My ill sister’s kid is a total brat
Northern Ireland's number one agony aunt Fiona Hurley answers your problems
Dear Fiona, I’m a 48-year-old woman who has a 46-year-old sister with fairly advanced MS.
I work hard but look forward to the weekends to relax although I spend them cooking, cleaning, and looking after my sister and her six-year-old daughter.
The problem is the child, who is spoilt rotten. She controls us all and the things I’m expected to do for her are making my weekends unbearable. My sister thinks she’s the best child ever but she’s really a spoilt brat. I don’t want to fall out with my sister but what can I do to improve the situation?
Dear Frustrated Sister,
Pyschoanalyst Alfred Adler said: “A pampered child becomes a hated child”. Pampered or spoilt children learn to deal with other people via commands and demands, and the world typically responds by hating and isolating them. Adler also believed that spoiling children makes them dependent and insecure because it sends the message they can’t do anything by themselves, leading to an inferiority complex.
Your sister, like other parents who spoil their children, is probably doing so through guilt and fear.
She’s feeling guilty that she’ll not able to spend quality time with her child because of her illness. Children are not adults and so should not be treated like adults.
Knowing that the adult/parent is the ‘pack leader’ gives them a sense of security and safety, and children need and want boundaries and direction.
You need to start believing that you have the absolute right as an adult not to be this child’s servant. Say ‘No’ firmly and don’t relent whenever she commands you to do something you’re unhappy with.
The situation with your sister may have to get worse before it gets better but there’s no way you should be subjected to this child’s tyrannical behaviour.
Start standing up for yourself and remember you are the adult.