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To leave one niece out?

(327 Posts)
HipHipHippoo Thu 18-Apr-19 23:34:28

My sister has 3 DDs aged 12, 7 and 2. I have posted before about how the 12 yo is incredibly mean to her siblings, particularly 7 yo who has autism (not sure how to link to previous posts)

We have been away camping this week together with my DC and some incidents make me very angry/irritated with 12 yo niece.

For example:

She knows 7 yo is extremely particular about food - she barely eats and is underweight. 12 yo has stopped 7 yo eating at least 3 meals this week - by purposely knocking her plate across the table so her food would touch, by going on at her to try her meal and putting some of it on her plate (making 7 yo sick) and by coughing all over her food

Anything I or her mum say to anyone, she will answer. For example, I'll say to my DC "Sophie, please stop messing with the tent zips" and DN will say "I'm not messing with them!" even though their names sound nothing alike. She does this constantly

7 yo niece loves my dogs but every time they go near her, 12 yo calls them away so she can't stroke them

We went to some arcades and 12 yo won something she has zero interest in but that she knows 7 yo would adore. 7 yo never asks for anything and told her how lucky she was to win it. 12 yo made a big show of how she didn't want it so was going to give it away, making 7 yo think it would be to her...then gave it to a stranger angry and smiled smugly straight at 7 yo as she did so

Whenever 7 yo is sitting with or chatting to her mum, 12 yo will call her away then jump in her spot. 12 yo even races to get next to her mum before 2yo then gloats that she has Mummys hand hmm

She corrects or argues with everyone constantly. My DC remarked it was a full moon and she insisted it was only 3/4 despite it clearly being fucking full! She asked where her bag was and I said on her sleeping bag, she kept saying no it isn't- I'm looking and it definitely isn't. It was very slightly off the sleeping bag but she could clearly see it, she just had to argue!

She is constantly after food, drinks and wanting to be bought stuff. She sulks and spoils it if anyone else gets a say in what they want to do and her mood brings everyone down.

I'm taking my DC camping in the summer and was going to offer to take my nieces too to give my sister a break but I really don't want to take 12 yo. I think her sisters would flourish with some time away from her, and that she needs to learn at some point that her behaviour is intolerable and that people won't want to spend time with her if she behaves in this way. However, taking her sisters away is rewarding her in a way as she then gets her mum's full attention.

What do you think? Am I unreasonable to say I don't want to take her?

Goldmandra Sat 27-Apr-19 14:07:33

I’m guessing you were never bullied as a small child.

I was subjected to significant and systematic bullying over a number of years and nobody ever stepped in to help me. I probably understand better than most what it feels like.

I also have the capability to understand that the root of the 12 year old's behaviour is distress and demonising a distressed child isn't helpful.

It is vitally important that the bullying is stopped to prevent further harm to the 7YO but that won't work if it's done in a way that compounds the distress of the 12YO.

Lots of distressed children communicate that their needs aren't being met via poor behaviour and hurting others. That's why it's so important to look for the root cause when trying to address it.

I'm sorry you are only able to feel sympathy with the 'victim' in this scenario. I hope most people with have sufficient imagination to realise that acknowledging the distress of the older child doesn't imply any lack of sympathy or desire to protect the younger one.

I feel sympathy for both children and also for their parents and the OP.

I hope they manage to get this 12YO the right support very soon and, in the meantime, find the energy and patience to make sure she is well enough supervised that her sister isn't subjected to further abuse.

Takethebuscuitandthesink Fri 26-Apr-19 11:12:05

You are welcome

Mummyoflittledragon Thu 25-Apr-19 21:26:50

Most of the time I’m a grumpy bag. But it’s nice to be described as inspirational. 😁
I don’t feel sympathy for adults because they make choices. But children are different. They are a product of their environment. My brother didn’t have any additional needs, whereas there may be some with this child. It was awful being his younger sister and he took great pleasure in watching and making me suffer. Had he been parented correctly things could have been so different. He doesn’t lack empathy. He just wasn’t shown any. If he could just have been brought up in a more nurturing environment I think he could have been a great older brother.... 🤷‍♀️

Takethebuscuitandthesink Thu 25-Apr-19 20:20:33

@Mummyoflittledragon if after being through what you have and can still feel sympathy for the 12 year old then you are a better person than me. Honestly you are inspirational flowers.

Mummyoflittledragon Thu 25-Apr-19 20:11:12

I was bullied badly by my brother yet I feel sympathy for this 12 yo child as well as the younger children. The bullying I was subjected to very demeaning and targeted to destroy me. He was a product of his environment. As an adult he hasn’t changed a great deal and is a physical threat to me. I cannot be around him. As an adult he is totally to blame for his choices. Don’t assume to know peoples lives.

Takethebuscuitandthesink Thu 25-Apr-19 18:51:45

demonising a distressed child.

