How to like an un-likeable 10 yr old neice?


#1

I am struggling with unkind feelings towards my husband’s brother’s 10 yr old daughter, whom I find extremely disrespectful.

At family gatherings, when prompted to say hello to a grownup, she’ll stare at the adult and then pointedly look away.Not once has she ever said “thank you for the ride” as we drop her off at her home after playing with our children. If I look her in the eyes and say, “Amy, I’d appreciate it if you’d say thank you when you leave our house” she’ll defiantly stare me down and remain silent.

This is not merely shyness.

[LIST]
]I know we are called to love, not necessarily like our neighbors; and I do indeed love her. I’d just like to like her!]I understand she’s just a kid, and can’t be fully responsible for herself. However, she’s 10 yrs old–if she were 5 yrs old, I’d give her (and did indeed in the past give her) some leeway
*]I come from a culture in which respect for elders is paramount, so this is especially egregious to me.
[/LIST]

Any thoughts on how I can be more charitable towards this child??


#2

Oh I have walked this road! To tell you the truth I still find it difficult to like the child in question. But I find that the more I LOVE her and pray for her, and pary to see her through Jesus’s eyes, the more I can like her.

I’m dreading Christmas with this part of the family because last year she basically told me that she didn’t like her present, it was stupid and why hadn’t I given her cash! I was so hurt! But I said to myself, I am the adult. Why am I letting the words of a child hurt me?

Since then I have preayed for the whole family more because of problems they are all having. Problems which have caused her personality to be formed the way it has. I agree that a 10year old can be polite even when they don’t feel like it. But we also need to remember that if those behaviors are not reinforced at home, the child will have no practice and no incentive to behave that way.

So sad. :frowning:


#3

Does she treat everyone so rudely, or just you? I think 10 is still young… if her parents never taught her good manners, she’s still too young to have picked them up on her own.

Rather than correcting her, are you able to engage her in conversation? Does she have any hobbies? interests? Perhaps if you could establish some common ground you’d grow to like her a bit more.

I agree about praying for her. Ask God to help you to see her as He does. Some kids are difficult to like… they grow up to be adults that are difficult to like.


#4

I would say “You forgot to say ‘Thank you’ for the ride, Amy.” If she remains silent, I would go inside with her and confront her in front of her parents about this and maybe even tell the parents that you will be unable to give Amy rides until she is able to say thank you and use proper manners. Easier said than done though :smiley:

I agree with Carol Marie’s idea if you can tell if she just hasn’t been taught any better.


#5

Are you sure she isn’t a SHY girl?

Actually comments like…

If I look her in the eyes and say, “Amy, I’d appreciate it if you’d say thank you when you leave our house” she’ll defiantly stare me down and remain silent.

would probably have made me pretty upset as a kid too!

I’d warm up a bit… your tone sounds a little harsh. (in my opinion)…
I think you’d be surprised how “thankful” kids can be when they’re treated with love and joyfulness instead of “instructions and rules”…

I’m not saying “instructions and rules” are bad, by any means. Children definitely need to learn to respect adults. But that lesson doesn’t need to be harsh. Sometimes it’s more effective to teach by example…


#6

It’s basically any adult. She will say one or two words to my MIL, her grandma. (Incidentally, her other grandma took her and her parents out to dinner and she refused to speak to her grandma at any time during the dinner!)

if her parents never taught her good manners, she’s still too young to have picked them up on her own.

Her parents will prompt her, “Amy, say thank you…” and when she remains silent they’ll just shrug apologetically.

I am certain that she is aware that it is good manners to say Hello and Goodby and Please and Thank You.

Rather than correcting her, are you able to engage her in conversation? Does she have any hobbies? interests? Perhaps if you could establish some common ground you’d grow to like her a bit more.

I cannot engage her in conversation! She simply stares at you when you ask her a question–even something like, “Would you like some more mashed potatoes, Amy?”


#7

Who are her caretakers? How are their manners and what do they teach her?

I ask because my cousin has two teenage daughters who are normally rather rude to some other members of the family. They didn’t learn this from their mother (my cousin) who is a very kind person, but their main caretaker for years has been their grandfather (my uncle) who is the unofficial family patriarch and sometimes takes advantage of his position. Through his attitudes and behaviors, he has managed to sour his granddaughters on me and my parents and on another set of uncle/aunt/cousins. I don’t think the girls have voluntarily spoken to me in years, and I know they have called the other uncle “cheap” within earshot (and after receiving gifts from him).


#8

This sounds alot like my grandson’s half-brother. He is 10 and I have known him since he was 4. I remember his biorthdays and Christmas and I have never gotten ONE thank-you from that child. (Nor from his mother either I might add)…so I have made sure that my grandson who is 6 knows the proper way to behave. When he is given a gift…a “Thank you” is in order. The same with Please…and I am hoping his good manners will rub off on his older brother, but I am not counting on it.

I have personally insteructed the 10 year old in how to properly behave and what is expected of him, but it is hard when the people he is around daily do not reinforce it.

It isn’t easy and sometimes I want to pull out my hair, but pray for the child.

:heart:Blyss


#9

Maybe she just doesn’t like adults, in general. She seems like the type who doesn’t like to be told what to do, hence the staring you down defiantly. Perhaps she is trying to assert her independence? Has she always been like this? Or is it a phase?


#10

There’s certainly an element of shyness in her personality.
But it doesn’t excuse the lack of manners and disrespect.


#11

This sounds like a bigger problem than poor manners. I think most rude children would just blurt “yes” or “no” at something like this. Seems like this goes beyond being rude. Maybe her parents need to get her checked out by a doctor.


#12

I may draw some criticism for what I am about to say, so I have to give a little background: I am a retired US Air Force Master Sergeant who believes that respect cannot be demanded - even by one’s superiors - but that courtesy can.

