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Personal How to deal with a child bully?

wadesgirl

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And I'm not talking about him bullying other children! DH's nephew is 8 and is a terror - to ADULTS!!! It started when he was young and has gotten worse. He feels like he can hit, kick (sometimes in areas he shouldn't kick other males), scream in your face, pick on you, spit on you, etc.

We have dinner with DH's family every Sunday. It's his parents, his brother and wife plus 2 kids, his brother-in-law and sometimes BIL's girlfriend plus us. Sometimes it's completely unbearable to go to Sunday dinner. Both of the kids (boy 8, girl 6) are loud, out of control and do what ever they want but the boy is the worst. The worst part about it is DH's brother and his wife are so self centered that they don't even do anything about it! They will sit there while their little terror is attacking you not even doing anything. If you try to defend yourself and the kids gets hurt then he goes and cries to his parents who will baby him. Very rarely do the kids get in trouble for anything they do. These kids are horribly spoiled (I ranted about the first communion present for the 8 year old last week). I cannot even say the parents have little control of it because they are the ones that created these monsters! They do very little as far as discipline! The parents treat these kids like they are angels and let them get away with everything.

I've been thinking since Sunday about what we should do about this because it's getting out of control! I had a piece of my hair ripped out by the little (insert what ever bad name here), DH was basically whipped with the necklace the kid was wearing to the point that I was defending DH! I so badly just wanted to knock the kid to the floor. DH and I have talked about just not going over for Sunday dinner but I would miss the rest of the family. I'm considering saying something to the parents the next time this happens. SIL doesn't take criticism very well but I don't care any more.
 

chefheidi2003

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Aug 18, 2007
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Enough is enough..I think that you should say something. I agree it is not fair for you to have to stop going to Sunday dinner because then you would miss the rest of the family. I came from a family that we were well disciplined and I am so thankful for that. Now when we are out we look at out of control kids and say we would have never have gotten away with that. We were not beat but we were spanked. Not very often though..I don't want to say that we were afraid of our parents because that is not good either but when we were misbehaving all it took was a look and we knew that we better sit down and behave.

With that said I do think that maybe you should say something. If it upsets them then it upsets them. You are upset every Sunday having to deal with it. Sometimes the truth hurts.
 

colegrovet

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Jun 11, 2008
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I agree with Heidi.. They need to correct it now or he will be in jail or dead. Sometimes you have to be blunt to get the message across.
 

pampered1224

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Heidi is right but I think you will have to just stop going. And if anyone asks why, simply tell them the truth. You can not enjoy yourself what with the behavior of those children. That simple. Maybe the others will get the message and say something as well. Or call them to ask them if that behavior bothers them as well. Then decide on a group effort to get it to stop. Good luck!
 

raebates

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Dec 6, 2005
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If the child is hurting someone and the parents aren't doing or saying anything, I have no problem whatsoever saying, in a very firm voice, "Stop that!" Often that's enough for a child who never hears no.

If it's not enough, follow it with, "You're hurting __________. Stop that now."

If that's still not enough, telling the parents that the child is likely to hurt himself or herself so they ought to be made to stop.

If the problem continues, I think I'd make plans to see the other family members when the family with the "little darlings" isn't around.
 

chefsteph07

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Jul 18, 2007
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I would STOP GOING and tell your family why! Why the parents put up with that behavior from their child is disgusting! What is wrong with them??? The child does what his parents ALLOW! Remove yourself from the situation immediately. There is no reason why you all should be terriorized voluntarily if you can just avoid it altogether. That kid needs to get into some counseling before he ends up in DH. It's only a matter of time.
 

ChefLoriG

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Mar 13, 2005
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stop going to Sunday dinner, with all the family, you can invite your inlaws over for Saturday dinner to still spend time with them, sans the brats
 

lesliec

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Mar 31, 2010
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haven't read all of the other responses, but......

