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Teaching small children to cope


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#1 LadyGreyTea

Posted 06 April 2020 - 08:15 PM

II'm sorry if this topic has already been recycled, but I have a bit of a dilemma.

Two weeks ago I had dropped off nappies to my sisters house, as she had previously been unable to find the right size nappies for her little boy (my nephew) due to limited stock in supermarkets (due to other people panic buying).
When I got home, I found out my niece, who is 6, was upset that I had not bought her anything, and complained that it was unfair that her brother was given something, and not her. My sister did try to explain that I had bought a necessity to assist her little brother, not a toy, and that she had no grounds to be jealous or accuse me of being unfair. She also tried to remind her of the countless times I had bought her gifts long before her little brother was born.

How would you help explain such situations to a small child, in light of the current COVID situation?

#2 Nasty Teens

Posted 06 April 2020 - 08:28 PM

This isn't a one day/one time lesson. Explain that nephew needed something and you could provide it this time. Next time it may be something she needs. She can be disappointed/angry/upset but in the end it is what it is.

#3 CallMeFeral

Posted 06 April 2020 - 08:51 PM

I don't think there's anything you need to solve here. She was disappointed, it's been explained, done.

I'm not entirely sure what it has to do with COVID.

Edited by CallMeFeral, 06 April 2020 - 08:52 PM.


#4 Ellie bean

Posted 06 April 2020 - 08:56 PM

Your sister has handled it well, it’s just an ongoing lesson for siblings (mine are still learning at 6 and 7, they are getting a lot better!)

#5 PrincessPeach

Posted 06 April 2020 - 09:04 PM

That's got nothing to do with COVID, its a very typical issue.

Your sister handled it just fine. Giving in to her is actually worse. 6 year olds are more than old enough to understand that nappies are not presents.

I'd actually be very cranky with my almost 6 year old if he whinged that he never got a present if someone dropped nappies off for his younger brother.

#6 ytt

Posted 06 April 2020 - 09:13 PM

Your sister did well.

My sister had to by a present for a sibling of the birthday child so they wouldn't feel left out. Her kids are brats, learn young that other kids get something when you don't.

#7 Kallie88

Posted 06 April 2020 - 09:19 PM

Agree with pps, it's been explained, she'll learn to live with it. Such is life. My 4yo has had to learn this early (eldest of 3, soon to be 4) and I think it's just something that have to live and adjust to.

#8 LadyGreyTea

Posted 06 April 2020 - 09:21 PM

View PostPrincessPeach, on 06 April 2020 - 09:04 PM, said:

That's got nothing to do with COVID, its a very typical issue.

Your sister handled it just fine. Giving in to her is actually worse. 6 year olds are more than old enough to understand that nappies are not presents.

I'd actually be very cranky with my almost 6 year old if he whinged that he never got a present if someone dropped nappies off for his younger brother.


I understand your point, and I do agree, but my nieces issue is that I should have been fair and gotten her something too regardless.
I heard from my sister that my niece sulked for 2 hours

#9 blimkybill

Posted 06 April 2020 - 09:27 PM

View PostLadyGreyTea, on 06 April 2020 - 09:21 PM, said:

I understand your point, and I do agree, but my nieces issue is that I should have been fair and gotten her something too regardless.
I heard from my sister that my niece sulked for 2 hours
Ah well unfortunately for your niece she is not correct! It doesn't matter that she sulked for 2 hours. She may not sulk so long next time. I think it's just a "natural consequences" type of learning.

#10 seayork2002

Posted 06 April 2020 - 09:31 PM

View Postblimkybill, on 06 April 2020 - 09:27 PM, said:


Ah well unfortunately for your niece she is not correct! It doesn't matter that she sulked for 2 hours. She may not sulk so long next time. I think it's just a "natural consequences" type of learning.

This is all i can think to say - there is no switch that can be switched it just is learnt over time

#11 Kallie88

Posted 06 April 2020 - 09:34 PM

It's a very important lesson to learn that fair isn't always the same. My mum always tried to give/ not give my brother and I the same and it was often very unfair

#12 GingerbreadWoman

Posted 06 April 2020 - 09:46 PM

Is it possible your niece is far more upset than usual (two hours seems a long time? Unless my kid just has a short attention span for sulking) because of all the other changes and disruption to her life at the moment? Also if you just dropped off the nappies, and didn’t visit, as she may have been expecting, she might be disappointed about that.

I think what your sister has already said is fine, and your niece will learn/understand better over time, but maybe your niece needs some extra reassurance given everything else going on?

#13 LadyGreyTea

Posted 06 April 2020 - 10:02 PM

View PostGingerbreadWoman, on 06 April 2020 - 09:46 PM, said:

Is it possible your niece is far more upset than usual (two hours seems a long time? Unless my kid just has a short attention span for sulking) because of all the other changes and disruption to her life at the moment? Also if you just dropped off the nappies, and didn’t visit, as she may have been expecting, she might be disappointed about that.

