Author Topic: I successfully used this with my niece ( although I feel guilty )  (Read 5522 times)

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POF

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Background:

My SIL is a piece of work, I think she comes inches from neglecting her children. She is married to my brother - who has a full time demanding job with travel. He knows there are issues - but he is not willing/wanting to deal with it. My mother has tried ..... but to no avail. During the day - there is no schedule, meals are usually fast food or snacks. SIL does very little cooking. Niece has nice clothes, pool and tons of the latest toys - but very little time and attention from her mother.  ( For example - her hair is always ratty and not combed. I spent an hour combing out the snarls and then braiding nicely. She wore it that way for 2 days. SIL was too busy to take it out and redo it. )
Niece ( Emily ) is 8 1/2 - but is in many ways immature. Both my brother and SIL do not believe in telling children no.  :-\  She has learned to get what she wants by manipulation / whining etc.  She can be a real sweetie and wetry to spend time with her when we can.

end BG

We visit my family 2 times a year and stay for about a week each time.  I try to divide up my time with my various nephews and nieces so that we get one on one time with them as well as big family time with all the cousins together. We picke up Emily and took her with our 2 boys and my parents to the lake to swim. We had her all day and took her out ot dinner with us. We had an absolute blast. However after dinner - when her Dad was going to pick her up - she started with she wanted to sleep at grandma's ( my Mom ) we both told her no - that we had to get up early the next day and the house was full. She then kept saying she wanted to come over and see us all day the next day.

I told her it wasn't possible ( we had plans with other brother and his family - which I did not mention ) but we would see her on Wednesday.  She started whining / pouting which I ignored.

10:00 pm that night - my brother called - she had been crying for 2 hours because she wanted to spend the night at grandmas and she wanted to see us the next day. He told me " She can't believe that AUNTIE POF and Grandma told her they didn't want to see her".

I told him that we had spent the ENTIRE day with her - but our plans they next day were with some older nephews and nieces. he aksed - well why can't I drop her off   ? I explained it wasn't possible. he asked - well can she come over and say goodnight. ( by now it was 10:30 pm ) I said that wasn't a good idea - we  were going to bed soon. He mentioned - well she is really upset - you talk to her. So I did and I told her that no she could not come over and that we would see her on Wednesday.

I feel sorry for her - she has fun with us and gets lots of attention from DH and I - but at 8 1/2 I think crying over it to that extent was a bit much. I was very annoyed at brother since if he had been firm with her - I think she would have gotten over it sooner.

The phrase did work - and the other thing I learned here was not to explain and not to mention other plans. There was no wriggle room.

The sad thing is that we were really considering surprising her with going to Disney with us this winter. She has a sibling with special needs - so even if they go - pretty much her parents are focused on sibling. ( Well my brother is - SIL is pretty much focused on herself ). But this was not the only example of whining / crying / not accepting no . We had to make a quick stop at the mall to pick up a prescription and she pretty kept on and on and on about me buying her a book. ( I had given her a nice present the day before ). She did everything she could to talk us into it - even after a firm no. She was pretty much that way all week and DH said - NOPE..... not dealing with it on a trip. ( Especially when my boys have been taught better ).





pootbear

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Re: I successfully used this with my niece ( although I feel guilty )
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2009, 03:12:00 PM »
I think you did great.  If you want to expand on the lessons as she gets older you might (for instance)

- correct your brother or tell the niece "Auntie and Granny did not say they didn't WANT to see you, they said the couldn't."
- gently explain that it's part of the job of the grownups who love their nieces, nephews and children that they occassionally have to say "no".

I imagine w/ a special needs sibling, your niece has learned to be a squealy wheel especially if mom is self absorbed anyway; you're doing a good thing for her by setting limits but she won't know to thank you for another 30 years or so...... PB

petal

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Re: I successfully used this with my niece ( although I feel guilty )
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2009, 08:22:44 AM »
she sounds like one of those children   who need to be taught that whining gets them nowhere.

If it happens again and you get called at 10pm because she needs to spend the night  then  the first thing to do would be reiterate that  you'd see her the next day.  If the whining continued then you have the right to cancel everything completely.

It sounds drastic but some kids need to learn that they dont get things their way by whining.


camlan

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Re: I successfully used this with my niece ( although I feel guilty )
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2009, 08:55:31 AM »
I have a niece roughly the same age who is a lot like this, down to the special needs sibling. Her parents are a lot different though--they do tell her "no." But it only cuts down on the whining a little.

The sibling is likely a large factor in how your niece behaves. If a lot of time and attention has to be focused on the sibling, your niece just wants the same amount of time and attention from the adults in her life--it's the example that has been set. What she hasn't figured out yet is that, with the exception of her parents, whining isn't going to get her the attention she craves. And she is probably in a situation where any attention, good or bad, is welcome.

My niece has had to work through a lot of issues. Her brother couldn't feed himself for years. So she saw him being fed by the adults around her and would ask to be fed as well. Her brother can't walk, so adults fetch him the things he needs/wants. So Niece expected the same service, even though she has none of his issues. Her parents have worked long and hard with her and the other sibling to make them see that they are not treating the handicapped sibling "extra special" but just in a way that makes allowances for his needs. But it's a tough concept for little kids to grasp.