WOW, sounds like the parents are raising the next generation of prison inmates. Hate to say it that way, but, it is true. If they have no discipline and no respect for authority now, then they won't have any later.
I honestly don't think there is anything you can do, except for not be around them. My sister's kids are kinda like this, except not quite to the same extreme. We are very structured in our home, and our kids are extremely respectful. Don't get me wrong, they are boys and they act up, like any boys will, but they also know the difference between right and wrong. My sister is offended that my 4 year old openly talks about how her 6 year old "isn't making good choices" or that he "isn't being a good listener". All I can do is make it into a lesson for my child. We aren't around them much, and my oldest son loves his cousin, but I'm not willing to ruin what we have going with my kids just for the sake of family getting together.
I've always heard that play groups break down btwn ages 4-6 b/c that's when you can really see the difference in how parents raise their children. I think that there are some behaviors that may be more difficult to curb in different children, but I can definitely see how the differences in discipline have changed the relationships around us. We have some friends with 2 little girls. One of them is really difficult, but we really respect and appreciate the way that her parents work with her. Yes she will sometimes hit one of my children, but she will always have a consequence and will have to make ammends with my child and her parents try to keep a handle on it. We respect that way more than a child whose parents ignore or are oblivious to the behavior.
Don't know if I have really given you any concrete advice, or if you were just needing to vent, but it kinda sounds to me like the parents need some consequences for their actions.
 

pampchefsarah

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Mar 24, 2008
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My advice isn't much different from everyone else's. Right now, if they're thinking about it all, the parents must be saying to themselves "well, it can't be too bad, everyone still wants to get together with us every week." The parents have to learn the consequences first, so they can then understand the necessity of disciplining their kids Do these people have no friends, the kids are home-schooled, and they never leave their house? How have they not heard from others outside the family before this?

Anyway, invite everyone to your home, or choose another location if it's currently being held at DH's brother's home. Tell bro-in-law and his wife they are welcome to join, but they must leave the kids at home until the children learn how to behave in a social setting. Period. If they refuse to join the family without the kids, let them know how much they'll be missed, but the children's behavior will no longer be tolerated. Should be fun seeing how many babysitters they go through before they realize "hey, we seem to have a problem." Though, they'll probably blame the babysitters!!
 

NooraK

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My question is, why/how do your DH's parents put up with this? It sounds like the gatherings are at their house. Are they getting this kind of abuse as well? I can only imagine how the kids treat the paretns at home when no one is looking.

I'm going jump on the train with everyone else, and tell you that you should stop going. There is absolutely no reason why you should subject yourself to physical abuse, it doesn't matter who it is. Be honest with your family. I wouldn't be surprised if the rest of your family might even be releived that someone finally says something, and will cause them to stand up to these particular family members as well.
 

wadesgirl

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My question is, why/how do your DH's parents put up with this? It sounds like the gatherings are at their house. Are they getting this kind of abuse as well? I can only imagine how the kids treat the paretns at home when no one is looking.

I'm going jump on the train with everyone else, and tell you that you should stop going. There is absolutely no reason why you should subject yourself to physical abuse, it doesn't matter who it is. Be honest with your family. I wouldn't be surprised if the rest of your family might even be releived that someone finally says something, and will cause them to stand up to these particular family members as well.

I think that his parents are half the problem. See DH's brother and his wife typically go out 3-4 nights a week and the wife also travels alot for work so the grandparents watch them a lot!
 

NooraK

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I think that his parents are half the problem. See DH's brother and his wife typically go out 3-4 nights a week and the wife also travels alot for work so the grandparents watch them a lot!

Yes, they probably do contribute then, as well.

You might check out the foums at Etiquette Hell. There is a section specifically about Family and Children, and there are lots of stories about how to deal with misbehaving children. Maybe you can find something more there.
 

wadesgirl

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I would STOP GOING and tell your family why! Why the parents put up with that behavior from their child is disgusting! What is wrong with them??? The child does what his parents ALLOW! Remove yourself from the situation immediately. There is no reason why you all should be terriorized voluntarily if you can just avoid it altogether. That kid needs to get into some counseling before he ends up in DH. It's only a matter of time.

