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DB and badly behaved nephews. AIBU to refuse to help and also limited contact?

(89 Posts)
jacks11 Sun 03-Jan-16 23:18:35

I am really at the end of my tether.

My DB and I are not close and don't get on. Very long backstory to it all. We have had yet another row and I don't think I have over-reacted- but dad thinks I have. DM agrees that they are taking the piss.

I have had my nephew's over the last 2 days (one night) as my brother's FIL has been in hospital acutely unwell. I thought SIL/DB have been helping SIL's DM to look after SIL uncle who her DM cares for (he has learning difficulties and now has dementia), so agreed to help out. Normally, we don't have much contact, but I agreed to help in the circumstances.

DN's have been a nightmare! I have tried to make some allowances as older DN (14) is on the autistic spectrum. Younger DN is 5. By way of example, neither seem to understand the word no, they will only do what you ask if they want to. They have broken several things in the house (I think through utter carelessness). They picked what they wanted for dinner (both days) but half way through decided they didn't want it and demanded something else (lunches went without incident). Eldest DN threw a hissy fit when I said I wasn't going to make anything else as he had chosen what he wanted and had eaten most of it. I do understand he has issues with food, which is why he got to chose what he ate. I know he can be very specific, so I made sure brand of pizza was his usual, the right type of ham/cheese for sandwiches etc. I do, however, draw the line and making multiple different meals during the same sitting and having them both eat 1/2 a meal and then demand another meal be produced.

I have had to tell younger DN several times to stop harassing the cats (including pulling their tails) and have had to shut the dogs in the kitchen today as he will not stop tormenting them and I was worried one of them might snap (for the record, none of the dogs has ever bitten or even growled at anyone, it is just that I think even the best natured and most reliable dog can snap if put in the wrong situation).

When DB/SIL came to pick up the boys, I had to tell youngest DN- again- to please stop poking the cat. In front of SIL and DB, who didn't say a word. I also said if he got scratched then he'd only have himself to blame and he'd be the one in trouble. SIL got really cross, said she couldn't believe I would allow DN to get hurt and then blame him for it. I explained that I had spoken to DN several times about leaving the cats (and dogs) alone but that he just kept ignoring me. She kept going on about "he's too little to understand and he doesn't mean it, leave poor little xx alone". I said that I felt that 5 is old enough to understand that you need to do as you are told by an adult and that you need to treat animals and other people with respect. DB backed SIL up and said I was being pernickety and if my pets aren't safe they shouldn't be in the house!

SIL then treated me to a lecture on child-rearing, and how I was expecting too much of her "poor little baby" (by expecting him to do as he's told, to respect other people and their belongings etc) and she felt sorry for my DD having "all these rules"- which I felt was a bit much as I was doing them a favour and also given their DC's less than perfect behaviour. I don't think my DD is a saint, but I would be horrified if she behaved the way DN's have done over the last few days.

I said something along the lines of "we'll just have to agree to differ, but in my house I'm afraid we go by my rules or not at all". DB and SIL were both very rude and angry about the whole situation and brought up a lot of things from the past where they feel they have been treated unfairly (mainly related to inheritance from DGM). I admit to losing my temper somewhat and said that if I was that bad then I can't see why they would leave their DC's with me in the first place, but that I had been appalled at DN's behaviour and given what had just been said, in future they could find someone else to help them with childcare, as I certainly wouldn't be and suggested they leave.

DB phoned this evening to ask if I will have the boys next weekend as he and SIL are "very stressed and need a break". No apology. I have refused to help and am apparently "a poor excuse for a sister". Cue more whining about how unfair it is that they are skint, the discrepancy between our lifestyle and theirs etc. I just said I was not willing to help with childcare anymore and I'd prefer it if we just left contact to essentials- such as to do with parents etc- for now as I am so infuriated with them.

Also just found out they helped with SIL's uncle for 1 morning and afternoon, then her brother came through to help. So they could have picked the boys up yesterday, but decided to have the weekend to themselves. I am beyond furious.

I admit I probably shouldn't have lost my temper, and on the surface it isn't really a massive issue. It isn't even the worst thing they have done. But it is just one more example of DB being so utterly inconsiderate of others and taking the piss that I don't think I can continue to put up with him/SIL. DF thinks DN's need their family. I'm not sure that it is my responsibility, in the circumstances.

jacks11 Sun 03-Jan-16 23:19:05

God, that is an epic rant. Sorry. I do feel better now though.

gamerchick Sun 03-Jan-16 23:22:50

I think you handled that bloody brilliantly!

tootiredtothink Sun 03-Jan-16 23:26:06

Under no circumstances should you have them again.

