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3 Bumps

Family drama...but its actually causing a big problem. Please help!!

I want to try to get honest unbiased opinions so Ill do my best to not give away my position in this situation. Though...i probably wont do a good job LOL.
Grandpa has three grown daughters, and then has a son and daughter (13 and 9) with (step)Grandma.
Granddaughter is 11.

Granddaughter and Aunt (9) do not get along well. Both are spoiled and both are bossy. Not a good mix .

When get togethers are at Grandparents house, no one is allowed in the kids room. When get togethers are at granddaughters house, granddaughter will exclude Aunt from playing in her room with the rest of the girls. She gets reprimanded every time, but insists Aunt is trying to boss her and
her friends around and doesnt want her in the room. She gets grounded for this everytime Aunt leaves.

This incident:
Its granddaughters bday party. The entire family is always playing around, "stealing" each others babies, telling the older kids they have to go home with someone else, horseplaying, bday spankings...etc. All kinds of goofying around. When grandpa and grandma were leaving, mom starts the joking with granddaughter about "youre going home with them". Granddaughter is laughing and says "im not going with them. I hate them."
Grandpa was outside and didnt hear the comment. Grandma tells him about it on the drive home and says "shes done with all this and doesnt want to ever go back".
Grandpa calls daughter to find out why granddaughter said that. Daughter says she was joking and shes been reprimanded because its not okay to say things like that...even in a joke...but she WAS joking around.
Grandpa talks to granddaughter who says the same thing.
Grandpa tells granddaughter she really hurt grandmas feelings and he wants her to write an apology letter to them. it has to be several paragraphs long and she can have no help from mom or dad.
Granddaughter now feels awful and is worried about causeing problems in the family.

My questions:

Do you think grandma was overreacting to a comment an 11 year old made...even if it was a joke?

Do you think grandpa has a right to punish granddaughter, and not consult mom and dad on it first?

Do you think mom should have scolded/punished granddaughter when the joke was said? Or waited until everyone had left to discuss it with her (thats what mom did)?

How SHOULD the situation have been handled on all sides?

And the big one: Is that comment, in joke or not, reason enough to "never go there again".


Asked by Anonymous at 8:45 AM on Feb. 12, 2013 in Relationships

This question is closed.
Answers (20)
  • What's done is done and there's no point trying to decide now who was right or wrong. I think for peace to be maintained Granddaughter should complete the punishment with MOM explaining why it was so hurtful to grandma and grandpa. AS for the room situation. Grandma and Grandpa are correct in keeping EVERYONE out of daughter/aunt's room if there is an issue so no one feels excluded. Meanwhile MOM needs to put her foot down with granddaughter and say if everyone else is allowed in her room to play then so should aunt. (Make it an all or nothing deal). Joking or not it is ever right for a child to say they HATE someone. and mom should work with granddaugjter to work on expressing her feelings on what she finds unfair in regards to the way aunt/daughter gets treated or how things are treated between the households.

    Answer by KristiS11384 at 9:01 AM on Feb. 12, 2013

  • It was an over reaction by grandma. Grandpa has no right to overstep his boundaries and demand gd write a letter, she wouldn't be writing it if she were mine, a phone call and a hearty I'm very sorry I hurt you is more then enough. I would have reprimanded her on the spot but at the same time there may be actually feelings of dislike and hey guess what kids don't like people just like adults don't. She needs to learn appropriateness when expressing herself.

    Answer by funlovinlady at 10:15 AM on Feb. 12, 2013

  • Now to further bridge peace MOM should talk with grandparents about having playdates between aunt and granddaughter more often (and JUST those two) so that the girls can learn to work through their differences and get along. ( or at least learn to remain pleasantly disapproving in one another's company).

    Answer by KristiS11384 at 9:12 AM on Feb. 12, 2013

  • This is all very confusing and extremely hard to follow. However, it's pretty obvious that the dynamic in this family is one of jealousy and competition. You have no power to change anyone other than yourself. So, you have to decide if you want to continue putting yourself and your immediate family into an atmosphere of jealousy and constant competition. If you decide to keep going to these family events, then you and your children need to have a sit-down and discuss that this is simply the way these people are and that we are all going to ignore all their antics. We will be going because they are family and with the hope that they will see how we behave and perhaps some day decide that we are happier and more content with our lives than they are with theirs. If you and your family can't develop a "so what" kind of attitude about all this, then you should probably just stop going. Oh, and I wouldn't be writing any letters!