Terriorizing is the correct word!
 

lesliec

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Mar 31, 2010
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  • #14
Unfortunately you may be the odd one out in your family. You may just have to choose not to be around them for your own good. You didn't mention your children, so I'm guessing you may not have any yet. That would always be a good excuse if you did. Be prepared b/c you may easily become the enemy of the whole family if you try to make a stand.
Someone said something about saying, "stop, you're hurting me". I think this may at least work some. You could repeatedly just state the obvious of what is going on, and then after a while, make inquisitive statements like "does he act like this at school", or "how does he have any friends". Honestly, either way, you will probably look like the bad guy, but at least you will be bringing light to the way that the child is acting. We have done this a lot with my nephew. My sister won't bring him to my house anymore (hooray!!!!) b/c she claims "Aunt Leslie doesn't have any patience with children".
 

chefsteph07

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Jul 18, 2007
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  • #15
I don't know, I'm not an advocate of hitting kids, per se, HOWEVER, if a brat who continually misbehaved around me started pulling MY hair, I can say that my first instinct would be to turn around and grab THAT kids hair and give him what he dishes out. And if the parents, grandparents, etc are appalled, I'd give them the what for and walk out the door. There is NO excuse for an 8 yr old to behave that way, except in cases that they KNOW they can get away with it.

My question is, does he act like this in school and with his teachers/other kids?

I would seriously have a conversation with everyone involved in ENABLING this monster to get away with this at the next dinner and tell them that this will be the LAST dinner you attend until he gets under control.
 

wadesgirl

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Unfortunately you may be the odd one out in your family. You may just have to choose not to be around them for your own good. You didn't mention your children, so I'm guessing you may not have any yet. That would always be a good excuse if you did. Be prepared b/c you may easily become the enemy of the whole family if you try to make a stand.
Someone said something about saying, "stop, you're hurting me". I think this may at least work some. You could repeatedly just state the obvious of what is going on, and then after a while, make inquisitive statements like "does he act like this at school", or "how does he have any friends". Honestly, either way, you will probably look like the bad guy, but at least you will be bringing light to the way that the child is acting. We have done this a lot with my nephew. My sister won't bring him to my house anymore (hooray!!!!) b/c she claims "Aunt Leslie doesn't have any patience with children".

No we don't have kids but we already determind several years ago we would not let our children behave like that!

I talked to DH, I think we are going to skip this week. I have a show anyway. Then next week we will start sticking up for ourselves!
 

lesliec

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  • #17
Sorry, just realized that my posts seemed pretty negative. Wasn't trying to be, was just trying to prepare you. We have had different issues with both sides of my family, and in both cases DH and I have been a bit alienated. Over time, people have come to understand why we do what we do..... it all takes time. Just wanted you to know that there isn't an easy fix, and no matter what you say and do, it will never be the "right thing" for the ones involved.
 

rosecrystalcat

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Feb 14, 2010
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  • #18
I am not very politically correct so I would have popped the brat on his butt and told him to tell his parents exactly what he did. It really sounds like both of them need a firm hand to get them in line. Grandma & Grandpa are not typically known for being good at this type of thing - they have already raised their kids. They are ready tos poil and enjoy.

I have walked out of many family gathering due to yelling kids & crying babies. Like Hiedi stated, I only have to give my daughter a look or say her name for her to straighten up.

Best of luck with your decision.

Beckie
 

esavvymom

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Sep 8, 2008
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  • #19
Take alcohol with you to the next family dinner! for YOURSELF...not to share. :) I've done that with my in-laws. They have one son who's obnoxiously loud and screams alot (when he was younger especially)- not quite like what YOU described. We were stuck though because we were out of town and staying with Grandma/Grandpa. I drank I think 1.5 bottles of wine by myself! :)

