Jump to content

Menu

what would you do in this situation?


ProudGrandma
 Share

Recommended Posts

My daughter is almost 13.  She is a very crafty, quiet, non-athletic, not interested in tech stuff, would not be considered a "popular" kid if she went to school.

 

We are getting together with my brothers and their families.  My older brother has 4 kids...2 female college grads and 1 female senior in HS...and one son, 12.  (they are from Chicago and attend public school).  My younger brother has 3 kids...their daughter is 14, and 2 sons 13 and 11. (they live in NYC and attend public school.) 

 

The problem is my daughter will have NOTHING in common with any of the girls...they all have cell phones, ipods, tablets, have watched the latest teen TV shows and wear the latest fashion.   My daughter has none of those things...or have done any of those things.  (she is not backward or weird, but not like a "popular" kid either)

 

We will be with them for about a week...and she is worried that she will be left alone and looked upon as a "little girl" because she knows all of this about her cousins.  She has no desire to be like them...but wants to not lonely for the week either. 

 

There will be some activities that will be ok...like swimming at the beach, playing games...but there will be lots of "down time" too....so if anybody has any sugggestions or ideas, I would love to hear them.  thanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, is it possible to organize some structured activities, especially right at the beginning, but also throughout your visit, at least once in a while, to give them something they can all do together that sort of side steps the issues you are anticipating may be there?  Like charades or marco polo or a board game like Monopoly or Settlers of Catan or something?  Or maybe a family project of some kind, like doing interviews and editing them together to form a video scrapbook?

 

And other than that I would suggest that she try hard not to take it personally if they aren't certain how to interact with her.  Be open and friendly but maybe bring books to read or a journal to write in or something like that so when they withdraw into their electronic devices she isn't bored.

 

:grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If they all have cell phones, ipads and tablets, I suggest your daughter bring plenty of books and other solitary-type things that bring her joy.  My guess is that they may spend their downtime on facebook, texting and watching movies on their tablets.  I don't think her cousins will think much about her choice of entertainment.   I know my teens wouldn't care if their cousin didn't text or have an ipad.  They'd share theirs if he or she were interested it their electronics (if it's okay with the parent).  They might even been interested in your daughter's crafts or books.  Many teens who have electronics aren't solely interested in them, they often are interested in crafts too.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My cousins were much younger than me and boys who had very different interests. We still enjoyed spending time together and could figure out how to do so on our own. If you think they're really likely to ignore her, I'd bring solitary activities for her.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Does she like activities like jewelry making that she might be able to share with her cousins? My girls have girl cousins who bring jewelry making kits and huge stashes of nail polish and the girls big and little have a blast making bracelets and earrings and painting each other's toes. If those kinds of activities would be acceptable to your DD I might try investing in some gear she can share and seeing what comes of it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, at times when kids are "retreated" into a solo activity like an Ipod etc, that's really no different than retreating into a book. It's a solo activity that wouldn't really affect the others. So I don't see that this would affect your daughter any more than one kid using an Ipod and another using a tablet. And who knows, maybe one of the cousins will share what they're doing on the tablet? (unless your daughter is not allowed to use them?)

 

Re: shows. My kids watch shows. But, they don't spend any time talking about them. Are you worried that these kids will be spending a lot of time talking about TV shows? Or watching them? (would your daughter not be allowed to watch TV shows with them?)

 

Fashions -- meh. I have boys, so I guess fashion doesn't apply. Also not sure what "the latest" is for girls. As long as she is dressed age appropriately I would think this would be okay, but who knows.

 

My family likes board games and card games, so electronics usually get set aside for these things when cousins are available. In fact, we will be visiting with cousins who don't do video games or TV in July, and my boys have lots of fun activities planned that don't involve talking about TV shows or staring at tablets! (however the cousins DO enjoy playing on my boys' tablets when they get an opportunity!)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My daughter is almost 13.  She is a very crafty, quiet, non-athletic, not interested in tech stuff, would not be considered a "popular" kid if she went to school.

 

We are getting together with my brothers and their families.  My older brother has 4 kids...2 female college grads and 1 female senior in HS...and one son, 12.  (they are from Chicago and attend public school).  My younger brother has 3 kids...their daughter is 14, and 2 sons 13 and 11. (they live in NYC and attend public school.) 