I think what your sister has already said is fine, and your niece will learn/understand better over time, but maybe your niece needs some extra reassurance given everything else going on?

Yes she is dealing with a few disruptions, mainly missing going to school and missing her classmates.
She was informed beforehand that I was only dropping off nappies, not visiting.

She also threw a tantrum one day last year cause my sister bought my nephew a pair of light up runners, even though she herself already had a pair and my sister had bought actually bought her more things that day.

Ah well I guess it's an age thing.

#14 Ellie bean

Posted 06 April 2020 - 10:08 PM

^^its really really normal
If you want to do something though just have a nice phone or video chat especially with your niece
Your sister was probably just venting, I doubt she was expecting you to do anything

#15 PooksLikeChristmas

Posted 06 April 2020 - 10:12 PM

It’s developmentally appropriate behaviour and your sister has handled it perfectly.

#16 Murderino

Posted 06 April 2020 - 11:26 PM

View PostLadyGreyTea, on 06 April 2020 - 09:21 PM, said:

I understand your point, and I do agree, but my nieces issue is that I should have been fair and gotten her something too regardless.
I heard from my sister that my niece sulked for 2 hours

Jeez I am learning I am a cow of a parent. My youngest, now almost 9, can be sulky about the oldest getting something if he doesn’t. Has been this way for several years and I just don’t buy into it - I wouldn’t acknowledge the child’s “point” because they don’t have a real point - nappies were necessary so they were bought and dropped off.

I’m generally a need buyer not a want buyer anyway so I say once “X needed it, you didn’t”. I might point out a time when it was reversed, that’s it. You can keep whinging after that but you’ll do it where I can’t hear you.

I am really soft on some things (they’ve both slept with me for the last 5 or 6 years because I won’t force them out, it’s their choice) but I have no threshold for whinging, it grinds every one of my gears (I feel it like a physical reaction in my head) so they have to do it away from me.

If I mentioned it to my sister it would be to vent that they tried it on not to expect her to do something.

All that said my kids have no special needs so I feel I can be a bit harsher to preserve my own sanity.

#17 Prancer is coming

Posted 07 April 2020 - 12:14 AM

So is the issue that you are feeling guilty?  Or your sister was annoyed at you for not bringing something?  

As mentioned, kids sulk about lots of things, a lot of them irrational.  Maybe talk to her about the difference between equality and equity.  

Also, were the nappies a gift or did your sister pay you?  You were helping your sister out and don’t need the angst.  If your sister is giving you a hard time I would tell her you won’t be doing her a favour again in a hurry.  If it is your niece’s view of you that is worrying you, I would be careful with your response as she may use it next time if it hurts - similar to a kid yelling I hate you to a parent using it again if it gets a response.  Your niece was upset at that moment and using words to convey thst.  It did seem unfair in her mind, and she is a child.  She will probably have forgotten by next visit, plus it is her parent’s issue to deal with, not yours.

#18 Riotproof

Posted 07 April 2020 - 12:25 AM

View Postblimkybill, on 06 April 2020 - 09:27 PM, said:

Ah well unfortunately for your niece she is not correct! It doesn't matter that she sulked for 2 hours. She may not sulk so long next time. I think it's just a "natural consequences" type of learning.

I don’t understand what you think you should have done differently.

#19 BECZ

Posted 07 April 2020 - 02:10 AM

Come on!  You could have taken her a roll of toilet paper!
They are basically equivalent aren’t they?!  

I think this is just a lesson that most kids have to learn OP. She’ll get there.  Don’t feel guilty about it or anything.  

I’m actually not sure why your sister told you.
If she told you as she was laughing (discreetly) at your niece being so silly, I get that.  Otherwise, I’m not sure.
Was she possibly hinting that you should get your niece something small next time too?  She will never learn if that’s the case.


#20 PhillipaCrawford

Posted 07 April 2020 - 08:19 AM

I see it as two scenarios

1. Your niece is probably a little more tense and stressed being locked in.
You arriving and not staying reminded her of what that means.
The nappies became a symbol of that.
'Sulking' allowed her to release some of the stress.

2. Your niece is a spoilt brat. I would expect a four year old to understand that a baby getting nappies was a necessity.
Therefore you have given her a really good life lesson

Either way well done!

#21 Luci

Posted 07 April 2020 - 08:28 AM

I can kind of understand the niece feeling a bit miffed initally. Younger kids find it difficult seeing a sibling get something when they don't. It is a lessons they have to learn but it can take a while. In addition it sounds as though you have often bought her gifts. So she would have perhaps thought you might have something for her too.  I have a 7 year old DD who has been at home for 3 weeks straight and is bored and a bit out of sorts so possibly niece is the same which wouldn't help the situation.

However I wouldn't over think it and try to just move on.  I would just say something like "The nappies aren't a present I was just helping Mum with shopping.  Your Mum told me she couldn't find any in the shops near here but I saw some at the shop near my house so I bought them".  Have to admit 2 hours of DD sulking about it would drive me mad.




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