She's old enough that she can understand consequences. Even if her parents give in to her, her other relations don't have to. Could you start small on things, "Sissy, you have a choice. You can continue to cry and whine. That means we will not take you with us to the store. Or you can stop crying and whining and we will take you to the store with us. It's your choice." Eventually, she may learn that she gets what she wants from Aunt POF only when she behaves a certain way. I wouldn't mention the Disney trip (can only imagine the whining if she learns that she could have gone), but I would start to withdraw treats if her behavior doesn't improve with you. And she does get treats when the whining ceases. Even extra time alone with her aunt can be considered a treat--my niece loves it when her mom lets her have a "sleepover" with me, which means that we share her queen-sized bed one night when I visit. It's enough of a special treat that she will immediately shape up when the threat of losing it is even whispered.

I take care of my niece and her two siblings for a week at a time once a year, so that one of her parents can get away for a week of respite. The first day or two is always rough, because she will test me to the limit and then some. But then she remembers Aunt Cammy doesn't give in to whining (the way some of her other aunts do), and she's a very well behaved young lady for the rest of the visit.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


POF

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Re: I successfully used this with my niece ( although I feel guilty )
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2009, 09:16:20 AM »
Thanks for your comments - some great suggestions - her brother is on the autism spectrum and is very high functioning ( he manages to go to school and is on a swim team ). They have a full time aide for him during the summer.  The issue really stems from her mother - who models the same whining techniques to get what she wants.  I think even without a special needs sibling - these issues would still be there. She doesn't get adequate attention from her mother.

Her mother is very into material things - and my neice is learning the same values.

The Disney thing was only talked between DH and I ....... I was going to be near their home for a conference this winter and I thought about picking up neice and flying her down to Orlando and we would meet my guys there for a long weekend.  I think we will try this when she is a little older.

POF



ShadesOfGrey

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Re: I successfully used this with my niece ( although I feel guilty )
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2009, 09:27:37 AM »
Thanks for your comments - some great suggestions - her brother is on the autism spectrum and is very high functioning ( he manages to go to school and is on a swim team ). They have a full time aide for him during the summer.  The issue really stems from her mother - who models the same whining techniques to get what she wants.  I think even without a special needs sibling - these issues would still be there. She doesn't get adequate attention from her mother.


You seem very down on her mother, but honestly, her father is *just* as culpable for the behavior of his daughter - both in choosing your SIL and not being there to parent and choosing not to deal with it.  IMO, in some ways, he is more responsible because he *knows* about it, and *chooses* to do nothing, whereas this may be all SIL knows. 

I think camlan's approach about choices is a good one. It seems it works well on young kids (but also old enough to understand consequences, which at 8.5, your niece is).
Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning. - Maya Angelou

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. - Maya Angelou

POF

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Re: I successfully used this with my niece ( although I feel guilty )
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2009, 10:16:16 AM »
Thanks for your comments - some great suggestions - her brother is on the autism spectrum and is very high functioning ( he manages to go to school and is on a swim team ). They have a full time aide for him during the summer.  The issue really stems from her mother - who models the same whining techniques to get what she wants.  I think even without a special needs sibling - these issues would still be there. She doesn't get adequate attention from her mother.


You seem very down on her mother, but honestly, her father is *just* as culpable for the behavior of his daughter - both in choosing your SIL and not being there to parent and choosing not to deal with it.  IMO, in some ways, he is more responsible because he *knows* about it, and *chooses* to do nothing, whereas this may be all SIL knows. 

I think camlan's approach about choices is a good one. It seems it works well on young kids (but also old enough to understand consequences, which at 8.5, your niece is).

Yep - you are right on all counts here. It's a long sad backstory. 

Jocelyn

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Re: I successfully used this with my niece ( although I feel guilty )
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2009, 10:39:14 AM »
She needs to see the consequences of her behavior, and in a very direct manner. Having a special needs sibling may be part of the problem, and having the mom she does, but kids learn very quickly that what works with mom doesn't work with their teachers- so they certainly can learn that Grandma and Aunt have different rules, and how to accomodate to them.
I would use the Spiderman line about with great gifts come great responsibilities- that she is lucky to be able to do things easily that come very hard to her brother, and that she should be proud that she can do things on her own in a grown-up way, while his autism means he has to rely on other people to help him. Instead of wanting babying, she should be striving to build herself up towards being a grownup, and that you will be rewarding grown-up behavior by paying attention to it, not when she acts younger than her age, and by including her in grown-up activities when she has shown she can handle them. Crying for 2 hours and begging does not convince you she could handle a more grown-up activity.

If you really want to paint it on, you could tell her a story about a girl you knew, who threw a big temper tantrum and whined because she couldn't go somewhere with her aunt...so that the aunt  decided that she really wasn't old enough to take a special vacation trip with the aunt and her family.    Hey, it's just a story. >:D