I'd probably be doing what everyone else has suggested. Someone pulls my hair I will grab the hands and pull them away- maybe a tug of my own for a child that age! And I'd have said something to the child, and if mom says anything- I'd say it to her too.
I tend to do things like that...drives my husband nuts. We can be somewhere with lots of kids playing, and if there is a child doing something like that or doing something dangerous to himself or the other kids, if the parent isn't around or doesn't step in, I do. My kids or my friends kids are at risk, you darn Skippy! :) Go figure! I'm the shy one too! But I'm also a mama-bear and in that area, I don't care. I won't discipline anyone's child of course, but I certainly will send them home or tell them to behave.
 

wadesgirl

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Sorry, just realized that my posts seemed pretty negative. Wasn't trying to be, was just trying to prepare you. We have had different issues with both sides of my family, and in both cases DH and I have been a bit alienated. Over time, people have come to understand why we do what we do..... it all takes time. Just wanted you to know that there isn't an easy fix, and no matter what you say and do, it will never be the "right thing" for the ones involved.

Oh no, you weren't negative!
 

wadesgirl

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I am not very politically correct so I would have popped the brat on his butt and told him to tell his parents exactly what he did. It really sounds like both of them need a firm hand to get them in line. Grandma & Grandpa are not typically known for being good at this type of thing - they have already raised their kids. They are ready tos poil and enjoy.

I have walked out of many family gathering due to yelling kids & crying babies. Like Hiedi stated, I only have to give my daughter a look or say her name for her to straighten up.

Best of luck with your decision.

Beckie

See with my sister's kids I have free will to do what I need to do if they are misbehaving, including spanking if it gets that far. I do have a hard time holding back from not doing this with DH's nephew. I did tell DH I was going to start sticking up for myself cause it was ridiculous!

Take alcohol with you to the next family dinner! for YOURSELF...not to share. :) I've done that with my in-laws. They have one son who's obnoxiously loud and screams alot (when he was younger especially)- not quite like what YOU described. We were stuck though because we were out of town and staying with Grandma/Grandpa. I drank I think 1.5 bottles of wine by myself! :)

I'd probably be doing what everyone else has suggested. Someone pulls my hair I will grab the hands and pull them away- maybe a tug of my own for a child that age! And I'd have said something to the child, and if mom says anything- I'd say it to her too.
I tend to do things like that...drives my husband nuts. We can be somewhere with lots of kids playing, and if there is a child doing something like that or doing something dangerous to himself or the other kids, if the parent isn't around or doesn't step in, I do. My kids or my friends kids are at risk, you darn Skippy! :) Go figure! I'm the shy one too! But I'm also a mama-bear and in that area, I don't care. I won't discipline anyone's child of course, but I certainly will send them home or tell them to behave.

There always tons of alcohol there!
 

Sheila

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Mar 26, 2008
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  • #22
From the adult perspective, I can definitely feel your frustration! I would be livid & would not want to go back! ;)

But stop for a second & look at the child perspective. WHY is this behavior happening? Is it possible that there is an underlying medical condition? ADHD, autism, etc? If so, that needs to be addressed before you'll ever make any progress with the children or the parents. If it is in fact a true lack of discipline problem, you CAN do something about it! :D Most children act out for attention. Even negative attention is attention. If the parents are super self absorbed & ignore the children, they WILL find methods to get interaction even if it's negative interaction. So you can start with positive reinforcements. Actually sit down face-to-face with the child & start playing. The first time that he/she gets out of line, give a warning that their play is not nice & not acceptable and that if they continue that behavior, you will no longer play. If they misbehave again, get up & walk away. If they follow you, you may have to be prepared to pack your things & leave for the evening. After you do that CONSISTENTLY for several visits, the child(ren) WILL learn that if they want YOUR attention, they will have to correct their behavior. If you continue to feed the positive reinforcement & pay attention to them when they are being good & ignore them when they are misbehaving, you will make progress. For some children, it may happen after the 2nd or 3rd time. For other children it may take 20-30 tries for it to sink in that you mean business. But set your boundaries and stick to them! Once the child realizes that you are not going to reward negative behavior, they will (at some point) realize that they are going to have to alter their behavior for your attention and that by "playing nice" they are getting more rewarding attention from you than the negative attention they receive from others while misbehaving.

