Sasha Answers: my brother’s difficult child
My family (parents, 2 brothers and a sister) live in a small town, I live about 700 miles away. My brother and his wife have two kids as does my sister and her husband. Sounds great, right? Wrong...my brother's oldest kid, a boy (R) has some serious issues with anger and jealously that his parents don't seem to recognize as serious issues, they rationalize it as boy behavior. They are in denial that he needs help and as a result this is splitting up our family. My sister is ready to stop attending family functions due to R's behaviour (he hits, tackles, screams, etc her kids) and I don't know what to do. I only see my family for about 4 days out of the year, Christmas and a few days in the summer and I notice how ridiculous everything has gotten. I absolutely hate to say it but I think they are selfish parents who don't want to face the facts about their son as well as their marriage. I would like to step in a say my peace, but I could understand if they came back with, "its non of your business, you don't know what goes on." This is killing my mom - her kids mean the world to her but we can't stand being around my brother and his wife. It absolutely breaks my heart because my nephew is a sweet kid who is pining for his parents love and attention and needs some serious help. They're never going to change and he is the one who is truly going to suffer. So what is my place in all of this?
Doling advice out to people about how they parent as a general rule is not a good idea unless you have a death wish. But when it comes to family matters I think most universal dos and don’ts go out the window. I have a sister and I can say quite honestly that if she had a sh-t disturber of a kid, I’d 100% say something. No doubt. Especially if the situation was so extreme that it was ripping our family apart.
T, there is really no tactful way to tell your bro he sucks as a parent, so instead of focusing on his parenting skills the best way to go about this is to turn your concern to your nephew. Tell him that while you love his son very much his behavior and anger issues are straining the family and that you want to do whatever you can to support and help him.
The key here is to come at this from a supportive place because if your bro even slightly senses you’re attacking him, he’ll resent your ass. Maybe even offer up a couple of books that you think might help. This might piss him off at first, but I’d bet you he’ll take a look at them once he’s cooled down. After a quick search on Amazon I found the following that seem to have good reviews. “1-2-3 Magic” and “Parenting Teens with Love and Logic”.
I really hope he’s open to hearing you out! Good luck and keep me posted! xx