WHAT??? a “distressed child” how anyone can read all of that and still have sympathy with the 12 year old is just beyond me. Do you realise what she has done and how the poor 7 year old (who the real focus should be on) has been treated. I’m guessing you were never bullied as a small child. Just imagine the torment the poor 7 year old is going through imagine (plus the challenges she faces from her SEN) that you are a child who is tired after a long day of school and you get home rather than being able to spend quality time which your family and relaxing you are instead constantly picked on with someone (your own sibling no less) doing everything in their power to upset and make your life a misery.

Goldmandra Thu 25-Apr-19 18:27:07

Takethebuscuitandthesink I don't think it's right or helpful to keep demonising a distressed child.

Nobody has said it's OK for her to do what she's doing. We can see that it's wrong and harmful.

The focus now needs to change to how to get her and her parents the right help and support so that the awful behaviour can stop.

Takethebuscuitandthesink Thu 25-Apr-19 16:37:36

She sounds irritating

And the award for the understatement of the century goes to…

@Fazackerley have you not read all of this.

7 yr old tries to stay away from 12 yr old but she keeps seeking her out

but she just won't leave her alone.

12 yr old was leading the dancing and bossing everyone, kept praising the others but telling 7 yr old niece she was doing it wrong constantly - leading to tears of frustration. 7 yr old niece went to play ball instead, 12 yr old just kept following her to knock it out of her hands and soon threw it over next doors garden so 7 yr old couldn't play it anymore. Dsis called her away to go for a walk to the shop with her and 7 yr old started chalking. Literally within 2 mins of being back, 12 yr old went and got a glass of water and "accidentally" spilt it all over 7 yr old drawing.

we heard screaming from 7 yr old niece and find 12 yr old pinning her down trying to remove her nail polish and plaits as she doesn't have any money to pay sad

They chatted and laughed as they played and we praised them lots. 12 yr old let 7 yr old win for the first time ever and we thought maybe we'd turned a corner. She asked 7 yr old for a high five to celebrate her victory, then whispered something to her. 7 yr old started crying hysterically and came over to me for help. 12 yr old had spat into her hand before the high five, knowing it would cause 7 yr old to be extremely distressed. I just don't know why she has such a vendetta against her. Even when she has her mum's full attention and 7 yr old is occupying herself, she'll prefer to seek out 7 yr old and spoil whatever she's doing. It makes no sense.

The final one especially is just totally sadistic and cruel. You think that amounts to irritating hmm.

Fazackerley Thu 25-Apr-19 08:30:04

She's not her sister's mum remember. She wasn't born to make sure her sister is treated with kid gloves. She sounds irritating but you really seem to hate her.

AmaryllisNightAndDay Thu 25-Apr-19 08:21:52

Nice suggestions from user1498581287

Hippo I am so sorry your sister and family are going through this. Your sister is already putting so much effort in, tell her not to despair. It may help if you reassure her that she's already trying a lot of the right things, for example she's making sure her eldest gets individual attention which is a good thing. It can be very hard figuring out what works and why. And that even if her eldest DD does have some SN (I can't tell for sure, but she may) then she can still have a bright future, the anxious aggressive youngsters with ASCs are sometimes the most able and with help they can do well in life. Your DSis may need to try a mix of different things and talk to different professionals over time.

One more practical thing your DSis can do (if she has the energy) is make a diary of these incidents with a bit about what was going on before it happened, what the trigger was, what people said and did afterwards. That will help the professionals see how serious it is and give them some pointers to the causes.


Takethebuscuitandthesink Thu 25-Apr-19 07:20:52


Is the nieces father on the scene, if so could the niece go and live with him to get her away from the 7 year old?

Is it practical for you to take in the 7 year old?

If your sister “walked away” who would take care of the 3 dc.

bonnielassie1 Thu 25-Apr-19 02:16:17

This is really serious. DD 12 needs to see a counselor/psychologist urgently. This is a safety concern

user1498581287 Thu 25-Apr-19 00:39:33

I think good supervion, an a level of keeping them a bit apart-if possible is a good idea.
Like -the board game , an adult should have joined in -just by saying , 'I haven't played ludo for ages , can I be green,' etc-if pushed say-'well, without too much detail, there was a little unpleasantness last time , so I sort of have to insist, no, we don't need to discuss it, now is it a six to start?'
You, the adults, need to actively guide the situation, when possible , into a deliberatly, civilized polite tone.
I would also, and try to encourage your sister, (whilst taking the situation seriously-try not too worry/ panic too much). 12 is a funny age, go up behind an on-holiday secondary school teacher, and whisper-'your year 8s are over there,' they might throw them selves into a ditch or a hedge, in order to hide!

There are positives-she's helpful to autistic pupils in her class-so some of what you're telling her is getting through. She's apparently not causing problems at school -they would let you know if there was a problem -I know there are a problems at home-but the fact there isn't at school, is encouraging and something to build on.

