PCs, g f gs, sibling relationships. Not sure how to handle this

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by SuZir, Jun 15, 2012.

  1. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    I started a thread earlier this week about an argument I had with my easy child. I over-reacted to something he said, because it reminded me of my difficult child worse characteristics. I apologized later and retract a punishment I gave him. But the bigger problem remains, my easy child's resentment towards difficult child. While arguing he brought up some of it. He feels that because difficult child is a screw up, we are too strict with him now even though he has never been in any serious trouble. He also hates it that difficult child's bad reputation reflects him.

    Their main sport is a same and because circles are small, everyone knows difficult child's troubles. Same in our small community. And the stealing from team mates part is considered very, very low thing to do. And apparently some people are railing easy child about it and asking his team mates how can they leave any of their stuff anywhere because they have thief's brother in their team etc. It is mostly kid stuff and they probably mostly do it just because they see it bothers easy child. But I understand he feels angry and conflicted because of it. He doesn't know if he should defend difficult child or condemn him. And it makes him even angrier. And he also feels that difficult child get away lightly because he has a talent, that he was forgiven too easily and too readily given second chance. I understand also that, while I don't agree (I believe in second chances and difficult child has had it anything but easy), but there is some truth in that. If easy child would do the same, he wouldn't be given same kind of second chances in sport, because he doesn't seem to have quite that talent difficult child has. It doesn't help that even some adults are total, I wont say what, about all that. I mean; I can take all the innuendo about bad parenting, incorrigible kid or whatever, but easy child has nothing to do with any of it. He is a good kid.

    It is very understandable for easy child to be angry, but I don't like the way he dwells on it. He doesn't really show it but it seems like he is stuck with his emotions over this. We don't agree with husband on how we should handle it. husband thinks it is between the boys and difficult child's responsibility to solve it, because he caused it. I think difficult child is not able to handle the matter in any useful way and letting it just play out can cause an irremediable rift between them and not help easy child in any way. I feel that it is our duty as parents help easy child to have a handle of these emotions. Unfortunately I'm not sure how to do that.

    difficult child will soon have several weeks time off from team. He has to practice and will have quite a lot work to do with that, but it is independent work so it is partly vacation for him. He doesn't have exact plans yet but he is likely to spend some extended time, two or three weeks here at home and while I very much look forward to it, I'm also afraid this thing between easy child and difficult child may blow up and it can be quite nasty.

    Any advices or experiences how this could or should be handled?
  2. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    I am the mother of 3 boys-similar in age to yours- and also the younger sister of a difficult child.

    Right now, your difficult child's actions are harming your younger son. 15 is a difficult age for boys-ime-one of the toughest times. 1 foot in adulthood, another in childhood - new friendships abound but are not quite bonded yet and they are rapidly experiencing all sorts of growth-physical, sexual, emotional, social. It's also the age that kids see their friends start to chose paths-partier, intellectual, popular crowd, and all that.

    I think your h is 100% right. You need to let the boys work this out. Right now, your difficult child is having a detrimental effect on your easy child's life. He is 15 and HE NEEDS YOU TO BE ON HIS SIDE. Fortunately, my easy child was (newly 16) driving when difficult child started acting out -so we gave him a car & a visa credit card and said "you do not have to be a witness to this. If things escalate, if difficult child is being a jerk, if you are uncomfortable -even if the air is simply too thick- GO. Please take young easy child too, but get out of here. See a movie, go out to dinner, whatever. Send me a text & let me know what you are doing. This is not your problem to deal with; it's mine and dads. And I am sorry you have to deal with this."

    You need to find a way to empower your easy child!

    We also let both pcs know that difficult child is NOT THEIR OBLIGATION. (h had a difficult child brother too & mom made h the "responsible party")

    Also, remind your easy child that many boys are NOTHING like their brothers. Most boys don't want to be. Heck most siblings prefer to be dissimilar! If his peers suggest that he and difficult child are alike, he can remind them of the lack of similarities between their own siblings.

    My dad was one of 5 boys and always warned me never to become my sons' referee or I would be stuck with the job forever. He also told me that boys have a way of working things out between themselves.

    I would take easy child out to lunch and ask him how he wants to handle difficult child's break. And then I would honor his wishes. My guess is you will be surprised by what he says. I always am!

    Sometimes you just have to let things unfold.

  3. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Thank you for the suggestion. Sounds like a good idea, I will do that.

