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    UCLA_1's Avatar
    UCLA_1 Posts: 17, Reputation: 1
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    #1

    Oct 23, 2016, 07:39 PM
    Socially Inept Child
    Hello and thank you for taking the time to read this. My boyfriend's sister, Karla has a six and a half year old daughter, Sara who behaves quite strangely. As background info, Karla had a husband who had a brain tumor for about six years. This past December, he passed away and Karla had egregious emotional problems throughout his illness and after his death. A month after his death (January), Karla met someone from her Church and they eloped in June. Although I initially felt bad for Karla, her eloping turned me off in addition to some of her other strange tendencies.

    Karla is deeply religious to the point where she reads the bible all day and wants to move to Central America and live in the jungle because it's the "End of Time." In addition, she did not allow Sara to start Kindergarten last year when she was supposed to because of her husband's illness as well as the fact that she wasn't mentally stable to homeschool Sara (she believes the city is corrupt and does not want Sara to interact with people who don't share the same beliefs.) Fast - forward to this year, and her parents convinced her to send Sara to a Christian school in which she reluctantly agreed.

    Here's where it gets annoying as hell. I met her daughter around six months ago at her sixth birthday party and she was incredibly shy. Although I found this to be normal (I'm a teacher), she has not changed an ounce since then. She has yet to say hello to me, let alone wave, and throws tantrums every time her grandparents tell her to say hi or thank you if I buy her something. She hides under the table, behind a lamp (!) under the chair, etc and screams and wails like a two year old to avoid saying hi. It's ridiculous. The other night when I was visiting (my boyfriend still lives with his parents), I was sitting with him on the couch when out of nowhere, Sara started throwing pencils at us (I guess to get our attention) from behind. She practically lives with his parents and they take care of her because Karla is too busy being a bum.

    Karla currently has no job, she is not in school, she has no plans of doing anything, and instead has her husband drop her off at the beach daily before he goes off to his workshift. Her only responsibility includes dropping Sara off in the mornings at school and picking her up next door from her mother at 8:30 pm (although lately, Sara's been spending the night at her grandma's). Sara's grandma picks her up after her workshift from her school and takes care of her. But even that's annoying because she spoils her rotten and keeps using the pre-text that her father died of a tumor to let her get away with everything. Like the other week when Sara threw a tantrum because my boyfriend got her a vanilla donut instead of chocolate, and then drove 20 minutes to the next Dunkin Donuts to buy her the one she wanted. Heck, the grandma even sleeps in the same bed with her regularly and the girl is almost 7. Okay, maybe this is normal (?). But recently, Karla was planning a vacation to the Dominican Republic and wanted to take Sara out of school for two weeks to join them. Her parents wouldn't allow for it to happen considering it's effing ridiculous. I'm so turned off to the point where sometimes I want to break up with my boyfriend. I know it's not rational; but I cringe every time he mentions his sister or when Sara hides under a table to avoid saying hi and throws a fit of rage instead.

    Is this normal and I'm just a critic? Please advise.
    tickle's Avatar
    tickle Posts: 23,801, Reputation: 2674
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    #2

    Oct 24, 2016, 02:19 AM
    She just sounds incredibly over indulged. But I don't see where this is your problem. Your boyfriend seems to be enabling her as well. That is no reason for you to break up with your boyfriend.
    Cat1864's Avatar
    Cat1864 Posts: 8,007, Reputation: 3687
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    #3

    Oct 24, 2016, 05:20 AM
    How do you treat the little girl? Do you smile at her and talk to her in a pleasant voice even if she doesn't respond? Remember that she has been taught to distrust nearly everyone for almost all of her life. It will take a lot of time and patience to gain her trust.

    This child isn't normal by society's standards. Look at what you have said about her life. She doesn't know to act or interact with others because she hasn't been allowed or encouraged to learn until now. She probably is emotionally stunted. I would be very curious to know how she is coping in school. If she is.

    Her grandparents and uncle are well-meaning but don't know how to help her. You seem to be blaming the child for being what her mother made her.

    The child and family need help. Counseling, therapy, anything that gives them the tools to help her grow up in a more stable environment from this point on.

