Spare The Rod

I was visiting my cousin this weekend. I hadn’t seen her family for a long time, so I decided it was time that I spend some time with her.

During the second evening, I was watching a television show and her seven year old son interrupted me. When I told him to wait a second, he replied “You are a guest in my house, you have to do as we say”. Both of his parents burst out in laughter and his father said “I guess he told you”. I didn’t say anything more on the matter, but I still didn’t stop watching the program.

Later that evening, this child came up to me again while I was watching television and said he had a story to tell me. I told him that I was in the middle of something, to which he replied again “This is my house and I have a story to tell so you have to listen.” I told him that it may be his house, but they were my ears and that I didn’t have to listen.

Within a few minutes my cousin confronted me saying that I had no right to speak harshly to her child, that I was to leave the discipline to her and her husband. I told her that I wasn’t disciplining the child, but I also didn’t have to listen to his attitude. She told me to apologize for speaking so rudely to her child, which I did. At this point the kid was crying so hard he was almost hyperventilating. My cousin told me she would appreciate it if I didn’t discipline her children. I told her that I was not disciplining him, but I preferred at that moment not to have tolerated his behavior. She told me that I had over stepped my boundaries by speaking to him in that manner.

I was so angry that I packed my stuff at that moment. I woke Andrew  up (I dragged him to my cousins with me–and no they still don’t know. They just thought he was a friend–besides he slept in the den, while I slept in the guest room) and told him we were leaving. It was about midnight. My cousin told me we didn’t have to go and I told her that we did, that I had overstayed a welcome. And I left.

She called last night to “apologize” and to see if I was still mad. I still feel angry. She is coming to town in two weeks and I know that good ole Uncle John will be expected to babysit when she’ll want to run around with our other cousins and my siblings. I will adamantly refuse.


15 Responses to “Spare The Rod”

  1. Robert Says:

    Good for you JM!! Little brats like that [like my nephews when they were younger!] I will not definitely not tolerate. Though a 7yo is still a child, but a child should still have manners and not talk just because he/she feels like it. I would’ve done exactly the same thing. Pack my bags and leave. But alas, IMHO, it’s the parents’ upbrining, not the child himself.

    My 2 cents. 😉

  2. Lemuel Says:

    Absolutely! I was actually a bit ticked at you (*grin*) for apologizing to your cousin “for speaking so rudely to her child”. No! No! No! It was the child who spoke rudely and he was the one who needed to apologize to you!! It is obvious that the child is already out of control.

    I think you were absolutely right in leaving as you did, and I would hope that you would not submit to babysitting.

    The manners I was taught was that the hosts did everything to honor the guests wishes – not the other way around as this child has somehow been taught.

    Being from the “old school”, quite frankly I would have been tempted to separate this child’s head from his body. At 7 years old, this child should know better – and his parents as well!

  3. Paul Says:

    You have no obligation to babysit. Tell her to find someone else, because you’d like to run around with the other cousins and your siblings, too.

  4. steve'swhirlyworld Says:

    Wow…there’s an Andrew and you are standing your ground. GOOD FOR YOU! I must catch up.

    Sounds like you’re doing well.


  5. Jim Says:

    You werent disciplining and neither were they. I wouldnt find that kind of behavior “cute” or encouragable. Babysitting? Hell no! lol

  6. "Joe" Says:

    I agree with all the other comments. And I speak as a parent, as well. You did the right thing! Bravo!

    The child’s crying an hyperventilating are part of his ability to control them. Watch out when he gets to be 12! (It may not take that long)!

  7. Daniel Says:

    Much like everyone else has said, good for you for leaving. I would have left too. Good for you refusing to babysit. It’s not your place.

    In my family, when the mother, father, or grandmother (the grandfather’s don’t really catch on) is not around to discipline their child/grandchild, I have no problem picking up the slack. I often feel that in most cases the children in my family get off too easy.

    My mother definitely never spared the rod. Although, she doesn’t dole out physical punishment anymore, my mother still has a tight reign on me. At 27 years old, I am still scared of my mother. All she has to do is cut her eyes at me and I know of I have overstepped a boundary.

  8. Steven Says:

    Good for you for sticking to your guns, John! And while I totally agree with saying no to the babysitting, maybe you should say, “Yes” and then when the nephew gets rambunctious, you can set him straight (so to speak) about it being your house and he has to oblige. 😉 But that wouldn’t be worth the hassle and heartache. Here’s to YOU having fun with your siblings and cousins!

  9. Brad Says:

    I am flabbergasted at the gall of your cousin and her child. I think you handled it appropriately by leaving.

  10. Troll at Sea Says:

    What is happening to the world?
    Have all the parents gone stark raving mad?

    The Thanksgiving after I had to leave home, my eldest brother’s two nearly adult children were so rude to me that I was quite rude back [his daughter actually told me to “shut up” during a family discussion]. I packed up my pride and apologized for my rudeness, but I have never heard any apology in return since then, and there have been lots of opportunities since.

    Stick to your guns.

  11. urspo Says:

    I join the chorus in sticking up for you; children shouldn’t act that way towards adults AND if you are the guest you certainly don’t do things ‘his way’. what a brat/what poor parents.

  12. Steven Says:

    I agree with everyone else here. I am shocked by this, more at the poor parenting than anything. How rude to treat a guest like this. I dread anyone that has to deal with this child as a teen or young adult.
    I say put both parents over your knee for a good old fashion lesson in manners!

  13. Steven H Says:

    It is sad when you realize that it is not just the problem of your cousin. It is the problem of American parenting at large. His behavior is much to do with her attitude. You should give her a piece of your mind what you really think and leave her to realize. She can learn if she is willing to.

  14. Sam Says:

    How do moms and dads lose their minds when they have kids?? Would i, were i a dad? I know way too many parents who become the adult doormats of their children and then wonder why same kids become crippled, inept, and manipulative and self-obsessed adults. I daresay the current leader of the free world fits this mould.

    Bravo for doing the right thing for the kid, John.

  15. Doug Says:

    Right on! Stick to your guns! That would so piss me off, too.

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