 

The problem is my daughter will have NOTHING in common with any of the girls...they all have cell phones, ipods, tablets, have watched the latest teen TV shows and wear the latest fashion.   My daughter has none of those things...or have done any of those things.  (she is not backward or weird, but not like a "popular" kid either)

 

We will be with them for about a week...and she is worried that she will be left alone and looked upon as a "little girl" because she knows all of this about her cousins.  She has no desire to be like them...but wants to not lonely for the week either. 

 

There will be some activities that will be ok...like swimming at the beach, playing games...but there will be lots of "down time" too....so if anybody has any sugggestions or ideas, I would love to hear them.  thanks.

 

Don't be so quick to assume she'll have nothing in common.  My ds11 has a very nice HTC smartphone, a couple of gaming systems, and watches kids shows.  He has friends that have neither of one or the other, and he's just as happy to play Legos, play with plushes/ stuffed animals, paint, draw, ride bikes, skate, swim, enact Nerf wars, etc.

 

Point being that if you haven't spent a lot of time with your nieces and nephews, it isn't really fair to judge their interests based purely upon what tech devices they own.  Encourage your dd to take some things along that she enjoys, maybe some favorite books, or some of her crafts, and have an open mind.  Don't go with pre-judgements about the cousins, just assume that they will be interested in learning about her, as hopefully, she is interested in learning about them and their hobbies, etc.

 

Also, can you sort of pre-plan a few activities?  Maybe a roller skating night, or a day going to the zoo or a science museum.  Plan for riding bikes (rentals) at a park and follow it up with some ice cream.  Go fishing or canoeing at a local lake. If you are going to be anywhere near Chicago or NYC, there should be TONS of things to do that do not revolve around a, sports, or b, iphones/ipads/ipods. :thumbup:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't be so quick to assume she'll have nothing in common.  My ds11 has a very nice HTC smartphone, a couple of gaming systems, and watches kids shows.  He has friends that have neither of one or the other, and he's just as happy to play Legos, play with plushes/ stuffed animals, paint, draw, ride bikes, skate, swim, enact Nerf wars, etc.

 

Point being that if you haven't spent a lot of time with your nieces and nephews, it isn't really fair to judge their interests based purely upon what tech devices they own.  Encourage your dd to take some things along that she enjoys, maybe some favorite books, or some of her crafts, and have an open mind.  Don't go with pre-judgements about the cousins, just assume that they will be interested in learning about her, as hopefully, she is interested in learning about them and their hobbies, etc.

 

Also, can you sort of pre-plan a few activities?  Maybe a roller skating night, or a day going to the zoo or a science museum.  Plan for riding bikes (rentals) at a park and follow it up with some ice cream.  Go fishing or canoeing at a local lake. If you are going to be anywhere near Chicago or NYC, there should be TONS of things to do that do not revolve around a, sports, or b, iphones/ipads/ipods. :thumbup:

 

LOVE this.

 

OP, it seems to me that you are judging those kids just like you think they will judge your dd.

 

I'm not even sure what popular means to you--it seems like a "high baggage word" to you.

 

Friendly kids don't have to have everything in common with peers. The most socially successful kids are able to take an interest in others, and are apt to discover ways of getting along that aren't necessarily interest-based. So rest assured, even if they play differently or don't like the same things, they are going to be together in a setting that is different/new for EVERYONE--that will give them something in common right off the bat. Help them build from there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If she likes to draw, that can be an activity that leads to at least some interaction, e.g. looking through the drawings and talking about them. You could also look for something interactive. I had a brief two or three days of fame in middle school when I took a book about handwriting analysis to school and analyzed everyone's handwriting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't be so quick to assume she'll have nothing in common. My ds11 has a very nice HTC smartphone, a couple of gaming systems, and watches kids shows. He has friends that have neither of one or the other, and he's just as happy to play Legos, play with plushes/ stuffed animals, paint, draw, ride bikes, skate, swim, enact Nerf wars, etc.

 

Point being that if you haven't spent a lot of time with your nieces and nephews, it isn't really fair to judge their interests based purely upon what tech devices they own. Encourage your dd to take some things along that she enjoys, maybe some favorite books, or some of her crafts, and have an open mind. Don't go with pre-judgements about the cousins, just assume that they will be interested in learning about her, as hopefully, she is interested in learning about them and their hobbies, etc.

