Tips for helping siblings deal with the family turmoil? How do you explain?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Signorina, Sep 1, 2011.

  1. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    My difficult child left a few days ago and I am hardly functioning. The most I can do is barely pull myself together. My 17 year old easy child son and 14 yo easy child son have been withdrawn. They idolize their big brother and I don't want to demonize him in their eyes. At the same time, I worry that they will buy into his perspective of "how things went down." The air is so thick in my home you could cut it with a knife.

    My younger boys started school today and it was not the happy first day of school of times past. I had a special back to school meal planned for last night (difficult child wasn't supposed to leave until Fri) and I began to sob when I took out the 5 porkchops and 5 baking potatoes for our "new" family of 4, Ridiculous, I know. I'm a big believer in faking it until you make it -- but my kids know me too well.. PC14 has comforted me more than once and I know that's not healthy.

    And I hate that I am putting them through this again. When pc17 started HS, difficult child had just gotten an underage drinking citation and I was so preoccupied with getting him help that I didn't do anything special. Now pc14 started his first day of HS with his mother as a basket case.

    I also know that difficult child texted pc17 a few times last night. My sweet H ran interference and found out it was about the 2 bins of clothing that difficult child forgot. I have to chuckle about that - he is at school without any of his jeans or short sleeved shirts. (In all honesty, he could call and ring the doorbell and go get them. But they were smack in the middle of the hallway for 2 days and I put them in the guest room to get them out of the way) PC17 could have told me he was looking for them on behalf of difficult child and I would've said -"guest room, tell your brother he can come before 10pm to pick them up." I don't want my younger sons to be put in the middle. Yet, i don't see anyway to prevent it - especially in the internet/texting age. And I hate that PC17 didn't tell us about the texts, yet I don't want him to need to report on difficult child either. It's a catch-22.

    difficult child is smoking weed, acting selfishly, lying and likely dealing weed; he had a summer of drug abuse (on its way to addiction) in 2008, received counseling and promised to remain substance free with a B average in return for college expenses. He broke the deal. We did not ask him to leave in fact - we asked him to stay so he could get back on track. He left anyway. How do I explain that to my kids? They adore their older brother. I don't want them to hate me too. They don't want to talk about it, do I respect that? Does anyone have any tips?

    I sound like I am whining, sorry.
    Lasted edited by : Sep 1, 2011
  2. keista

    keista New Member

    Exactly as you posted it. Telling them the truth matter of factly, is not demonizing him. It is telling them the truth. You are sad, it makes you upset, but you all have to move on.

    So the special days weren't so special. Do a "second week of school" special dinner or something. Reality is, with him out of your house now, your younger boys will get more quality attention from you - assuming you can recover yourself, sooner rather than later. Focus on the boys at home, and that recovery will be easier.
  3. Bean

    Bean Member

    I've been where you are. Still am. As much as I don't want to bash their sister, I also don't want to paint a picture of a reality that isn't there. We've gone through a lot of trauma in our house, so that might be a bit different than you. By the time it came to kicking my daughter out, her brothers were actually relieved. I don't know how that was internalized for them, though. Now, as they get older, I think they are understanding a bit better, though denying housing rights, rides and what would be regular help to the average Joe never quite feels... "normal" to me. But it has become our normal.

    Sometimes talking to others, a counselor, can help put in perspective what is not normal. I had to ask my counselor quite a few times, this is weird, right? - or this isn't really acceptable, right? Even finding out my daughter is prostituting herself, there was a brain-warp for me to understand it.

    I also understand the texting/internet thing. My daughter would harass her brothers to get to me. Texting them, Facebooking them.

    Keista said it, though - tell them. Matter of factly. They should "get it" they are old enough. Tell them that behavior is not acceptable to you in your home.
  4. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    It is hard dealing with the siblings. My situation is slightly different because my PC16 year old daughter is very very angry with her brother for all the turmoil and stress she has caused and for some of his past behaviors towards her. Now my difficult child has always been a difficult child to some extent, the drug use just made the other issues go over the top. What I realized though is at this point I need to protect her because she is doing well and deserves to have a peaceful home. We let my son come home for a little while a couple months after we kicked him out and my daugther totally withdrew from us. After we made him leave again she bloomed. So for me it is really clear my son cannot come and live at home again because it will not be good for her.

