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is this expected with their ages?


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My sister's kids, ages 16, 12 and 7, often come over to our house. They're pretty good about playing with my kids who are 4.5 and 1.5 despite their age differences. We very rarely go to my sister's house, but today my DH went there with our DD because my 16 year old nephew had bought the components to build a computer and wanted my DH to help him. My DD was so excited to go there because she just loves her cousins.

 

My DH and DD just got home and my DH was upset because the whole time they were over at my sister's (about 3 hours) no one played with our DD. She kept begging them all, but the 16 year old was busy with my DH (understandable), my niece the 12 year old just sat in her room watching TV and my 7 year old nephew played video games that my DH really didn't want our DD watching, but he kind of had no choice. My little nephew has always been allowed to play games he shouldn't (like, rated for aged 17 and up) so he'll do these things at his house while my DD is there, but we don't allow this in our home. My sister doesn't really keep her little one from doing these things in front of our DD even though she knows how we feel. That's a whole other post right there. :glare:

 

Anyway, if the situation were reversed and we had the older kids, my DH and I would make sure our children played with their little cousins. Or are we just clueless about what kids these ages are like and when ours are older we'll understand you just can't make them play with younger kids?

 

Also, my DH spent 3 hours building this computer for my nephew and even gave him a monitor worth $250 and my DH said he barely got a thank you for it. Again, our kids (in our inexperienced minds) would be more grateful and show it and would do a little something for their uncle for doing all that.

 

What do you think? Are kids those ages just like that where they don't want to play with younger kids and aren't as grateful as they should be or should they have more manners and play with their little cousin and show more appreciation to their uncle?

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My kids are used to entertaining little ones and I would have mentioned it to them but every family is different. Did your dh ask if one of the kids could play with her as he was busy? Kids that age can be pretty self-centered. They just don't think sometimes. Why couldn't your dd watch tv with the 12-year old and play dolls beside her?

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I think that, when they're at your house, there are toys appropriate to play with along with toddlers and preschoolers. In a house with kids 7 and up, those toys don't really exist.

 

The 16 yo had a project. The 7 and 12 yos were doing what they do at home. Because they were at home.

 

No big deal, but probably something to remember: the age gap only works well on the younger kids' turf.

 

Eta: my youngest are 7 and, while they don't play video games, we don't have much to do that would entertain a 4 yo. My house probably wouldn't even be safe for a toddler; we're just not in that stage anymore.

Edited by MyCrazyHouse
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Some of it is normal. Teens can be awkward and not speak a lot. My nieces barely gave a thank you or even talked to us when they were teens. Then they hit 20s and suddenly their old personalities come back.

 

The 7 yr old playing the games, IMO, should have been told to do something they could do together, instead of something she isn't allowed to do for awhile anyway.

 

We had a bday party recently for our girls. One of my sisters that doesn't have kids came, but of course my girls were busy playing with all of their friends. It is hard for her to get used to as they grow when their friends are around that she is not the center of their world anymore. So I made sure they each called her today to say thanks for coming and to really tell her that they liked their gifts, because when they opened them they were overwhelmed with a lot going on, and may not have told her how much they really liked them.

 

I also babysit a 3 yr old niece and it is tough for my girls to have her around a lot when they want to do what they want to do, but they don't want her getting into their stuff or losing it. In my case, the 8 yr old has a harder time sharing, and my 10 yr old has a lot more patience with her. But all of those teen hormones haven't hit her yet either :)

 

Anyway, so yes, I do think some of it is normal..

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Is it possible the cousins weren't expecting your daughter to come along with your husband and weren't prepared to entertain her?

 

My kids don't have younger cousins, but we often have friends with younger kids over. My kids will play with them and enjoy them for a time, but honestly? They get a little tired of it if we do it often, or if they stay many hours. They are just at a different maturity level and have different interests. I didn't fully understand that until my kids got older.

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Well not particularly nice or gracious of them, but I don't know that it is expected.

 

:iagree: I don't know if I'd expect my older kids to keep a little one entertained during the whole visit. It sounds like your dh was there for quite awhile, if I'm understanding correctly.

