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2 nieces who are very different

(103 Posts)
SMarie123 Wed 08-Jul-20 18:42:32

Hi all ,

I have 2 nieces one aged 7 and 13, I have 3 DC's under 5. In the school holidays the older niece helps me with day trips to beaches, zoo etc she isn't minding the kids just an extra pair of hands eg she Will carry stuff, push a buggy, sit with them when I change a nappy. In return I treat her very nicely, lots of long chats, nice food, every so often £10/ £20 if it has been a long day or a lot of grief.

SIL (who is a dear friend) wants me to take niece 2 because she said she feels left out. I totally see her perspective, she is so genuine she isn't trying to offload childcare. But there is a huge difference in age and niece 2 is pretty challenging in herself. If niece 1 &2 are together they constantly bicker. Niece 2 by herself isn't really help at all. I kind of don't want the responsibility of her (she wanders off and gets lost very frequently with her parents, luckily never with me). If there is no money at the end of the day trip she storms off and complains loudly...

What would you do?

OP’s posts: |
Mistystar99 Wed 08-Jul-20 18:49:30

Explain to her nicely all you have said here. If you are good friends, she will understand.

SMarie123 Wed 08-Jul-20 19:10:17

@Mistystar99 unfortunately I think SIL
has a bit of a blind spot when it comes to NIece 2, she doesn't see what the school sees or my
Brother sees. She sees an angel who doesn't get many chances in life.

In the initial conversation I did explain it wouldn't be helpful as such, because she wasn't at an appropriate age. SIL explained how I could structure the task differently so it would work... I fell short of saying I just don't want to take her on... a toddler, a pre schooler and a baby in a pushchair is enough!

OP’s posts: |
WeAllHaveWings Wed 08-Jul-20 19:10:56

Your SIL will be seeing the bond to you and your older niece have, probably built before you had your own children and now growing as she is useful to you and you appreciate it.

She'll be wanting her youngest to have a special relationship with her aunt too, or worried she will feel unwanted which is what is actually happening. It is harder now you have your own young dc, but she is only 7, she's not there to help. Can your SIL and older niece look after your dc sometimes while you spend some time getting too know your younger niece?

Purpleartichoke Wed 08-Jul-20 19:15:49

I would either actually hire the older niece as a mother’s helper or stop taking her on the types of day trips you are describing.

CastleCrasher Wed 08-Jul-20 19:17:20

Can you take her every so often without dn1, even if it's just to your house for an activity with your DC (baking, craft, Lego...) That way you don't worry about her running off, she's not bickering with dn1 and you can start to build up a relationship with her? She's pretty close in age to your eldest so may well firm a good friendship given the chance

Justjoshin22 Wed 08-Jul-20 19:21:43

It’s a tough one and I wouldn’t blame you for not wanting to take 5 kids out for the day, even if the eldest niece is a good help.
But I also see your sil’s point and it must be a bit disheartening for the 7 year old to see her big sister get to go to the beach and zoo and do nice things with her cousins and she’s left out.
Could you do the odd thing with her separately? Invite her to your house for some more manageable play dates / have her an overnight the odd time? Or could you take her on the outings but ask your sister in law or brother to come too?

Matildatoldsuchdreadfullies Wed 08-Jul-20 19:22:00

I think that your dsis will see the situation very differently.

“My sister has a great relationship with dd1, often taking her on days out, giving her presents, etc. But she won’t take dd2. She just doesn’t want to know her. Should I be grateful that she has a good relationship with one of my dds, or should I make it clear that she has to treat them equally?”

Whilst I understand that it’s difficult - particularly when you have young children of your own - I really think you need to be seen to treat the girls equally if you value the relationship with your dsis at all.

Miljea Wed 08-Jul-20 19:22:06

No, the OP doesn't have to change her relationship with DN1 in order to appease SIL, as in 'take her on as a mother's helper'.

Maybe suggest that once DN2 is a little older, she can get involved? But seeing as she's only 2/3 years older than the eldest of the OP's DC, she's just another responsibility at this age. One that DN1?doesn't want as she gets that at home all the time.