    My easy child is also just a bit shy of 16, but our kids get to drive only at 18. But he is able to use public transport or his bike to get where he wants to go. But we are not really expecting things to get heavy between difficult child and me or husband in this break. difficult child is really doing well just now and while we have our worries (lots of them, difficult child is under a lot of stress and that worries me), his visit home is likely to be peaceful.

    My easy child is very nice kid and the reason I worry about this is, that he is not very good at expressing his anger. I think it would be better, if he would be able to do it. But he doesn't want to hurt anyone's feelings, not even difficult child's. I also suspect that difficult child doing well right now is difficult for easy child. While difficult child is older, he has always been the troubled one, the looser. Severely bullied at school, not really well-liked anywhere, no friends, troubles with teachers etc. while easy child has always been very popular kid. Lots of friends, girls liking him, captain of his teams, well-liked by his teachers etc. So while big brother, easy child has never looked up to difficult child but felt superior to him. And while much of this is of course still the same, there are, first time ever, some things where difficult child is getting more positive attention than easy child. difficult child is doing really well with his sport and it starts to show. In the same time it seems, that easy child may never have that kind of talent. And the idea that difficult child could achieve the dream they both share and easy child not, even when he is 'the good kid' and does everything right, feels very wrong and unfair to easy child.
  4. keista

    keista New Member

    All I have to add is that easy child should neither defend nor condemn difficult child's actions to his peers - simply state that he is NOT difficult child and only small minds would judge him solely by his brothers actions and not on his own merits.
  5. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    THAT is the inherent unfairness of anything that is "talent" based. And it seems to be 100x worse in sports and entertainment.

    easy child needs to find HIS unique talents. Not necessarily stuff that will make him rich, famous, or even a "local hero". But the stuff that will give him a GOOD life. Because in the long run... very few can spend their whole life at the top of a sports career, but... a talented teacher can, a talented engineer can, etc.
  6. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Yes talents are not fair. Same goes to sport, music and academics. Though it has also a lot to do with working hard and passion. They said that you need 10 000 hours of practice to really master something. And it has less to do some mystic talent and more to do with doing the work. It is just that you really need some passion to do that. But it wouldn't be any easier for my easy child to explain to him that difference between him and his brother was made on those nights when they were around ten and stayed out playing after practices and it started to rain and getting cold and their favourite show was in tv and easy child came inside to watch tv or play with friends and difficult child stayed out alone and continued until I had to go and get him because his bed time was soon.

    easy child is one of those lucky ones who really won in gene lottery. He is good in almost anything. Many things come easy to him, especially the most important stuff like social skills, but also academics and sports.I'm sure he will be okay. And right now it is not needed to kill his sport dreams. He may still has a chance to make it to pros. And anyway he is doing everything he needs to be ready to other choices if it does not work out. When difficult child was younger and choosing the type of High School we made rules abut this. If kids keep their grades in good level, we support their sport. They can take extra year in High School to accommodate their sport. And if they are good enough to have a chance, we finance them one gap year after High School and military duty to try to make it on their sport. After that they are either back to school or have to be able to live from their sport. That will be a deal also with easy child. Even if he doesn't make pro, he will get many good experiences and connections out of it that may well help him later in his career, whatever it is. So we see it kind of win-win situation for him. The league that difficult child currently plays has an average salary that is about the same than average engineering salaries and they are good at helping their players to go to college also during their career or right after it, so if easy child makes it that far, it would be a very sweet deal. And really if not, he has not lost anything when it comes to his future career in something else.

    While difficult child may have more raw talent and raw intelligence, for him life has always been obstacle course with biggest blocks in places he has least natural talent. I do hope that I would be able to teach easy child to be more compassionate with both his brother and those others, who are not as lucky as he is, when it comes especially social talent (that I consider to be most important area of talent when it comes to happy life.)
  7. keista

    keista New Member

    You know, I get the feeling that you are overestimating easy child as a easy child. Not being able to (or not wanting to) understand such concepts is a very difficult child attitude.

    I had also missed that "unfair" component until Insane quoted it. Who ever told your easy child that life was, or even should be fair? Simple fact of life is that it's UNFAIR. I really don't know where the thought that life is or should be fair came from. It's probably a segway from our kindergarten learning about sharing (which I think is BS anyway). If we are supposed to share and take turns, then it stands to reason that we are doing this to make things "fair". Well, you know what? As an adult, I do NOT share my "toys" Think about it. Do you give your friends each a turn to drive your brand new car? What about the ones with LOUSY driving records? All those lessons on sharing were a complete waste of time.

