Siblings....

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by toughlovin, Nov 18, 2010.

  1. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    I was having a discussion with my 15 year old easy child daughter last night. She is writing a paper for English on a book and non traditional families. She is not that into the topic really. So we were talking about families and how ours is maybe not your traditional family where everyone gets along and has a perfect life. She was commenting on no we had her brother and all his issues. True. I was trying to say there are no perfect families and some of your friends families may have issues that you know nothing about... say a parent who drinks too much etc. She brought up that that is the problem in our family everyone knows about her brother. It is true we live in a small town, he has a reputation, people know he has been in trouble, the kids at school all know he has a drug problem. I have been pretty open about our struggles but that doesn't matter because he has this reputation among the kids at school. I think it is getting slightly better because his class graduated this past year, but he was expelled from school and people knew that. She has said she is glad she can improve the reputation of our family.

    I am glad she can talk about her feelings about it. He is out of the house now and in rehab which is a good thing. People may know that too, don't know. I just feel for her and there is nothing I can do about it I don't think.

    How do the rest of you with difficult child kids as well as easy child kids help your easy child kids deal with the difficulties in the family and reputation due to your difficult child's behavior?

    I know in the long run that troubles like these can make you stronger and clearer about things. For example she has a much better sense of what drug use can do to you than many of her friends. She is clear about her stand because of this. Yet I still hurt for her that she has to deal with having an older brother with a reputation.
     
  2. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Good topic!

    DS was plagued by his sister's reputation for years. But now that we have moved, he has had the opportunity to make new friends and interact with a whole new social circle that doesn't even know about difficult child. It's been really great for DS.

    If we hadn't moved? I'm sure he'd still be dealing with the fallout from his sister's antics.
     
  3. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    I don't have that kind of issue at our house. The problem I am having is that my easy child and difficult child are twins and until recently, easy child has been doing fine. Now this year in school, he is beginning to be jealous of the accomodations and services difficult child is getting and he's not. To him, difficult child is just like him and if difficult child gets help with the work then he should too. This morning he even told me that a teacher made the comment the other day that he is starting to act like difficult child. That bothrs me because I am seeing it a little bet at home too and am not sure what to do about it. difficult child's behaviors have gotten better at home with the medication increase so I don't understand where this is coming from. The problem I have right now is how to explain difficult child's "problems" without giving easy child "ammunition" to use negatively when they are fighting and he wants to hurt difficult child with put-downs.
     
  4. confuzzled

    confuzzled Member

    great topic is right!

    my way of dealing with it was not understanding the enormity of the feelings from difficult child 2's perspective, and just assuming she understood everything and was accepting of it. its always been "that way" since she was born and she knows no different...except she got older, had friends who's life was very different, saw the other side of life, etc...

    wrong move on my part.

    if i had it to do over again, i'd have put difficult child 2 in some kind of therapy or sibling workshop or somewhere there were families like ours. she rightly should have had a safe place to air her feelings without judgement or to ask more questions or whatever. even now that she is in therapy, the focus really isnt on her feelings toward difficult child 1 (and i need to make mention of it again!)

    i just wouldn't have assumed.

    i think its even harder for an older teen.
     
  5. janebrain

    janebrain New Member

    I had no idea how much my difficult child's (E) behavior affected her younger sister (M) until E went away to an Residential Treatment Center (RTC). At first when she left M cried and asked us to bring her home. We felt bad that she missed her so much. After a couple of months though it started to come out how she had been trying so hard to be "perfect" and we found out there had been some physical and emotional abuse from her sister. She entered therapy and it was discovered that she was dissociating a great amount. She had trouble staying "here". It was her coping mechanism she had developed in order to deal with her difficult child sister.

    She often has said she wishes she didn't have a sister or that she feels like she has lost her sister. Only recently, now that E has made changes and they seem to be real, does M trust her enough to try to develop a new, healthy sort of relationship. They've both matured as well which always helps!

    Jane
     
  6. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three

    For us the topic is not dealing with the social reputation. difficult child was always well behaved out side of the house. For us the easy child/difficult child issues were more related to the physical abuse difficult child would inflict on his younger brother, and the vast amount of ideas that younger brother obtained from difficult child. (Thus the "difficult child in training" tittle)
     
  7. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Cory embarrassed Jamie a great deal when they were younger. I do think it helped that the worse difficult child was the youngest child however, Cory always followed along in Jamie's wake and people expected him to pretty much act like Jamie and they were in for a shock. Cory tended to mess up Jamie's friendships...or not mess up, but do wrong things and if the kids werent so close to Jamie the fallout could have ended those relationships.

    Now as adults, having grown up with our family, Jamie is a much better person to be in law enforcement because of knowing so much about mental illness. He gets it and he passes along what he knows to those he works with. He is not afraid to tell anyone that he is ADHD and that his family is chock-full of disorders and how to help. He certainly isnt afraid.
     
  8. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Travis became a huge embarrassment to his sisters as they all grew older. Other people didn't understand why he acts the way he does........and it didn't help much that the girls really didn't understand it either until they were almost grown. Only thing that gave me hope was if someone attempted to bully Travis both his sisters came instantly to his defense. lol

    easy child's attitude change when she decided to write a paper about him for honors english.........she had to do a lot of research on his dxes. Then instead of being embarrassed..........she was (and remains) in awe of the boy. Nichole's views changed as she matured and could honestly understand about his dxes. Both girls have no issues with him now, though he's not changed much except for getting older. He's just their brother, the person he is.

