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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.

Floggingmolly Mon 16-Sep-13 12:29:55

So you want her children exposed to your children's extreme behaviours as a life experience? hmm. You're not at all clear or consistent as to what the actual problem is, tbh, or what role your sister should have in sorting it all out...

gobbynorthernbird Mon 16-Sep-13 12:36:46

So you're still trying to turn it round to your sister/her DCs?

jacks365 Mon 16-Sep-13 12:42:12

Mof in your posts you have mentioned yoyr children breaking toys and behaving badky but not to the point of damaging fixtures and fittings. Your child throwing things at a family pet. Your children being rude but not violent enough to scare people. I'm afraid that I wouldn't want to welcome children who behave like that into my home whether they are nt or sn. Why should I have to worry about my possesions, my children or pets in their own home. I'm sorry but you need to accept that if children behave in that manner unchecked for any reason they will not be welcome.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Mon 16-Sep-13 12:42:35

Um being exposed to stressful and violent experiences as a child doesn't actually make you a more emotionally resilient adult. You know that, right? That's why there's no ' get sworn at and beaten up' module on D of E.

PresidentServalan Mon 16-Sep-13 12:45:39

Oh right - so exposing her children to your DC's challenging behaviour is you doing them a favour?? hmm

You seem to be on a slightly odd crusade to force people to spend time with your DC because its 'character building' and a bit of pain now will do these people good. You need to learn to either manage the behaviour of your DCs so that people will want to spend time with them or accept that whilst they behave like this, they are not going to have many friends.

Morloth Mon 16-Sep-13 12:51:36

Actually after your last post, I would be actively avoiding you.

She did you a massive favour, she doesn't owe you anything.

OTheHugeManatee Mon 16-Sep-13 13:04:25

Sorry, but whatever the additional needs of your DC there's no way I'd tolerate rudeness, violence, attacks on my pets and possible damage to my house for two weeks straight, let alone see it as 'character building' for my family. OP, you sound very strange.

shouldistayorshouldagonooooooo Mon 16-Sep-13 13:08:05

grin op you had me for a while there! Well done!

DIYapprentice Mon 16-Sep-13 13:23:32

they have had quite a sheltered and privileged upbringing

And that is your sister's choice, isn't it?! You don't get to decide for her that her children should be exposed to a 'wider variety of people and problems', you really don't.

By exposing them in such a way, and thinking that it is 'character building' you have effectively driven a wedge between the cousins, well done!

There MUST have been ways to minimise the effect of their behaviour, such as making sure your DC never went into their rooms so that your DNs had a chance to have time away, etc.

That is probably why they started excluding you, because you didn't arrange things so that they could have a break from you so they did what they needed to to just take it.

kali110 Mon 16-Sep-13 13:38:32

Sn or not, family or not i would subject my kids or pets to rude or potentially violent behaviour(throwing things at kids or pets). Just because your sisters kids may have had a sheltered life doesn't mean they need to be subjected to this.
You need to accept that people raise their children differently and that even though you two are sisters, she
And your dc friends parents don't feel they can let their children be around bad behaviour.
You say that it wasn't enough to damage fixtures, but thats bad enough to other people.
Yes it is a real shame to your dc, but you will just have to accept it.

friday16 Mon 16-Sep-13 14:11:12

The problem is, OP, that you appear to think that "they have special needs" overrides other people's freedom to act as they want. There's a spectrum: for anyone whose child's behaviour is challenging, for whatever reason, people pass through supportive, sympathetic, tolerant, grudgingly tolerant, hostile, having nothing to do with you.

Depending on how guilty they feel, how good a friend they are with you, their own experience of special needs, how well you are seen to be mitigating the issues, how old their own children are, etc, etc, the rate at which you move along that spectrum will vary.

But eventually, if your children's behaviour is sufficiently challenging, people will put their own children ahead of yours and exclude you from their lives. There is only so much that they will put up with. And as their own children get older, they will make their opinion clearer, and it will become harder and harder to convince their parents to upset their own children for your children's benefit.

Rightly or wrongly, you appear to have moved up that spectrum with all your friends, to the point that no-one is prepared to tolerate your children. That may be entirely wrong of them, and it may mean that they are bad people. But to each of them, the effect of excluding you is small, but to you, the effect of them all excluding you is huge. You have much more incentive to fix it than they do, because they simply don't care enough to try. Terrible people, perhaps, but thinking that doesn't help you.

And even if you could appeal to the better nature of parents, it sounds like your children are reaching an age where friendships are determined by children, not well-meaning parents. It doesn't sound like other children would get a great deal out of the relationship; the argument that adversity is good for their souls is not, I'm afraid, going to convince anyone, especially a ten year old whose toys have been broken.