 

Personally, I probably wouldn't have sent my dd over there at all if I knew my dh couldn't watch her. Or else I would have asked the older kids to babysit her (and paid them for it), if I expected them to play with her for hours. Playing with little kids can be mind-numbingly boring.

Edited by DianeW88
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Is it possible the cousins weren't expecting your daughter to come along with your husband and weren't prepared to entertain her?

 

 

:iagree:

 

If he was there to help work on the computer, good etiquette would have required calling ahead and asking if it would be okay for her to tag along as he would be otherwise disposed and someone would have to care for her.

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My kids are used to entertaining little ones and I would have mentioned it to them but every family is different. Did your dh ask if one of the kids could play with her as he was busy? Kids that age can be pretty self-centered. They just don't think sometimes. Why couldn't your dd watch tv with the 12-year old and play dolls beside her?

 

My DH would have asked if they were at our house, but he doesn't feel comfortable at my sister's asking/doing anything (it's weird there, trust me). My sister was there and he was hoping she would have said something.

 

My niece doesn't have any dolls and she was probably watching Jersey Shore. :glare:

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:iagree:

 

If he was there to help work on the computer, good etiquette would have required calling ahead and asking if it would be okay for her to tag along as he would be otherwise disposed and someone would have to care for her.

 

They would have been mad if my DD didn't come. As it was I kept my DS home because it was his naptime and they wanted him there. :)

 

They all knew we were all going to come over, but the weather held us up so I ended up staying home with my DS.

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My DH would have asked if they were at our house, but he doesn't feel comfortable at my sister's asking/doing anything (it's weird there, trust me). My sister was there and he was hoping she would have said something.

 

My niece doesn't have any dolls and she was probably watching Jersey Shore. :glare:

 

Then why, oh why, would you send her over there when you knew he wouldn't be able to watch or entertain her?

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They would have been mad if my DD didn't come. As it was I kept my DS home because it was his naptime and they wanted him there. :)

 

They all knew we were all going to come over, but the weather held us up so I ended up staying home with my DS.

 

I don't think that their anger is a good enough reason to dictate whether your kids go or not. You wisely kept your ds home and while they might have wanted him there, they got over it. I think that unless you are going to be there too, perhaps with some toys that you bring over for the visit, that it might be best to keep your dd home for visits of this nature. But having said that, I don't think it is really that big a deal. What I mean is that these sorts of family things happen to all of us and you learn to adapt in a way that is best for your family in the long run. :grouphug:

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I think that, when they're at your house, there are toys appropriate to play with along with toddlers and preschoolers. In a house with kids 7 and up, those toys don't really exist.

 

The 16 yo had a project. The 7 and 12 yos were doing what they do at home. Because they were at home.

 

:iagree:I don't think you should have expected them to entertain your child and they may not have known how to entertain a child that age with what they had at home. Wanting to see a cousin is very different than being expected to keep a preschooler entertained for a couple of hours.

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I find it weird. My dds would have entertained her w/out being asked. My ds would have to been asked, but he would have done it no problem. Oh, and if a little had asked him, he would have.

 

Same here.

 

I don't think that their anger is a good enough reason to dictate whether your kids go or not. You wisely kept your ds home and while they might have wanted him there, they got over it. I think that unless you are going to be there too, perhaps with some toys that you bring over for the visit, that it might be best to keep your dd home for visits of this nature. :grouphug:

 

:iagree:

 

Why would they have been angry if she had not gone, given that no one wanted to play with her? Even if the kids didn't want to, the aunt should have if she wanted her there.

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If my kids had their younger cousins here, I would expect them to entertain the younger cousins, but that's the dynamic in our family. They are used to dealing with much younger children. If I took my kids along to the house of some friends or family, I wouldn't expect the same. I would hope! And I would be secretly annoyed and disappointed if they didn't take the initiative, but no, I wouldn't expect it. Now you know, so chalk it up to a learning experience.

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My DH would have asked if they were at our house, but he doesn't feel comfortable at my sister's asking/doing anything (it's weird there, trust me). My sister was there and he was hoping she would have said something.

 

 

 

I'm sorry, but if you know it's weird at your sister's house... and you knew your husband would be uncomfortable, maybe everyone should have gone so you could supervise your kids with your sister?

