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Really difficult situation with DS and DN

(100 Posts)
birthdayzilla Tue 13-Aug-19 19:49:27

I have a DS who is 4. My DSister has a son who is 1. We both visit our parents for 2 weeks in the summer, so the boys are together 24/7 during this time.

I’m very close to my sister and she is close to my son and a great aunt. However, I’m having an incredibly difficult time with her. Our parenting styles are really different and her DS1 is allowed to do literally anything he wants. I would never usually comment but his latest whim is to scratch and hit my DS in the face, leaving marks. My DS also hit him once but I spent a lot of time explaining to him that hitting is always wrong and teaching him to work through anger in other ways. DS wouldn’t and hasn’t laid a finger on DN since. Now when DN hits DS my sister just says ‘they’re only children, boys will be boys’ etc. I know DN is only 1 and my DS is 4 but he’s very big for his age, he leaves scratch marks. My DS is now afraid to spend any time with him/ be in the same room or play with any toy DN wants. In the last 3 days, DN has hit and scratched DS about 8 times.

If I speak up, my sister and BIL insist I am not allowed to discipline their child, and that I’m being over sensitive as he’s just a baby. I don’t blame DN one tiny bit. He is just a baby. But his parents just laugh and coo at his ‘antics’. My sister is the golden child and my parents always side with her.

I just don’t know what to do, or if I’m even justified? They all make me feel so over dramatic. Obviously DS is much older but he’s scared.

BarbariansMum Tue 13-Aug-19 19:57:38

At one there is nothing you can really do but physically intervene (I dont mean smack, but catch an arm in mid-flight) or keep a distance between them. So I suggest you do that. It means you cant really leave them to play together but it doesn't sound as though your ds would mind that.

Chloemol Tue 13-Aug-19 20:10:12

I would have a quiet word with your mother and explain how you feel, and how concerned you are that your child is being hurt and no longer wants to play with your DN. Then I would have the same conversation with your sister and also say that if her son is not ‘stopped’ now then there maybe issues in the future Then see what they say when spoken to separately and your concerns aired. If they still won’t do anything my parting shot would then be that your son is your priority, he needs to feel safe and comfortable and doesn’t so in future you will visit separately to your sister.

birthdayzilla Tue 13-Aug-19 20:17:47

Thank you both. I’ve had a word with my sister but she just says she can’t do anything.

It is just so upsetting. Because we never ever allow hitting at home, and because DN isn’t admonished, my DS feels as though he is bad and is being punished. DN babbles ‘bad bad’ as he scratches. So after being hit, DS will cry and say sorry. It’s difficult because despite being 4 DS isn’t that verbal (although no diagnosed speech delay) and finds it hard to express himself. He will be starting school in September as the youngest in his year and I’m so worried about the damage to his self confidence

Nishky Tue 13-Aug-19 20:20:35

I don’t think I would stay there to be honest- visit your parents with your son at a different time

drinkygin Tue 13-Aug-19 20:22:06

sorry but I think you are taking this way too seriously. He is one! I don’t think it will have a short or long term impact on your sons confidence confused . One year olds do hit and scratch. Just move your son away and say “ no nephew we don’t hit do we”. If your sister has anything to say, respond with “don’t be ridiculous sister he can’t hit and scratch my son”. Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill.

Stompythedinosaur Tue 13-Aug-19 20:23:15

I'd just keep them apart as much as possible. I can't imagine your ds gets much from playing with a 1yo. I would intervene physically by blocking Dan's hand and saying "no hitting" whatever your dsis says.

timeisnotaline Tue 13-Aug-19 20:25:38

Saying gentle hands, kind words as you pick one year old up and move them away is not ‘disciplining’. Do this and tell your sister I’m not disciplining , just moving him where he can’t hurt ds.

ShippingNews Tue 13-Aug-19 20:26:13

I'd start visiting at different times.

GiveMeAllTheGin8 Tue 13-Aug-19 20:27:25

Seriously!! He’s ONE!! You’re making too much of an issue.
Tell your ds that dn is a baby and is only learning. He doesn’t understand what he’s doing .
I’m sure dn is doing it as your ds is giving him a reaction .

As pp said , say no dn we don’t hit / scratch / bite, we play nice and continue on.
I would be hard pushed to believe a four year old is afraid tbh

Herocomplex Tue 13-Aug-19 20:27:50

A four year old and a one year old aren’t playing together unsupervised, you need to use positive distraction.

