Entitlement and superiority in typical siblings of troubled kids

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by SuZir, Jan 9, 2015.

  1. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    I'm currently quite unhappy with Joy. There is nothing actually new in his behaviour but it did hit me into my face this week. And at times, when reading some of you others to write about your typical kids and how they relate to their troubled siblings, those same ugly characteristics seem to come out at times.

    Our Insolent Whelp has been challenging and special needs kid from the get-go. We have tried to make up the sibling taking so much of our time and attention to Joy. Especially husband has been very involved in Joy's sports and I too have made it a point to have time alone with him to do fun things and give him attention he may feel Ache robs from him at home. Our Joy really is a super kid in many ways, doing always well at school, doing very well in every sport he ever tried, always having lots of friends and few very close ones, being popular among girls now when he is older, well-liked by adults, good manners, good friend, nice to little children and small animals like they say. Really a son to be proud of. Also reasonably obedient and respectful at home, fun, easy-going and helpful (well, after some nagging.)

    But he truly seems to think he is somehow better or more deserving than his brother or other people with issues. That his share good luck with genes, family he happened to be born at and good looks somehow make him more worthy and more entitled. Maybe even that me and husband would love him more than Ache; or that we at least should.

    Ache's and Joy's relationship is okay. Ache adores his little brother in little absent-minded way and let's him get away with anything. Joy doesn't show his disdain too much to Ache's face. But I really have a problem with this. Joy truly has many advantages in life, but I certainly didn't want to raise him to feel superior because of that; more that noblesse oblige. Because he has gotten so much, more can be also asked from him in return.

    What really opened my mind to this, and made me feel almost sick, was a discussion he and husband were having about money and to which I got involved. Joy had a nerve to ask us, how much we are paying for Ache having difficulty finding suitable therapist and whining why we are not willing to give him that towards a car. We were actually considering getting him a car, but because he kind of needs it, always borrowing mother in law's car is bit embarrassing, but that he had balls to actually question our use of our money towards his brother's medical expenses and compare it to what he is getting and whine how we always favour Ache while he is so much better son. And this is a kid I just earlier that day bought Canada Goose jacket from the NA web store (price, 22 % import taxes and cargo makes a small fortune to pay from a jacket for a kid) just because he wanted it (not because some much cheaper jacket wouldn't keep him warm.)

    husband actually laid him with some figures. Like how he is responsible over half of our monthly food budget still now at 18 and half, and will likely be our financially responsibility and living at home at least two more years (our kids start school late, Joy took an extra year to accommodate his sport and after that he has military obligations to fulfil, so it will take that time and we are totally okay with that) and that at his age Ache had been out of the house and making it mostly on his own a year already. husband also went so far, that he brought up some figures of money we had used to them earlier, that Joy's second sport cost us over the double what Ache's second sport cost, and that because Joy was better than Ache at their third sport, we took part on many events farther away that required hotel nights and gas and sent him to camps we did not sent Ache. And that because Ache was better at their main sport, the difference financing their playing that sport is more than any car Joy could plan to have. Okay, those comparisons were not fair at all, there has been things also before that Ache has needed and that has cost us a lot: like me staying home for about 9 years instead of year or two per kid like we originally planned. And any cost Joy has caused us, can't really compare to seven years of my salary. But the point was clear and true; we give our kids what they need and occasionally what they want, they are not our employees to whom we would pay according virtue of being a good son.

    We haven't really seen Joy since husband put him down, I think he is mobbing at his girlfriend's home. It is not about the car or him wanting that, I can understand that, but his ugly, ugly attitude and sense of superiority. How he dares?!?

    He does have had a bad year and I understand he is in bad mood. Things have been very tough with sport without his fault. School has required quite a lot of juggling and logistics are a nightmare. Add a girlfriend who is not happy with time he has to spare to her and her strong opinions about Ache, Ache's girlfriend and how Joy is short shifted. But he should know better at this point! I would understand it, if he was 5-years-old and jealous. But he is frigging 18-year-old young man I raised better!
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2015
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Oh SuZir.