 

Family relationships seem like they should be easy (kids play with their cousins) but often they are not. If you know your sister allows her kids to play games you think are inappropriate, you might keep your kids out of her house except for planned family events.

 

It's weird at my sister's house too.

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What do you think? Are kids those ages just like that where they don't want to play with younger kids and aren't as grateful as they should be or should they have more manners and play with their little cousin and show more appreciation to their uncle?

 

I do think perception is relative to the time of life you are living with your children right now. If the teenage boy thanked him, then moved on to being engrossed with the computer...that is kind of to be expected. Your husband could have been a little grumpy b/c no one watched your child for him.

I read through some of the posts. If you were all going and plans changed, then a quick call to see if dd would have someone to watch her was in order. If you would have all went, you would have been there to watch your family and keep them entertained after the novelty of the cousins coming over wore off for your neices and nephew.

You also talk about your sister's parenting choices for older kids with a lot of judgement. You complain that her children were doing things that truthfully are age appropriate. Young boys play video games not appropriate for preschool girls. Preteen and teen girls watch a lot of junk on tv and text their friends a lot. You can't expect your sister to punish her kids by censoring their normal activities just because your child is over.

I have a 12, 11, 9, and 5 year old. My 12, 11, and 9 year old often are doing other things and will not play with their 5 year old sibling. A few years ago, I would have had a totally different answer for you, but now I have preteen girls, a boy who is almost to double digits that loves video games, and a just past preschool boy. They are his siblings and I would not expect them to keep him occupied for hours without asking them if they could help me out and keep him busy. I would gently explain that he is 5 and just looks up to them. Yes, they need reminding they can hurt his feelings. I also do think of it as my oldest babysitting if we ask her to entertain her 5 year old brother while we are busy.

I would not say anything to my children for going about their daily routine while a younger cousin was over with a parent who was coming to work on a project. I would probably not allow a child under 5 into my girl's room b/c of things getting broken that are expensive. Their brothers aren't even allowed in their room. If they came out and talked to the cousin and were polite and then went about their business, then I would consider them to have had decent manners.

Honestly, in the situation you described I would probably wind up watching or trying to entertain the 4 year old while my brother in law worked with my oldest. I would probably be fed up at the sulky child who doesn't understand that there are no toys at my house for her and that my kids are just plain busy with things that interest them. You do also have totally different parenting perspective and styles when your oldest is 5 compared to your oldest is 16. You and your sister are in totally different parenting worlds. What is a big deal to you...is not to her...and vice versa.

I understand the family getting together part, but once you weren't part of the equation...you should have realized that your dd would have nothing to do over there while dh was working. Your children are young. Your rules fit your children. It is natural for a young child to want to go and play with their older cousins. However, it isn't just as natural for an older child to want to play with a much younger child or a younger child of a different gender just because they come over. It also may not be possible for them to "play" at their house with your child. Older children do not typically have toys or anything age appropriate to engage younger children in their house if they do not have siblings of the same age.

If you or dh didn't give the Aunt a heads up that plans changed, you can't fault them b/c your dh and child had a bad time. They needed a warning that you weren't coming and your little one was coming and would need to be supervised. You can't expect her cousins to babysit her without being told that they need to help out. If it was hours that I expected a teenage cousin (or even my own dd12) to keep up with my ds5 while I worked on a computer, I would probably offer them money for a pizza and incentive to help me out. I would let them know that it would help me out a lot if they could take up some time with ds5 while I was busy.

I wouldn't expect to show up with a preschooler at a house with all older children and expect her to have something to do or expect the big kids to babysit her and keep her entertained while I work.

Edited by OpenMinded
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Well not particularly nice or gracious of them, but I don't know that it is expected.

Yep, that. If I had to bring a little child to a house where there weren't any other kids her age, I would have brought along something for her to do.

On the other hand, it would have been nice for the family to make an effort to keep her happy and out of your husband's hair while he was doing stuff to help them.

 

I gather that views are different nowadays, but when I was a kid, it was not permitted to entertain yourself alone while there were visitors in the house, unless the kids were explicitly dismissed (eg so the grownups could chat kid free). And yes, we were expected to entertain cousins or children of our parents' friends whether we felt like it or not.