If the baby goes to hit or scratch just block him gently. If your sister stops you then remove your DS and say very firmly that you can’t have your child bring hurt, it’s not fair on him. Then go and do something else. Just be calm and consistent.
Or don’t go. It’s your choice.

Sceptre86 Tue 13-Aug-19 20:29:10

Do not leave them alone to play. Physically pick up your nephew and move him when he lunges towards your son. If your sister doesn't like it then tough your ds doesn't deserve to be hurt. I would probably avoid meeting up until his behaviour improves but it sounds unlikely that your sister is unlikely to tell him off as he gets older. You need to speak up for your boy and are well within your rights too.

I have been in this position where my nephew would lash out at my dd. Dd like your ds would not fight back and instead would cry. I got sick of hearing that kids work things out amongst themselves and would intervene everytime. I would tell nephew off in front of his mum. Telling him how would he like it if I hit him each time he lashed out at my dd soon worked but he was 3 at the time and that made his mum sit up take notice and discipline her son. I would never have actually done so but the threat hit home with his parents.Maybe your sister needs this type of kick up the arse. Your son doesn't deserve to think it is ok for someone to hurt him especially when he hasn't done anything. Granted it isn't your nephew's fault but this behaviour should not be allowed to continue.

Croquembou Tue 13-Aug-19 20:29:17

Felt like a real twist when it was revealed the attacker was 1...

thecatinthetwat Tue 13-Aug-19 20:31:32

Can’t your son move away from a one year old fairly easily?

If not, then I would set him up in another room with his toys or even at the table with crafts.

If none of that works then I would leave. Yanbu, just get your son the hell out of there.

On another note, you can defer school for summer-borns if you think he’s not ready. I know people who have done this very successfully.

DontDribbleOnTheCarpet Tue 13-Aug-19 20:31:41

I'm a peaceful person usually, and try to remove the drama from family conflict when I can, but really anyone who uses the phrase "Boys will be boys" loses the right to calm discussion.

UnIess you want to give in to the temptation to explain why your sister is a crappy, lazy mother, then I think that all you can do is to remove your child every time it looks like the baby will scratch him (easier if the baby says "bad,bad" just before). You can make it really clear to your son that the baby is behaving badly and it isn't his fault and you can take him away to do something fun together.

But most of all, you can just not spend time together if she isn't prepared to parent her child.

birthdayzilla Tue 13-Aug-19 20:32:41

@Croquembou yes it must have been shocking for you to have this twist revealed in the second sentence of my OP.

birthdayzilla Tue 13-Aug-19 20:35:03

@thecatinthetwat he can move away easily and usually does, but this means he is constantly leaving behind his toys/ food etc to get away and there are plenty of times during the day when he just doesn’t get away quick enough if he’s engrossed in something or sitting nearby

Marcipex Tue 13-Aug-19 20:36:22

I would cut the visit short if you can.
And constant hands-on supervision if you can’t.
I don’t know why some people are ridiculing you. A big one year old can easily hurt an older child who knows not to retaliate.

Nishky Tue 13-Aug-19 20:37:25

@birthdayzilla yes- shocking drip feeding on your behalf- a whole 15 words into your op

Chitarra Tue 13-Aug-19 20:37:41

This would really upset me OP. Personally I’d have to visit my parents separately from my sister sad

Justthinkofone Tue 13-Aug-19 20:37:51

Would your sis say (shout!) "No" or "Stop" if her child was about to get hurt.....? Of course she would!
It's not about "boys being boys/he's just one" etc, it's about basic learning!
So I think you are absolutely OK to step in and firmly say "no" or "stop" to DN as you would your own child....how else will DN ever learn?!
I don't think your over doing it at all.....but it's not "disciplining" DN, just teaching him.
Maybe you just need to explain it differently to parents and sis? Best of luck.

birthdayzilla Tue 13-Aug-19 20:39:31

I obviously don’t blame DN, he’s one and he’s adorable, I love spending time with him. I think what really bugs me is my sisters reaction.

I will have to watch them closely but that pretty much ruins the chances of a nice relaxing holiday

PatButcherStyleIcon Tue 13-Aug-19 20:39:57

@Croquembou grin that made me do a proper laugh!

mummmy2017 Tue 13-Aug-19 20:40:53

Can you teach your child a blocking move, that he places his hand under and lifts...
Or get him to say to his aunty why is DN hurting me again.

Dancingbea Tue 13-Aug-19 20:41:03

He’s one

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