    I have some idea of what you mean.
    When oldest is difficult child, no matter what you do, youngest will always be at the short end of the stick.

    You see, no matter what, difficult child soaks up the lions share of brain cycles. Doesn't matter what else you do, how else you try to make it fair for easy child, it simply is not fair.

    Your easy child is doing fairly well... some go completely off the deep end and become a difficult child in their own right.

    Sorry, no answers. But I do understand.
  3. Origami

    Origami Active Member

    SuZir, I can totally relate to this issue. I have three PCs and two difficult children, and get grief from them about how we've supposedly favored one or the other. Some of this is probably normal sibling rivalry, and I do understand the resentment mine feel because we've spent so much time, energy, and money on the difficult children (especially the younger one). Then the younger difficult child will complain that I gave his sister this or that, while I deny him what he wants (usually something he doesn't need, like cigarettes).

    I was actually thinking about the parable of the prodigal son the other day in reference to something one of my sons said about difficult child. I think, as parents, it's near impossible to divide our attentions, money, etc. equally, and we try to give assistance when and where it's needed. Of course, someone is always going to get more or less, and they may or may not understand. It's not fair to the "good kid" when the "bad kid" seems to get more, and I haven't quite figured out how to properly explain this to the one who is feeling slighted. The last time I was confronted by easy child (daughter) about the unfairness with her brother, I just nodded and said, "Yes, you're right. It's pretty unfair. But I think you have everything you need, and we're doing the best we can."

    This is a good way to think about it. I like this idea.
  4. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    Suz - I really think that's just typical 18 yo bluster. He also may be looking for some reassurance that you guys love him as much as you love difficult child. I wouldn't let it worry you - it's really usual for young men to feel a sense of entitlement and they generally grow out of it. It's indicitive if how they feel at that moment in time and not a sign of a new or growing character defect.
  5. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    My easy child wants to know about any money we spend in difficult child. I generally tell her to butt out. They have different needs and wants.
  6. GuideMe

    GuideMe Active Member

    Wish I could help Suzir. I love and respect you lots. However, this is one of the reasons I have only one child, lol. But, I myself, have one brother (whom we all might know well already, lol) and I'm the oldest. We were both equal difficult child's LOL.

    Can't you tell him that you didn't buy your older son a car either? That alone should make him feel better.
  7. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Thanks, guys! It is very possible we overreacted. Ache's situation is stressing us out badly (he seems to be doing fine currently, but...) and this simply was really out of line for our standards from Joy. Maybe because Ache has never seemed to be jealous or comparing who got what when it comes to Joy, not at least after very young and getting over the fact, that we actually brought "that thing" to live with us and it wasn't possible to take him back to hospital. We simply have not used to idea that Joy could come up with something displeasing that we haven't already been through with Ache ;) In fact we have not been used to idea that Joy could do or say much about anything to really upset us. And I think that neither is he.

    Joy seems to be really taken aback by husband's reaction. Joy has always been easy going and smart kid. We have had very little reason to be angry with him. When he has done something wrong, he has usually noticed it already before we have even known about it. And because we learnt to resort heavily on positive reinforcement in child raring with Ache, we of course did so also with Joy. And when he actually did something wrong, best way to deal with it, was to talk it out with him. Being angry, yelling at him, scolding him or punishing him simply were not something that would had been needed or happen often with Joy. And especially husband has always been very close and affectionate with Joy, I doubt he has actually raised his voice to Joy more than handful of times in last decade. So husband reacting so strongly to this was big to Joy and he has been acting bit lost these few days (not that he has been home much, stayed with girlfriend and friends mostly, but when home, he seems to try to avoid me and husband.)

    Usually we would make it easy for Joy to solve this situation, but husband is angry enough with Joy this time, that he wants to let Joy figure it out himself and I really don't want to intervene because this was mostly between them.

