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in.need.of.... asks:
Q:

how do i stop my 11 year old niece from picking on my 8 year old daughter?

My brother and his two children have lived with my two daughters and me since June and as the time passes the worse my niece treats my 8 yr old. The lieing & the name calling is driving me crazy. her latest stunt was tieing my daughters shoe strings together under the school bus set and my daughter had to hop off of the bus to the house because she couldn't get them untied fast enough and it was to cold out to take them off. Yet my brother doesn't seem to listen when i tell him of the things his daughter is doing. Instead he pretends nothing is going on which angers me and hurts my daughter. How do i deal with this without asking him to move out?
In Topics: Children and stress, Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
Dec 7, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

Thank you for contacting Education.com!

You are in a difficult situation because your brother is not taking responsibility for his daughter's actions. He may feel like if he doesn't do anything and ignores the situation, it will just go away. But we know this is wishful thinking and that children need guidance to learn right from wrong and to grow into mature adults.

Your niece is not treating your daughter with respect. She has found someone she can bully at home. The fact that her behaviors are not just happening at home and she is now teasing her on the bus is concerning. If the bullying is happening at school, you have every right to get the school involved. Talk to the school counselor or school social worker about the situation with the girls. They may at some point contact your brother and want to speak with him also. If it gets to this point, then he will have to get involved.

Since your brother is not addressing the problem with his daughter, you may have to step in and give her consequences, just as you would your own children. This puts you in a difficult position, but until your brother takes control, you are the only other adult in the home to provide the discipline.

You don't mention the situation with your niece's mother and how that may be affecting her. But, your niece could be used to getting negative attention for her bad behaviors. Try giving her, as well as the other children, opportunities for success. Assign her a special chore or have her help you with a certain activity. Catch her being good, and make sure you praise her for being kind to other children or for helping out. Make sure all of the kids have some responsibilities around the house and are involved in positive activities in and out of school.

If you would like to speak with a counselor about this issue or any other parenting concern, please call or e-mail our hotline. We are available 24 hours, 7 days a week for parents and children of all ages.
Take care and best wishes to you and your family!

Sincerely,
Cynthia, Counselor
Boys Town National Hotline
1-800-448-3000
hotline@boystown.org
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