Wise child. We get along well now.
I am 'harsh' on children in that I treat them like short people that happen to be newbs. I boss them if they act silly. I give them exact instructions (Hand me that 7/16" wrench). And generally expect them to behave like.... well.... I expect normal people to behave.
Amazing how well they meet my expectations.
I've got an 18 mo old grand-daughter. I don't babytalk her, and sorry, if she doesn't speak english, spanish, or french, I can't understand, even if I can hear her.
Speak english to me, cambodian to the rest of the family that understands it.
She figured it out.
She speaks (very little) english, pitched in a tone that I can hear if she wants to talk to me.
Good enough for an 18 month old.
The remarkable thing is that while they have this innocence...they are also SO MUCH more clever than we give them credit for.
And too easily hurt when families break up.
You do the best you can, but who knows whether or not the niece is going to be impacted later on by the fact that mom and dad are divorced and she’s living with grandma and grandpa (because mom gave her up) while dad’s in Afghanistan.
Mom still has the younger brother and sister.
You don’t want to tolerate everything...but you don’t want to be overly harsh either.
Have you taught her the, "pull my finger" joke yet?