    Answer by NannyB. at 8:53 AM on Feb. 12, 2013

  • Question 1. I don't think Grandma was over reacting, that would hurt any one feelings, and it's hard to do nice things for people who act like they don't appreciate you, 2. I don't think a grandpa can punish a child without speaking to the parents first, but I also don't see asking her to right an apology letter as a punishment, I think it was a reasonable request for him to ask his granddaughter to do this. 3. I don't know if she should have scolded her right there or waited, but she did need to be scolded and saying it was a joke isn't an excuse 4. . I think that if the granddaughter was spoke to by the mother and told that this was unacceptable and the grandfather is making her apologize in a letter then it looks like you both sides were trying to handle it. 5. You can't say joke or not, because something like that isn't a joke, but the apology should be enough, not ever going back is to drastic.


    Answer by mommom2000 at 8:59 AM on Feb. 12, 2013

  • While that was very confusing to read, and I think there are plenty of issues there, I'm going to focus on just the one.

    It is never appropriate to say "I hate them". It's never funny, and an eleven year old is old enough to know this. I don't think she was joking around. I don't even know how you could say that and make it sound like joking around, so whatever the dynamic going on. That was flat out wrong and inappropriate.

    I have a 'dirty word list & hate is at the top of my dirty word list, above the other more obvious 4 letter words.

    I don't think grandpa gets to decide her punishment, he's not her parent. But, to be honest, I'd make her apologize I'd probably make her apologize face to face.

    There are so many other issues here, and it sounds like the grandparents daughter is spoiled and there may be some frustration with the unfairness of other situations, but she's old enough to know better than to talk that way.

    Answer by ohwrite at 9:29 AM on Feb. 12, 2013

  • JMO, but I think it was an over reaction by step Grandma to say they are never coming over again. Kids will say things like this, not that this makes it okay, but it's hardly Earth shattering for an 11 year old to say something like that off the cuff. My kids will say it to each other when they are fighting and when I hear it we all stop and talk about it for a minute.

    As for the letter, let her write her own feelings and if they accept it then fine. If not, it's their thing to deal with. I am sure there will be plenty of opportunity for the 9 y.o. aunt to have verbal diarrhea in the future and she will then have a chance to write a letter of apology to those that she offended.


    Answer by QuinnMae at 9:50 AM on Feb. 12, 2013

  • Grandmother was not overreacting. Seems to me this is something that has been building and this was the final straw for her.

    Grandpa has a right to say what should be done as an appropriate apology, parents have the right to say whether it should be done or not.

    Mom should have, at the very least, said something right there and then about how inappropriate and hurtful those words were and had her apologize right then and there instead of laughing it off in front of grandma.

    Granddaughter and Aunt both need to learn to get along when they are together with no one being excluded. Obviously parents need to keep a better eye (and ear) on what is happening so it's not a "he said/she said" type thing and they need to interject where needed.

    Seeing how it was probably a build-up for the grandmother having the granddaughter treat the aunt that way and then granddaughter say something so mean, yes, I do think that it is a reason.

    Answer by AllAboutKeeley at 9:21 AM on Feb. 12, 2013

  • It seems the child has some feelings that came bubbling out. I'd have her explain why she feels this way,but I wouldn't punish her for her feelings.
    After i got the feelings to surface,i'd sit the grandparents down and explain it to them. No,she wouldn't be writing a fricking essay to the grandma. That's ridiculous and childish for the GP's to even insist on it

    Answer by butterflyblue19 at 9:23 AM on Feb. 12, 2013

  • My questions:

    Do you think grandma was overreacting to a comment an 11 year old made...even if it was a joke? Yes

    Do you think grandpa has a right to punish granddaughter, and not consult mom and dad on it first? I think consulting shoul've been done but, I like the idea of an apology letter. Though, I'm not sure it should be "several paragraphs".

    Do you think mom should have scolded/punished granddaughter when the joke was said? Or waited until everyone had left to discuss it with her (thats what mom did)? Yes, I'll immediately tell my girls something like "That's not nice" when my girls speak that way about others. It's just instinctual to me.

    How SHOULD the situation have been handled on all sides? Similar but, a discussion between the adults should've have occurred, as well as the comment being quickly addressed. I think the apology letter is a good idea but, shouldn't have a length limit.

    Answer by 3libras at 9:37 AM on Feb. 12, 2013