    Sig: Unfortunately it at times feels, that problem is not that he is looking reassurance that he is loved as much as Ache but rather that he can't understand that Ache is actually loved as much as he is. On this board I of course write rather Ache-centric, because he is a reason I'm here. And my thoughts in all those long early morning hours I can't sleep may be Ache-centric, but from Joy's point of view Ache is in rather fringe of our family unit nowadays. Last four years he has been out of home. Been back for couple months every summer but often much on the go also then. He has all the time been hours away, even a year abroad. We talk with him on phone once or twice a week and we have visited him or he has come home for a weekend maybe every two months. We may catch his game from telly when available, but often not. I and husband discuss Ache's issues, when we even do that, mostly when Joy is not present. Ache is of course mentioned every now and then in passing and Joy and Ache do keep in touch themselves, but I'm sure days go by, that Ache doesn't even come to Joy mind at all (if he doesn't need someone to solve his math problems or write his poetry analyses for him.)

    For Joy, we are always here. Talk with him daily, make sure he has his favourite snacks in the fridge, cook his favourite dishes, make packed food for the go if he needs to, give him allowance, give him rides and either I or husband or often both attend to almost all of his home games. We know his friends and show interest to his school work. We talk a lot around our dinner and breakfast tables both about daily things but also current events and news topics. Joy certainly is not lacking attention, instead probably thinks at times, that little less parental attention would be a very nice thing, if anything ;)

    Oh GM, he does know that very well already. Ache has never had a car of his own but has always driven cars provided by all kinds of leasing contracts by the teams he has been playing for, or with borrowed cars (he too has been using mother in law's car in the past.) mother in law actually has two cars but doesn't drive at winter, so she has not minded borrowing them to her grandkids now and when, but I do understand Joy wanting his own car. And he doesn't have chance to work on top of school and his sport so coming by money for it on his own is not possible for him (especially because cars around here tend to cost something totally else than in US. Car taxes are sky high and we are remote market, so you can double the price of any car, new or used, in your market to get close to what we have to pay.) When the spring comes and mother in law will again start to drive her cars, we may indeed buy Joy a car or either of us will buy a new car for ourselves and let Joy drive the old one. And to be honest we would not have much against Joy asking us to get him a car, but trying to make it so, that we somehow owe him money for car, because we pay some medical expenses of Ache is simply outrageous to us.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2015
  8. GuideMe

    GuideMe Active Member

    I think you are such a good mom and person Suzir. You really are. Which leads me into my next thought. These are all assumptions based off of what I know about you so far, so if I am wrong, just disregard.

    Have you thought of it like this? I think by nature, who you are as a person Suzir, you are the type to usually route for the underdog. You have a big heart for people who struggle, especially through no fault of their own. You want to protect the disadvantage. You are very liberal and open minded. So am I. I'm guessing that's who you were long before you had kids. Now of course who you are as a person, is going to come into conflict with your mother side because both your kids winded up being at the opposite end of the spectrum. One is an underdog and the other is the overdog (can't think of the right antonym for underdog , lol). Lucky you, right? That is a big challenge.
  9. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    GuideMe: Yes, my kiddies are very different people in many ways and mostly on the opposite spectrum of traditional popular-loser High School spectrum, though Ache's talent in sport did raise his 'social status' when he got older. The real difference between the two are social skills, especially peer skills, social conformity and things like that. In fact Ache is on or above average level in most skills just like Joy. Joy is smart (no idea about his IQ, in our system that is basically only tested if kid is in trouble) and has had it easy at school, Ache has very high IQ and can ace any test or exam and is very efficient learner, his school issues were about social and conformity issues.