I can excuse the dcs behaviour to a certain extent as I assume they're not used to staying with you.....but your db and sil's rant? Wouldn't cros s my threshold again.

Iliveinalighthousewiththeghost Sun 03-Jan-16 23:29:05

Her poor little baby. Well she wants to teach him how to bloody behave, and do as he's told. I don't think she's in a position to be acting like supernanny.
YDNBU. People never cease to amaze. shock

kali110 Sun 03-Jan-16 23:30:03

Don't think yabu at all.
Sil was prob just embarassed that you told her child of in front of her.
You were completely right too though.
Even 5 is old enough to know not to hurt an animal.
It would have been his fault if one of the animals had snapped, then your sil would most likely have blamed you for not telling him not to do it!
I wouldn't sit again as they clearly don't like your rules so they can find someone else.
Completely rude of them to not even thank you!
Don't blame you for losing your temper.
Funny how they were upset at you telling their kids off, yet were happy to call you again for help?

GiddyOnZackHunt Sun 03-Jan-16 23:33:46

Presumably the younger child is at school where he will have to do as he's told and follow rules? So not too young at all.
I wouldn't feel guilty if I were you.

Fairenuff Sun 03-Jan-16 23:39:57

You did the right thing, they were trying to bully you. Stick to your guns, you really don't need all that stress.

PainAuChocolat23 Sun 03-Jan-16 23:42:37

My niece is 4 in a couple of weeks and while he gets excited to see my dog and fusses over him she knows not to annoy him, that his bed is his and when he is in there not to go near him. Also when he has a chew/toy or is eating she knows to leave him be. Its in my mind basic safety not just for her but for the dog too

5Foot5 Sun 03-Jan-16 23:44:20

I also said if he got scratched then he'd only have himself to blame and he'd be the one in trouble. SIL got really cross, said she couldn't believe I would allow DN to get hurt and then blame him for it.

I was brought up with a cat that stood no nonsense, if you mishandled or annoyed her she scratched. By five I was in no doubt that if I got scratched it was my fault and I learnt to handle animals carefully and with respect,


StillMedusa Sun 03-Jan-16 23:48:13


5 year olds can and should obey basic rules. And as someone who works with (and my son has) autism... kids with ASD can also obey rules.. clear, calm is the way forward. It sounds like you managed brilliantly and your DB and SIL are taking the piss massively.

Take a step back and definitely don't help them out!

SilentlyScreamingAgain Sun 03-Jan-16 23:48:33

Jacks, you've written about your brother's behaviour a few times now and I hate to break it to you but he really doesn't like you. He resents you and he feels a very strong sense of entitlement towards everything you have. You really need to avoid him as much as possible.

Perhaps you could make a list of excuses to use when he contacts you and keep it by the phone or just randomly read him posts from the swearing thread?

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Sun 03-Jan-16 23:48:53

Personally I don't think you are showing a huge amount of empathy towards your DNs. Their behaviour isn't their fault - it's down to their parents and the older one's SNs. That said, your DB and SIL sound horrible and of course you don't have to look after your DNs after the abuse their parents sent your way.

LaurieFairyCake Sun 03-Jan-16 23:49:25

I think you're entirely in the right and that they're twats

I'd never let my animals be prodded by a 5 year old

Whatthefreakinwhatnow Sun 03-Jan-16 23:49:50

You are not unreasonable in the slightest OP, your SIL sounds a nightmare and your DB sounds like a drip.Stick to your guns and don't let them take advantage of you again.

I cant believe that he called you and asked you to look after his kids again, with no apology! How brazen can you get?! shock

jacks11 Sun 03-Jan-16 23:50:31


I agree. They even talk to younger DN in a baby voice (and use baby nick-names). He is 5, FGS, not one! I wanted to scream that at them for most of the argument.

I understand the boys are only acting as they are allowed to do at home, so not really their fault. I think the lack of boundaries/rules etc don't help either of the boys, particularly not elder DN. DB/SIL never follow the advice by CAHMs (they struggle with consistency and tend to opt for what keeps the boys quiet, as far as I can tell). Also SIL father has his own ideas about what should be done, and both DB and SIL tend to follow his lead.

DB/SIL regularly ask SIL parent's to have the kids so they can have "a break"- despite the fact that this means the 2 boys have to share a bedroom with a demented old man. I think it's inappropriate. I get that DN can be a difficult and that it is stressful but they don't follow any of the advice given which might help the situation.

Eldest DN has been in trouble at school recently (doing things but trying to blame it on others) and also some serious issues with internet usage (no parental controls and allowed to use computer for many hours per day, totally unsupervised). He has anger issues too. I feel quite sorry for him really, but there is not much I can do about it.