I always told my new troops that I wanted them to respect me and that I would strive to earn their respect; however, whether or not they respected me, they would behave toward me with the courtesy and deference befitting my station as a senior NCO and their supervisor. I never had any trouble with any of my troops after telling them that, and they were courteous to me; similarly, I was always courteous to them because I had to set the appropriate example.

Now, regarding the young girl at hand: This child sounds as though she is rapidly becoming sociopathic, if not psychopathic, and she needs counseling and therapy immediately. You, however, might consider taking her aside and speaking privately to her in this vein:

"Jane (or whatever her name is), what I have to say to you is just between us; your Mom and Dad don’t have to know about this because it is private.

"It seems to me that you do not like adults. I understand that; I used to hate the fact that I had to do everything my parents and teachers told me to do because they were the adults and I was just a stupid kid. I am not asking you to love me or even like me. I want you to respect me, but I can’t make you do that - I have to earn your respect, and I will do whatever I have to do to earn it.

"The first thing I’m going to do is to promise that I will always treat you with the same courtesy I show any other adult. When I speak to you, I will call you “ma’am” just as I would when speaking to any other woman. I will always assume that you are a lady until you prove to me that you are not, and I will ignore any insult unless you make it very clear to me that you intended to insult me. When that happens, I will do the same thing to you that I would do to any other adult who purposely insults me.

"In return, I expect that you will show me the same courtesy that I show you - nothing more, nothing less.

"Now: if that sounds like a good deal to you, say so. If you turn around and walk out without saying anything at all, I’m going to assume that you think it’s a good deal and you will hold up your end of the agreement.

“If it doesn’t sound like a good deal to you, say so; I won’t expect you to show me any courtesy, but I will continue to behave toward you with the courtesy you deserve because I have given my word that I would, whether you do or not.”

Then you must do the most difficult thing possible: you must keep your word. Even if the little snot never gets over her sociopathy, it will not be because she did not have a good example to follow - you.

If she does insult or offend you, and makes it clear that she intended to, do whatever it is you would do if another adult insulted you.

(During my career, I backed someone who was discourteous to me up against a wall and gave him a tongue-lashing that left him gasping for breath. I don’t usually have to result to violence, and I don’t advocate using it against children, but you do have to get her attention; if that means getting in her face, just try not to hurt her.)

You may have to explain to her parents that you are trying to teach their daughter that there are people in the world who will not take kindly to her behavior, and that it is better that she learn the lesson from a close family member who will not harm her, rather than from a stranger who might feel constrained to hospitalize her. You need to stand up for yourself, because you are deserving of courtesy and because your niece must be taught; otherwise, she will run into a very sharp learning curve later in life - one she may not survive.

Privately, pray that God would show His love for her through you. Pray it every day, fervently, sincerely; it does work. I know, because it works for me every time I do it.

Good luck; you’re going to need it!


#13

Do you see her having a conversation with ANYONE?
Is she a happy girl or does she seem depressed?
Does she have siblings?
Does she have friends?
Do you seen her laughing with kids her age?

From your explainations, it sounds as though she’s rather introverted. (shy, nervous, etc)… or even more serious, depressed. 10 years old may be the start of her adolescence… she may be hormonally changing, etc.

I would do your best to be as loving as possible… it sounds as though there may be other things going on with this child.


#14

"Jane (or whatever her name is), what I have to say to you is just between us; your Mom and Dad don’t have to know about this because it is private.

If I were this girl’s parents I would be infuriated by this statement. An adult should not interfere in a child’s affairs with out the parents knowing first. (There are exceptions of course.)


#15

I do wonder if this child has health issues of some sort. Rudeness is failing to say Thank You, You’re Welcome, etc. This goes way beyond that. One thing I know about most 10 year old girls is they like to talk!

There’s a lot of illnesses that could correspond with these behaviors.


#16

Sounds like a cousin’s daughter…she has serious mental issues. I would suggest to the child’s parents that they get her checked. This is beyond rude, it is closer to autism or something.


#17

This is the first thing that popped into my mind as I was skimming the posts. Don’t know that I’d necessarily suggest that her parents get her checked w/o a heckuvalot more clues, but considering the possibility might (at the very least) help your frame of reference when dealing w/her.


#18

Another family member has suggested that this child has “Selective Mutism”.

I don’t think she’s autistic, as she’s quite chatty and social with my children, who are her age.

I believe this is all part of defiance. She certainly knows what’s common courtesy, but refuses, I believe, as a way of provoking adults. And it works!


#19

She’s quite social with her classmates and with her young cousins.

She has 2 older siblings from her mom’s 1st marriage, who do not live with her. Apparently, when they (the half-siblings) moved out years ago Amy did not take it well.

I would do your best to be as loving as possible… it sounds as though there may be other things going on with this child.

Yes.

Amy’s mom keeps hinting to my MIL about why Amy is never invited to stay at our house, as she just loves being with my children.

I feel that when Amy can acknowledge my existence she’ll be welcome in my home! I feel harsh and mean, but can’t get over this feeling!


#20

Do your children like being with Amy?

If so, maybe you could ask Amy if she’d like to come for a visit. If she says she’d like to come, remind her there are rules that your children follow at your house and that she will be expected to follow them, too. Let her know you’ll take her home at any moment she is rude to you or anyone else. And then follow through. You might actually be able to help this girl by teaching her what her parents seem to be neglecting.

And let the parents know your rules, too. If they don’t like them, she can stay with them.

I remember one time my nephew was jumping on my couch while holding pizza in one hand. When I told him we don’t do that in my house, he stopped. No problem. The person who was offended was my own sister, his mom. Sheesh. Some parents take it personally when you correct their child. You just can’t please everyone. And my nephew still likes coming here.


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