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If my kids had their younger cousins here, I would expect them to entertain the younger cousins, but that's the dynamic in our family. They are used to dealing with much younger children. If I took my kids along to the house of some friends or family, I wouldn't expect the same. I would hope! And I would be secretly annoyed and disappointed if they didn't take the initiative, but no, I wouldn't expect it. Now you know, so chalk it up to a learning experience.

 

Yes, this. When my youngest grandchildren come over (4.5, 3 and 18mo) my 11yo twins know they are expected to help entertain/play with them. They cannot just do their own thing. I would hope that would happen in other's homes but certainly wouldn't count on it.

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You aren't talkiing about 15 minutes or an hour even. You are talking a few hours with from my understanding questionable weather. My children who are those ages would have nothing to entertain a child of that age in the house with for that amount of time. I don't think it is fair either to assume a child is without manners or rude not to babysit their cousins while the father works on a project. If the Mom and whole family were along, she could have kept the child entertained.

The only child I would expect to entertain a 4.5 year old cousin for hours on end would be another cousin similar in age. The parent does not like the activities the older children are allowed to engage in and was upset that the 7 year old nephew was including the 4.5 yr old child in his inappropriate video games. They did not bring anything for the 4.5 year old to play or watch.

I have children these ages that have a sibling not much older than her child. If I expected them to keep him entertained for hours, I would definitely call it babysitting and I do ask my 12 year old to keep an eye on the little one or watch him while I go in my room to make important calls or take out the trash or go to the post box. I don't just assume she will realize I am busy and she needs to step up. She is 12. She still needs guidance in this area.

When they are at her house, her child has her toys and the older children are engaged. At their house, there is nothing for them to engage her with or play with her with for hours on end. If the weather was questionable, that rules out hide/seek and tag. I would not allow hide/seek or tag in my house. I would not allow small children in my kids rooms either. There are things that are not age appropriate, expensive items, and breakable items.

They should have engaged the 12 year old to babysit the child while the father worked and they should have brought toys for her to play with while she was there. That would have given the 12 year old the means to do a good job with the cousin and to know what was expected of her.

The father was the only one there. He was working on a project. The whole family was supposed to come over. I know people think differently, but if this was my sister's dh and their youngest and my ds5 was not home...I know that the only child I have that would be able to entertain her for hours on end would be my 12 year old who has taken the Super Sitter class and been taught how to deal with small children in those type of situations. In my opinion, they weren't expecting the cousins to "play" with her, they were expecting them to supervise her while the dh worked which is called babysitting. As for the 7 year old boy, my ds9 would think that playing with her was letting her play/watch the video games. They would all be inappropriate games for a 4.5 year old girl. Honestly, his room would not have anything that would interest a preschool girl for a few years now. So if they didn't specifically ask the 12 year old to keep an eye on her and give her ideas on how to keep her busy for hours, then no I don't think it is reasonable for a 12 year old to know what to do naturally.

It isn't bad manners not to babysit your cousin when you haven't been asked to watch her and when you don't bring the means for them to entertain her for hours on end.

We have all been in the situation where we go somewhere and stay longer than expected. I know dealing with a toddler/preschooler that had no toys along or had gotten bored with the few things we did bring was hard for me as a grown adult Mother of the child. If you said they stayed for 30 minutes or so, then yes I would have taken by 12 year old aside and asked her to keep the little one busy. I would have done that for hours as well, but I will admit that we would be hard pressed to find something for a small girl to do for hours at our house besides netflix and wii. The boys' room is just not a place for a little girl. I just find it hard that there are so many people that think a child (the 12 year old) should naturally know how to babysit the little cousin. My 12 year old would b/c she has had a class and I trust her with all of my children.

I just don't see hours of watching a small cousin as being anything other than babysitting if there is not a parent there that is available to watch them (the dh was working the whole time).

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FWIW, the whole situation with your sister sounds almost exactly like it was between my sister and me a year ago -- before the whole thing just exploded and died.

 

She has the older set of kid, I have the younger set. Her children are less supervised/disciplined, allowed to be rude/disrespectful, allowed to do things we don't let our children do. There was constant tension, in spite of our best efforts to try to stay connected. And so on.

