To be concerned over jealous niece's behaviour towards my dd(22 Posts)
Dn is 12 and lives with her GPs (my parents) and her mum (my sis) is around but GPs are more like her parent figures in life.
I've always been a very close aunt to her growing up and she was used to being the only gc in the family and in hindsight very spoilt with attention before my dd arrived.
Since I've had dd I've tried to still see dn and still love her as much as ever I was cautious I didn't want her to feel left out so I've praised her for being a good 'big cousin' that sort of thing.
My dd is now 3 and lately dn's jealousy is becoming more obvious and she's openly spiteful towards my dd. a few months ago when we were all together she openly tried to wind my dd up and there was a family argument as I was annoyed that my parents didnt discipline her.
It's happened again today we were all playing a little board game type thing and dn was moaning about my dd to her GPS and trying to upset my dd.
I know this sounds all a bit pathetic but I can see a look in my dn's eye like she hates my dd.
it's so sad my dd is desperate to play with her and wants to talk to her all the time and I find myself pulling my dd away from dn to protect her.
Dn only gets told to 'play nice she's only little'
Which is ineffective. I've spoken to her, her mother and my parents about her behaviour but apparently it's not a problem.
My Dh who's about the most chilled out person you could meet has says he wouldn't be comfortable dd being looked after by GPs if my dn is there as she would get away with it completely if we weren't there to point out what she's doing- my parents can't see she's doing anything wrong.
Aibu to be so concerned?
Yanbu to be bothered by this.
But it sounds like fairly normal behaviour. If both children were yours they would spend infinite amounts of time winding eachother up.
I have a 12 year old and an almost 5 year old. The five year old winds the 12 year old up and vice Versa.
I did however deal with dd when she did it. But mainly by speaking to her and explaining why her behaviour isn't ok.
Now the youngest gives as good as he gets I leave them to it and it's generally got better. A few minutes squabbling them they play together fine.
YNBU. Before I opened your thread. I expected your neice to be 2,3 or 4 years old. Not 12. She's a bit old to be rivaling with a 3'year old baby. FGS
Yanbu but I really don't know how to approach it. It sounds like your niece has had a difficult start to life and is probably feeling rejected that she isn't getting your full attention any more. I assume she already feels rejected that she doesn't live with her mum.
Would she appreciate feeling involved in caring for her cousin (under very close supervision)?
Are you absolutely certain that she is jealous of DD? Maybe she just finds her "babyish" now she's nearly a teenager and isn't hiding her irritation?
My gut feeling is she needs telling off but I don't know if that would make her even more resentful towards my dd.
I just don't want her around my dd at all and that's just so sad isn't it.
I do feel sorry for dn but when I look at the confusion on my dd's face when dn is being nasty to her for no reason whatsoever it wavers.
miss I think it could be a mix of both. She's irritatated by my dd I think in part but I can see a lot if it is jealously for attention.
It's happened a few times if they are here visiting she'll suddenly feel sick and want to go home.
At dd's party a few weeks ago she was suddenly 'ill' then.
YANBU, it does sound like its hard for your DN if her mum isn't her as prominent in her life as she should be and she's used to having your parents attention to herself. But your parents are GPs to both so one shouldn't take precedence over the other as difficult as that may be for your parents and DN. She needs to learn to 'share' especially at 12.
We had a very similar situation with my Ils and Dnephew. In the end DN became too aggressive towards DS so they now visit us without him but very infrequently. Its really affected the family dynamic and DS just doesn't have a close relationship with his GPs as their priority is not upsetting Dnephew. Hope yours gets sorted out a bit better.
YANBU. Unfortunately I agree you will have to avoid leaving DD with her GPs unsupervised if DN is there. If they ask why, then you will have to explain truthfully that you aren't satisfied that they will discipline DN if she is horrible to DD. Perhaps then they will start to take you seriously?
I have no answers but just to say arggh this is tough, I am in a similar position with one niece, who was the first one. i try not to see it as spiteful but to think of how tough it must be on her...but its really hard when someone is unkind to your dd and its hard for the family dynamic...will be reading others advice with interest
YANBU. & this made me think also
My Dh who's about the most chilled out person you could meet has says he wouldn't be comfortable dd being looked after by GPs if my dn is there as she would get away with it completely if we weren't there to point out what she's doing- my parents can't see she's doing anything wrong
Do take what your DH says on board, and please don't just let this situation continue. Its about how your DD feels too. Sometimes you can be made to feel these things are "nothing" or you are being over-sensitive, or "they're just children". But the consequences of leaving a child open to nasty behaviour just because its from a relative can have repercussions for years in respect of their feelings and how they handle life and feel about themselves.