 

Also, can you sort of pre-plan a few activities? Maybe a roller skating night, or a day going to the zoo or a science museum. Plan for riding bikes (rentals) at a park and follow it up with some ice cream. Go fishing or canoeing at a local lake. If you are going to be anywhere near Chicago or NYC, there should be TONS of things to do that do not revolve around a, sports, or b, iphones/ipads/ipods. :thumbup:

This is good advice. They could all get along just fine. My DD is 11, and she has two female cousins, 12 and 15, that live in NYC. They're lives are completely different from hers. They're pretty cool and have all the gadgets. DD is super shy and does not. We only see them once or twice a year, but it's always fine when we get together, a little awkward at first, but they warm up and have a nice time. You may be pleasantly surprised. (I hope so!)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's possible it will all work out. 

 

I might plan some things to do as a group:  bake cookies, make pizza,  pop pop corn & put in a funny  movie, get out the Scrabble board etc.  Have meals around the table together and chat it up. I'm sure there are some good stories to be shared, and old and ridiculous family tales the children might like to hear.  I'd also encourage the kids to use their iPads to take vacation photos/ make a movie about their trip to share before they leave.

 

What about organizing a family lawn game like croquet? Croquet is low key-  anyone can play.  Some of the kids might be interested, just for the novelty. I've seen sets at Target for decent prices.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What I have found is that as the kids get older, the "differences" between cousins who meet infrequently become less important. My kids rarely see their cousins - like once every three or four years. When they were little, the age difference between 12 and 4 made it difficult to find things that every one enjoyed. However, on this visit, the ages were 20, 18, 16, 14, and 13. They played card games, Nintendo, and Scrabble. They had a blast! DS22 and his buddy went out and threw the football around with the 14yo who is ball-crazy while everyone else cheered them on.

 

So, yes, bring along some books but also pack a couple of decks of cards and maybe an UNO game. Oh! Just remembered! They also had a great time playing Apples to Apples - that's a wonderful game for teens!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What I have found is that as the kids get older, the "differences" between cousins who meet infrequently become less important. My kids rarely see their cousins - like once every three or four years. When they were little, the age difference between 12 and 4 made it difficult to find things that every one enjoyed. However, on this visit, the ages were 20, 18, 16, 14, and 13. They played card games, Nintendo, and Scrabble. They had a blast! DS22 and his buddy went out and threw the football around with the 14yo who is ball-crazy while everyone else cheered them on.

 

So, yes, bring along some books but also pack a couple of decks of cards and maybe an UNO game. Oh! Just remembered! They also had a great time playing Apples to Apples - that's a wonderful game for teens!

This.

 

Two summers ago we spent time at a family cabin with my cousins and their kids. They all live within 50 miles of each other; my sisters and I grew up thousands of miles away and only visited for a few days each summer.

 

There were two age ranges: 55-40 and 25-12 (youngest dd was by far the youngest). People hung out and talked on the deck, swam and floated on the creek down the hill, cooked together, and played cards and other games after dark. It was a blast!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

thanks for all of the thoughts.  We did this 3 years ago and had an issue....the girls were all talking about Glee and Harry Potter (at the time our kids had not read Harry Potter yet) and our daughter knew nothing of it.  All week there were quotes shared from those things and she was "out of the loop".  Whenever we see our Chicago cousins (which is yearly...sometimes 2 times a year) about 80% of the time they are awake, they all (including the parents) have their faces in their tablet, texting someone, looking something up on their smart phone etc...even right in the middle of a conversation with us...or a card game..and I know that the NY counsins have the same  gadgets and am I sure (knowing them and their family) that unless someone puts a stop to it, I can see the same thing happening.

 

Sure, there will be times of family games, eating, etc...but if the topic of conversation revolves around those things our kids don't have knowlegde of (some by choice, some by parental choice) it makes things hard.  The boys all play soccer and basketball and have never had a problem...it's the girls.  And the 14 year old thinks she is as old as the senior in HS and wants to spend all of her time chasing her and leaving our DD in the dust (or at least that is how it's been in the past.) 

 

And you guys are right...it might not be as bad I envision...but I sort of want to prepare her and myself for "plan B" in needed. 

 

My husband thought if she brought some of her crafty stuff and made all of the kids something, that would be nice..but I think that would make it worse and not better.

 

thanks again.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

thanks for all of the thoughts.  We did this 3 years ago and had an issue....the girls were all talking about Glee and Harry Potter (at the time our kids had not read Harry Potter yet) and our daughter knew nothing of it.  All week there were quotes shared from those things and she was "out of the loop".  Whenever we see our Chicago cousins (which is yearly...sometimes 2 times a year) about 80% of the time they are awake, they all (including the parents) have their faces in their tablet, texting someone, looking something up on their smart phone etc...even right in the middle of a conversation with us...or a card game..and I know that the NY counsins have the same  gadgets and am I sure (knowing them and their family) that unless someone puts a stop to it, I can see the same thing happening.

