I'm not sure how to handle this so I need a little advice from those who do.

My daughter is a very sensitive girl. She cries at the drop of a hat. This past month we have had different family members come to visit us. Well, my sister-in-law has a daughter that is the same age as mine (5 years old), they are about a month apart, and my daughter is crazy about her. I have a hard time believing it's a mutual feeling but sometimes I think I should stay out of it.

My sister-in-law is staying with my in-laws while others come to visit their house and we attend some of the visits. I'm sure you all know how it goes, we're the black sheep of the family (the dreaded Atheists). It wasn't so bad when my husband's aunt came to visit. Her daughter is about 16 and there wasn't any fighting over her attention.

However, today my husband's half-sister came to visit and now we have fighting, taunting, and excluding. The half-sister has an 8 year old daughter who is very well off. She seems to want to play with both my daughter and her other cousin but when that happens, the other cousin pushes my daughter away.

Example, they were on the swing set in the back yard. My daughter wanted to push the older cousin. The younger one started to yell at her telling her she was getting in the way. Of course, she took that as they just didn't want her to play with them.

After words, it continued with a sleep over. My daughter wasn't invited. There was fuss over a blanket. She didn't want to be in the same pool. And so on, and so on.

What should I do? What can I do? I don't know what to do to make my daughter feel better, or how to protect her, or even stop this from happening. I just really hate visiting them now.

My in-laws and everyone else seems to see whats going on but just says, "This is what happens when you get a bunch of kids together," and "kids can be so mean to each other." Almost as if it doesn't even matter.

Just right now, before my daughter went to bed (she's been aweful quiet all night) she asked if we could go back tomorrow. I, personally would like to not see them for a long time. This isn't something I wish to do again.

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Replies to This Discussion

I hate that this is happening to your daughter. I have a 5 yr old son, so I know how emotional 5 yr olds can be. I'd probably suggest a break from going to visit them for a couple of days. Do something fun together instead like one of those bounce house places or the zoo anything fun where she'll get to play with other kids. I hope you get this all settled. I know what it's like being the black sheep in the family.
My suggestion is that you stay with her as much as possible (not hovering, just as a nearby friend). Though my ds6 is very sensitive as well, he has a hard time understanding when people are trying to exclude him. He will put up with a lot in order to be included. From my perspective your only choices are to not visit, to shorten the visits and stick by her to guide or to let her go it alone. If you stay with her you will be available to offer her suggestions (when asked) about how to navigate the situation. It could be a matter of the 8 year old always treating her like a pest (that's how my almost dd9 treats her little brother when around others) and you can't really change the older girl's behavior. I would just try to offer her sympathy and support (with mine I also help them understand the social cues and possible responses). I would offer to play something different with her and hope that the others might want to join in, where you can then be in a position to set the rules of behavior (this is my game, if you want to play this is what I expect).
I'm not sure what advice to give you. Nothing I say sounds right. My now 6yo son is fairly sensitive, particularly between 4-5. One thing that seemed to help him was role playing and reminding him quite often that it's perfectly okay to tell the other kid to STOP what they're doing and if they don't it's okay to walk away and find someone else/something else to play with.

I also suggest taking time off from this group and doing something fun with your daughter. But when they do play together I would stay close by and play with them. See exactly where it goes wrong and show by example what to do. If excluding is the problem then help them all work out a plan to take turns. If they can't all agree on what to do, set up a game for them to play where you set the rules. While you are there to see that your daughter is treated fairly, be objective to all.

I hate that she was excluded from the sleepover. Unless there was some good reason why she couldn't go I would be peeved at the parents for allowing the exclusion. I don't make my older boy play with his brother when he has a friend over, but I won't let him exclude him directly either. Good luck, I don't blame you at all for not wanting to visit with them at all.
Just acknowledge her feelings, help her to recognize them, and be supportive. I think I had to learn for myself that my sister and her friend didn't want me tagging along (well, her friend didn't care but my sis sure did). I promise, I'm okay now. That's not to minimize what your daughter is going through, or its importance to her and you personally, at the moment.

Also, getting your daughter together with other kids her age may fill some of this gap. My kid's destined to be an only child (cause I said so) but I make sure he's well engaged with neighborhood kids and other friends, in part so we don't have to rely on the good behavior of my religious family members. Best wishes to you both.
I understand the bad neighborhood. We're in what would pass in some cities as "hardcore ghetto" but around here is the one of the safest low-income areas in town. But it's not a good sliding scale to be on in the first place.

It sounds like you're doing a great job with your daughter. Parenting is the only job where you get only on-the-job training, no pay, and you're constantly training your replacement; your job is to make your kids not need you to do your job.

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