weekend? I must admit to being a little baffled by your attitude.

ZZZenagain Sun 15-Sep-13 16:35:05

the thing with the days out sounds to me as if the whole family saw them as a means to having a bit of a break from your family. Btw I am sure your family is fine but it does sound as if everyone was stressed living in the same house together for that time. I don't know why they had drinks and didn't involve you, sounds a bit off

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

Onesleeptillwembley Sun 15-Sep-13 16:35:56

Honestly? You even asking this makes me think maybe your sister was a martyr to have you. YABVVU. And seem either spoiled or entitled.

motheroflight Sun 15-Sep-13 16:39:57

I know I am a BU and the two do not logically invite much comparison. She did volunteer that we stay in the past and I agree that she took on more than she had bargained for. The forced tolerance describes the relationship between the children a few years on. Back then, it had descended into something comparable to street fighting. My DC were terribly behaved but they had been through some trauma immediately before this of which my sister was well aware - NOT that I am saying that it was her responsibility to bear the brunt of this. I just feel that if the situation were reversed, I would have been kinder and far more accommodating.

Tee2072 Sun 15-Sep-13 16:41:42

What did you do about the 'terrible behaviour'? Just because something traumatic happened, doesn't mean a person gets to be horrid and badly behaved to others.

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