    Both have above average musical and artistic talent and are good with their hands (do well in crafts, drawing, things like that.) Both are nice church choir level singers and have enjoyed quality classical music education (read: mommy forced them to attend music school till they were 14-15 and finished level of diplomas that guarantee they can play an instrument well enough to entertain at home setting and have strong foundation in musical theory, Ache plays piano and Joy plays classical guitar.) Neither plays much themselves nowadays (only every now and then for their own enjoyment) but both listen a lot of music. Joy's involvement is more in the same level mine is: for us music is either pleasing to us or not, well done or not so good. Ache is more likely to have more emotional reactions to music. Joy liked to draw when younger, but seldom does it now for pleasure. Ache doodles a lot, puts more thought to photos he takes and so on. My dad (who is professional artist) seems to think Ache has quite good eye and if he would have passion could make something out of himself in art. But he doesn't have that passion. Neither has Joy.

    In sports Joy has always been one of those kids, who are great in every sport. When he had to choose his number one sport around fifteen, he was a national level athlete in four different things. Ache mostly did reasonably well in county level in his sports except the one that was his passion.

    So both of them have always done well in many things. The huge difference has always been the social skills and talent. Joy has always been well liked by everyone from the midwife who delivered him to peers and teachers at school, team mates, coaches and opponents at sports, extended family and neighbours. He is good looking kid with sunny disposition, good manners, nice sense of humour and ability to make people feel comfortable around him. Ache... well, he is none of that. He has prickly manners, is too intense, lacks any kind of smoothness and makes people feel uncomfortable. It is no wonder Joy is extremely popular and Ache is not at all.

    I enjoy being Joy's mother a lot. He is just the kid I always wanted to have. He brings us so much joy in so many levels. The problem is, that for me, as a mother, Ache is just as beloved and just as important as Joy. And that sentiment doesn't sit well with the views of outside world. Of course, if I tell someone, that we love our boys equal, everyone will of course nod and agree. But in more instinctive level people seem to expect me to hail for Joy and apologise for Ache. And that makes me feel more protective of Ache, which I at times have to be very careful not to let to affect how I see Joy. And on the other hand, when things seem to come so easy for Joy, it is difficult to not get frustrated with Ache and how he struggles grasping even some very basic things in how to make himself more likeable.

    Being fair to both of them. That is quite the task!
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2015
  10. My easy child didn't give us any flack. He just left home and cut us off. No discussions. Resists any attempt to talk about why he has alienated us, and we barely interact with him anymore. I can only chase, cajole, and apologize so much.

    Looks like I've made a mess of both children.
  11. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    GS... sometimes the younger sibling of a difficult child gets tired of difficult child-world. They can't really explain it, but their need to be normal drives them away from everything in difficult child-world, including you.

    We underestimate the impact of difficult child on non-difficult child sibling(s), and too often take for granted the other sibling(s) PCness. We can't be fair to easy child and still deal with difficult child. It isn't fair.

    Keep loving your easy child from a distance. It's not about cajoling or begging. Call on important dates, give thoughtful gifts. Keep the connection up from your end. Maybe once difficult child-world moves on from your life, easy child can have you back. Keep the door open.
  12. The funny thing is that, until very recently, the two of them would hang out together at least once a week. They share the same social circle.
  13. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    Suz - as the mom of 3 boys who are close in age - stop trying to be fair. Maybe - just maybe - easy child has your number? He knows you work so hard to be fair and so he is using it to his advantage.

    Really - young men are their own species. My guess is that easy child has already forgotten about the conversation. Like every red blooded young man - he wants wheels and he was willing to play every card he could think of to get them!

    And - in my opinion - girlfriends can aggravate the issue. They're practicing to be evil DILs someday :heh: In my own experience with my sons' girlfriend AND my own SILs (4!) - it may be the girlfriend who stirred it up a bit. My difficult child's girlfriend used that tactic a lot to the point where she actually had the gall to challenge me about granting permission to PC20 to do something (he asked for permission in her presence) that I did not allow difficult child to do at the same age. I was flabbergasted at her nerve! Now that she and difficult child have broken up - he has opened up about the pressure she put on him regarding his relationship with us. Of course, it's an extreme example - but it wouldn't surprise me if your easy child said something like "I wish my parents would just buy me a car" and she encouraged him by comparing his financial needs to his troubled older brother's financial needs.