I did tell my step-sister once "If you don't spank him, I'm going to!" Her response "go ahead" - she didn't care at all. And I did spank him too. He was 7 at the time & had a LOT more respect for me afterward. ;) When I said "no", he knew (beyond a shadow of a doubt) that I meant business.

(((hugs))) I agree it puts you in a bad position to be the bad guy here, but in the long run you are doing a great service to the unruly children by trying to stop this behavior NOW! It's something that should have been done by the age of 2 ... but it will be easier to do it at 6 & 8 than when they are 16 & 18 (and the same size as the adult)!

As a parent, I believe that it's my job to raise a well rounded child who will be able to function as a teen and as an adult. If they can't hold a job or keep a spouse because of their temper, then I've failed as a parent. I want them to be well rounded, enjoy their childhood, learn lots of stuff and (most importantly) HAVE FUN in their childhood ... but (at 1 & 2.5) they do understand boundaries. They are not always happy with it, but they do follow directives when I tell them "That's not your toy" and will divert. I choose to reserve the word "NO!" for when they are about to do something seriously dangerous, like the day my daughter was about to lay her hand on the inside of the hot oven!!! By not using no 50 million times a day, when I say it they stop dead in their tracks because I use it so rarely. ;) I get compliments on a regular basis from the other playgroup Moms on how well behaved my children are ... so I promise you, it works! ;)
 

cheflorraine

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May 19, 2009
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  • #23
I like Sheila's advice... but it might take a bit of energy and time to implement it. But at least if you and your husband could show the kids that you're not willing to tolerate this behavior, but you will reward positive behavior, it'd be a step in the right direction.

Sounds like they need a good dose of Supernanny... we're expecting our first baby in July, but we've watched quite a few episodes of this already in preparation. If you haven't heard of Supernanny yet, you can even watch episodes online at Watch Supernanny Online - Full Episodes of Supernanny & More TV Shows Online with blinkx Remote.

All the best with dealing with this... my only suggestion would be to make sure to communicate to the parents/grandparents that your ultimate goal is to help these kids and parents, not simply to criticize them. As others have said, much better to do this sooner rather than later...
 

scottcooks

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  • #24
It took us 14 years to be blessed with kids. My own were a special needs adoption, and they have come so far in the past few years. I am a career teacher and have witnessed students like you describe in the classroom - they would immediately receive referrals to a behavioral management team, and most likely, would be candidates for a behaviorally impaired program.

The parents need to experience Parent Child Interactive Therapy - PCIT. In a nutshell, the child is offered - two choices once given an instruction:
"Please pick up your toys".
(refusal, acting out or ignoring)
"You have two choices. You may either pick up your toys now, or have a time out (see SuperNanny) and then pick up your toys."
(if refusal, place child in time-out)
(if gets up, re-place child in time out *without losing your cool*)
repeat until a reasonable time out has occurred - 1 minute for each year old.
Rebuild relationship after the time out. "What happened? What were you asked to do?"

We have 5 rules in our house - not that it is all compliance and smiles, but this has helped us SO much:

Rule #1 = Be Safe
Rule #2 = Listen to Mom & Dad, and come when called the first time
Rule #3 = Keep your Hands & Feet To Yourself, and no biting
Rule #4 = Respect other people and their things
Rule #5 = Keep your Feet on the Floor At All Times

If I understand this correctly, everyone at the family gathering is bullied by these children's ridiculous behavior. The older grandparents act submissive, because they just want a full house / table -- or maybe are afraid no one will come see them. The kids terrorize To Get Attention. (If the parents paid more attention, the behavior would diminish--not go away, but diminish.) You and your immediate family go, to have some bonding/family time.

Solutions: (1) Don't go, and make it crystal clear to everyone - especially the grandparent hosts, that it is not safe for you and your family. They may feel bad, but they will be put on notice to quit accepting this terror's bullying as OK. You--in putting your foot down, give THEM permission to do the same! (2) Offer suggestions (and be prepared for backlash) to the offending parents. (3) Simply do not subject yourself or your family to that behavior. You so perfectly describe the enabling of the "elephant in the room". My suggestion - don't play the game.

