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Dealing with Family Drama

Mommy Dearest: Naughty Nephews

Mommy Dearest,

I am turning to you for advice because I am ashamed to broach the subject with my own family and friends. My sister, whom I adore, has three hellions for sons. I love my nephews with all of my heart, but it is becoming increasingly difficult for me to host them in our home. The second they walk in the door, they terrorize my cat, taunt my toddler, spill their drinks on my carpets and scream like banshees. My sister spends most of her time apologizing and picking up after them with a few threats and timeouts thrown in for good measure. I want to spend time with them but I'm afraid I'll explode on their next visit.

— Lacking Patience

To see the response from Mommy Dearest,


Lacking Patience,

I can understand your frustration. To your credit, it sounds like you have already been patient with your sister and her children. An easy solution would be for you to go over to her house or to meet at an outside venue like the zoo or a park so her children can release some energy while not ruining your house. If you would still like to entertain them in your home, perhaps you should set up boundaries and rules for them. You can make it a fun game and set up a chart for the kids rewarding good behavior. If they follow Auntie's bylaws, perhaps they will be rewarded with a blue ribbon or ice cream at the end of the sojourn. Otherwise, a candid conversation with sis may be in your future. Chances are, she understands and is probably more mortified at their behavior than you.

— Mommy Dearest

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Join The Conversation
Cassie Cassie 8 years
I work in a daycare so I know how frustrating unruly kids can be. But I have one small piece of advice I can offer: follow through. No matter what you tell them or how you will be disciplining them, when they are in your home make sure you follow through on what you say. Good luck!
Chouette4u Chouette4u 8 years
I agree that you should hold off on inviting them to your place for a while and instead suggest an outing at a neutral location. Mommy Dearest's idea about the chart and the rewards is good, but I personally think that the kids' parents should be doing things like this, not the host whose home they are visiting. Good luck to you on this, it's a tough situation!
facin8me facin8me 8 years
You should be upfront with your sister before she comes to visit the next time about your rules and expectations. Let her know that you will be sitting down with her children the next time they visit and outline the rules for them. It is your house and you make the rules. You need to be firm about your boundaries, because your sister doesn't seem like she understands how to control her kids. My husband and I are in a similar situation. The last time my SIL and BIL came to visit, their son terrorized our cats to the point where my husband blurted out "what is wrong with your kid?!?" His sister was full of excuses for his behavior, but seemed clueless as how to stop it.
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