Just Engaged and Proposals

Relative Dilemma: How to deal with a misbehaving child and an unconcerned mother.

So I am recently engaged! YAY! I have 3, much younger cousins whom I would like to participate in my wedding. The flower girl is a seven year-old, only child. The other two are the ring bearer (seven) and his sister (five). While the two older children are respectful and behave; the younger is disrespectful, tantrum throwing, attention thriving little so-and-so. I do not want to hurt the child's feelings, but I cannot trust the mother to control her child during the ceremony. I have confronted the mother several times about her daughters behavior including this past Christmas when I caught the 4 year old going through my purse that was put safely away behind the closed doors of my old bedroom in the back of the house. When I confronted the child she told me all these things were hers. So naturally, I corrected the issue as best I could by addressing the mother. The mother basically told me I should take better care of my things. So, as you can imagine, I'm not excited about the idea of confronting my cousin's wife about why their child will not be a part of the wedding. To be honest, we are asking our guests to part with their children for one night. Both my fiance and I would much rather have them leave the problem child at home for the night, but that would be asking too much since her older brother (the ring bearer) will still be apart of the wedding. I don't want to punish anyone, but I don't see any way around hurting someone's feelings to defend my "big day". However, I will not have a disrespectful and uncontrollable child running wild during my ceremony. This child has now become such an issue that my mother put her foot down and spoke with her sister, the child's grandmother. The grandmother agreed with my lack of confidence and has agreed to stick up for our decision. Even with the support of so many others in my family, I feel guilty. I understand that she is a child and children will behave like children. However, I'm speaking of a child whom will boldly defy an adult without any concern for repercussions or safety. The day before Christmas Eve, she tried to set the house on fire by adding paper towels to the top of a candle. I'm not talking about one or two sheets. I'm talking about a whole roll. When we asked her why, she responded "because it was fun!" She. was. four. Her most recent tantrum was at her preschool graduation when she threw herself on the floor and screamed during the entire 15 minute performance. This was when my mother let me know she AGREED with my concern and would not allow for such drama to unfold at our wedding. Like I said before, I cannot trust the parents or the child. While watching the child react, the mother just kept telling everyone to "give her space" and "she needs to breathe". So, the other children had to compete over her screams during their graduation ceremony because the mother refused to remove her from the room. HELP.

Re: Relative Dilemma: How to deal with a misbehaving child and an unconcerned mother.

  • You only need to say something if they ask why, which they probably will. Since she has done all this shit, you could be honest. "Cousin, given little Susie's history of poor behavior, we are not including her in the wedding party." Or you could say you feel she is too young. Are you inviting children? Is this just an issue of not being in the wedding party or of being invited at all?
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
  • Well first, I accidentally started a fire at my first apartment when I was 18 because I kept dropping newspaper into a candle because the flare was cool. She wasn't trying to burn the house down. It IS fun.

    Second, just say because of her behavior you're not comfortable having her in the wedding. But be prepared for the parents to not come and pull their son out of the wedding. People can get prickly when their kids or parenting are called out.
  • Honestly, it sounds like this child might have some sort of issue.  Especially since you say the older brother is respectful and properly behaved.  It could be the mother is in denial and doesn't want to admit there is something "wrong" with her child or she knows but for whatever reason won't share it with the family. 

    I'm by no means saying that should have her in the wedding. If she does have an actual disorder being put on the spot like that could make things way worse.  But it could be that the mom isn't a bad parent, she's just doing the best she can.

    Can you tell I'm a social worker?
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • I think it's either a kid-friendly wedding or it isn't. I think when you start including some kids at the wedding and not others, people are going to be upset. I'd nix the idea of the two siblings being in the wedding and go with an adult-only reception. That way, she's not singled out.
  • Is it possible to enlist grandma? I don't think this child needs to be IN your wedding, but given that her brother is the ring-bearer there's no way to exclude her from being present. So what if you make a deal with grandma: If she starts misbehaving in a loud/distracting/inappropriate way, grandma will remove her. 

    Would her mom freak out about that? You'd have to use your judgment, I think. But in these cases I think it's good to have a little bit of backup. 

    Honestly, I can't believe none of the preschool teachers stepped in at that graduation--kids are kids and they're still learning how to behave, but the adults around them have to know the one basic principle of social existence: Your comfort, needs, or desires do not take precedence over the comfort, needs, and desires of the larger group. Or, as I like to call it, the You Are Not Special principle.
    This baby knows exactly how I feel
  • KatWAGKatWAG member
    First Anniversary First Answer First Comment 5 Love Its
    Personally I would nix all three kids from the wedding and have an adult only reception. If you dont want to do that, include the child but ask grandma to watch her. How only will this kid be at the time of the wedding? Maybe she will mature?
    BabyFruit Ticker
  • So she was supposed to be a ring bearer also? If you've already asked, unasking is rude. All you can really do is have a backup plan. Why not suggest that her mom walk with her?
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