On of the best peices of advice my mum gave me , when my daughter was little, was don't only discuss right and wrong and good and poor behavior, in relation to a problem or when you and they are cross, because they've done something bad. try and talk about things like being kind and thoughtful, or honest and fair etc when you and they are happy and in a good mood and if it comes up naturally and not only in relation to them-but maybe something you notice when you're out or heard about on telly etc.

Another thing, too,is that there is a reasonable spread of ages between the children-which might be positive-in 4 years the oldest will be 16, she may well be a lot more nicely behaved by then, the 7 year old will just be 11, and the little one will be 6 and at school, and be making their personality felt a bit more too, so the dynamic between all of them is going to change and that could well be a helpful thing, in the meantime-they can't be left to their own devises too much-
leaving the oldest to 'play' , unsupervized with the 7 year old at the moment, is a bit like hoping an alcoholic will be ok, if you leave them alone with an open bottle of wine and a glass- go of for a chat if you want-but don't be surprized if they're drunk when you get back!
( I don't think, though,you should , as someone suggested , shut them in a room for 12 hours!! did I read that right??)

HipHipHippoo Wed 24-Apr-19 22:52:16

As a lone parent of three children that hasn't had a break from them in ten years, I think I'm doing pretty fucking fine thanks archivearmadillo. Not sure why you're shooting me down for wanting to help my sister and nieces. Help my sister has asked for, not that I'm inflicting upon her. She has confided that she's seriously considered walking away, that's how beaten she feels by it all. I don't want to sit back and watch that happen.

archivearmadillo Wed 24-Apr-19 21:40:36

Punishments per se never work. That's been the consensus in all branches of pedagogy and psychology for so long that it feels like writing that the earth isn't flat ...

Consequences yes, punishing no.

The elephant in the room is that the OP transparently can't cope with her own 3 DDs.

I'm not sure why so many people are ignoring the fact that the op herself cannot cope.

She is on no position whatsoever either to judge or to help her sister.

Clichés about the blind leading the blind and people in glass houses not throwing stones spring to mind.

The OP cannot help anyone, given she can't help her own children.

She does appear to loath first born girls as they approach puberty generally, including her own.

Takethebuscuitandthesink Wed 24-Apr-19 19:31:48

While I agree that could be an effective course of action that by no means means it is the only cause of action. I also think with some minor changes to make it possible to implement it could also still work just as yours could. There are many options that I would potentially support.

Goldmandra Wed 24-Apr-19 19:11:36

I haven't NOW given that advice. That post was all my previous posts on this thread copied and pasted together.

If you agree with it, you can't possibly think that constant punishments would ever work

mama17 Wed 24-Apr-19 19:09:47

I would tell her mum everything u have said here but at the same time u run the risk of a family fall out. I am in a similar position it's hard to know what to do for the best

Takethebuscuitandthesink Wed 24-Apr-19 18:58:46

Yes and she has now given very sound advice that although it takes a different approach to 0 tolerance I believe would be equally effective although I realise there may be some issues in the implementation of the isolation so the advice she has given is very good.

Lweji Wed 24-Apr-19 18:55:02

And yet you dared Goldmandra to give actual advice, when she had already. wink

Takethebuscuitandthesink Wed 24-Apr-19 18:52:54

Erm I have RTFT confused.

Lweji Wed 24-Apr-19 18:49:50

Goldmandra that is actually very good very practical advice.
Which had been posted earlier in the thread.

I can’t find anything in there I particularly disagree with.

So, will you RTFT first next time?

AmaryllisNightAndDay Wed 24-Apr-19 18:34:47

have you actually rtft?

Yes. I read all the OP's postings very carefully, including everything you have quoted. And I have read the rest of the thread too. I expect we cross posted so I did not see your own answers to my questions, but I have now read them and your suggestions still do not seem either practical or effective. You did not answer my biggest question, which was have you ever actually done such a punishment regime and seen it work on a very challenging child?

I think we are all focusing on the wrong thing the poor poor 7 year old has been totally lost in all of this.

We all want to keep the seven year old safe and improve her sister's behaviour, even if we don't all agree how to go about it.

You are right that the behaviour is off the scale. But some of us have seen that kind of behaviour and some of the things that can trigger it, even dealt with them ourselves, There has been plenty of tried and tested advice, And because the behaviour is off the scale the one piece of practical advice that everyone agrees on is to get professional help asap.

Takethebuscuitandthesink Wed 24-Apr-19 18:32:24

@Goldmandra that is actually very good very practical advice. I can’t find anything in there I particularly disagree with.

beanaseireann Wed 24-Apr-19 18:27:59

A "happy with her own life" child doesn't want to hurt other children either emotionally or physically.
That 12 year old is not a happy girl.
Are the younger two getting all the attention. Is her nastiness a way of getting attention, even if it's negative attention ?
It's a lovely idea to take the other two away, explain that you saw her being unkind and won't be taking her.
Don't mention the bright side to her - that she gets 1on 1 time with her Mum.
That's just happy coincidence.

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