Other people's kids
I have recently had to have a discussion with my daughter and I’d like to hear some other opinions on how I addressed this issue.
We live with my ex-father-in-law and are in the process of moving out. We’ve lived here for over 4 years. My kids have seen my ex-sister-in-law and her kids(my kids’ aunt and cousins) randomly throughout the last few years. Lately they have visited every weekend because they know we are moving. My kids are perfectly healthy and have rarely had to go to the doctor(other than their scheduled checkups). Their cousins, however, have had many problems from birth(resuscitated at birth, ADHD, asthma, allergies, migranes, pre-diabetes). Outwardly, they seem like healthy regular children and on the occasions when I would watch them for a day or two, they would listen to me and behave properly. When their parents are around, they are disrespectful, selfish, and sometimes downright mean. They have no problem yelling at their parents, throwing temper tantrums, and taking toys away and antagonizing my kids. Their parents excuse their behavior because of their ADHD medications and say that they are very sensitive kids and noone understands them. My kids’ aunt even would pull my daughter aside and explain to her that her kids are “special” because of their ADHD and that their “medicine needs time to kick in,” and that my daughter needs to ignore it. My kids’ aunt doesn’t “let” her kids do anything on their own and for the most part gives them whatever they want(soda, candy, money, toys). She has an 8 year old and a 10 year old. She dresses her kids, bathes them and dries them off, cuts up their food, pours their drinks, cleans up their messes, etc. They know how to do all these things but she feels that, as a mother, it is what she is supposed to do. I am not trying to be negative about how she choses to raise her kids or ignore the fact that her kids do have problems with ADHD but my daughter is watching this happen and has had a bit to say about it.
My daughter is a very mature 8 year old. She doesn’t like that her aunt lets her cousin get away with things while she gets into trouble. She feels like she and her brother are always in trouble when they are around. She says she loves her cousins but she doesn’t think they are very nice sometimes. She told me that she does not think it’s right that they have “excuses” for their bad behavior and get anything they want. Sometimes she doesn’t want them to come over to visit my ex-father-in-law(their grandfather). She doesn’t want to get in trouble anymore and she doesn’t know what to do when one of her cousin’s spit in her face, hit, or chase her and in the end she’s always the one in trouble.
I always taught her that there is never a good enough reason to behave badly towards other people. She wasn’t exposed to children with ADHD on an ongoing basis until recently. I explained to her that there is only one person that each of us can control and that is ourselves. I told her that I agree that it’s not right that her aunt excuses her kids’ bad behavior because it is obvious that they can control themselves when their parents aren’t around but I can’t control anyone else’s behavior just like she can’t control anyone else but herself. I can’t make their aunt discipline her own kids. There are going to be times when she’s around people that she doesn’t like but in the end, she has to learn how to be around those types of people.