It's hard to tell if YABU, from what you have described on here. Kids (especially those who are close) DO wind each other up, unfortunately it is normal behaviour. I agree that your parents should intervene, but maybe that's just a difference in parenting style?
You are possibly being a bit PFB. it's so sad my dd is desperate to play with her and wants to talk to her all the time. Not all 12 year olds want to play with a 3 year old. It's maybe a bit unfair to expect your DN to do so.
It's probably a bit of both - some normal 'sibling' rivalry and some jealously that her aunt doesn't have as much time for her anymore. Do you ever spend time with her without your DD, as you did before.
It's a tricky situation. But I think you need to try to see it from your DNs point of view, as well as your DSs.
It's hard to explain but it's little underhand things when she thinks no one is watching.
I've spoken to my mother I thought she might deny any wrongdoing but she suggested its best to keep dn away from dd for the time being so sadly we can't visit my parents anymore.
Initially I thought it would be best if my mum or me spoke to dn about it all but she's very stressed about school so I don't want to put more upset on her. For the time being keeping them apart is a temporary solution.
It sounds as though your DN might have some attachment difficulties. Some of her behaviours fit and it would make sense given her upbringing. I'm really not saying her GPs haven't done their best and had her best interests at heart, but it sounds like her early parenting may have been a bit ambiguous.
For kids with attachment difficulties, boundaries are really important, as are consequences, but they need to be delivered in a way that doesn't further worsen the child's feelings of shame and isolation.
Have a google if you think this might be worth following up. Dan Hughes is a good writer on all this.
I'm going to go against the grain here but I think yabu. Dn obviously didn't have the best start and it's twofold for her she is no longer the baby of the family and she gets to see the family unit she doesn't have. You haven't really given any examples of anything serious enough to cut contact or that would warrant more than a reminder to play nicely.
wishful I think you have to trust your gut on this.
I have two DNs aged 6 and 3 and the eldest absolutely hates her little sister. She pinches, kicks and pushes her at every opportunity, especially if she thinks nobody can see.
The looks she gives her when she doesn't think anyone is paying attention actually make my blood run cold.
Maybe your DM can come to yours more often or you can do fun things together outside of the home when DN is at school? As DN gets older hopefully she will be less interested in family dynamics and her behaviour might improve?
I was your niece except the new child was my own niece - big age gaps in my family.
I was nine when she came along and was the baby. I didn't mind her at all at first. In fact, until we got to the ages of your niece and your daughter, I hardly noticed her at all. I wasn't interested.
But as a toddler she started to annoy me - demanding attention, having tantrums, breaking my toys not playing nicely, picking her nose and developing an obsession with poos and bums.
These are normal things for a small child but I was a child myself and was also behaving normally.
We just didn't really spend a lot of time together until the phase passed because we wound each other up. It didn't take that long. By the time I was 15 I was back to ignoring her. Now we get on more like friends than aunt and niece.
You're lucky in the way that my parents and my brother and SIL were because we weren't under the same roof. They could keep us from antagonising each other until it passed. It would be far more difficult if they were siblings.
I don't think your niece, who is a child too, needs to be punished more than saying: 'Hang on, that's not nice' unless she actually harms your daughter.
You also have to take on board that three year olds are quite capable of deliberately winding people up - though they are also children and so it is also not their fault.
I have a nearly 12 year old & 4 year old & it sounds quite normal in some regards. I swear Ds1 has become more silly as he's got older, but of course there are secondary stresses.
In my case Ds1 gets told of sometimes, praised when he's good with ds2 (who has autism) and overseeing fun activities they can participate in.
It must be hard for your niece to see you gradually withdraw further and further & probably has made her act out more. And of course 12 year old silliness looks way worse and premeditated and sly when it's often still poor impulse control and lack of thought about consequences.
Of course you're not asking for advice on how to repair your relationship with your niece or how to cultivate a harmonious cousin relationship merely asking if you should have a specific feeling about the situation which isn't exactly going to resolve things.
And obviously I make sure I have 1on1 time with ds1
Trust your instincts re what is best for your dd- not random pps.
Trust your instincts. I was your daughter. My cousin was a nasty vindictive cow to me growing up. She spent a lot of time with GPS because of a chaotic home life. She was spiteful, vicious and generally a little bit check. Looking back now she was jealous, pure and simple but it was utter he'll to ensure as a child. It was mostly me it was aimed at not my siblings but they were younger so no 'competition' to her. Keep a very close eye on your dd.
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