acjennings's picture
acjennings

Cousins, getting along and injuries

Hi All,

I'm turning here for some advice on how to deal with cousin issues. My son is an only child, as is his cousin. The cousin is the son of my husbands youngest brother.

Several years ago, we moved from careers in a big city "back home" to my husbands home town. We wanted our son to have a slower paced life as well as grow up near family. Since these will be the only two kids in the family, we were so excited to move...

Well, I know that everyone is different, and my husbands and my parenting is vastly different that his brothers family. And we know that everyone should be an individual. But we are really struggling with the behavior of our newphew. Our son loves his cousin and wants to be with him, but he is just a rough child who knows no boundaries. These boys are both eight (four months apart)

There have been so many incidents in the last few years it is hard to recount they all, but they end up with my child hurt, bleeding and feeling powerless. There have been hitting, pinching, biting, one was a "karate" kick in the stomach which left my son breathless for quite a while that day and sore for a week... Now mind you, these are just a few of the incidents that were not the accidents that happended, but that were done in anger. These kids are not from uncaring, back woods families, they are from educated families some of us are even educators, we are attentive parents but not clingy.

Anyway, our nephews parents have tried everying to "punish" for actions such as this and employed different styles when one discipline was not working. Then a few years ago, they started making the child apoligize, which he gladly does, but I contend the apology means absolutely nothing to the child. Yesterday, Mother's Day, there was yet another biting. The cousin fully admits he did it, he's apologied even said he was just mad at his cousing for no real reason. Over the years we've been concerned that our son is too thin skinned, but we'll take that anyday over this.

Anyway, isn't biting at eight just crazy? The parent have said they want this punishment to be more than the standard, and want us, his Aunt and Uncle to come up with a punishment for him. My husband and I think it is more important that it is honestly explained to the biter that every time he hurts his cousin, his cousin loses some of the trust that they have and right now, he is saying he never wants to go to his cousins house again. Someday, if he keeps hurting him, our son is not going to want to be with his cousin at all, and we can't blame him.We moved here to raise our son with family it is important, but he just doesn't understand how he never has been hurt by any of his friends, but his cousin who is family and is supposed to love him, hurts him all the time. And don't get me wrong, 85% of the time, the cousin is a perfectly nice child, just different from our child.

I'm looking for suggestions on what people think about the whole situation, hurting his cousin, punishment, how to keep peace in the family, if it's handled wrong, my husbands brother would probably get really ugly.

Thanks for any suggestions...