Wednesday Woe with Wanda Worstwagger – The Bullying Nephew

in Entertaining nonsense and profound thought

Dear Wanda,

When we go to a large family gathering, my 14 yr nephew, who has asperger syndrome, picks on my 8 year old son – who has his own set of problems.  My nephew teases my son and gets him all wound up.This causes two problems, one it increases my son’s bad behavior and it teaches him things about bullying that I don’t want him to know. I really don’t want to whine to my brother about it because this son already causes him so much stress .  I tell him to stay clear if him and my husband and I keep an eye on him, but he always manages to get to him.


Angry Aunt


Dear Angry Aunt,

If you can’t get your brother to keep an eye on your nephew then you just have to do it yourself. Unfortunately, this means that you spend your family time glued to your son instead of relaxing with siblings and parents. If you are serious about protecting your son from your nephew’s behavior I don’t see that you have any other choice, except maybe not to attend the large family gathering.

However, I would urge you to talk to your brother. It is never acceptable for a fourteen year old child to tease a much younger child. I’m not an expert on asperger syndrome, but assuming the child’s behavior can be modified, your brother needs to help him learn to behave in a manner that is appropriate. One study shows that children with aspergers are more not only to be bullied, but also to bully others.

It sounds like large family gatherings are stressful for you at this stage in your family’s development. If you experience more stress than enjoyment I do urge you to stay away. Things will change, as they always do, and there will come a time when the enjoyment of seeing your family will outway the stress it causes you.

Good luck to you, Angry,




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