I’ve just had a big argument with my sister over my niece. It’s, in my eyes, been long overdue - but it’s a shame that it caused an argument, and that I’m pretty sure it’s not made any difference whatsoever.
My niece, who’s 7, soon to be 8, and I would like to say that I do love to bits (I just don’t like her a whole lot at the moment), has had a serious change (drop) in her behaviour over the last 18-24 months - also, rather unfortunately, the same period of time during which I’ve been dx’ed with highly active RRMS and my condition has gotten steadily worse (particularly the fatigue) despite treatment. She not only doesn’t do as she’s asked when she’s asked, but will blind refuse if it’s something she doesn’t want to do, and just say ‘I’m not doing it/going’ etc… And if she doesn’t get to do something she wants to do, even when I explain that I can’t due to my condition and come up with a (what I would think reasonable) solution or compremise, it’s like you’ve destroyed her world - she goes into an almighty strop, often starts crying with it, and there’s absolutely no talking to her - an example would be that she loves playing with her dolls and role playing, a game that I find uses up my energy quickly if I’m having a bad day. But I can do it so long as I am sat in a chair. However, for this (and many other games she likes to play) game, she insists on me sitting on the floor, which just tires me out very quickly. And if she’s with me for a long period, I have to maintain my energy reserves as best I can, so I will explain that I can’t unless I sit in the chair. But it has to be her way or the high way, and she’ll go into a major sulk because I won’t do things her way.
She’ll quite actively say that she doesn’t want me to join in a game (if round at their’s - I won’t just let her win as her parent’s do, that’s not to say that I don’t make accommodations for her as I do) or wants me to go home. Or if I’ve bought her something from the shop she’ll just dump it down on the side, shrug her shoulders, screw up her nose and go ‘uh’ then continue doing whatever it was she was doing to being with - no thank you. Every sentence when asking for something is either ‘I want’ or ‘get me’, no ‘please may I have’ and no thank you either. She rarely sleeps in her own room, normally ends up in with her mum and dad which means they don’t get a good nights sleep as she takes up half the bed. But her room looks more like a toy store than a bedroom so why would she.
To some extent, most of the behaviour in the above paragraph is none of my business when it concerns her behaviour at home and is not towards me. But when she is rude and cheeky to me, or when I’m looking after her, and demands her own way or refuses to do as she’s told, that’s not something that I can deal with with my health as it is, which was what I was trying to explain to my sister (thus you now know why there was an argument). Surely that does concern me? I would never have dreamt of speaking to and treating an aunty as she does, and would have been humiliated if I had done. But there again, my upbringing was not normal either which is something I must remember. I perhaps expect things from 7 year olds which aren’t natural, I was much older than my years. But maybe you can all tell me if this is normal for her age.
Do any of you have any advice about what I should do? I don’t want to not see her, but I’m beginning to think that that may be my only option until things change. I don’t think it would affect her particularly, apart from the fact that she rarely seems bothered about seeing me when I go round and moans about coming to mine, I got the distinct impression from my sister that she said something about me not playing with her and being bored at mine (e.g. with her dolls). I try and come up with other stuff that we can do e.g. cooking / baking something - my lounge and kitchen are joined onto one another so we can sit in the lounge to prepare things. I get her to do all the mixing etc, and I basically just read the instructions, pass the ingredients, put the things in the oven, and supervise - that’s about my level. But she rarely wants to do that. Any suggestions?