July 10, 2011,
H.L. asks from San Marcos, CA on July 01, 2011
Am I Too Protective?? Should My Son Go to Amusement Park with Rude Cousin?
I have a nephew who is one year older than my son. He lives in another state so we only see him once, sometimes twice a year. My nephew is an only child, and my son is very childlike and loving and adores his cousin. My nephew is an okay kid, and I am impressed that he seems nice considering I am not so fond of his parents. But in the past he has done things to show my son that he doesn't care about him.
Case in point, the last time they were out here we invited my nephew to spend the night and the following day we met his parents and went to a play area. My son and nephew seemed to be having a great time (my son was!).
A few days later my sister-in-law invited us to go to an amusement park with them. About two hours into the park my sister-in-law walks up to my husband (it is his sister) and says that her son is sick of my son and doesn't want to hang around with us anymore, so they went off to enjoy the amusement park by themselves and said "bye" to us. ?!?#?%!!! She is SO lucky I wasn't there to hear that. She could have been a lot more tactful for one thing.
It has been about six months and my nephew and sister-in-law are back in town. My son is so excited to see his cousin again (I am not). My sister-in-law emailed me and invited us to go to the amusement park again. I told my husband that is the LAST thing I want to do wiith them.
Am I overreacting? I know my son would really like to be with his cousin and have fun, but I am so concerned about my nephew breaking his heart. My son is at an age now (7) where family is so important to him and he believes family will always be supportive and there for you. He was confused when we broke off from my nephew at that last outing and I tried to tell him the truth without it seeming so harsh. My husband says if it bothers me that much I should just tell my sister-in-law we are busy, but all I want to do is what is best for my son.
What is best? Go to the amusement park with my nephew, or bow out?
ps. I just want to mention that my nephew and son have never had any fight/disagreement (yet). They get along very well. That is what makes my nephew's behaviour confusing for my son and me.
So What Happened?™
I was so impressed by ALL of the responses! It is awesome to be able to hear another perspective when I am mired down in the problem. I was able to see my nephew in a better light. He is an older cousin who is an only child, so his reactions would be normal for his age and situation. My sister-in-law has no tact and will never teach my nephew proper social skills, so we just need to learn to cope.
My son _really_ wanted to spend time with his cousin, so I invited my nephew over for a sleepover/campout in our backyard. My son was thrilled and the two boys had a wonderful time. They slept together in the little two-person tent in my backyard all night and giggled with their flashlights. This made it easier because my sister-in-law and husband weren't around and I didn't meddle in their interactions. My sister-in-law still requested we go to the amusement park with them on Friday. I agreed and later sat down with my son and reminded him about the last time at the amusement park when my nephew left us early. We chatted about how that could happen again and that we shouldn't take it personally, my nephew just might be overwhelmed and need some time alone. My son seemed to take it okay.
Now I sit here late on Thursday night as my children are sleeping and excited because they know they are going to the amusement park in the morning - and my sister-in-law's husband has emailed me to say my nephew was sick yesterday and though he is feeling better has decided not to go to the amusement park tomorrow and to tell my son sorry. Ha!
Life with in-laws is so fun!
Knowing my son was specifically excited to go with my nephew to the amusement park I'll have to see if he wants to still go as just a family.
Thank you again for sharing your thoughts and feedback. It helped me see another view!
A.S. answers from Boca Raton on July 02, 2011
I would go, but plan to make it a fun day with my son, and if the cousin hang-out works - great - but if not my son and I still had fun.
It sounds like cousin's mom is the problem - not cousin. In that scenario I would try to make it work. If the relationship with cousin devolves, then I would distance my family from their family (but not until then).
1 mom found this helpful
S.K. answers from Dallas on July 02, 2011
I completely understand why you wouldn't want to, but I would go. The boys get along. That's what matters. I would just warn my son beforehand that if Johnny wants to go ride some rides alone with his mom, that's okay. I always try to give my kids a heads up if I think there is even a remote chance that something may not go exactly the way they are hoping. If you want to discuss what happened last time, just say something like, last time our son was really disappointed when we separated. Then see what she says. Maybe you could plan on being together for a few hours, separate, and then meet up again.