    So your other kids may start feeling some relief after he has been gone a little while and you are also not so upset. They are probably upset at seeing you upset and I don't know that that is abad thing... because reality is you are upset and for good reason.

    I think my only tip is to give your kids room to express their feelings of what is going on... and don't take whatever they feel personally. Give them space to talk and express and in the end this may help you all be closer. My daughter and I have a great relationship now.... and that is partly because she now knows I am not going to put her in a bad position with her brother.

    I do suggest that you go to Alanon... especially a parents meeting if you can find one. I have found it hugely helpful. It has been incredibly healing and comforting to meet other parents dealing with these issues..... and the point of Alanon is to take care of you and I think you need that right now.

  5. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Simple. Tell them the truth.

    This is what the house rules are, this is what difficult child chose to do because he did not wish to live by house rules.

    No matter what version they get from big bro.....they have the truth from you. They may be kids, but honestly sometimes they see the truth long before we do. You don't have to give them a long drawn out version.

  6. mrsammler

    mrsammler Guest

    What Hound Dog said. Complete agreement. Keep it simple, plain, and brief. Most kids have a pretty solid sense of right and wrong and who's behaving and who isn't.
  7. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Get a therapist for yourself - you need someone outside of family who can listen, help you sort through feelings and issues, etc. It will put you on a more even keel, which is better for ALL of you.

    Meanwhile - there's all sorts of special days stuff that's worth doing... like "we survived the first week of school" - friday night special meal. Surviving school picture day (for some of us it IS that big an ordeal!). First marks back day (whatever day anyone comes home with first marked assignment). The biggest thing is to find ways to remind the rest of the kids that they are special and you do have the time and energy for them, too.
  8. MuM_of_OCD_kiddo

    MuM_of_OCD_kiddo New Member

    I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with your two younger kids to seeing first hand the pain and turmoil your oldest one is putting you through. Be honest, be open, stay firm on the house rules - this may well give them something to think about for their own future behavior [just in case they are tempted by their buddies or their older brother about heading down that same way too]. There is nothing wrong with your kids seeing that you are hurting courtesy of one of their siblings [unless they are displaying non-empathy or sociopathic leanings and will use it against you].
  9. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Alot depends on how much they already know. Alot depends on their specific personalities. Do you have reason to believe that they have misread the situation?

    There is a "hole" in your family unit. You are hurting and they are hurting. It's actually painful when the first kid leaves for college or marriage. I understand completely crying holding the extra potato. been there done that when our easy child/difficult child was gone from home for rehab...again when he was in jail. Obviously it is best to do your crying in the shower or into your pillow but if the boys have seen you cry I think it probably just reaffirmed that you, too, are feeling the loss.

    Based on their ages I think it might be best to keep it very simple. Something like "our entire family is experiencing the effects of X choosing to leave home, we are all hoping or praying that he makes healthy choices soon. If either of you have any questions please ask. Sometimes different family members "see" sad situations differently and sometimes there is a misunderstanding that festers in the heart. Let's try to work through this together and keep it honest between us."

    Be prepared to answer questions about addiction, about the tendencies of a user to suck others into their view of reality, about individual choices and most of all about how love remains even when poor decisions are made. Teens are complex and it's hard to know what they are thinking. Even if they don't show it most of them want to know that their family loves each other. Best of luck to you. DDD
  10. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I agree with ddd somewhat on the fact that it is okay to show the kids that it is normal to miss someone when they are gone no matter what the reason is. My kids have left home for various reasons. My oldest left when he was in 7th grade to go live with my mother because he was being bullied in our local school. The other boys...and Tony and I...were very sad and missed him terribly. Cory was in and out of therapeutic settings during most of his teen years. The kids understood and we talked about it. When Jamie left for the Marines...well...there wasnt a dry eye in our house for months. But by doing all this talking over the years, my boys understand just about everything. My son that went into the Marines is now working with the sheriffs department and he understands mental illness so well that he can handle issues that come up in that job better than most people.