    Ok - I am projecting way too much here - but just food for thought. most importantly - I've learned that a lot of what my easy child's say and do "in the moment" is only reflective of them "just in that moment" and not indicative of long term or deep rooted feelings! (what you see/hear, is what you get!)
  14. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    "getting over the fact, that we actually brought "that thing" to live with us and it wasn't possible to take him back to hospital."

    I just had to laugh at this. My older 2 kids have each asked this a time or twelve. I think one of Wiz' biggest problems with Jess when he was a kid, esp until maybe age 8, was that she was not a dinosaur. No matter what we said, he was TOTALLY convinced that his little sib would be a T Rex. Convinced in that Aspie/autistic way that discounts reality and that NOTHING can counter. Well, nothing but getting a girl human instead of a girl T Rex could counter.

    I am kinda glad mine are not the only ones who wanted to send younger sibs back to the hospital. It is better than J's solution to newborn thank you's crying. She wanted to put him back where he came from! NOT meaning the hospital!!

    As for easy child's audacity, some of this may come from the girlfriend. There are a LOT of people who think that if you spend X on kid 1 and X + $2.50 on kid 2, then you should give kid 1 the $2.50. I have had to fight my own father on this. He is giving us a car today because he knows ours just died. We were loan shopping and he told me to stop, that gfgbro's grad school and custody atty fees were WAY more than husband's grad school, even when you add in the cost of us having 2 adults and 3 kids and bro just having him and Niece. I didn't need to know it, didn't want to know it, don't care what they spend on bro, and don't have any interest in 'equal' as far as how they spend their $$. I have not turned the car down because it IS a big help and it will make my dad happy. He gets very uncomfortable if he spends more on one kid than the other, and it really can make him grumpy and hard to be around. Personally, I hate asking for help, but have learned that accepting graciously is a ton easier than the year or three of nagging and outrageous gifts that happen if I refuse.

    I call that demand to have everything 'equal' between siblings "bean counting". Mostly because the first year Jess was old enough to get Easter candy was a nightmare. Wiz had a MAJOR fit because she got 3 more jelly beans than he did even though he got 6 more reese's eggs than she did. It 'wasn't fair" that she got 3 more jelly beans - and he HATED jelly beans! We only had them because Gpa was in town and insisted (a Gpa thing in my family - Gpa LOVES them and has them year round). A 3 hour rage was NOT on my schedule, and we had a loooooong talk about how Mom was NOT raising bean counters and my kids get what they need and if that is't equal then so what?

    One thing that has really helped my kids cope with the concept of equal being as real as normal is the offer to make things equal. When Wiz first demanded equal, J was in diapers. If he wanted equal, he got what she got which meant he would have to give up the big boy pants and go back to diapers. Cause if equal is the rule, then equal is what you will have - in EVERYTHING. And Jess would get the same bedtime that he had.

    In your case, if easy child pushes equal, then you can pay for a therapist for him, because giving him a car when difficult child didn't get one would NOT be equal. Giving him therapy would be 'equal'.

    I don't think any of us would really want 'equal' with another person. Not in the strictest terms. Your easy child was out of line, and the entitlement seems out of character. He is still growing up, and I think a lot of kids go through this. Having a girlfriend who thinks she is better than others won't help and gfs are a huge influence on our kids. On people of all ages really. Hopefully in time he will see her superior attitude and entitlement for the signs of loserdom and small mindedness that they are and he will find someone more down to earth to share his life with. That superior attitude eventually means the person thinks they are superior to their partner, which is tiresome and hard to live with. It can just take a while to be fully seen.

    In time y'all will work though this. It is wise to let husband and easy child work this through unless it goes on a super long time or seems like it will really fracture the family.
  15. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Sig: I'm sure Joy wants what he wants and he wants it now. And you may well be right that girlfriend has something to do with it. "Fairness" in family concept may look different to outsider than insider. From girlfriend's point of view it may indeed look unfair, that we pay expenses of troubled son several years out of the house and don't give same money for the good son under our roof.

