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10cowife, Consultant
Category: General
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Experience:  15+ years consulting
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creepy cousin

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my cousin, who is 18 now is coming for a visit. we havent seen her in about 4 years but since she was a small child up until we last saw her she has been mean. she hurts people and animals "accidentally". she has damaged my aunts dogs eye permanently and severely burned my cousins forehead with a curling iron. she used to wake up after everybody was asleep and sneak around "checking things out" and playing tricks on people. i refused to allow her to stay here with my family which includes my two sons aged 9 and 11 and also two small dogs. some of my family is angry with me. they say she has probably changed but i feel that i cant risk it. now i feeel like a mean person, could she have grown out of this behavior? and the reason she has decided to visit now is because my sister is having a baby.
Hello, and thank you for using Just Answer.

The surest indicator of future behavior is past behavior. In other words, the choice you made is a correct one for you. It may be difficult to bear others' doubts and snickering but you need to do what you feel is correct for your family, including pets.

Even if she has outgrown the behavior, at 18 years old, she is independent enough to stay elsewhere and does not need coddling. This does not mean you need to be mean or impolite to her but familial relation alone does not mean someone is automatically justified in staying in your home. Are there others she can stay with who would be more comfortable?

I can tell you that I once had to make a similar decision and standing by my decision was the best thing I ever did, even though it was very difficult at the time. It seemed mean but I was protecting what was the very most important to me: my immediate little family. Just because you are not comfortable with her staying with you does not make you mean. If you let her stay, it would, however, make you a doormat. Without having seen her for four years, your rules and social requirements may be completely ignored -- you have no way of knowing.

I can tell you, also, that you need to be firm in your reasoning -- you do not need to state, "it's because she's mean" but simply say that you can't have anyone staying with you in your home right now. Try to not make it personal. Try to be as welcoming to her as possible -- on the other guy's turf -- for example, be genuine when you say, "It is good to see you" when you meet. Also, you do not owe her an explanation unless she point blank asks why she could not stay with you. And if she does, honesty is the best policy but try to be tactful. Something like, "I wasn't feeling up to keeping up with your midnight tricks!"

BotXXXXX XXXXXne: you have two small dogs, two small boys and a home of your own. Your hands are full.

I hope this information helps. If you have found it helpful, please ACCEPT and leave FEEDBACK. If you have additional questions on this item, please reply. As always, bonuses are always appreciated.


p.s. Remember: It is easy for others to say what they WOULD do and what you SHOULD do -- but they may do exactly the same thing if they were really in your shoes, so you shouldn't let their opinions make you feel guilty.
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