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My Niece Simply Made a Huge Mistake. However I’m Extra Horrified by My Sister’s Proposed Punishment.

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Expensive Care and Feeding,

My niece, “Heather,” misplaced her mother when she was 6, the identical yr her half-sister “Sophie” was born. It was very troublesome for Heather to regulate to residing along with her dad and my sister full time. It helped that her maternal grandparents lived close by. That modified final yr they usually retired to a different state, however continually fly Heather to go to and take her enjoyable locations. She comes house with plenty of presents. This makes Sophie jealous and she will be able to’t appear to get why her sister will get all these items and he or she doesn’t, regardless of many conversations about how Heather misplaced her mother and her grandparents need to make up for it.

Heather retains her keepsakes on a particular shelf that Sophie isn’t allowed to the touch. Nonetheless, Sophie determined she needed to take one of many toys off the highest shelf and ended up bringing down the whole factor. Among the stuff was salvageable, however issues just like the vintage music field from her late mom weren’t. Heather slapped Sophie. I’m not condoning it, however these try circumstances.

My sister is livid and feels that the suitable punishment is that Heather isn’t allowed to go to her grandparents till she learns the right way to put being a great sister over stuff. I informed her that was an ideal method of alienating Heather without end and making her resent Sophie. My sister knowledgeable me that as I’m not a dad or mum, I don’t get an opinion. I do know I don’t have many choices right here, however my coronary heart goes out to Heather and Sophie. What can I say to my sister?

—Anxious Aunt

Expensive Anxious Aunt,

In fact Heather shouldn’t have slapped Sophie, and he or she ought to need to apologize and face some form of consequence. However your sister shouldn’t chalk up her response to “she cares about stuff greater than being a great sister.” The damaged objects had been reminders of her late mom’s and grandparents’ love for her.

You’re right that your sister’s thought of punishment will negatively affect each her relationship with Heather and Heather’s relationship with Sophie, however past that, it’s simply unsuitable and admittedly merciless to attempt to hold a baby from her grandparents as a type of punishment. Loving household relationships shouldn’t be used as bargaining chips, or threatened for the sake of behavioral correction. Precisely none of Heather’s challenges or struggles might be helped in any respect by dropping contact or time along with her grandparents, who’ve been there for her in her grief and likewise symbolize an essential hyperlink to her late mother. It feels vengeful, actually—I discover it actually regarding that your sister latched onto it, and I feel her husband needs to be involved as effectively.

As the children’ aunt, your choices are, as you level out, pretty restricted. You already informed your sister that you simply disagree along with her, and he or she doesn’t appear open to additional enter. I don’t suppose Heather’s father ought to permit your sister’s messed-up punishment to go ahead, and really a lot hope that by now they’ve talked and located another strategy to transfer ahead. However should you hear that Heather has been reduce off from visiting her grandparents, you would strive speaking to your sister once more, and even take it up with Heather’s dad if wanted. Although your sister could also be offended with you for interfering, I feel on this case it may be the lesser unsuitable—there isn’t any excuse to threaten a baby, particularly one who’s already misplaced her mom, with such a consequence.

You didn’t point out what your relationship is with Heather, but it surely appears like she and Sophie may each use a great aunt of their lives. A very powerful factor you are able to do the place they’re involved is be in contact and concerned, and attempt to keep a great, trusting relationship with them. They need to know that they will depend on you, and that you simply’ll be there in the event that they ever want you.


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