 

My best advice to you is to live your own life with your own nuclear family (husband and children), and to keep your heart strongly guarded. I do mean that -- guard your heart -- because it sounds like a painful, out-of-the-blue rift is in the making. And if you can move out of state, that might help, too. :tongue_smilie:

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This is the norm in our culture for teens, but I do not think it is healthy or kind. When you have guests, you extend yourself to make your guests comfortable. I don't see why that standard should be any different for teens or older kids.

 

As for the TV show and the video--I would have gone all Mama Bear on that one. Either they take measures to respect the ages of your children and what is appropriate for them to watch (a standard set by the parents) OR, if they refuse to change what they are watching/playing, then your husband should take your kids and LEAVE. It is their home, so they have the right to do as they please no matter how rude, but your husband does not have to participate in something that is not good for your children.

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The only means needed are a mind and some playspace. Do your children not know how to play tag, hide-n-seek, or pretend with other children who are not their same age for hours on end? In my family they do. In dh's they don't -- they can't play with a sibling one year difference without it dissolving into a choking contest. Guess which families have cousins that know each other after adulthood and believe that family is important. Same question for siblings.

 

I think it is rude to expect children to watch a small child while a parent is busy for hours. Yes, my children can play those games, but not inside. We do not have a house with any area for small children. The weather outside was bad according to the original poster. I find it offensive that you are projecting your feelings about your dh's family towards my children whom you do not know. My children do play well with each other, but they do not play together all the time. You are talking hours in which the adult with the child was busy working. The child should not have been brought. The mom should have kept the child home with her and the sibling.

And honestly, I think a small child watching a smaller child is a recipe for injury and disaster. A 7 yr old boy is not capable of keeping a 4.5 yr old girl for hours. Especially if he is the baby of the family. I would think the 12 yr old would be capable if she was asked to help out. They should have asked them to help out before ever coming over. From the description of her nieces and nephew, I would highly doubt that the 12 yr old would be a responsible sitter either.

We have cousins that we love and the kids visit often, but I would not entrust my ds5 with his 13 yr old girl cousin. She isn't even capable of watching her 8 yr old sister. My 12 and 11 yr old have been left in charge of their brothers and know what to do and how to act without being bossy and overbearing. Not all 12 and 11 year olds know how to act with small children or how to watch over them while a parent is busy.

I do think that the situation described was a recipe for disaster b/c the adults in the situation did not think about the other family's situation and needs. I am talking about both the dad that brought a small child while he would be busy and wouldn't ask the aunt for help and the aunt who didn't take her 12 yr old aside and ask her to help with the little one.

 

Was the aunt busy cooking? Where was the aunt? I would be more focused on my sibling and why she didn't watch my child than focused on the children not babysitting my child.

Edited by OpenMinded
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Maybe the older cousins and OP's sister don't consider them "company" but rather, family, and thus don't feel bound by the same rules of hospitality they might use when non-family-members visit.

 

I wouldn't expect non-family members to bring a small child for us to entertain while the adult worked. That would be considered babysitting.

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As for the TV show and the video--I would have gone all Mama Bear on that one. Either they take measures to respect the ages of your children and what is appropriate for them to watch (a standard set by the parents) OR, if they refuse to change what they are watching/playing, then your husband should take your kids and LEAVE. It is their home, so they have the right to do as they please no matter how rude, but your husband does not have to participate in something that is not good for your children.

 

Why would you expect a parent to censor her kid's viewing/watching habits based on your views? That would be punishing her kids b/c yours came over to visit. That will cause a rift and the cousins will get angry with the little one over it. If it was the family room, I agree that age appropriate material be shown.

The parents of the little one should have sent an appropriate dvd with the child and asked the Aunt if she minded watching the little one while the dh helped her son. Or they should have asked the 12 year old to watch the little one.

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I find it ludicrous that people would assume that a 12 and 7 year old would be capable of keeping a small child entertained for hours without being asked to do so and that they must be flawed if they can't.

The dh was going to work at the house on a computer. If this was a stranger's house and they had a 16, 12, and 7 year old would you think it odd that they didn't keep a small child busy while the dh worked???? Would you expect them to play with the 4.5 year old who brought no age appropriate toys for hours? :confused: Just because it is family does not mean that it is appropriate to expect them to watch your kids while you work.

