67linda's picture

Sister Mad b/c I Didn't Keep Mouth Shut!

My sister is going through a terrible divorce. She is taking the high road and not saying anything bad to her son about her ex. He is bad-mouthing her to their son all the time. My sister and I are very close. She is my best friend. Our sons spend a lot of time together (in kindergarten). I have noticed her son being mean to my son and this has been noticed by my older kids, too. My nephew seems angry. My sister has told me many times that she is worried about her son's behavior. Tonight at dinner my son was crying about a mean thing my nephew said to him. This has been going on for about three months. I have never said a word to her before. I called my sister and told her of this specific thing my nephew said. She asked me if I was worried about her son and why. I told her I love him and was worried about him. I gave her two specific examples that my older children told me. She basically said she doesn't really believe me and intimated she never said that her son was angry. My sister told me she was going to bring her son to a counselor but I know she feels bullied into this by me. I have only her and her son's best intersests at heart. My nephew is 5, and I'm afraid that if he doesn't talk to someone, he is going to end up permanently angry. I know I did the wrong thing and shouldn't have said anything to her. How can I work this out tomorrow? I have never written to a site like this before, but I absolutely can't talk about this with anyone out of loyalty to my beloved sister. Help!

tamz's picture

If you and your sister are very close then of course you should talk to her about this. Even if it were the neighbor kid who was saying mean things, you might feel it necessary to speak with his parent if your intention was to allow the boys to play together. So the problem is not that you should have kept you mouth shut.

You must remember mother's are particulaly defensive with their children. Many many parents say "not my child" ... So part of this is defensive. Also remember that cousins are often in competition. So be aware of this too.

First ask yourself if you are in fact defending your own boy. Is your nephew's behavior really severe or just normal boy stuff? Can you teach your son how to handle certain comments and situations HIMSELF?? Often parents try to resolve issues for their kids rather than teaching them how to handle issues. Give a man a fish and he eats for a day; teach him to fish and he eats for a lifetime.

If you decide that your nephew's behavior is really out of character and you are truly worried about him, then you should find the right approach to support him and your sister as much as possible during this difficult time.

Tell your sister that you love her and want to help her in any way she needs you. You do not have to label your nephew as "angry" for him to benefit from therapy during a divorce. Divorce is hard on kids and even if he wasn't diplaying any behavioral concerns he could benefit from talking to a neutral party about his difficult time.

Just try to love your sister and your nephew and be there to listen. She will have to make the decisions for herself,her son and her family. You just need to be there to support her.

2xstepmom's picture

Your sister may be more upset about her son's behavior than she is with you. You were right to say something to her, it is the context that may be upsetting to her. Voice your concerns to her in the most tactful way you can without bringing your children into the situation. Tell her how much you love and care about her and your nephew and offer to support her in any way she feels she needs. Find ways to provide positive support as her loving sister so she gets over any hurt she may be feeling.