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DD's family in law being mean to her

I live with my in-laws, we live downstairs in the basement and they live upstairs. My DD isn't their "biological" family, but I didn't think that mattered. My mother in law watches my two kids while I go to work (won't let me pay her) and she has two kids (13 yo girl & 15 yr old boy).

My DD (4) was upstairs and I was getting ready to call her down for bed and I hear the 13 yr old telling my DD to shut up and that she was getting on her nerves and was so annoying and the 15 yr old said my DD gets on his nerves too.

I got so mad because the 13 year old has NO right to comment,she has the worst attitude i've ever seen and is so spoiled. My daughter is not annoying, she's just playing.

I really want to move out, but my husband doesn't go back to work until March. How should I handle this? Should I let my husband handle it or just forget about it? I don't want my child bullied at her own home and it pisses me off. Help...

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Asked by sunshineemommy at 9:57 PM on Jan. 16, 2013 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 16 (3,085 Credits)
Answers (16)
  • Kids (including teens) will become more socially responsible (i.e., considerate, kind, caring, genuinely thoughtful) if 1) their feelings & situations (the needs & underlying reasons) are recognized when we're responding to something problematic, and 2) if we behave responsibly toward them & others. If we tend to criticize, instruct, label & judge them negatively for mean interactions, they will tend to pass that along to others as well.
    I do think it's important to intercede when we hear something we don't like & believe is hurtful, but it's possible to respond with empathy for the "offender." It's a matter of valuing their personal limits & realizing their feelings are valid, and of modeling a different way of communicating the same exact information. If a child is bothering them (even innocently, by virtue of her presence at that moment) there are ways to handle it that are more kind. That's all you want to help facilitate.

    Answer by girlwithC at 9:05 AM on Jan. 17, 2013

  • You are living in the same house. It counts as being siblings. It is their house and they are acting normally. You and your daughter feel like outsiders and you are overly sensitive. No I don't like it when oe of my kids or grandkids or nephews is "being mean" to another but that is the way it is and this too will pass. Obviously you are welcome or you would not be there and grandma would not babysit. I am sure she has many other things she could do instead. But she takes care of her grandchild and gives up that free time willingly. I bet the boys say the same things to each other. She is feeling strange in a house surrounded by people when she hasn't been before and you are making it harder by telling her she is being bullied. And no, I don't think you say those words to her but you attitude does.

    Answer by Dardenella at 12:42 AM on Jan. 17, 2013

  • I don't like to hear people talking meanly to each other & would hope to help the situation. I do think it's important to connect vs. react. My own children (siblings) have trouble with each other & need help sometimes!

    They're probably reflecting the kind of interactions that have been modeled to them. It's basic blaming (you statements, versus I statements.) The statements still express frustration or annoyance (just blame the other person for "being" the problem, rather than speaking more personally & owning the feelings themselves.) It is pretty typical dysfunction.

    Getting mad (and blaming them!) just continues the cycle & passes resentment along. Connecting to the validity of their feelings & reactions, and modeling a more constructive way of expressing it, would be more helpful I think. Basically, you come from the perspective that everyone's feelings & needs are important, and find better ways to assert/express them.

    Answer by girlwithC at 10:31 PM on Jan. 16, 2013

  • No you aren't being unreasonable to want to move out. Most people want their own place, not to be living in their parent's house forever. Your husband not wanting to do anything about getting out of there is the real problem.

    Answer by kmath at 10:27 PM on Jan. 16, 2013

  • The might not be her siblings, but being in the same house together all the time probably makes it seem that way to them. My teens and tweens can't stand little kids. They haven't had little kids here in forever (my youngest is 10), and when they just can't deal with them. Heck, they don't even like each other most days.

    If you want her to feel like everyone in her own house likes her, then find your own place and hire a babysitter to be there with her when you have to work, etc. Otherwise, you have to deal with it. You may not like it, but it looks like the teens aren't any happier about the situation than you are. It would be best to get out of there, for everyone's sanity.

    Answer by anime_mom619 at 10:24 PM on Jan. 16, 2013

  • But am I being unreasonable to want to move out? My husband thinks so. It isn't just this issue, I feel like we've overstayed our welcome and I need to go, for my sanity.

    Comment by sunshineemommy (original poster) at 10:23 PM on Jan. 16, 2013

  • You know, I was one of the youngest of 40 cousins, and as a teenager babysat my younger cousins in the next generation. In our family, talking down to a cousin like that was NOT tolerated. At best you'd get told to pick on someone your own size!

    I'd probably start telling the teenagers it takes real talent and intelligence to be picking on a four year old!

    Answer by gdiamante at 10:22 PM on Jan. 16, 2013

  • I would be upset about the "shut up" part because that is one of the phrases I don't tolerate. The rest of it is typical of kids, especially with such a big difference in age. I take care of some kids after school, the 11 yo and my son are good friends but they have days where they tell each other to go away and stop being annoying. They act like siblings because they spend so much time together. That is what it sounds like is happening with you guys. Not everyone likes everyone else all the time, it is just a part of life.

    Answer by kmath at 10:20 PM on Jan. 16, 2013

  • yes "grandma" was upstairs, she just ignores them, will occasionally say "stop" but they don't listen to her. i am up there with her most of the time, but she was just upstairs for 3 or 4 minutes alone tops...

    Comment by sunshineemommy (original poster) at 10:20 PM on Jan. 16, 2013

  • 4 yos are annoying to teens.

    the 13 and 15 yo do have a right to comment. The 4 yo was in Their part of the house.
    And if it was bedtime why wasn't the kid unwinding for the evening with her parents who have more patience for a little kid and their playing?

    Answer by feralxat at 10:18 PM on Jan. 16, 2013

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