How do you set up boundaries for family members, who obviously do not respect yo

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  1. brittvan22 profile image78
    brittvan22posted 10 years ago

    How do you set up boundaries for family members, who obviously do not respect your authority?

    Ok, so your parent dies that is taking care of your sibiling unexpectedly. You have noticed her sibiling being rather disrespectful. She takes the children you are now responsible for out after 9pm and does not think to ask you. You have noticed little disrespectful behavior, as you have asked several times for her to respect others and keep her conversation down. Finally, you say after literally 8 times, "Shut the hell up!" She hears you then, but the lack of respect continues, now she wants to leave and take the children with her three 1/2 hrs away, what do you do, how do you set boundaries?

  2. profile image0
    CJ Sledgehammerposted 10 years ago

    I am afraid your scenario is still a little cloudy. I am a little confused about "your sibling" and "her sibling".

    Regardless of the case, boundary issues usually follow the same outline.

    The offending party needs to be talked to in a decent, respectful, yet firm manner. Let the offending party know the rules of the game, tell him or her what your expectations are, what the repercussions will be if boundary infractions continue, and then stick to your guns. Say what you mean and mean what you say.

    At the end of the day, either the offending party falls into compliance, or they meet the consequences - it's their choice.

    1. brittvan22 profile image78
      brittvan22posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      She is my Mom's older sister and I'm responsible for baby sister, daughter, and aunt now. Thats my stance I just hate having to do that to an elder, but it has to be done.

  3. Motherbynature profile image66
    Motherbynatureposted 10 years ago

    I think you know the answer to this question.  Put your foot down!  I know that your aunt has you between a rock and a hard place.  She knows that you respect her as your elder and as your mom's sister.  She is using that abusing that fact.  Step back and remember why your sister is living with you and not her.  If your aunt does not respect your authority and your adulthood, you need to tell her that she cannot take the kids out of the house.  Period.  She can visit but not take them out.  The way you describe I wouldn't even allow her to visit.  Might she be bitter because she isn't the guardian?
    You have a full plate.  I know the feeling.  My grandmother chose me to care for her estate when she passes away, much to the horror of my aunt.  She was not chosen and she tried to make my life hell because of it.  I love my aunt but I had to put my foot down and tell her that her behavior was childish and that she could stay away from me until she got herself under control.  I also pointed out that such behavior may be the exact reason she was overlooked.  She got the message.  I know that telling an elder where to go is terribly uncomfortable, but your sister is counting on you to protect her and fill a role that no one else can.  That is why God gave YOU the responsibility and no one else.  If I seem too bossy, please excuse me.  I am a Taurus and a mother of 5.  Lord have mercy!  Good luck with your situation and God bless smile

    1. brittvan22 profile image78
      brittvan22posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Thanks, she is a handful, I think you may have hit the nail on the head, hadn't thought of that, but I know what Mom thought of alot of things/people and I am trying to be sensitive to all parties, but I'm on human. Thanks.

  4. Mazzy Bolero profile image68
    Mazzy Boleroposted 10 years ago

    It sounds to me as if your aunt regards herself as the authority figure as the older person.  In her twisted way, she may believe that she is helping.  She wants to play the loving aunt to her sister's kids and just sees you as one of them, even though you are an adult.  I guess you have to have an honest talk with her, and it may be hard with someone who just doesn't want to listen.  However, she is your aunt and theirs and you may want to retain her love (assuming that's what it is) without her high-handed interference. 

    If you can't talk face to face without either of you getting upset and/or angry, write her a letter.  Explain that you have taken on the responsibility and need to establish with your siblings that you are in the parental role now.  You have to make decisions about where the kids go and when, she can't just go over your head.  Say some nice things as well (assuming there are some positives) such as you appreciate her help, emotional support, her understanding, etc. (I know, she hasn't given any, but maybe it will make her realize she should) She must have some good points (?)

    She will probably feel put-out and initially may be hurt or annoyed, but she'll get over it, especially if you are able to tell her how much you and the kids enjoy her visits (this may be a fib, but if you want to maintain friendly relations, it's a white lie) so that she doesn't feel totally rejected. She probably needs you and your siblings - you are all she has left of her sister, remember.  It may be difficult for her to accept your authority but I think she will adjust - be firm and try not to react emotionally if she backslides a little.  She wants to be close to her sister's kids, so unless she thinks you hate her and want her completely out of your lives, I think she'll make the effort (maybe after stewing a little). 

    Presumably, she would visit when your mother was alive and would not behave in this same way, being loud and obnoxious.  If she did, how did your mother handle it?  You need to avoid yelling and swearing whatever the aggravation - that's being out of control. You need to show her that you are in control. Don't raise your voice, just ask her once to keep the noise down. If she doesn't respect what you say, tell her if she continues you will have to ask her to leave.  If she does continue, do that. 

    The ideal would be to turn this relationship into a supportive one for you, but I admit from your description she sounds rather thick-skinned and insensitive.  You can only try to get her to understand. I wish you luck, you deserve her help, not hindrance.