 

Sure, there will be times of family games, eating, etc...but if the topic of conversation revolves around those things our kids don't have knowlegde of (some by choice, some by parental choice) it makes things hard.  The boys all play soccer and basketball and have never had a problem...it's the girls.  And the 14 year old thinks she is as old as the senior in HS and wants to spend all of her time chasing her and leaving our DD in the dust (or at least that is how it's been in the past.) 

 

And you guys are right...it might not be as bad I envision...but I sort of want to prepare her and myself for "plan B" in needed. 

 

My husband thought if she brought some of her crafty stuff and made all of the kids something, that would be nice..but I think that would make it worse and not better.

 

thanks again.

:grouphug:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It sounds to me like maybe you are also hurt by your family's behavior. I know as a parent I'm always hurt more by perceived slights to my kids and it's worse if they are the same things I've experienced myself. I wonder if you end up feeling isolated and lonely because of the difference in lifestyles between your family and your sibling's families and that is making you worry more for your dd also. It sounds like you want the other girls to think of your daughter as "cool" and I'm wondering if that's been an issue for you. As someone who was never cool or popular myself, I do understand the feeling of always being on the outside. 

 

It's unlikely that the dynamic is going to change. Neither lifestyle/interests are bad or wrong, but they are just different. I think if you are all going to be together you going to have to learn to accept that. Yes, it might be annoying to you that they use electronics and gadgets a lot more than you would, but it's not likely they will change that. You could make it into a big issue, you could choose to avoid them or if you are going to choose to spend a week of vacation with them then you need to accept it. 

 

I'd find other things to do, both for you and for your dd. Craft together, read, play games, go for walks, find local things to do, do a giant puzzle, etc. The other girls might get interested and do the same things or they might spend all their time doing things that don't interest you and your dd. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If your daughter just plain isn't interested in the same things as the other kids, then yes, it's likely she'll feel left out of conversations sometimes. But, to be honest, I'm not sure it's fair to expect that to be otherwise. Kids and teens will tend to hang out with and talk with others who know about and like the same things they do, just like adults. And while adults might choose to go out of their way to include one person who doesn't share their interests, that's not a skill most kids have yet developed. (Try turning it around in your mind: Has your daughter decided to make a point of watching the same shows, buying the same tech gadgets or reading the same books so that she will be prepared with things to talk about during the visit? Has she tried talking about the things that interest the other kids?) 

 

If it were me, I would make sure I talked with my daughter before the trip about these potential issues and encouraged her to enjoy the group activities and be prepared to do her own thing when necessary. Neither of my kids ever goes anywhere without at least one book. If your daughter likes to read, I would have her take some fun books of her choice along and assume she will be reading during downtime. I think craft projects are a good idea, too, especially if you can take things that are flexible, things your daughter could enjoy on her own that would also allow for others to participate if they choose to do so. 

 

The mere fact that your daughter is related to these other kids doesn't mean they have to be best friends. I would encourage you to think of things that will make the time pleasant for your daughter, whether the others participate or not, and let things take their natural course.

 

For what it's worth, I think your daughter sounds great. And, despite the fact that he does own the dreaded smartphone and has read Harry Potter, my son would much prefer to play cards and board games with a group than to isolate himself with the gadget. But, as I always tell my kids, the only person you can change is yourself. So, if you want to have others in your life, you need to learn to accept them as they are and value what they have to give you, rather than being upset it isn't more.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think a food books is great company, so I would take some along. If there is some shared time swimming, eating meals, playing games etc, then it seems normal to me that there is also unstructured time when the readers reader, the texters text, the golfers golf, etc. Think about it this way - if you took just your immediate family to a cabin, what would your daughter do with her time? Whatever that is is what she should do if she is bored or lonely on this trip. Read a book, take a walk, do somethig fun with Mom, knit - whatever. I would expect the other kids to do their normal things too - including their normal electronic use.