Sunshine1235 Wed 08-Jul-20 19:24:16

I think pp is right you either need to have a more formal agreement with niece 1 or arrange some special things with niece 2. Could you do something else less stressful with her where she’s not required to help as much or even leave some/all of your children with your SIL (I assume she wants to do that kind of thing for your kids too)

Miljea Wed 08-Jul-20 19:24:37

Matilda but the first thing we'd all ask is 'How old are the DNs?' And, upon discovering the age discrepancy, would suggest to the SIL OP that 6 years, at that age, is huge!

Miljea Wed 08-Jul-20 19:26:15

Yeah, leave your three with SIL for a few hours to have some 'special time' with DN2... 😊

NerrSnerr Wed 08-Jul-20 19:28:05

It would be pretty gutting for a 7 year old to know that her sister and her three cousins are all ok a day trip to the beach and she's left behind. I don't think it's fair on her, it's not her fault she's a bit of a pain- that's what 7 year olds are.

I think you have to take both or none.

CanaryFish Wed 08-Jul-20 19:28:13

Why doesn’t SIL come on the day out with the 7 year old

Porcupineinwaiting Wed 08-Jul-20 19:28:40

@Miljea she may have to if her SiL decides the situation cant continue. I wouldnt let my dc be treated so differently by family, even though I can see the OP's reasoning. I'd rather neither child go than one be always left out.

Matildatoldsuchdreadfullies Wed 08-Jul-20 19:29:39

I don’t disagree, Miljea, but that’s not how this mother will see it, particularly as the OP obviously does prefer dd1.

NerrSnerr Wed 08-Jul-20 19:30:09


*@Miljea* she may have to if her SiL decides the situation cant continue. I wouldnt let my dc be treated so differently by family, even though I can see the OP's reasoning. I'd rather neither child go than one be always left out.

I agree with this. If it was my children I wouldn't let either of them go if one was constantly left out.

2bazookas Wed 08-Jul-20 19:34:12

Look at it another way; when big sis goes out for the day with you, pesky little 7 yr old gets her Mummy all to herself. Lucky Mummy gets a whole day with her angel.

It's really up to SIL to make that "just us 2" day so special the 7 yr old really cherishes those days.

MsMarple Wed 08-Jul-20 19:36:31

I’d suggest a swap. Just be honest that you can’t safely manage them all at once but if she’ll have your kids for the day, you can take hers out and bond with DN2

Leaannb Wed 08-Jul-20 19:36:51

The favoritism is outstanding in this post. I would ask SUP to keep my 3 and take the 7yo out by herself

Sirzy Wed 08-Jul-20 19:37:11

From a 7 year old POV though she is seeing her older sister and her younger cousins all being taken out while she is left at home. I can see why she and as a consequence SIL isn’t happy.

Can you not suggest SIL comes along too so all the children can go?

SMarie123 Wed 08-Jul-20 19:37:40


I do take niece 2 out but in lesser excursions and usually when DH is there too. The 2 nieces together don't work. Sil does come sometimes and then we all go.

I would be very fair at birthdays etc. I just can't mind her in the week (with the other 3) without another adult.

OP’s posts: |
romdowa Wed 08-Jul-20 19:38:18

If they were my kids I'd be telling you that either both kids go or neither go. Imagine how hurtful it is to the 7 year old. Fair enough she is difficult but shes still only a child.

Sirzy Wed 08-Jul-20 19:39:09

Then imo the best thing to do is wait until you can all go out to take either Niece with you. The current set up does scream favouritism and I can see why it causes resentment

BabyDancer Wed 08-Jul-20 19:39:51

Does your SIL take your kids for days out as well? If she does then you should take DN2 with you as well. If not, then it's perfectly reasonable to wait until DN2 reaches the same age as when you started taking DN1 with you on days out.

Alternatively, perhaps SIL could look after your DC while you take your DNs for a day out. Or your SIL could come along to help out.

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