    No, life's not fair.
  8. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    I have to disagree. I don't see it as much a difficult child attitude than immature attitude. And I do expect my child to be immature because he is indeed still a child. It is not easy to learn your limitations. Especially when everything has always come to you easily. My easy child is in fortunate, or maybe unfortunate, position, where he has had very little experience of the situations, where he is not one of the best, where he simply is not able to achieve same as someone else. It is hard to learn those lessons. I do expect him to learn and be graceful about it later. But I also expect that learning can be hard for him.

    And yes, life is not fair. But also that is a hard lesson to learn. I still struggle with it and I know many older, very wise people whom I respect immensely who still struggle with it. I don't expect my teen boys take it gracefully.

    EDIT: I have to disagree also about sharing. I'm a happy tax-payer who pays over 30 % of my income to taxes and buy heavily taxed products with the rest. And I'm happy about it, because I like the outcome of that sharing. And yeah, I do loan also my car to friends, if they need it. ;)
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2012
  9. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Not to be completely disagreeable today ;) I have to say this is something I completely agree. easy child should not let difficult child's actions define him in any way. It is probably not needed for him to say it to person's who imply so because they are mostly his opponents who just want to get a raise out of him, better to just let go. But he needs to understand himself, that difficult child's choices or actions are not something he has any part with. Only thing concerning difficult child he really has a part with is his and difficult child's relationship, nothing more.
  10. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Update to this: difficult child has been home a week now and it has been interesting to see this transpire. Boys have mostly been civil to each others at home but it has been tense at times. Last week was the last week of easy child's summer job and he was little miffed that he has to work at summer and difficult child 'is not working.' Also easy child loves his sport and has hard time really understanding that for difficult child sport is also a job, not just fun. At times little bit tense but no major conflicts over that.

    husband has encouraged easy child to join difficult child when he trains. easy child has lately made it clear that also his number one career ambition is to become pro athlete. We are okay with this as long as he takes good care of his school work and we are prepared to accommodate that goal, but easy child has to understand what that really means. He has not had quite a drive for his sport difficult child has and he clearly enjoy a social aspect of it more than difficult child. Thing is, just by doing everything his team mates are doing it is unlikely he will make it to pros. He needs to do more. Work not only in team practises but on his own time, even if his friends and team mates are doing something fun instead. He will need to make some sacrifices if he really wants to make it to the pros.

    I would be more than happy if he would just decide to do his sport for fun and not take those extra steps, but he says he wants to try it, so he has to also understand what it takes. easy child is not lazy at all. He does try his best and also in his sport he is always in the better part of his team on work habits. So when he does cut some corners (and he does at times) he is not really called out for it. But if he really wants to make it, there is no cutting corners or doing just what everyone else is doing. husband thought that seeing how diligent difficult child is with his training even when no one is looking would be good for easy child. And difficult child's social skills being what they are he would not say nicely if he sees easy child slacking off.

    So we did encourage easy child to tag along with difficult child and asked difficult child to choose his training times so easy child could be with him. And difficult child has indeed not been diplomatic with easy child trying to slack off. In best he has been very direct, at worst simply rude. But hopefully it is driving the message through. This caused a bigger quarrel today between them. It was easy child's first day out of work this summer (he has had all the weekends off but first weekday), weather was nice and all the easy child's friends were hanging out at the beach. difficult child wanted to do his daily training at noon and today's training wasn't the most fun one. easy child wanted to skip training with him and go to beach instead. difficult child told him off and easy child got angry and questioned the audacity of difficult child to reprimand him and also yelled him about being an embarrassment for easy child.

    difficult child was luckily having one of his mature moments (I will write more about that later and start a new thread about difficult child's time at home) and handled it extremely well, I think. He remained fairly calm and told easy child that he is sorry he did what he did, but it shouldn't have nothing to do with easy child and easy child shouldn't let anyone bother him with those things. And that while he has screwed up it has also nothing to do with if he knows what his sport requires and questioning difficult child's character makes no difference in easy child's need to do that extra work. That if easy child doesn't make it at the sport, it has absolutely nothing to do with difficult child's screw ups and everything to do with his choice of going to beach instead of training.

