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Moody teen cousin

14 replies

Fandangos · 16/09/2017 22:52

We moved back to my hometown in Scotland a year ago. My 10yo DD was sad to leave some close friends, but so excited to be near family, mainly her cousin, 4 years older.
The school DD joined hasn't been a great success and there's been lots of nastiness; much more bitching and fighting than at previous school.
Meanwhile, her cousin has really changed. Where she used to be quite young, goofy and always there for DD, she now slobs about the place and has her nose permanently in her phone (normal, she's 14). The problem is, she's so rude and sullen with DD. It's hit DD like a ton of bricks and she feels she must be really annoying (something her cousin has implied).
Today, DD was round at cousin's house and she hardly spoke to DD. When she did, it was to tell her to "just shut up", and stop touching her stuff. When cousin was lamenting about missing a friend she doesn't see much, DD indicated that she knows how it feels, her close buddies are down in England, cousin said, "stop trying to make out it's worse for you".
I've tried to explain the situation to sis in law, but on quizzing cousin about it, cousin said she hasn't a clue what DD means, because she adores DD!! And that was that!
I have told DD she needs to keep her distance for a while, but she can't understand and she has no one to put in place of cousin. She does an after school club, but there are no great friendships forming there.
If I spoke to cousin, she'd probably be upset and tell her Mum, which could explode in my face, as sis in law can be fiery.
I feel I need to protect DD, as she's had a lot of adversity at school, leaving her a bit broken and feeling like she's no good. She just doesn't need someone else, whom she really needs, shooting her down too 😪.

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MrsOverTheRoad · 17/09/2017 05:27

Don't mix the issue up with DD having a hard time in her new school OP.

It's hard I know but your DD's mental health isn't her cousin's responsibility.

Her behaviour is disapointing but very normal too. Your DD can't rely on her as a friend....that's clear. It may change in future when her cousin is less teenagery...but for now, as you say, she needs to keep her distance.

This is a bit worrying

I have told DD she needs to keep her distance for a while, but she can't understand and she has no one to put in place of cousin. She does an after school club, but there are no great friendships forming there.

She NEEDS to understand. It's not about her finding someone to put in place of her cousin as her cousin never comitted to being her friend.

Fandangos · 17/09/2017 07:40

Thanks for your reply MrsOverTheRoad. I suppose it's just that her cousin was always quite young for her years and was great company for DD, until a sudden change. When DD had a hard time at school, she looked to her cousin for guidance and support and, when it wasn't there, it was like a double blow.

I absolutely tell DD that cousin has her own struggles to deal with right now, with growing up, but what galls me is the downright rudeness, there's no excuse and how can DD feel anything other than it's her own fault for being annoying, especially when she's been picked on at school? That's why I mentioned the school issue.

For now, I suppose we just have to boost DD up and help her form new friendships wherever possible.

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ChangingStates · 17/09/2017 08:26

Not really related to cousin issue but my 10year old went through some friendship troubles recently and I got a couple of books about friendships that, while they didn't fix things, helped her to understand some girl dynamics. Also helped her reflect on her own role in friendships and does give tips on making new friends. Although she read them herself we talked through the contents and advice why helped her too. They are called Smart Girls Guide, there's lots of different ones, we got 2 - the guide to friendship troubles and the guide to drama, rumours and secrets, you can get them on amazon.
I hope things improve for her soon.

PotteringAlong · 17/09/2017 08:31

You cannot have expected a 14 year old and a 10 year old to form a close bond for an equal friendship? And it's not the cousins job to bail your daughter out for not liking school. She cannot be instant rent a friend for her.

Fwiw, she probably does find her really annoying now. Give it a few years and as your daughter grows up she will probably find her less annoying.

Expemsiveuniform · 17/09/2017 08:36

She's 14. Your DD is 10. That's a massive age gap at the age. And you absolutely were a bit naive to thing that the cousin would be an automatic friend for your DD.

It isn't your niece's responsibility to be a rent a friend for your DD because you choose to move. She probably does find your DD highly annoying.

Expemsiveuniform · 17/09/2017 08:36

X poswith Pottering. I type slow !

ProfYaffle · 17/09/2017 08:40

Agree with pp. We had similar with dd1 and her cousin, even down to the goofy/young for age thing. Then when the cousin hit 14 it all changed and dd1 wasn't cool enough for her.

There's nothing you can do about it, it's a normal developmental phase. We see our role as being to try and maintain contact between the cousins for now in the hope that when the teenage shitstorm passes they might be friends again. They're shaping up to be very different people though so not sure if it'll work.