    1. brittvan22 profile image78
      brittvan22posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Thanks for your input, I hate asserting authority unless its absolutely necessary, because we're all adults, but I am solely responsible for my sister, daughter, and aunt. Didnt think of it as we were all thats left of Mom. Thanks.

    2. Mazzy Bolero profile image68
      Mazzy Boleroposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      You can do it in a non-aggressive way, though.

    3. brittvan22 profile image78
      brittvan22posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I know, it was just the blatant disrespect over and over (8xs) I snapped! I will do better next time though. She is the type that talks over ppl and talks around them.

    4. Mazzy Bolero profile image68
      Mazzy Boleroposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I know what you mean. I know someone like that.  You can only do what you can.  If she can't or won't listen, just put yourself first.  At least you know you did your best.

    5. brittvan22 profile image78
      brittvan22posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Exactly, guess it doesn't help I was named after her (thanks Mom) so she feel like I'm her's in a way. Smh, our bday's are two days apart, what a difference 2 days make, lol. Im Brittany Vanessa (means strong butterfly), she just Vanessa.

  5. brittvan22 profile image78
    brittvan22posted 10 years ago

    I thank all of you for your input, you made me think of certain factors I had forgotten in the heat of disrespect. I know I shouldn't have swore at her, at the time it was the only way to get her to be quiet. My mom had the same issue with her when she was alive and I was constantly telling Mom, she didn't have to put up with that behavior, hang up the phone, etc. Mom did in the end tell her what she could do. I think also in the back of my mind, the last exchange between the two is still fresh. She really hurt my Mom's feelings and truly disappointed her and my Mom was a truly understanding person. What hurt my Mom the most was the fact that she was nasty to her and made it clear she did not have her back. Then, literally a week later, my Mom was dead, I feel for her in that that was her last memory with Mom and at that point my Mom told me she was washing her hands of her. I remember someone saying, "Be careful how you treat someone's parents, because the children don't forget." I think that is true. My mom was the type of person that would help any and everyone, she would give you the shirt off her back. Three things she was big on were loyalty, love, and family, we founded two pages for our family members on fb to find one another for better unity. I know she would have not wanted me to react that way, she would have understood, but not wanted me to disrespect her sister. I just can't for the life of me allow the disrespect and I have to make it clear (think I did that last night) that all things must past through me and if not, then consider it not happening. I want to thank each poster, because each of your perspectives has given me greater understanding and something to consider to do better in the future and to take the next step.

  6. Cara.R profile image68
    Cara.Rposted 10 years ago

    I inserted some mental commas and understand the question. I think. So here it goes.
    The one thing from what you posted makes wonder, was this sibling always this way? Or has this sibling always been disrespectful?  Could the death of the parent be the cause of this behavior?
    I find these questions important. The reason is; it will be harder to communicate with this sibling if she has always been that way. However, if it is a part of grief then discuss it.
    Either way, chose your boundaries, speak to her in a firm yet non-aggressive way; that doesn't provoke defensiveness in her.  I would try to understand her and why she only response to yelling but then goes back to her old ways. If you can't get through to her, if she refuses to listen or continues to be disrespectful then it is time to give her an ultimatum.
    Ultimatums are only useful if you stick by them 100%. If you give in; then any ultimatums from then on will be ignored. Figure out, while trying to be reasonable and understanding to her feelings,  why she is doing this.
    If that fails then figure out an ultimatum that you feel confident you can uphold. It's a strong step past having boundaries but sometimes it is needed. It also seems as if she is taking on a "parent" role in her own, maybe not in a great, way. But is upset over these boundaries and is defying them because the other sibling is not the parent; but to her is coming across like one.
    And that parent is dead now and she could possibly be acting out over the grief. Before you give an ultimatum, sit with her, talk with her and instead of setting one sided boundaries, try coming together with ideas that you both agree on. Ones that make you both feel good about and both feel as thought your equals on this journey.

    1. brittvan22 profile image78
      brittvan22posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I agree, this is an issue my Mom had with her as well, she told me I'm not fighting with you, too! I'm don't not fight unless defending myself. She is very unreasonable, but I think she got most of the point yesterday, when I put my foot down. W.I.P.

  7. duffsmom profile image60
    duffsmomposted 10 years ago

    If you are the legal guardian of the children now, you have the right to make the rules whether she likes it or not.  If you find she is being disrespectful, take her aside (do not do it in front of the children) and ask her to change her tone or she will have to leave and you will not allow her to visit the children.

    You cannot allow her to undermine your authority as their caregiver.

    1. brittvan22 profile image78
      brittvan22posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I agree.

  8. profile image0
    LikaMarieposted 10 years ago

    You are the guardian, and she is the great aunt to these kids you're recently responsible for.  If she can't give you the respect as the person in charge, regardless of if she's your aunt or not, maybe she doesn't need contact with your children.


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