    After that difficult child left to do his training, easy child sulked at home half an hour and left. I later found out he left after difficult child and had done rest of the training with him and went to beach after that and while I don't know if and what they have talked, they seem to be friendly again. So that quarrel seems to have cleaned some air and I do hope easy child really heard what difficult child said.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2012
  11. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    This "situtation" between the boys is normal when there is a difficult child in the family. I know, I come from a family overrun with difficult children, not to mention raised 2 in my own family.

    It's simply not easy being a sibling of a difficult child. First you have to deal with that difficult child day in and day out. A difficult child usually requires more attention than a easy child child, even if parents are doing their utter best to make certain that the easy child child/children are getting plenty themselves. Then you, as the relative, have to deal with the outside world's opinion, and often ignorance, concerning the difficult child (s).....which is not going to be positive very darn often.

    But in my opinion, there are many valuable lessons to be learned with having a difficult child in the family, as well. They're not easy lessons, and people often think it's horrible that a child need learn them, but personally, I don't. Because of difficult children in the family (both mental & physical) my kids are far more accepting of people based on their actions, not on words or reputation. A disability might cause a blip on their radar....but not on a conscious level, they see the person, not the disability. They learn early on the world isn't just black and white, right or wrong, good or bad. And there are probably dozens upon dozens of other lessons that aren't coming to my mind at this moment because I have little boys running crazily around the house at the moment. LOL

    difficult child is right. He needs to leave what difficult child says/does at difficult child's feet and tell others who want to bother him with it that that is where it belongs. And then ignore them and stop letting it bother him when he has no control over what his brother does. This can be a tough lesson to learn, but it's a rather profound one, by itself.

    I know easy child has had it harder because her sibs were difficult children. But I also think it helped shape her into a better overall person than so many of her peers. Just as having so many difficult children in my own family helped shape me differently than society at large.

    Younger difficult child is 16, so he's still learning. Much of this will come with maturity. Some of it, believe it or not, in my opinion is normal sibling rivalry.

    And I have to smile because for all the complaints easy child had over her difficult child sibs, they had just as many over her. It's tough being a difficult child with an older sib who can get straight A's without putting forth any real effort, who is readily socially accepted by everyone, who is good at just about everything she does. They really did see easy child as "perfect" until I began to show them she was not really any more perfect than they are. Just better in different ways.

  12. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    I'm sure it is not easy for easy child to be difficult child's brother. And while he is very good boy, he is also very sixteen and behaves like sixteen year old. And difficult child's complexity isn't making things easier for him. I think that for easy child it would be easier to handle if difficult child would be clearly disabled or otherwise not someone easy child feels need to compete with. But difficult child's highs being high and lows low kind of make it more difficult for easy child who not only needs to deal with bad reputation his big brother has but also that in other ways it may be very difficult or impossible for him to succeed like difficult child has.

    I do hope having to deal with all this does indeed help easy child grow to more understanding and non-judgemental person.

    difficult child also tends to think easy child is perfect and envies him. It helps some that PCisyounger and difficult child has protective feelings towards him. If easy child was older one I'm sure difficult child would see him just so overpowering he would feel total looser next to him, but now difficult child does see easy child little differently because he is three years older.
  13. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Having raised eight diverse teens I understand your concern. Im myexperiences the two "answers" were that I did listen to everyone's feelings and complaints and secondly I encouraged each of them to learn the Serenity Prayer and see how it related to their specific life. For a couple it went in one ear and out the other but for most it allowed them to sort emotions and responsibilities in their life. I know it's hard and send hugs your way. DDD
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Suzir, honestly, I think a lot of this is sibling rivalry and family discourse, which in my opinion is pretty normal. It is also very annoying. And trust me two PCs can rattle each other's cages REALLY well too, and jealousy can rein supreme if one is more attractive or smarter or more popular...ugh.

    Maybe if easy child could just talk with you and learn to say "I am not my brother. Talk to him about it" it would make the other kids bored and stop them from bothering him. Obviously, they are trying to get a rise out of him. If he can learn to stay calm and matter-of-fact it could perhaps lessen the talk of difficult child.

    In the end, you know what would work best for your easy child. There are many types of age sixteen. My oldest daughter was a bunch of bottled up emotions at sixteen and could have easily been provoked into an angry response. My youngest daughter is easygoing and probably would say something so boring that nobody would ever bring it up again. Sixteen is a very hard age and you are doing the best you can. There is no one way to handle this. in my opinion when they are adults, a lot of this stuff will just go away, but it's so hard while you are going through it.

    Lots of huggles to you and your boys!!!