So you have a choice. You can either lament the fact that other parents aren't as sympathetic to your plight as you think they should be, which is going to achieve precisely nothing. Or you can try to consider what it is that you could do to stop people from thinking "oh fuck, it's MoL, let's pretend we're out". Because it sounds like you've used up your allocation of sympathy, tolerance and guilt.

oldgrandmama Mon 16-Sep-13 15:04:02

A few years back, I had a close relative and her family stay for a week - their house was being renovated and was not finished at the time when they'd planned to move back in. Four of them - two adults, two small kids. They were all lovely, kids fine apart from occasional naughtiness as all small kids do and the grownups chipped in with cooking, cleaning etc. You could say they were perfect guests. But I was absolutely exhausted by mid week, even eying the chardonnay bottle at breakfast time (no, I didn't). One thing (sounds silly, I know, but it was so awkward) was I had to keep my bad tempered cat away from everyone, as she loathes children ... hell, she loathes everyone apart from me! So I was forever juggling where cat was and where kids were, making sure they didn't collide!

I symathise with OP's sister, but wish OP would just let it go now. Dwelling on it, letting it seethe around and around in her mind, is not healthy or helpful.

Trigglesx Mon 16-Sep-13 15:25:40

trigglesx apparently thinks ( by highlighting my post in hers) that its acceptable for children with SN to mistreat family pets . I think that sums it up.

floralnomad um... okay... if that's what you got out of that.... <shrug>.... wrong, of course, but hey, don't let that stop you from blasting it about. hmm

Cravey Mon 16-Sep-13 15:46:27

You know what op ? After you're last couple of posts it's becoming very clear that you think your sister is in the wrong. It's also coming across that you think it's acceptable for your children to behave whichever way they do. And that's nothing to do with special needs. It's o do with your attitude. You did drip feed no matter how much you argue the point that you don't. I'm bowing out and thanking god that you are not my sister.

After your last post, all my sympathy is with your sister and her children. It is not up to you to decide that they have had too privileged and sheltered an upbringing, and to theorise that a bit of pain - pain, for God's sake - provided by your children, will do them good!

Floralnomad Mon 16-Sep-13 16:23:21

No actually trigglesx ,I made a point and you chose to highlight the whole of it in your post about how many of us don't understand children with SN ( or I assume that's what your point was) . I do have a child on the autistic spectrum and also one with long term health issues both have been bought up to respect other people ,animals and people's belongings including their own .

kerala Mon 16-Sep-13 20:24:32

Beginning to feel really sorry for the sister...

HangingGardenofBabbysBum Mon 16-Sep-13 21:13:30

I read this thread this morning, and planned to catch up as I felt a bit sorry for the OP.

Then I read quite a sheltered and privileged upbringing. I still think that it is character building to experience/observe a wider variety of people and problems than she would like her children to be exposed to. There is no knowing how their lives will be in adulthood and a little pain and acknowledgment now would ensure that they are not reaching for the smelling salts every five minutes once they leave home

This is frightening and really makes you sound unhinged. If you were my sister and genuinely believed this, I would strenuously encourage professional help.

That's really not a healthy or fair way to look at your nieces and nephews, you sound dangerously jealous of their 'priviledged' situation.

Please concentrate on getting some help to make the necessary domestic changes of your own that will enable your DC to live in the same peace as their cousins and which it sounds as though they need.

This is nothing to do with blaming your sister and everything to do with taking control of your DCs emotional health and happiness.

I wish you well in your endeavour.

givemestrengthorlove Mon 16-Sep-13 21:36:49

Try and improve things for your dc in your own home and with parenting strategies to make them happier and your parenting more effective..

You sound very very jealous of your sister and her family.

She does not have to help you. And why should she when you don't want dc to change, just want everyone else to put up with them better?

All very strange

waltermittymissus Tue 17-Sep-13 07:41:24

Oh dear, you're really not doing yourself any favours OP.

ZZZenagain Tue 17-Sep-13 11:29:18

If her children were "stressed and upset" by what happened. I think it is honestly quite natural for her to want to protect them from that again. I would do the same. You say you feel their reaction was at times disproportionate but then other families you know have reacted in a similar fashion to your dc so perhaps the reaction of the cousins was not really unusual or down to a sheltered upbringing but fairly standard.

"a little pain and acknowledgment now" tbh is not anything I would be inflicting on my dc.

givemestrengthorlove Tue 17-Sep-13 20:42:29

Your last post makes no sense! Is this for real ? !

if so you are in cloud cuckoo land that's for sure

Cravey Thu 19-Sep-13 15:31:53

I came back to this to add that o thinks her sisters children should suffer a little pain now in order to make them better adults. Turn it round op apply it to your own kids. Problem and issue solved. They are suffering the pain of being excluded ( according to you anyway ) so it's all good. It will make them stronger adults in life. You need some help you really do.

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