Board Opinions Wanted

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by TeDo, Dec 13, 2011.

  1. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    My recently-turned 18 year old nephew has always been a difficult child. Both of his parents were difficult child's. His mom, my baby sister, has babied him but was also not afraid to "put the hammer down" when absolutely necessary. brother in law has always let nephew have is way. He could never handle the whining AT ALL so would give in just to not have to hear it. Nephew learned early on how to play his parents. He always asked dad and then when mom said no, he would let his parents have at it while he got to do what he wanted because dad said so. Mom, trying to keep marriage together, spoke her piece to death but then dropped it so nephew wouldn't see her as the bad guy. I know, pretty sick, but true. A couple times, sister called panicked because it was late (after legal curfew) and she didn't know where nephew was. When she told her husband, he said not to worry because nephew would come home. When she mentioned calling the police to help find him, husband forbade her to do it. Again, to keep marriage, she didn't.

    Nephew has always been a follower in every sense of the word. He will go along with anyone that does anything that sounds like fun and possible consequences never occur to him. Many times these "friends" have not been the kind I would let MY kids be around but.....

    Nephew has been in legal trouble a few times as a juvenile for minor "stupid kid stuff". We all hoped he'd learn but his PO (the only one that deals with juveniles) went a little too easy on him, in my humble opinion. Nephew had fines and probation for a year or less. Nephew was a good kid while ON probation.

    My sister walked out on her family 3 years ago to be with another man. It took a long time for either of her kids to talk to her but they have worked things out. My mom held a grudge against her for 2 years. My other sister still wants nothing to do with her. My difficult child 2 was very attached to my baby sister because she was like his other mom. She only lived 3 blocks away most of his life. Now, she lives an hour away. He was devastated when she "left him" and didn't want anything to do with her. That was fine with my mom until she had a change of heart and then all of a sudden, "difficult child 2 needs to get over it. He needs counseling or something!!!" She had forgiven so why can't everyone else (except other sister who she will never "go against")

    When he turned 18 I reminded him that now it was a whole new ball game and that the cops would have their eyes on him because of prior run-ins and the friends he chose to hang around with. I was right. Within 2 months (just a few weeks ago) he got caught for some stupid stuff with the "wrong crowd" and spent 2 days/nights in jail. My other sister jokingly told his dad that he should take a picture of nephew being walked from the jail to courthouse as a reminder when he gets out of hand. She also told my mom what she had said. My mom actually did just that and nephew saw her do it. Yes, my mom took a picture of nephew in shackles.

    Now, he is angry with my other sister and my mom and won't talk to them. Because he won't talk to them, they are withholding his Christmas gifts from them until he does. Neither of them is willing to let him feel what he's feeling and work it out for himself in his own time. My other sister says he has no right to be angry with her. I agree but he feels what he feels. My mom is actually planning on cornering nephew when she knows he's home so he HAS to hear her out. She deleted the picture from her camera as soon as she found out he was angry. "There is no reason for him to be mad at me for taking a lousy picture that doesn't even exist anymore! That kid has anger issues and needs help!"

    Now is it me or is this just sick? And what would you do if you were me and have a good rapport with nephew AND have learned to live with and handle the "dysfunction" in the family AND are in a position to teach him what his parents don't? Baby sister and other sister have had issues all their lives so his mom's opinions are skewed when it comes to other sister. Dad has now had enough and is riding nephew hard. The kid is getting very depressed. He's been taught to be this way, he inherited the genes for this kind of "normal" and now he's being punished for it by so many people. I'm torn.
    Lasted edited by : Dec 13, 2011
  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well it does sound like odd family dynamics. I think taking the picture was just plain funny and it was something I would have done and he could have gotten over it or not. Tough noogies. If he was ashamed of being perp walked he should have thought of that before getting arrested. I know your family has a bit of strange behaviors from things you have said before but just sounds sorta normal for feisty family dynamics to me. But what do I know, Im an only
  3. Allan-Matlem

    Allan-Matlem Active Member

    Very unsupportive and negative family dynamics , lots of power play , trying to teach others a lesson.

    When we try to teach some one a lesson , what matters is not the lesson we think we are teaching but the actual message - what the kid , person is learning. The kid got the message - ridicule, lack of support etc and is now angry. In family relationships the question is not who is right, wrong, justified - it is about people seeing other's perspectives, concerns etc and finding mutually satisfying solutions - not easy -. Forget the blame . As some one said - you have to decide if you want to be right or happy. CPS - collaborative problem solving helps to get people talking because we first focus on the concerns of others , the kid etc When he feels listened to and understood he will be more open to hear other perspectives. It helps if people apologize and show readiness to look for a new game plan.

    nephew needs someone who can help him create a vision for the future - his 'possible self ', start working on his pile of unsolved problems and buiding relationships with positive people.

    He needs to deal with life from a different place. Even if he is a 100% justified in being angry with his family, his anger will work against him. Anger places the locus of responsibility on the other and gets in the way in making a life for oneself

    Parenting is Learning
  4. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm going to speak from your nephew's perspective, not a parent or adult's. If the boy had anger issues, it's a no brainer that this would set him off. He is embarrassed and feeling harassed. It doesn't matter that he is responsible for his actions. In this case, he doesn't see it that way. He "paid his price to society", but now his family was making fun of him. I believe that is where he is coming from. No one is looking at it from his perspective.

    Withholding Christmas gifts is acting just as juvenile as he is.

    Were I you, and you seem to have a reasonable relationship with him, I would invite him over when there aren't any distractions. Let him know that you do understand why he is angry -- in your opinion it wasn't the right thing to do -- but his aunt and grandmother thought they were doing him a favor by capturing a time in his life that he wouldn't want to repeat. They thought it was a picture they could give him so he could "keep his eyes on the prize". Sometimes family thinks from a place of the heart, doing what they believe is best, but sometimes the brain doesn't come into play! They had no intent to hurt or degrade him but they are hurt now just as he is.

    Don't tell him he needs to move on, he will do that when he feels it's justified. I think just talking to him straight, maybe with a little humor, will let him see the situation from a different perspective. If he doesn't feel threatened or scolded, he might, just might see this situation differently.

  5. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I think I would have personally croaked if anyone took a picture of difficult child doing the perp walk. Good Grief I had such grief and pain just seeing it myself that I'll never forget it. It's a somber sight. I can appreciate his anger.

    on the other hand, it appears you are "it" if he is going to have sane family support. I agree that having unconditional love is an important and much needed ingredient for teens...especially those who are struggling. Meeting one on one sounds like a valid idea with the stress on your support and perhaps reference to the other family members without elaborate detail. Good luck. DDD
  6. buddy

    buddy New Member

    TeDo, how in heck did you turn out so reasonable and so good for the difficult child's in your life. I am sure you have your "stuff" like we all do, but you have a lot of turmoil around you.... your closest "supporters" and they can't be supportive. Sorry. I am glad nephew has you and I think the plain, honest, accepting his feelings and perspective but helping to teach about other people's perspective is a good start. He may not agree at first, but you can plant the seed and in time, after working thru his own feelings, he can decide what he wants to do.

    Withholding the presents is immature.