 

I also think that it's good to teach teenagers to find what they do have uncommon with others, or at least learn how to talk to them about their lives.- so you might want to talk to her about how to get her cousins talking. Most people love talking about themselves, so if she asks about their school lives, their hobbies, their plans for the future, there will probably be plenty to talk about. I expect my sons to be able to find things to talk about with their grandmothers, young children etc. In fact, you might want to get a book or card set with questions designed to do that very thing. My son bought a 'chat pack' for his grandmother, and whenever they were in the car, they would pull a card and answer the question (like, "Who did you most admire as a child?' or 'What was your best vacation ever?" This might be good for the dinner table on a trip like this.

 

Finally, one of the best pieces of advice I have been given is that 'no one can resist being adored.' If she shows interest in her cousins, shows affection and admiration and curiousity, they will probably enjoy her company.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

My husband thought if she brought some of her crafty stuff and made all of the kids something, that would be nice..but I think that would make it worse and not better.

 

 

 

That might make her appear younger than she is to her cousins. I'd expect that more from an 8-10 year old. Not a teenager.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It was like this with my son and his boy cousins (they all happened to be boys) when we'd get together for family events for many years.  Not for the exact reasons, but for nothing-in-common type reasons.  We didn't make a big deal of it, and we made sure to let him know he could hang out with us whenever he wanted.  My husband made an effort to be his buddy during those gatherings and they did a lot together.  Of course we all did things together as families too, and everyone was polite and friendly.  As I said, we didn't make a big deal out of it either way, and neither did our son. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, if you want to be part of a specific group, you have to be willing to do some of the stuff the group as a whole wants to do. It's great to have your own interests and to do what you want to do on a routine basis, but it's also great to bend a little and participate in stuff you aren't normally interested in, especially in this situation - limited time frame, people you don't see often. 

 

It isn't anyone's fault that they have different interests, kwim? They just do. So, if they are talking about Harry Potter and your dd hasn't read it or seen it, she can still listen. She can ask who their favorite characters are - that's generally a lively conversation! She can toss a football or a frisbee even if she isn't athletic, and so on. I would strongly encourage her to move out of her comfort zone and stay with the group sometimes even when they are talking about or doing things she isn't interested in. She will never get to know them or discover things they do have in common if she doesn't. 

 

Why are you focusing so hard on the girls? The boys are actually more solidly in your dd's age range, so I would consider the group as a whole. There's no reason for gender separation on a family beach vacation! 

 

I would bring a few fun things that may entice the group - a cool craft or puzzle, slice and bake cookies, tons of frosting and sprinkles to decorate their own cupcakes - but all you can do is offer them. She can bring whatever she usually likes for downtime. 

 

I would bring enough craft supplies to share, but I agree that she shouldn't make something for all of the cousins, simply because yes, that is something a younger child would do, and it won't help her incorporate into the group. 

 

Now, please know that I am saying this next part very gently: you and dd might want to be very careful about how you word things when you talk about her not being interested in tech or popular tv shows. It's almost impossible for the other person to not feel a wee bit defensive when they try to start a conversation and the other person responds with, "I never watch tv" or "My kids have no desire to own a phone." Oh, and my least favorite, that I have heard from a million home schoolers, "My children have no interest in popular culture." 

 

All of those things may be very true, and you certainly don't need to claim an interest you don't have, but they usually don't need to be said. It's just SO easy for it to come across the wrong way. If they ask if you have seen a particular program, you don't have to say you never watch tv, you can simply say "No, but it sounds interesting, what's it about?" One kills the conversation, one moves it along. 

 

I am not saying that you or your dd have done this, I just wanted to offer a caution about it. It's like offering somebody a special dessert, and having them respond, "Oh, I never eat refined sugar." All they had to do was say no thanks, kwim? 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That might make her appear younger than she is to her cousins. I'd expect that more from an 8-10 year old. Not a teenager.

:iagree:

 

I was thinking the same thing, particularly if the youngest of the girl cousins is trying to seem older than she is.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My ds is one of those "NYC kids" with all the gaming, computer, and tech stuff, and he would still be friends with your dd if she seemed like a nice kid. He would try to find fun things that they would both enjoy.

 

He wouldn't like her if she acted like he was spoiled or bad because he has the latest electronics, or if she told him she thought things like watching TV and playing video games were stupid, immoral, and a waste of time. (And that can happen, particularly with certain very conservative homeschoolers.)

 

If your dd is a nice girl and is still rejected by the cousins, please don't blame it on the things they have, or even on the things they like to do. Some kids just have bad attitudes or like to make themselves feel cool and grown up by acting like they're superior and more worldly than other kids. It has nothing to do with where they're from, or what TV shows they watch.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...