This did not sound like a social visit from the second the mom and sibling were not going due to nap and weather. That changes the dynamic of the visit.

I am thinking about it from the perspective of a parent of older children who have had their things broken and ruined by little kids. I also say this as a parent of an older child who a smaller child has gotten angry at during a visit and the parent of the little one has cried and my kid got blamed for their kid just being little and cranky. I don't like for my children to be put into these situations b/c the older child will always be the one blamed when things go badly or the child gets upset and starts crying or has feelings hurt.

It doesn't mean my kids can't be in those situations. It doesn't mean that I encourage them to go to their room and close the door. Although I have in situations where a small child really needed a nap and their parent to watch them instead of my child struggling with a cranky, tired small person. It means the situation was a bad one from the second an adult brought a small child with them to work on a project. If they would have arrived and the dh would have asked the Aunt to watch the child or asked the Aunt if the 12 yr old would mind keeping an eye on the child (and the family of the small child would have brought a small bag with age appropriate toys), then the whole visit would have went differently.

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My oldest is eight, so no where near as big. She happily (most of the time) plays with and supervises her younger sibs. She would have seen another kid as babysitting and done it if we asked and especially if she was nominally paid, but otherwise it would have quickly gotten annoying for her.

 

Echoing other posters, I didn't really get that when my oldest was a preschooler. I thought everyone should graciously play and entertain... But that's not really fair to the older ones supervising.

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And how will the 12 or the 7 become responsible sitters? Those who host the cousins or have multiage playgroups in the neighborhood get the skills as they grow up.

 

Here they take a sitter class at the hospital and get certified in cpr and Heimlich maneuver as well as learning how to deal with small children when adults are not handy. A 7 yr old will make poor decisions in respect to a 4.5 yr old if the 4.5 yr old gets on their nerves. I find this more true of my son than my dd's at that age. I would not leave him in charge of his 5 year old brother at all. He is not there maturity wise.

If I would not be comfortable leaving a child alone at home with my younger child, then I would not be comfortable with their decision making skills while I am busy for hours. So no, I do not think a 7 yr old is ready for that responsibility without an older sibling in charge or an adult whose attention is not otherwise engaged within earshot.

YMMV but I grew up with lots of cousins. Children make bad decisions. I have the pitchfork scar to prove it and we weren't fighting. We just came up with a grand game that went horribly wrong and we were old enough to know better and the same age.

This wasn't a hosting the cousins type of visit. It was a visit for the Dad to help the older teen fix a computer. You are talking about 2 totally different dynamics. There was no adult handy that could monitor and make sure the children were making good decisions.

I know my kids' cousins are being brought up very different than mine. I know my niece does not have the experience or demeanor to watch over younger cousins properly. I suggested the babysitting course to them and they weren't interested. Every family is different. I would not leave my kids alone with their kids.

I wouldn't risk my 5 yr old with older kids who have no clue how to watch younger kids. I am responding to the individual situation-she bailed on coming b/c of weather and little one napping...her dh was going to work on a computer and they brought dd without thinking through what she was going to do for hours...her dh got miffed that dd wasn't being watched by bigger kids (who probably would have exposed her to inappropriate things) and his 4.5 yr old dd probably kept bugging him making the work take longer. In that situation, I would say her expectations of her nieces and nephews were unrealistic. I would say that she should have called ahead and told her sibling (the aunt) she wasn't going to make it and asked if it was alright for dd to still come and could the aunt watch dd and make sure she didn't watch inappropriate videos or games. Whether the cousins would be angry that my young children didn't come would not have weighed on my decision at all. My decision would be based on how my sister responded to whether she could keep an eye on my child while dh worked. If the aunt would have been asked, the whole scenario would have turned out differently.

But if you feel that putting your small child at risk with unsupervised older children who do not have experience babysitting smaller children in order for them to learn the ropes, that is your choice. :auto:

Edited by OpenMinded
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I wouldn't expect non-family members to bring a small child for us to entertain while the adult worked. That would be considered babysitting.

:iagree:This. I'm not sure why OP's dh took the kids over there when he was not in a position to actively watch them. Where the kids invited? Why was there an expectation that they would be entertained.?

