Really minor extended family dynamic question

I’ve got 3 siblings close to my age, and among us we have 14 kids - 10 or so of them are probably within 6 years of each other in age. For whatever reason, the cousins are not all “best friends” - in fact, in the past my kids have commented that certain of their cousins were rude to or showed no interest in them. But I readily admit that my kids are not the best at social graces (they come by it honestly from me!) Right now 6 of the cousins - including 2 of my kids -attend the same big state university.

Last night we are at a wake for my BIL’s dad. My sister says her son has a class with my daughter, and said he said “Hi” to my kid and she acted like she didn’t know him. It was a little embarassing, because we’ve always told our kids to try to be at least superficially polite in nearly all social situations - especially with family. Also, not even knowing they were in the same class, we felt like it seemed we didn’t know what was going on in our kids’ lives. So we said something about maybe she didn’t realize it was him, or sometimes she doesn’t wear her contact lenses. But then a few minutes later, the boy himself repeated the story. Between my wife and me, we heard at least 4 times how this cousin greeted my kid and my kid snubbed him. Really felt a little blindsided - and embarrassed.

So when we get home we call my kid and ask what the deal is, and she says the cousin in question seems to go out of his way to snub her, and certainly has never demonstratively acknowledged her in public. He is a varsity athlete, seems popular and confident - and I tend to believe my kid.

So how am I supposed to feel and act now? Either my kid or my nephew is lying or mistaken. Whichever, my wife and I were put into an awkward position. I feel like my whole family has this impression that my kid is the one being rude - which kinda reflects on us, and also that we don’t talk to our kids about what is going on at school. (We didn’t know they were in the same class. But we talk with her on the phone at least once a week and feel we know basically what we need/want to know.)

Heading to the funeral in just a bit. A part of me feels like saying to my nephew and his parents, “Yeah, we spoke to M and she said you are consistently rude to her in public. Whether you intend it or not, that is the impression she’s gotten.” But of course I won’t - especially not today.

I could say, "M didn’t realize you 2 were in the same class. She said to give her a call if you needed notes for today’s lecture."

But given my hitorical track record, I’ll most likely say and do nothing, fume silently, and then forget about it. Of course I expect that months or years later the same damn kind of thing will come up again …

Please keep in mind my title - I know this is really minor.

I vote let them work it out on their own, tell the other parents this is your attitude if it comes up again. It’s a lot of cousins. There is no law that says they have to get along together all the time. If the parents step back and stay the hell out of it, that’s the best chance for it to resolve itself, in my opinion.

If they were bickering toddlers you’d separate them and forget about it. Remind your daughter not to be rude, and leave it at that. Anyone asks, you’ve spoken to her about it. End of story.

I would probably just stay out of it if I were you. No one was there except for your daughter and your nephew, and they’re both adults. I’m not sure why your family would feed that you need to explain her behaviour - if they’re so concerned, why not ask her?

If these kids are off at college, they don’t need their parents to be running interference or fighting their battles for them within the family. I don’t think you should feel that you need to makes excuses for your daughter’s behaviour, especially since you don’t know what the behaviour was. I also don’t find it at all odd that you and your wife wouldn’t be privy to everything that goes on in your daughter’s day to day college life. Frankly, I find it more odd that your nephew tells his parents these things, and that they feel it’s necessary to bring up such an insignificant matter at a wake and make a big deal about it.

I would say stay out. In my clan some cousins got along and some didn’t. But as we grew up we slowly grew together. The one I fought with the most as a kid and teen was by best friend by my 20s and even today we have keys to each others houses. It helped that all our parents stayed out of our relationships; but good ideas have to start somewhere.

What everyone else said, basically. If someone tries to bring it up again, say something to the effect of, “Yeah, I heard that story already. Huh. Kids. Anyway, how’s the wife?” or whatever.

This sounds really good.

I get what everyone is saying about staying out if it - at least as far as the kids are concerned. But to the extent people are saying things to me, I feel like I am already “in” it, so I need to figure out how I am going to respond.

Without going too deep into my family dynamic, a lot of shit gets said and repeated over and over. I don’t know how much of it is intentionally critical, intended to get a rise out of someone, one-up-manship, or just social cluelessness. I’m sure I’m guilty of the same. I tend to just ignor most of it. My wife is more sensitive to it than I (again, whether rightly or wrongly).

I wouldn’t stay out of it. My family does the same sort of “whisper campaign” BS and it makes me sick. They have put you in the middle and are talking your daughter down to other family members. You don’t need to fight your daughter’s battles, but this one is yours.

In situations like these, I use the “assuming the best” offense with a “kill 'em with kindness flanking action,”

“DinDaughter was horrified to hear that you thought she had snubbed you. She was, in fact feeling the same sort of hurt you were - apparently there’s been a huge misunderstanding. I do hope you’ll try again when you get back.”

I agree; that’s kinda rude and weird.

I use my family’s grapevine to my advantage - planting ideas that I want other people to know without me going to the bother of telling them. :slight_smile:

I agree that some extent the fight has been brought to Dinsdale - I would address it that far, but no further. Maybe you could respond with something like, “Yeah, I hear they aren’t getting along too well at college. Well, what are you gonna do?” and laugh it off and change the subject.

Back from the funeral. Topic didn’t come up.
Daughter sent me an e-mail saying she e-mailed her cousin offerring him her notes, and he e-mailed back thanks.
Waiting for the next blow-up.