    If you can't cope with being a part of her life or hearing about her, then walk away. It sounds like the uncle could, at some point, end up being her guardian if anything happens to the grandparents. Can you handle that thought?

    If on some level you do care about the child and want to help her, look up some resources for counseling to share with the family. Ask the school guidance counselor where you teach, if they have resources that might help.

    While it technically isn't your problem, you may be one of few 'outsiders' who can help. Just remember that it will take patience and understanding with the entire family. They are going through a lot.

    From here it is your decision.
    talaniman's Avatar
    talaniman Posts: 54,137, Reputation: 10852
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    #4

    Oct 24, 2016, 08:02 AM
    I don't know if this is normal, but it's certainly not unheard of. I suspect you are fairly new to this family dynamic, maybe the whole relationship with this boyfriend is fairly new, less than a year perhaps? If this is true I think it wise to focus more on your relationship with your boyfriend and step back from the family at this point, as aggravating and annoying as they may be. You make no mention how you get along with the other adults, but it can't be great given your opinion of them, so back off and give this more time, and thought since I can understand you WANTING to help, but the bigger issue would be do they WANT your help, or even value your input into their lives which I have little doubt you have yet to share with them.

    I think the better course of action would be talking with your boyfriend about your concerns and seeing if he wants you to help, and if he will support sharing that help with his family for his niece. I hope you don't hold it against him if he does not, because he may just be venting his own frustrations at being as helpless as you are to make reasonable changes within his family.

    I get you thinking someone has to step in for this little girl, but going against a mother and her parents way of doing things is a HUGE challenge that has very high risks of resistance from them against YOU. I advise caution in your whole approach, whether you think this situation is normal or NOT. Without the approval of the adults around this child, any efforts you make can do more harm than good.

    Think this out a lot more, and see what your boyfriend thinks.
    Wondergirl's Avatar
    Wondergirl Posts: 37,870, Reputation: 5429
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    #5

    Oct 24, 2016, 08:28 AM
    One idea: The next time you will be with Sara, bring several children's picture books with you. Sit crosslegged on the floor in the same room where she is. Totally ignore her. Open a book and slowly begin reading in a happy voice. Change your voice as necessary to be different characters. Maybe hold up the book to show her pictures on each page that you read. Curiosity may bring her closer. Still ignore her (no comments to her), and continue to read.

    Or sit crosslegged on the floor and storytell a verbal story in which Sara is the Main Character. Puppets can help with this. " Once upon a time there was a little princess named ... hmmmm ... Sara. She loved to eat [pause in case Sara wants to offer a food name] ... broccoli. One day, the cook said [again pause in case Sara wants to chime in] ..." or somesuch. Sara may eventually be curious and help you tell her story.

    Karla may prefer you use Bible stories, and Sara may have a book collection, so use those instead. This method of "taming" has always worked for me when babysitting restless and "bratty" kids and socializing stray/feral cats.
    joypulv's Avatar
    joypulv Posts: 21,593, Reputation: 2941
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    #6

    Oct 24, 2016, 12:45 PM
    Is this about the child, or about your relationship with your boyfriend? I too would be tempted to try to be a good influence on the girl, but not if you really just want to break up.

    My advice is to go somewhere alone and think think think about HIM first and her second. I'd concentrate on the behaviors such as driving to another DD's to get her a different donut, rather than her mother's wish to take her somewhere, which has no bearing on you per se. But your second deep thinking could be about how invested you are in concern for the child. To my mind, she is certainly out of the norm, but not in an emotionally crippling environment, and everyone in the family seems to care.

    So... do you want him as a bundled deal, or not?
    Alty's Avatar
    Alty Posts: 28,318, Reputation: 5972
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    #7

    Oct 24, 2016, 03:03 PM
    It really sounds like you hate this child, and blame her for being the way she is. She's a child. Children are what they learn, and this child has learned to be shy, antisocial, demanding, because that's how the adults in her life have raised her.

    You're a teacher. Teachers teach children, even children that are difficult to teach. This is a child, the very reason you went into teaching. So why not help her instead of judge her? Why not be the good influence in her life? That's what teaching is all about.