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J.G. answers from Springfield on July 02, 2011
First, don't take what your SIL said to heart. She might have been using her son as an excuse. Or maybe after a sleepover he really was ready for some time with just his parents. They wanted to go off by themselves for whatever reason. Don't worry about it.
Second, even if what she said was exactly what her son was feeling, why on earth would you repeat it to your son?!? There was no reason for that. Just let him know that they weren't in the mood to hang out any longer and that you'd see them later. There's not need to lie to him, but there's no benefit to repeating what she said. They are going to do something together as a family, and you'll see them later.
Go and have fun. Hang out with the family, and if you sense things are going in a negative direction very nicely let them know that your family is ready to do your own thing.
I know you mean well, but I do think you're making too much of this. Just go and have fun!
6 moms found this helpful
J.H. answers from Honolulu on July 02, 2011
I tend to like "contrived surprises" - ie. I know what is going on but my kids don't. I would plan on a trip to the amusement park and just "fortuitously" happen upon the cousin and auntie. They can hang together for a while and you and kiddo go your separate way and leave SIL and cousin still wanting more when you leave. If they BEG to be together, well, you weren't going to leave the park just yet anyway so you can extend A LITTLE. But since you weren't "supposed" to be spending the day with cousin anyway, going off by yourself will not be that much of a downer.
I like what the other posters said about talking to the auntie and giving here a bit of a manners reality check, but I would still keep the control OUT of her hands.
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T.V. answers from San Francisco on July 01, 2011
They are both still little boys and cousins. Kids are bound to fight related or not and usually make up as fast as they got into it.
Go to the amusement park with the family, as long as you and dad are there it will be OK. Not sure what your husband's sister will do, but the kids will probably have fun. If by chance your husband's sister does a repeat performance, just tell her goodbye and continue to have fun with your husband and son.
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C.W. answers from Las Vegas on July 01, 2011
I would tell her that last time your son was confused and hurt by what happened and they are welcome to come to the house to visit, but you won't be going to the amusement park again. Constant rejection will take its toll, they are kids but it was more the way the mom reacted that makes me think it probably hasn't changed in the past 6 months. Of course they haven't fought, the nephew ditches him when he gets "sick" of him. Your sister in law was very rude for how she handled it, she should teach her son how to handle the situations (you can't just ditch people) and I'm sure your son is awesome.
Like I said, I would invite her over for a few hours of play, but make it clear that what happened last time was not acceptable and you won't be going this time. Maybe the next time you all can go to the amusement park and it will be clear that you aren't going to tolerate your son being mistreated like that.
Kids will be kids, but you do have to pick and choose your situations because too much of that behavior can chip your son's self-esteem quite a bit. And I agree with another mom maybe it should wait until they are more mature.
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W.M. answers from Nashville on July 01, 2011
the first thing I would do is have your husband say to her, "last time you said your son got sick of our son, we wouldn't want that to happen again" and see what she says. The next thing I would do is to take your son, don't let him go alone with them if that was an option, then explain to him how last time the nephew wasn't so nice. Explain that children aren't always nice, sometimes they say mean things....explain to him that you don't want him to get his feelings hurt if his cousin says that again....My son is 8 and he would understand what I was telling him. I have been telling him for a few years that kids are mean and to be strong about it b/c he is such a nice boy, etc I think you and he should go, it is his cousin, brat or not. :o)
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T.F. answers from Dallas on July 02, 2011
Sounds like your SIL is the problem.
The fact that your nephew is an only child has no impact on this issue... GEES You can find plenty of kids with siblings who are brats
If the boys do get along, go... if you decide to go with them then you separate them for a bit if you want so you can go on some rides with your son.
You can't keep children under a rock and expect them to be perfect adults when they grow up. THey have to have learning experiences, good and bad.
Again..........SIL is the problem, you know she knows you don't like her and the only child aspect is just where you bought into labeling a child.
Get to know your nephew, he might not be a bad kid, you'll probably realize being an only child might make him more mature.
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K.L. answers from Redding on July 01, 2011
At their ages, kids change a lot in 6 months so Id go and make the best of it. Might turn out to be a great time. Maybe your son has matured a bit more and the cousin is at a stand still and they will be on more equal ground and get along fine. If it goes the same way as last time then chalk it up to a unsuitable play mate. Maybe wait till they are older before you give in and try to get cousins to be buddies again.
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