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To be concerned for my nephew?

(9 Posts)
evmil Mon 22-Jun-15 16:11:11

My sister came to stay with us at the weekend with her 2 kids (15 and 6) and what i witnessed has made me worry about my nephew but I'm not sure if I'm being ridiculous or not.

My sister treats my nephew (15) and niece completely differently and i feel like it is damaging my nephew. She is generally quite short with nephew but there were a few specific incidents that stuck out. For instance, niece hit nephew (hard) around the head with a control, she went to do it again and nephew stuck his hand up to knock away the control and nice started crying. My sister came in and shouted a nephew, and when my DH (who witnessed what had happened) tried to explain, she said it didn't matter and nephew should know better than to upset his sister.

When she left the room my DH asked nephew why he didn't tell his mum what had happened and apparently he said there was no point as she wouldn't listen anyway.

Also, on Saturday night we arranged for all of us to do something, but sister said that she couldn't as Saturday was her and nieces time and they always spend the night doing something fun. I asked if nephew comes and she said no, its just for them and she stays at home.

There was also other things said by both nephew and niece that worried me as well. For example, nephew says he has to spend the evenings in his room on his own (or out with friends/doing something), and is only supposed to come down for dinner, as his mum likes to spend time with niece. He also says he can't watch tv downstairs as if he does his sister will cry and his mum will make him change over. Also, niece said that when they got home on Sunday, they would be visiting her dad. She then added it would only be her, her mum and her dad doing something. I asked about nephew and she said oh he never does nice things with us because he is always bad. I late spoke to him, and casually suggested that he doesn't do anything with his mum as he would prefer not to, but he says he is just never asked. Whenever i try to bring it up, sister gets really defensive saying i don't understand how difficult nephew can be, however, he whenever i do see him he is always impeccable well behaved and tends to look quite sad and defeated sad

Now, there is a long backstory, but basically my sister had a really difficult time surrounding the conception and birth of nephew (who is now 15). Her ex partner (nephews dad) was abusive and both she and my nephew have no contact at all with his side of the family. She also had a difficult birth and subsequently struggled to bond with him, and according to my mum has always been quite distant/uninterested with him (i was in a different country at this point so wouldn't know). Niece on the other hand was the complete opposite (easy birth, love dad, even though they are now separated, bonded really well). I guess this might influence the way she treats them.

Anyway AIBU to be concerned? I spoke to my mum earlier who basically brushed it off, but i feel awful. What can i do??

evmil Mon 22-Jun-15 16:12:26

Sorry about the spelling, DS was distracting me as i typed!

GayByrne Mon 22-Jun-15 16:15:12

Gosh. That does sound divisive and poor behaviour from mother.

What to do? Can you and your mothers stage some sort of intervention to highlight the difference in the way she treats her children and the damage its doing to him?

Apart from that, I guess just ensure your nephew knows that you and and your husband are on his side.

steppedonlego Mon 22-Jun-15 16:25:42

Poor DN. I agree about possibly staging an intervention. Could you possibly have you/your husband have "special time" with DN? Get him involved with a hobby either of you enjoy? (For example if your husband golfs, he could caddy for him?)

morelikeguidelines Mon 22-Jun-15 17:14:56

Sounds awful. Poor dnephew. I don't really have any advice but feel sad for him.

Jenoftheweek Mon 22-Jun-15 17:31:06

Golly, your nephew sounds as if he really needs an ally in his family.
Your sister might need help too.
Do you feel your op reflects a balanced view of their family life? I am grasping at straws that this situation isn't as sad as you see it.
Poor lad. He's lucky to have an aunty like you to care.

Aermingers Mon 22-Jun-15 17:50:14

You could be describing my mother. Except I was the younger and the girl. But yes, exactly the same. My brother would sit on my head and hit me hard for ages, try and suffocate me with pillows. I screamed, she ignored it, I would have to bite him to get him off and he would run to my Mum and complain and it would always be me who was punished. I was always the bad one who was ruining the supposedly perfect family.

I think it's described as 'scapegoating'. It's a way of a family refusing to deal with their problems by blaming everything that goes wrong on one member unjustly. It was horrible and it affected me very badly long term. Both my parents were only children, and my Dad was complicit. My grandparents didn't want to interfere. I have always thought if I had an aunt or uncle who would have stepped in it might have stopped it.

I would try talking to your nephew, find out how far this situation is going and how he feels about it. Then I think the best course of action is to speak to your sister and make her realise just how damaging this can be.

PeppermintCrayon Mon 22-Jun-15 18:09:42

YANBU. Have a google of 'insecure attachment' - it sounds like her PND and other trauma prevented her fully bonding with him. Chances are she isn't fully aware of how she is treating him. It is indeed scapegoating.

I don't know if you can do much to change her, but you can be a really positive influence on your nephew's life. The important thing is not to make excuses for her: "Oh she's just..." "Oh she doesn't mean it..." as that will close the door to him confiding anything about how he feels - I heard those sorts of things from everyone around me and it did a lot of damage.

It would have been better if someone had been honest about how my parents were - not judgemental, just honest - and asked how I felt about it.

Could you talk to his school?

RedHelenB Mon 22-Jun-15 19:41:36

I think you might be a bit unreasonable as there is a big difference in age and he will have had lots of 1 to 1 time with his mum before his sister came along. Most teenagers i know would rather be in their rooms than having girly time with their younger sibling. As to tv, obviously programmes he might want to watch would be unsuitable for his little sister. if you are just going on a snap moment you may well not have seen the full picture.

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