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Okay, so that family cookout is coming up....How do I tell my sister without hurting her feelings that it is NOT acceptable for her kids to lick the food, then put it back in the universal container?

My sister uses her daughter's autism as an excuse to not teach her any manners at all. She is autistic, but she is very, very smart and CAN be taught how to behave. Her therapists at school teach her good behavior, but it is never applied at home so she (like any smart kid) knows that if she doesn't want to she doesn't have to.

Every family get-together before children was family style, with big bowls of chips, salad, plates of crackers and cheese, you name it, all set out so we could pick at it all day. Since she was old enough to walk, my niece has been into the food. She will take a bite, put it back, lick a chip, put it back. My sister thinks that because her daughter has autism it is acceptable for her to do this, and doesn't even try to stop her. She is now 5 years old, and it ceased to be "cute" a LONG time ago for all of us, but no one wants to say anything and be the one "attacking" the autistic kid.

My sister is very over-sensitive, especially about her "parenting", and any offhand comment is taken as a direct, intended insult against her parenting. She has 2 other kids, not autistic, who are totally out of control, rude, loud, and obnoxious. She just doesn't see it, even when I caught her 6 year old son ( who is HUGE for his age) beating up on my brother's daughter, who was only 3 at the time, and about a third his size. He was in the act of sitting on top her, ripping out handfuls of her hair, and LAUGHING while he was doing it. He was never punished for it either. I keep my kids ( 2 and 1) far away from them and in my sight whenever we are together so nothing will happen to them.


Asked by Anonymous at 11:37 AM on Jun. 8, 2011 in General Parenting

This question is closed.
Answers (26)
  • After reading what all her kids are like, I'd probably not worry to much about offending her. You can do it civilly and if she gets upset, her problem, not yours.

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:40 AM on Jun. 8, 2011

  • I think you're going to ALL have an honest sit down with her. There is no way around having hurt feelings. She's already sensitive so no matter how you broach the subject, she will feel attcked. Best to get it over with and work on making ammends sooner rather than later.

    Maybe she needs help with her kids. Have you ever asked her? Is there a husband or father in the picture? Maybe they are too out of control for even her and she might be greatful if someone else gets after the kids. Sometimes kids listen better as well if the discipline is not coming from the parents.

    Answer by Shanna84 at 11:40 AM on Jun. 8, 2011

  • Don't leave the food out to pick, have a time for lunch and serve the food.. You might leave some chips out or tell her DD that this his her special bowl of chips. I think you can talk to your sister, but you probably are going to have a fight about it!

    Answer by kimigogo at 11:42 AM on Jun. 8, 2011

  • Funny, that's the excuse I hear about a lot of children these days, especially the ones with ADHD and I have a feeling that a large percentage of them aren't really ADHD, just undisciplined. In your instance if you aren't able to just tell her, then I would change the make-up of the picnic and have the children be served instead of being able to get their own things. If you can put the food inside and do a buffet and send everyone outside then that should at least cut down on it.

    Answer by attap5 at 11:42 AM on Jun. 8, 2011

  • Yuck!!

    She is not doing her daughter any favors by not teaching her not to do this. If she's that overly sensitive, she's going to have hurt feelings, but just make it clear that you're not questioning her parenting, but that this can't continue. Get your the rest of your family to back you up.

    If she's not backing up the behavior taught at school in the home, then she's doing her daughter a terrible disservice & undermining the teachers.

    Answer by sweetpotato418 at 11:44 AM on Jun. 8, 2011

  • Maybe you could mention something to her as a joke taking away some of the tension about it, ie., "hey sis everyone wants to taste the food not (insert kids name's here) spit" and make light of the situation so no feelings are hurt.


    Answer by Secretive at 11:45 AM on Jun. 8, 2011

  • no matter what you say you are going to piss her off so instead of just saying one thing just let it all out lol.. She is gonna be pissed anyway so why not just realy let her know...

    Me personaly wouldn't invite her or just straight tell her "We don't allow unrulychildren"...
    either way you goingto be sturring the pot!

    Answer by Dork4Fish at 11:51 AM on Jun. 8, 2011

  • it's probably time to change the way you serve the food.

    but the kid hurting other children is a much different matter! I say if there no one that you can assign the job of keeping a eye on these kids to make sure they stay out of trouble or don't hurt anyone, then you should consider no longer having them there. I know it sounds harsh, but having someone hurt is not worth avoiding hurting someone's feelings.

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:54 AM on Jun. 8, 2011

  • AS far as the food goes I would make it a general rule that ALL children under 10 need to not be near he food table with out an adult. No kid hands in any of it. Her DD ma be licking it an putting it back but what about the kid who just played in the dirt, let the dog lick ice cream off his hands and the one that just wiped him butt and didn't wash his hands. Then she is not being singles out and everyone can redirect her and the other children away from the table without her getting upset.

    As far as the rough play I would just express that while you understand (even if you don't) she allows him to play rough a their house you have a rule against it at your house and could she please make sure her children understood this and that she please stay on top of it. Your children are not used to such rough play and someone might get hurt.

    Answer by But_Mommie at 11:54 AM on Jun. 8, 2011

  • just be honest with her, My son is autistic and used to do that but we didn't go the route your sister has. We told him from day 1 DON'T DO THAT! Other ppl eat from there and thats gross. If you have to do it have your own little bowl but we don't do that to other ppls food. Being autistic is not an excuse and you are family you shouldn't feel bad for saying how you feel as long as you do it in the proper manner. Maybe just tell your neice that yourself and skip your sister all together. When you see her do it tell her " We don't do that sweetie, other people eat out of here, Let me get you your own bowl so you can put back whatever you don't like into your own bowl ok?!"

    Answer by myownhappiness at 11:54 AM on Jun. 8, 2011