    And yeah we live in a small town too..............so everyone knows about Travis, especially anyone near the kids age ranges. But even those outside of the family look at Travis differently..........he is a college student although no one expected him to finish school.....all that junk. He no longer deals with the stigma he did in hs.

    My bff was a heroine addict, she died from an overdose. Yet I didn't and don't look at her family and decide they are bad people because of her actions. She made her own choices. Bff wasn't a bad person.............she was a person who made really bad choices and chose to self destruct instead of living her life. More sad than anything.

    I think drug addiction is so out there and common now that most people don't attach the stigma to it that it used to have, even in small towns.........where usually the problem is actually worse due to lack of things for young people to do.

    It's good you and easy child can talk about such things. My kids and I did lots of talking.......we still do. I can hear about how they feel and it doesn't bother me......and it's good for them to get it out.

    Now as for Nichole.............. lol............the WHOLE town knows who she is, her temper, and all that wonderful junk.:tongue: She stabbed students, went after a teacher.............well, you get the idea. But now that her feet are on the right path, people seem to forgive and let go just fine.

    Hugs
     
  9. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    thanks for all the comments and discussion.... I guess it is just true that siblings are affected by the actions of their siblings. Our story is similar to Janes. When my son went off to a wilderness program and then TBS when he was in 9th grade my daughter was quite upset by the whole thing. Yet the 16 months he was gone was great for her. She blossomed and we got a lot closer. She absolutely did not want him to come home and had no faith that he had changed at all. I think she saw things we didn't see. That first year he was back was ok but slowly things went down hill and she got pretty disgusted with him and was very embarrassed by him and would have to deal with comments about him. When she started at the high school she would meet kids in his grade or who knew him who could not believe he was her brother. When we kicked him out of the house in June she was greatly relieved and things were much better. When he came back in August she really withdrew. Over the summer we started her in therapy because of a few things she had revealed that had us wondering coupled with some events in the community that were very upsetting...nothing to do with us personally but upsetting all the same to the community. I think in therapy she has gotten a lot clearer about things and has opened up to the therapist about things she experienced with her brother that we did not know about. So she is understandably angry at him for all he trouble he has caused the family and her and she is very embarrassed by him and his reputation. So there is a lot of work to be done on their relationship and i know I have to leave that to them.... I don't know if their relationship can be repaired in the future or not. It certainly won't happen if he does not stay sober and get his life together. It is pretty clear to me that it is not good for her for him to come back home.... and it probably is not good for him or us either. I dread that conversation with him though. I just long for the good relationship they had together when they were little...
     
  10. janebrain

    janebrain New Member

    Toughlovin,
    yes, our situations are very similar! When E came back from her Residential Treatment Center (RTC) M saw almost immediately that she hadn't really changed. My husband and I didn't catch on for several months. Also, M was 2 years behind E in school and was very embarrassed by her sister's behavior. Kids would make comments to her about E and also they look a lot alike so kids she didn't even know would ask if she was M's sister because of the similarity in looks. They would assume she'd want to buy drugs--first question they would ask!

    We did kick E out when she was 18 and the main reason was because I had decided that M, who was 15, needed to come first and it was unhealthy for her to live with E. M's therapist said she was unable to make progress with E living in our house. She did not feel safe. It felt good to me to be able to tell M that she came first with us now and that she did not have to worry about E coming back to live with us, it would not be happening (E had been in and out for several months).

    I also stepped out of their relationship and have stayed out. I felt it was up to M whether she wanted to try to have a relationship with E and now, 4 years later, they are reconnecting in a healthy way. I am proud of M because she was able to set boundaries with E and let her know that E was encroaching. I am proud of E because she listened to what M said and respected her wishes. She also has taken responsibility for her part in their unhealthy relationship and has told M she is sorry.

    I think you are right--it is not good for any of you to have him come home. And he will definitely have to change in order to repair the relationship. Don't give up hope though. I found that accepting my difficult child for who she was gave me a great deal of peace. I hoped for change but didn't run my own life based on that. I guess I just went on with my life.

    Oh, E also had damaged her relationship with her older brother, C. Her boyfriend forged some of C's checks, stole money from him, etc. E knew but closed her eyes to it. C tried to get her to leave the boyfriend but she wouldn't go with him. They have now repaired their relationship. She told me she was afraid C would hold a grudge against her forever but I knew he wouldn't. He understood the whole dynamic of her relationship with her boyfriend and saw personally how he totally controlled her.

    Anyway, I think you are doing a good job! You are realistic about the situation, but don't project into the future--you just never know!
    Hugs,
    Jane
     
  11. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    My difficult child was a great source of embarrassment to her older easy child sister due to incidents in the schools and also with mutual friends/families in town. Eventually, we pulled difficult child from our public HS and sent her to a Charter school out of town and that helped easy child somewhat. on the other hand, difficult child always felt resentful of easy child because she perceived easy child to be 'perfect' and prettier and popular, etc. difficult child didn't realize that easy child had her own struggles because she was so focused on how different they were. It was really very sad for me to watch this go on between them because when they were little, they were best buds. As difficult child's issues emerged, they grew very far apart and even now there are residual resentments between them. They do better now and they may even spend a Saturday hanging out and shopping together, and easy child even invited difficult child out for drinks one night, but difficult child is still inhibited by all those kids from HS (some of easy child's friends). My hope is that as they move into a more steadier time in their adulthood they are able to put some of those issues behind them.
     
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