    Yes, this child is socially stunted, yes she's a brat, and everything she is is what the adults around her, made her to be. You are now an adult that's in her life, and you have the opportunity to teach her to be the person she deserves to be. As a girlfriend I can see why this is annoying. As a teacher you should be the first one that's stepping in and helping this child!
    UCLA_1's Avatar
    UCLA_1 Posts: 17, Reputation: 1
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    #8

    Oct 24, 2016, 05:11 PM
    I appreciate the advice. I'm always very nice and patient with her. I try to ask her about school, to play with her, buy her small gifts, etc. The only improvement was two weeks ago when she let me braid her hair. After I was finished, she was begging her grandma to ask me to play with her on her tablet. When she was told to ask me directly, she hid under the dining table and then behind the lamp screaming. It's unusual behavior. Her reactions are awfully strange. I am not faulting her because she is a child; however, I am incredibly turned off by her mother. As we speak, she just picked her up from her grandparents because it's time for her to go to sleep. There is minimal involvement from her end, and there is nothing occupying her time other than being recently married (June of this year) and going to the beach. I try to understand her situation and that she's had it tough, but she isn't working, she's not in school and has no desire to do anything in her life other than go to church and read the Bible.

    Im just having a difficult time accepting it. It's so blatantly in my face that it's hard to not be turned off. Perhaps my boyfriend needs to move out (his 28th birthday is this weekend). I met him last December; so I would like to enjoy the early stages of our relationship as opposed to witnessing this. If we're in his room, she will knock on the door and when he asks her what's up, she'll just stand there mute. Or if he's in the car with her, she'"" be throwing a tantrum (which is normal I guess bc kids are kids and can be bratty). I don't know how a parent could be so careless or think this is remotely normal and not make an attempt to do anything about it.. or even try to be actively involved.

    I dont even even know how to talk to him about it. I get annoyed and when he asks me what's wrong, I just give him a measly "nothing." Is it bad that I feel this way? I feel like a horrible human being
    joypulv's Avatar
    joypulv Posts: 21,593, Reputation: 2941
    current pert
     
    #9

    Oct 24, 2016, 05:24 PM
    You are repeating yourself about the child's mother.

    You chose not to answer my question...

    I have a question. Who lives with whom? 'His room' - what in the world?
    UCLA_1's Avatar
    UCLA_1 Posts: 17, Reputation: 1
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    #10

    Oct 24, 2016, 05:31 PM
    My boyfriend lives with his parents. Sara is over at their home mostly and gets picked up by her mother when it's time to sleep.
    joypulv's Avatar
    joypulv Posts: 21,593, Reputation: 2941
    current pert
     
    #11

    Oct 25, 2016, 03:54 AM
    I don't see any right or wrong here. You have enough to do as a teacher, and don't have to take on this child. I would imagine (and with full understanding) some resentment of her for exhausting so much of your time and energy that is supposed to be for your time with your boyfriend. I do understand what it's like to get embroiled, and that it's easy for me to say step back and make that one big decision about HIM. But that is my advice, and you still won't answer my question - are you here about her, or about him? You aren't married to him, you don't live with him, you have no child together, and you said you are 'so turned off' and that you 'cringe.'

    So what's it going to be?
    Precious7's Avatar
    Precious7 Posts: 333, Reputation: 61
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    #12

    Oct 25, 2016, 06:55 PM
    I am incredibly turned off by her mother. As we speak, she just picked her up from her grandparents because it's time for her to go to sleep. There is minimal involvement from her end, and there is nothing occupying her time other than being recently married (June of this year) and going to the beach. I try to understand her situation and that she's had it tough, but she isn't working, she's not in school and has no desire to do anything in her life other than go to church and read the Bible.
    So, this is what bothering you? She doesn't do the above mentioned things, but are you 100 percent sure that she doesn't do anything at all, may be something else she does but you don't know it personally or may be she doesn't share it with you/others.

    there is nothing occupying her time other than being recently married (June of this year)
    May be this is the reason? She is recently married so want to do something or spend more time in new relationship, may be it help her to cope her with past?
    Just like how you feel ''may be'' your BF needs to move out so that you can enjoy the early stage of your relationship with your BF. In the same way New couple needs more time alone so that they can enjoy the stage of marriage?
    Just guessing!

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