    And it may also well be, that Joy has learnt that guilting us, especially husband, over Ache this and that, will get him what he wants. Though maybe not quite so consciously. And I doubt he really understands how stressed, how truly heartwrenchingly scared we are for Ache. How Joy sees it, is likely that Ache again had some crisis like he tends to have and now that crisis is again over and Ache is doing just fine. For husband and me this latest crisis however was the last sign of the fact, that Ache really isn't doing "fine." That while he does have better spells and worse ones and while he again seems to be soldering on and doing things he should do, the possibility of true catastrophe, the unthinkable, is right there just under the surface and can happen anytime. It's not the fear Joy would need to know about, but he really hit the sore spot and that is why husband lashed out on him so much.

    Joy was avoidant whole week, but yesterday evening he managed to muster some sort of an apology; likely because he needed some pocket money for the tournament they left early this morning. So I doubt he is too scarred :D
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2015
  16. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Mine didn't count jelly beans - they, and I mean both of them, counted french fries... :oops: That was rather embarrassing, especially if there were other people present. Didn't help that Ache was quite noticeably underweight well into puberty. We didn't have french fries often, mostly I cooked from scratch, preferred organic and local products and not forgetting animal rights and so on and only thing I ever fry is certain pastry once a year. But for those days every now and then, when no one had had time for groceries, I didn't have time to cook and kids were hungry and needed the dinner quickly, we had french fries, fish sticks and frozen corn-pea-carrot-mix in freezer so I could shove the french fries and fish sticks to oven and boil the veggies and be done with it. The most boring and bland dinner one can imagine, but both of my young just loved it. And it had to be doled out carefully and evenly, they certainly did count every darn french fry!

    Thanks, have to remember that definition of equal, if this seems to become more of the problem. I do hope that this was just him fishing, because he really wants that car.

    And yes, I do believe the girlfriend is a factor. And she is somewhat superior and entitled in her attitudes. Though I do hope she too matures and learns to adjust her attitude, because she too is still young and also does have many better qualities in her character.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2015
  17. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I guess it's good having four kids, five for most of their childhood, which did set up competition between 37 and Scott, who didn't like one another. But for the most part, since the boys did not interact and didn't' like the same things, there wasn't much finger pointing that this one got more than that one. We were always very average, paycheck-to-paycheck, income so nobody got a new car. The smaller stuff, like game systems, they had, but they shared, just like they shared their first car, which was old. The age differences are pretty big between Julie and the boys...37 and she is 30 now. Sonic is 21 and Jumper is 18. Boy and girl. Very different. Close, but not alike. Both of them, in spite of our monetary problems, were extremely showered with toys. New more generous husband who adored his kids. But since both were so showered, they never resented one another.

    In adulthood, the boys don't speak, but Scott doesn't speak to anybody except my ex. Nobody else seems to envy anyone else. My kids are not materialistic or judgmental, except for 37. None of 37's siblings like him or care about what he does or says.
  18. I think this is so true. PS son can't wait to move into his own place. He's currently looking. He hates the trauma that difficult child son has brought to the home. Once easy child moves, I may be looking at the same situation. :(
  19. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    My boys actually come surprisingly well along. They do keep in touch on their own, have fun together and have some common friends and spend time together also outside the home.

    If I would be really callous, and I do not want to go there, when it is about my 'Perfect Pup', I would say that Ache and Joy get along so well, because Ache adores Joy, does almost anything Joy asks for and because Joy is savvy enough to understand that Ache does have some contacts, and doesn't mind Joy tagging along, that make high calibre networking opportunities for Joy. As I said, I do not like to consider Joy to be so calculating, and he likely isn't consciously at least. But he is good at games people play and if his big brother can be an advantage for him in some ways, so be it. And yes, in some things Joy is blatantly using Ache, but then again, those tend to be things I guess any teen kid would use their older sibling if possible (like making Ache do his least desirable home work for him, or at least 'help' so much that there is very little left for Joy to do.)
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2015
  20. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member