AcrossthePond55 Sun 03-Jan-16 23:50:55

NBU in the slightest! I can't believe they actually had the cheek to ask you again!!!

OldBloodCallsToOldBlood Sun 03-Jan-16 23:51:13


My DS is on the autistic spectrum and finds it hard to listen, but even he has had it drummed into him since he was a toddler that you are kind to animals!

I think you did exactly the right thing but brace yourself for lots of guilting from DB and SIL because they sound like the kind of people who can't ever be in the wrong.

emotionsecho Sun 03-Jan-16 23:51:58

Are you the poster who went out of your way to pick them up for a family party and had a thread recently about terms of a Will?

The behaviour of your db and sil is unacceptable (and if you are the poster I'm thinking of it is just one more unacceptable episode in a whole series), you are right not to do any more for them, their children will be just as bad if not worse and will know that their parents will undermine you.

Don't put yourself, your daughter or your pets through it, it won't end well and you are only a sister when your db chooses you to be and you are of use to him.

no73 Sun 03-Jan-16 23:53:46

Wow no YANBU.
I have a 6 year old and he gets told wherever we are 'there house there rules you do as they say' I'd be furious if he behaved that way and did not apologise for it.
He is a very lively 6 year old so he does some of the things you said (not poking animals though) but he would bloody well be apologising for it when I rocked up.
I have a cat and a dog and my son is told 'don't do that or the dog might bite as he doesn't like it and it will serve you right' (DS is very strong and heavy handed and his the dog too tightly) boisterous boys are a nightmare but that doesn't make their behaviour acceptable.
I am gobsmacked they even asked again. Well done for sticking to your guns they clearly pamper to their children.

Ditsy4 Sun 03-Jan-16 23:55:01

Sounds like they run around after them ALL the time re meals etc.
If the five year old can manage rules at school then he can do them at your house. Perhaps he doesn't behave at school!
I can't believe they phoned so soon. Stick to your guns for a month and then if you want, on your terms, your rules have them again but only if they obey your rules. They sound a nightmare.

jacks11 Sun 03-Jan-16 23:59:49


I know that he doesn't like me. I don't like him much either.

Lately, we have had minimal contact and I only agreed to help given SIL's father was unwell in hospital and no-one else could/would help them out. I won't be making the same mistake again.

Our dad does really want us to get on and can get quite upset with these situations. He also worries about DN's and feels if we can help them with some stability, we should. I just don't think there is much I can do in the time I spend with them to change any problems caused at home. Also, I don't think it's really my place to tell anybody else how to bring up their DC's (unless they are being neglected or abused, obviously)- even if I think they are not doing a particularly great job of it.

jacks11 Mon 04-Jan-16 00:03:14


yep, same brother. I know I sound like a stuck record over this!

I just keep getting persuaded to help because of a crisis or something and I really should just keep them at arms length.

BillSykesDog Mon 04-Jan-16 00:03:26

I think YWB a bit U actually because the timing and the way you handled it was off. From your account your SIL has a seriously ill father, a child with SN and is currently sharing caring responsibilities for a very sick relative. It doesn't take huge amounts of emotional intelligence to realise that she's probably going to be pretty close to the edge at the moment and is having a hard time. I think an email or phone all to DB after they'd left would have been much more appropriate and sensitive.

If you're feeling a bit raw anyway, if somebody who you perceive to have a lot easier time than you starts telling you how awful your children are it might unsurprisingly not get a great response. I imagine your SIL probably knows what her children are like and probably struggled herself. It sounds like the younger boy might be copying his brother making it even harder to cope.

But, no. I really don't think this was an appropriate time to tell her what a shit parent she is. If I knew a relative had an extremely ill parent in hospital I would know it wasn't the time to start complaining about what a terrible time I'd had.

Perhaps calm down for a few days then apologise for being insensitive. If you don't like them there's no need to offer childcare or particularly be in contact, you were right to turn them down on that score. But having something like this out now was a bit unkind given her situation.

sleeponeday Mon 04-Jan-16 00:07:32

Most autistic kids need structure, calm, familiarity and quiet. It makes me flinch to think what stress their 15 year old is under.

They sound a nightmare, OP, and you can't help their children because they are creating an environment in which all you are is an alien and frustrating change from their norm. Their norm sounds like chaos.

Your brother is an entitled toad, and I'm glad you said no. I hope you asked him, when he called you a poor excuse for a sister, what exactly he thought that made him as a brother.

Families are, very often, so much more hassle than they are worth.

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