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But if you feel that putting your small child at risk with unsupervised older children who do not have experience babysitting smaller children in order for them to learn the ropes, that is your choice. :auto:

 

I think Bean gets it now. :lol:

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And how will the 12 or the 7 become responsible sitters? Those who host the cousins or have multiage playgroups in the neighborhood get the skills as they grow up.

Was the 12-year old even asked to sit? Why assume just because there is a 12-year old in the house that he/she wants to babysit.

 

The OP's dh was bugged because he barely got a thank you. Did he ask anyone to babysit his kids?

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May I say again that with young kids and families it is normal to go through these sorts of situations where there are different expectations? I would adjust my own expectations and future choices about what to do when there is a situation like this, but I wouldn't feel too badly about it or make a big deal about it in the family.

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May I say again that with young kids and families it is normal to go through these sorts of situations where there are different expectations? I would adjust my own expectations and future choices about what to do when there is a situation like this, but I wouldn't feel too badly about it or make a big deal about it in the family.

 

:iagree:

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My kids are 14 and 18; my nephews are 5 and 6. My boys have always been taught to play with their little cousins and keep them out of mischief. It doesn't matter whose house we are at; it's expected of them to take on that responsiblity as the elder kids.

 

IMO, it sounds like maybe the OP's sister has lower expectations for their family than the OP does and that is why her kids did what they wanted to do in their home.

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IMO, it sounds like maybe the OP's sister has lower expectations for their family than the OP does and that is why her kids did what they wanted to do in their home.

 

Just because the OP's sister has different expectations for her family, does not mean that they are lower expectations.

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Just because the OP's sister has different expectations for her family, does not mean that they are lower expectations.

 

:iagree: I don't know why there is so much criticism toward the older kids who probably didn't invite their little cousin over in the first place.

 

The older kids are nice to their young cousins while at the young cousins' house, presumably using their toys and with age-appropriate activities. Maybe they have no reason to think they needed to accommodate the youngers when the younger kids are the visitors, particularly since, as has been said, they probably don't have the right type of toys.

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OP, I'll start by saying that, as you say they are generally pretty good about playing with your kids, I would extend a lot of grace in this instance. When the situation changed, the plans should have changed; ie, when the whole family was no longer going, the ADULTS should have talked about needed changes. Hey, sis, I am not taking ds out in the weather, but dh can still come help if you will watch dd for him.

 

As far as the lack of gratitude, I would tend to chalk it up to a combo of nephew's excitement over the computer, and dh's annoyance over the whole day :D. When you're aggravated, you tend to keep right on being aggravated, kwim? Even if not, nephew might come through with some heartfelt thanks next time he sees dh. It could happen, lol.

 

The only means needed are a mind and some playspace. Do your children not know how to play tag, hide-n-seek, or pretend with other children who are not their same age for hours on end? In my family they do. In dh's they don't -- they can't play with a sibling one year difference without it dissolving into a choking contest. Guess which families have cousins that know each other after adulthood and believe that family is important. Same question for siblings.

 

I myself would jump out of the nearest window if expected to play tag or pretend with a 4-yr-old for hours on end. None of us were expected to entertain younger cousins for hours on end growing up, but we have a very close extended family. We see each other all the time, we're there for each other when needed. Happy, close families aren't all the same.

 

Just because the OP's sister has different expectations for her family, does not mean that they are lower expectations.

 

Amen, sister.

 

I definitely think that getting all bent out of shape over this is an over-reaction. Does dh really know that no one played with her the ENTIRE time, or is it maybe that someone played with her for a little while (which is "nothing" to a 4-yr-old), or that she didn't want to or wasn't allowed to do what they were doing?

 

It sounds like the 7-yr-old would have let her play video games. I don't know if the 12-yr-old offered to let her watch tv, but I wouldn't go all beast-mom if she didn't. She might have just started her period, she might have been having a rough day for other reasons //shrug//. I have 12- & 14-yr-old girls, and I promise you that some days shutting themselves away in their room is a mercy for all concerned.

 

It was a bad day. Things didn't go as expected. It happens, y'know? I'd be glad that the kids usually do play together pretty well, vow to plan better the next time, and move on.

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