How Do I Stop a Bad Influence on My Child Without Alienating Myself from Family

Updated on March 15, 2008
K.S. asks from Murfreesboro, TN
8 answers

My sons cousin (5 year old girl) on my husbands side has MAJOR behavioral problems that my son (4year old) has been picking up on. Small at first, now its like he's a different kid. We just moved out here from CA a year ago. My inlaws followed. If you have ever seen Supernanny...this little girl is like the worst of them. We are all they have and in fact have been asked to take the children if something happens to them (actually my father and mother in law- they adopted grandchildren) and they are always there for us. There is NO real discipline for her. My son has always been pretty good- he'll go through issues, but we are easily able to explain and stop them until now. The worst of it is they want to be around us 3+ times a week. I find myself snapping at the little girl because her attitude is SO outrageous & out of control. I am at a loss, but I want my son back.

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

I have kept him away from her and have been explaining to him daily about what is acceptable and what is not. I told him that he will not be playing with her if he continues to act like her. I am also going to be having a talk with them very soon about this issue *yikes*. I am happy to say that a week away from her and heavy praise and I have my son back!! Hopefully my next qiestion wont be "How do I make up with angry family" LOL!! THANK YOU ALL FOR THE HELP, I REALLY NEEDED THE OUTSIDE PERSPECTIVE!

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answers from Augusta on

My daughter has the same problem with a friend of hers, the little girl and she are best friends but this little girl is SPOILED , talks back,is whiney and is very disrespectful to her grandparents dont knwo about the mom havnt been around her all that much. My daughter started picking up on soem of her bad habits when she starts being whiney and throws fits to try to get her way (the little girl does that also), I first ask her if the little girl does it usually the answer is yes. Then tell her that what she is doing is rude and ugly and that she knows she wont get what she wants that way and if she continues to act like the little girl she wont get to see her the next day.
The little girl is 5.5yrs old maybe its an age thing. my daughter will be 5 in decemer

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answers from Johnson City on

I can SOOOOOOOOOO sympathize with you and the cousin problem! We are in the same boat. My son is very well behaved and she wil just pick and hit him and keeps on and on and on with my son. To the point that I can't stand to be around them becasue they don't discpline her AT ALL! and she runs wild all the time. She went to kindergarten this year and ever the mom's FATHER (my FIL) was concerned about how she would make it in kindergarten because she has such an impossible time listening and doing what she's told. I just try to keep my distance for my own sake. I don't want to start trouble and then be in trouble with my husband, if you know what I mean and I don't want to start a war there either..... I wish I had some advice.... Just keep your distance if at all possible. good luck.



answers from Athens on

I'm sorry if this offends anyone but I've always been known for my bluntness. If it were me(and I have been in this situation before) I would just calmly have a talk with the parents. Tell them that your not trying to hurt anyone's feelings and not to take this personally but their child has a behavior issue and it's affecting your child. Of course you can't tell them what to do with their child but you can raise your child how you want and that is not to act the way theirs does. Maybe they dont see it maybe they're secretly screaming inside for someone to notice so they can ask for help with her. Who knows but the most important thing is your child and take it from someone that knows if you wait too long your child is gonna be the exact same way and then it'll take a very long time to reverse the behavior. Good luck and again if i offend anyone sorry. J.



answers from Savannah on

You probally can't do anything about your neice since she is not your child but you can control your own by talking to him before hand--explaing to him your rules and good manners and how he should behave. Of course he will mention what the other child does (wisdom is required here) Pray ask God to help you in rearing your child because she is not the only bad influence he may in counter and you want a firm foundation for the years ahead aswell.




answers from Atlanta on

K. - Well, kind of between a rock and a hard place BUT the welfare of your child is more important. You aren't the parent for the little girl and therefore probably have very little influence on her. If you want your son to still be able to play with her and be friends with her then you need to talk with her parents (your parents-in-law??). Before this, you need to sit down and discuss the issue with your husband and make sure you are both on the same page. Then, both you and your husband need to talk with the girl's parents. Try not to be judgmental - emphasize that it is the girl's behavior and how it is affecting her and your child that concerns you. Have specific examples to give them to show them how detrimental - to both kids - the behavior is and will be later in life if it is allowed to continue. Hopefully they will pick up on the problem quickly and be the first to say that she needs (and will get) more discipline from them. Discipline doesn't have to mean something bad - it isn't punishment. Discipline is having certain standards and expectations - age appropriate, morally appropriate standards and expectations - that is put in place and followed. They need to understand that letting her do and act however she wants to now - with no consideration of others and/or of the consequences - doesn't help her now and certainly won't help her later as a teen and an adult. Letting a child go without discipline, w/o letting them know what is expected of them and what consequences are, is a great disservice to the child. It will also exponentially increase their difficulties in dealing with her later in life. Hopefully they will be able to take the personal, family issue out of the picture and see that it won't be just you that will/does have problems with her and her behavior. Once she begins school - begins making friends and trying to keep those friends - interacting with other parents - this issue will be even more apparent to them. I would try to present this as a true concern over the girl's current and future wellbeing. Explaining to them that, yes, you do have a big concern over how it is affecting your own child. But that her interaction with your child is what brought the issue to your attention and that, really your concern is also for her. Maybe you can share with them your behavioral expectations for your son and how that is being affected by his interaction with her. Share with them how you deal with your son when he misbehaves - what are the consequences put in place? I would say that harmony among family members is very important - but even more important than that is the wellbeing of your child. Keep that in mind when you talk with them. Hopefully they will get the picture quickly and act on it and you won't have to restrict or limit your son's interaction with the little girl. Best of luck, C.



answers from Nashville on





answers from Nashville on

i think setting boundaries would help. i'm just learning to do this myself. i am not good at face to face confrontation at all, sometimes it goes better than others. one question, do the guardians of the little girl see and recognize her behavior? either way, i think the only way to get this resolved would be to address the issue with them.

tell them how you feel, w/o stepping on toes if you can help it. its really hard in these situations especially if they don't see it. but i don't see anything wrong with telling them how you feel. how this is effecting you and your son/family.

and that totally overall your trying to help your son as well as the girl and that you don't want this to cause any seperation in the family relationaship. i just now realized i didn't look to see if you have responses and you've probably gotten this resolved. lol



answers from Nashville on

I am kinda in the same spot. My niece married a guy with a 5 yr old girl that they got custody of because the mother was a mess. The little girl has seen alot and knows way to much for her age. I have a 6 yr old and 10 month old both girls. When she comes to play she says bad language and wants to play boyfriend girlfriend with the kissing and hugging I had to put a stop to it. I had a talk with parents and a heart to heart with the child and told her if she wanted to continue to come over she would have to go by our house rules. You have to show your child that what mommy says goes with him and her. He thinks she gets away with it so he can too. If they have a problem with it youll have to just stick to your guns. Explain that you have to put your son first and they should respect your concerns.

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