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My brother in law family is coming to visit us for a little less than 2 months in USA from India. I know that sounds a lot but it is common in our culture to stay at immediate relative place for that long since we are very close and they are travelling from all the way from India for the first time. They have two kids one 8-year-old daughter and one 2-year-old boy. I have one daughter who will be around 1 year and 2 months when they visit us next year. When I have visited them in the past - I have seen their older daughter being very mean to other kids. I have seen her pinch other kids in the stomach when no one is looking sometimes for some reason (i.e toy or some other thing) and sometimes for no reason (not sure if she enjoys hurting other kids). In mind of my brother in law she is an ideal kid and takes care of her younger siblings. Whenever they find her in the fault ie if they find her hurting the younger brother they reprimand her very badly which I don’t want to happen in my home.

My daughter will be in the day care most of the weekdays but I am afraid that their older daughter will hurt my daughter while playing with each other in some or other way. I want some suggestions on how to tackle this situation in such way that I don’t make big deal out of it because this is the only time they will be visiting us before our daughter is little older I want to lay low and don’t want to confront them about it, but at the same time make sure she doesn’t hurt my daughter.

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I think you should just remind her what the rules are at the beginning of their stay and have the parents agree with you in front of her. Checklist all the rules and mention the one you're really worried about as just one in a larger set of rules, as if in passing. Remind her that small children are fragile and should be taken care of and that it is the role of adults and older kids to do so.

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There is an instinct in almost all people to be gentle with babies. It seems unlikely that even a mean 8-year-old child would pick on a newly walking toddler.

Having said that, firm boundaries are key. Sharing space for that long with ANYBODY is complicated, and intimacy with your spouse may become a real problem. Your daughter won't appreciate the change in routine, and everyone may be pulling out their hair by the end of the first week.

You might consider using a last-minute agency like AIRBNB if you need a break. They do weekly and monthly rentals as well.

Other than that, try not to stress it. It should work out just fine.

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If you are certain that you do not wish to work out a cooperative approach with your niece's parents, then you'll have to

  1. work directly with your niece, and

  2. work in partnership with at least one ally -- perhaps your spouse?

For #1, build a relationship with your niece. Find shared interests, build mutual trust. Read books with her. Gradually instill your humanistic values on her. As she becomes more attached to you, she will value your good opinion of her more and more. You can begin this process prior to their arrival by sending a few simple things through the mail, for example a photo album, a letter asking about her interests, some phone calls, a small but thoughtful gift. During their visit, spend some special one-on-one time with her, offer her choices, give her some special jobs that show that you value her contributions.

For #2, what I have in mind here is that you or your ally should be watching discreetly whenever she is anywhere near your little one. If anything goes wrong, calmly separate them (preferably by removing your daughter). You have to protect your daughter. I understand that you want to minimize conflict.

Remember that positive feedback and planned ignoring of negative behavior is much more effective in shaping behavior than all the scolding in the world.

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