Sheila above is right on the mark. The child WILL respect you when you demand (and give) that respect. If you allow him to slap/punch/hit/belittle, you accept his poor behavior. I suggest you don't!

Good luck. If you feel really guilty, get up early and go have Saturday breakfast with the in-laws instead of Sunday dinner. Just don't allow the status quo. You decide what goes in your life! God Bless.
 

lockhartkitchen

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Aug 22, 2007
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  • #25
With parents like that, I then get them in the classroom and have to teach them right from wrong. That's not my job to parent, but I have to do this a lot in the classroom; don't interrupt, raise your hand if you have a question, yes maam, thank-you, etc. I even had to teach a fourth grader how to tie his show this year! The mom thought it was funny that he tucked the string under. Idiotic parent. Too bad people don't apply for children. I would have vetoed many of them.
 

pampchefsarah

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Julie, I was wondering when you'd show up! I thought about how hard this would be on a teacher.
 

wadesgirl

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With parents like that, I then get them in the classroom and have to teach them right from wrong. That's not my job to parent, but I have to do this a lot in the classroom; don't interrupt, raise your hand if you have a question, yes maam, thank-you, etc. I even had to teach a fourth grader how to tie his show this year! The mom thought it was funny that he tucked the string under. Idiotic parent. Too bad people don't apply for children. I would have vetoed many of them.

The crazy part is both of the parents are well educated, highly paid people! It's crazy to watch them think that this behavior is acceptable.

I do agree with everyone, it's only going to get worse. It's finally got to the point that I cannot stand it anymore.

As far as DH's parents, they are the best in the world! They do try to lay down some laws with the kids but they don't get any support from the parents so it doesn't go any where. A while back the son bite my FIL on the arm. FIL is diabetic so it never healed correctly and the skin around it eventually got infected that they had to remove that spot on his arm!!! In-laws were so afraid to tell the parents that they didn't say a thing!!
 

pampchefsarah

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The crazy part is both of the parents are well educated, highly paid people! It's crazy to watch them think that this behavior is acceptable.

I do agree with everyone, it's only going to get worse. It's finally got to the point that I cannot stand it anymore.

As far as DH's parents, they are the best in the world! They do try to lay down some laws with the kids but they don't get any support from the parents so it doesn't go any where. A while back the son bite my FIL on the arm. FIL is diabetic so it never healed correctly and the skin around it eventually got infected that they had to remove that spot on his arm!!! In-laws were so afraid to tell the parents that they didn't say a thing!!

They not only should have told THEIR SON, but they should also have said they were no longer going to watch the kids, because it's putting your FIL's health in danger. They may be the best parents/in-laws in the world, except where they are enabling this behavior, and the associated neglect on the part of the parents (yes, at least IMHO, not disciplining your kids is a form of neglect, because you don't have their health and safety at interest - only your own convenience).

That said, though, Heidi is right that the kids should be checked for any underlying physical or mental issues, before assuming this should all be laid on the heads of the parents. However, not doing so goes back to the issue of neglect.
 

DEBBI

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May 25, 2007
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  • #28
I have reread this thread several times and I must have missed something. Where is DH during all of this? Why can't he step in with the DB and SIL? Maybe a weekly dinner at your home with just the parents in laws would be better.
 

ChefBeckyD

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  • #29
The crazy part is both of the parents are well educated, highly paid people! It's crazy to watch them think that this behavior is acceptable.

I do agree with everyone, it's only going to get worse. It's finally got to the point that I cannot stand it anymore.

As far as DH's parents, they are the best in the world! They do try to lay down some laws with the kids but they don't get any support from the parents so it doesn't go any where. A while back the son bite my FIL on the arm. FIL is diabetic so it never healed correctly and the skin around it eventually got infected that they had to remove that spot on his arm!!! In-laws were so afraid to tell the parents that they didn't say a thing!!


So, what you are saying is that, in a more subtle way, the parents are also bullies?
 

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