Expemsiveuniform · 17/09/2017 08:44

Also. And I don't mean this to be horrible but I wonder if you are all a bit guilty of keeping DD focus on her biddies in England a bit. And the cousin is sick hearing about it. Hence the don't make out it's worse for you.

I mean that you might be guilty (understandably) of not showing much empathy for the struggles of Normal teen that your niece has been through and that it has been a bit all about how tough it is for your DD.

That doesn't necessarily help - it keeps the focus on where DD was and what she's missing and doesn't help her move forward to make new friends.

Crumbs1 · 17/09/2017 08:58

Agree unless you're paying her to babysit the average 14 year old isn't going to be the best friend to a ten year old.
You need to help your daughter make friends locally. Clubs may be good - something local,and outside of school? Have a sleepover with a couple of girls from school? Ask teacher their perception of friendships at school. It might not be quite as projected. It would be a good idea to address before secondary. If she transfers with friends it's easier.
Can you join PTA etc and help at school events to get to know other parents and their children?
Then look really objectively at why your child hasn't settled and made friends. New children higher up in primary are generally feted and everyone wants to be the best friend initially until they find their place. Is she perhaps giving the idea her old school is better? Is she stopping herself forming friendships as she's cross at being moved? Is she twittery and annoying?

JWrecks · 17/09/2017 10:41

Aww, I'm sorry she's going through all this, poor girl. Flowers It's hard to watch, isn't it.

It's not quite fair to expect a 14 year old teenager to want to be friends and hang out with a 10 year old kid. Teenagers seem to only care about being "cool" and grown-up, and live every minute as though they're on camera broadcast to all the (judgmental and cruel) "cool" kids in the world. They're desperate never to stand out or be different or nerdy, or God forbid childish, in any way, so having a cousin 4 years younger - who still has "little kid" interests - trailing about would be absolutely mortifying to a girl that age!

That's not to excuse DN's rotten behaviour and the way she speaks to DD, but... she's 14. They can be really difficult at that age.

Your DD should be old enough at 10 to be spoken to pretty plainly, so just explain to her that teenagers are strange, mysterious creatures made of hormones and angst and hair gel. Perhaps give her some perspective, and ask her to picture herself dragging a 6 year old cousin (or sister, or whatever) round with her. Life isn't fair, but that's the way it is, and unfortunately she can't expect her cousin to be her friend at this stage. She'll come round again in a couple years time I'm sure, but not right now. I'd put it a bit more gently with DD, obviously, but I'd explain as clearly as possible without being cruel that it isn't her fault, she's done nothing wrong herself, and that her cousin is simply older now.

As far as her peer group and school goes... oh I don't know what to tell you. It's always difficult to move to a new school and be the new kid amongst people who have known each other for ages. While it's hard right now as it's early days, I imagine she'll settle in soon enough and make friends that she likes. The bright side is that 10 is not so late in growing up that it's a devastating change and impossibly hard to recover from. Peer groups at her age are quite fluid and "BFFs" change week to week from what I remember of it with mine!

Fandangos · 17/09/2017 20:49

Thanks for all the replies and info about the books ChangingStates.
I agree that it's a case of building up the friends of her age and I never did rely on cousin to be a rent a friend! I don't expect anything from her cousin, except for her to be civil and give DD the time of day when they see each other, which isn't more than once every couple of weeks.
The bond had already been formed before we moved up, however, I totally get that teenagers change. What makes it hard is that cousin was a certain way before; round our house, sleeping over, goofing about with DD. Then, it stopped.
Believe it or not, we take a tough line with DD; telling her that her friends down south will always be her friends, but now it's a case of building a life here, and she will.

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Fandangos · 17/09/2017 20:56

Crumbs, we don't talk overly about the previous school to folk here and DD loves to meet new people. Unfortunately there are just a lot of characters, girls and boys, who behave unkindly.
DD had made one decent friend and they have sleepovers. There are a couple of other kids she's keen to get to know too.
I'm on the PTA now too.
I don't think DD is cross at being moved, she is chuffed to be with family and has keenly joined dancing. It's just a case of giving it time.

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Fandangos · 17/09/2017 21:03

JWrecks, you're right, these kids are all in the process of figuring things out. I've said to DD the kind of thing you said about teenagers being this way.
DD has twin brother and sister of 6 yrs old, so she has that experience, of having younger kids around. They definitely bicker, but she's massively caring and protective of them...subject to change in the teen years, I'm sure!

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Fandangos · 17/09/2017 21:10

ProfYaffle, that's interesting, about them shaping up to be different people. This may well be the case here too.

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