When we visited family this past weekend, I was shocked when my sister in law invited my younger child over to stay, but not my older one. Yes, my older one has been there 2 or 3 times on her own, and they have always reported excellent behavior (despite them giving her koolaid and treats full of red dye–she slammed us with that tornado when she got home)…. so what gives? Why ask for a 2 year old who is just barely potty trained (and only because I ask her every 10 minutes if she needs to use the bathroom and get up with her multiple times a night to take her)… and not the almost 5 year old that can do everything for herself?
Well my niece was here over the summer and the green eyed monster came out–full lashing out, not wanting to nap, etc. I was in the throes of morning (all damn day and night sickness) and try as I might to explain to my 4 year old that her cousin could play with both of them at once, I spent the whole week mediating ‘disagreements’ about who was going to do what with whom. It was a fiasco, quite frankly. Yes, my niece could have spent some one on one time with the older one and fixed the issue, but she’s a teenager, not a parent. I figured it was a learning experience for everyone, and that we were past it. My daughter ADORES this cousin. Adores her. 100%. Up until this summer, she spent a lot of time playing with her and now it seems like she’s shifted her attention to my younger daughter, and of course that makes my older one jealous as can be. How would you feel if your best friend basically turned her back on you? Mad, right?
I guess this is spilling over into the invitation.
This scares me.
Is this going to happen for everything her whole life? I mean, yes, she’s higher maintenance, always has been. I deal with it 24/7, so I do understand that my child needs more things explained to her, and that 2 year olds just go along with things because they haven’t formed their own opinions as of yet… but should my child be punished, and is this going to spill over into friendships as school, and other places? Will she continually be alone? I have cautioned her repeatedly to be on her best behavior, explained when she shows jealousy and lashes out (no matter the reason) that it isn’t acceptable and she will NOT have friends if she does this. But she’s FOUR. How much can I expect her to understand? We don’t exclude her but….
I’ve already seen it happening. The older kids at church don’t seem as interested in her anymore. No matter how hard she tries, she’s in that awkward stage between adorable and a pain in the butt that has their own opinion about what she wants. Most kids can’t overlook the pain in the butt and go for a younger kid who just follows along. Excluding my child who gets NO OTHER social interaction on a weekly basis. I can’t dictate what they do.
But I had no idea that adults (particularly family) would do it too. What am I supposed to tell her? Gee, I’ve explained to you a half a million times that this would cause trouble, but you still won’t listen and now no one wants to be around you? Your meanness and jealousy for a week earlier this summer has caused one of your favorite people in the world to turn against you? I mean… really? Shouldn’t an adult or even a teenager be able to rationalize why it’s happening (especially when it was discussed that jealousy was the cause) and look beyond that to including my oldest child? Particularly when it was mentioned that the teenager had to have the ‘time off’ to help— so no sports, or whatever. It really makes me think that the driving force behind the exclusion is the annoyed teen…all kids get excluded at some point or another.. but…
I tried talking to my husband about it, but either he’s as lost as I am, or just doesn’t care, because he didn’t offer any suggestions or explanations.
It’s bad enough that we would have a 3 hour round trip for drop off and pick up (because no one ever offers to pick up our kids if they want to see them)… then what are we supposed to do with our oldest child, who is already facing this wall over and over again, because she would KNOW what we are doing? She would KNOW she is being excluded. She would not understand why. She would press for answers– that we really don’t have. Why would her sister (a baby!) get to stay and she (a big kid!) doesn’t anymore? Is this going to happen again and again? Or will my 2nd one eventually age out too?
I don’t have any answers. I probably am close to right and don’t really like the answers that I do have. Not any of them.
No – I don’t think she will continually be alone. I think she is 4 – and this is not all that atypical of 4. As she starts school and interacts with her peers more – she will find her way. That way may not be surrounded by scads of friends – but maybe one or two like my guy -but it will be her way, just as it is his way -not mine.
Just curious – have you asked SIL what is behind the invite to the younger one only? Is she aware this will hurt the feelings of the older one? And you always have the option to say no – especially with the 3 hour drive and the fact that YOU are supposed to be taking it EASY!!!!!!
My two cents – My husband and I just finished a parenting book that started with the statement that the first 5-7 years is the most crucial time in the child’s life. What occurs during this time sets the stage for how they cope with life later on. It is very important that children are treated as equals. This doesn’t mean that the 2 year is held up to the same expectations as the 5 year old…but they need to feel that they are loved just as much as the other.
Additionally, they need to be respected as individuals. As a parent, I would see no problem with a sibling taking one of my two children for a weekend, but…that sibling better take the other child on a special weekend too.
My husband and I switch off each week spending time with one of the children, this has made a HUGE impact on their sibling rivalry. They both feel like they are a special part of the family. We have a calendar where we mark “daddy’s day with ‘D'” & “mommy’s day with ‘J'”, and then the next week it is “daddy’s day with ‘J'” & “mommy’s day with ‘D'”.
Perhaps you could ask your sister that next time around take the 5 year old and explain to her that this time it is sister’s turn and that you will do something special without her little sister. I am sure she would love the one on one time 🙂
I would, quite simply, say no. The kids thing is normal, and she’ll figure it out. But she shouldn’t be excluded by the family… and the six hour round trip to drop off one child while one will be excluded is more than a little ridiculous.
And talk to your sister. Ask her how she’d feel if this was her child being left out. She may not have even considered that.
I agree with Suzi.
No. Absolutely not.
You don’t even have to offer an explanation. Your children, your decision.
And Ms Keeley is acting in an age appropriate manner most of the time, I’m sure.