whole family with issues/please help!!! - FamilyEducation
whole family with issues/please help!!!
07/24/2007 at 19:15 PM

the basics:  im 22 years old and live on my own with my fiance, getting married in october. my mother, step-father, and 12 year old brother have their own house. my grandparents (my moms parents) live in the apartment attached to my moms house. i love my family so much but theres a big problem here.

hmmmm... where to start? okay, my brother "camps out" so-to-speak on my parents floor. he comes in at bedtime, takes over the tv, and literally sleeps in a sleeping bag on their floor. he began refusing to go to school years ago and since then my mom has disenrolled him and he is now homeschooled. by refusing i mean screaming and crying and eventually just not talking to my mom. he rules my mom in a way ive never seen. she hasnt bought a pair of shoes for herself in 3 years because she spends ALL her extra money on him. im not jealous one bit, but angry that she lets him walk all over her. my brother has a cell phone and him and my mom call each other a minimum of 20 times a day. she has to know EVERYTHING hes doing at all times and is constantly worrying about him and telling him what to do, but he NEVER NEVER NEVER listens to her. for my upcoming wedding my fiance asked my brother to participate. he refuses and that makes my fiance feel like he doesnt approve of us (in the beginning of our relationship he didnt and wouldnt even talk to my fiance). my step-father hates the situation and it puts a damper on his and my moms relationship because of it. my grandparents arent too fond of my brother because of everything that happens and this puts a damper on my moms relationship with them. and recently, my mom has chosen more than once to cater to my brothers needs than to go on our daily walks together. i think i got it all...

ive tried to talk to her about this and she knows theres a problem. my brother has been to a psychologist and they said theres nothing wrong with him. but a psychologist friend of the family says there is but cannot treat him because of a conflict of interest but my brother wont see anyone other than the one he saw or our friend. my mom tries being strict and threatens him, but my brother doesnt take her seriously whatsoever.

i know my mom can change the situation but how? i joke around that she needs to cut the embilical cord but sometimes i seriously think she does...

Your mom is not thinking, at all. You and your fiance cannot worry about your brother's approval - it's not his to give. He is a spoiled brat and should be considered as a pet. Unfortunately, that is how your mother is raising him. It will probably be a better ceremony if he is not there at all. Your mom has forgotten how to parent. Find her a good book about setting/enforcing rules. If he is homeschooled, is your mom home with him during the day? And if so, why then does he need a cell phone? Here, this is how you can approach your mom. Ask her what kind of a person she wants him to be when he is 20? 30? 40? etc.  The way she is going, he will still be sleeping on the floor when he is 50. Does she really want to have a pet that long? For me, I want my kids to grow up to be happy, independent, productive members of society who have all the skills they need to have lasting, healthy relationships (whether personally or professionally). I want them to be proud of themselves for their accomplishments. I want them to be happy with who they are. She needs to paint a picture for your brother and decide if what she is doing is going to get him there! Tell her she can work it backwards. Say, for example, she wants him to have a job (I would say well paying job, but lets just start with job) by the time he is 18 (again, a stretch, most kids without college plans want to be making some kind of money by 16). He needs social skills, he needs a diploma (or equivalent). He needs some kind of experience (consistent volunteer work looks great on a resume) and/or a skill (I'm thinking out loud here, but Nintendo DS Master is probably not what most employers are looking for). Let her know that she and your step dad can work together to get him into shape. It's not too late. Setting the rules and ACTUALLY following through is a great place for them to start. Good luck and I hoped this helped!


Christi555 has some great advise.  What is the underlying problem with mom?  Is it past relationships?  Fear of or a situation of almost losing her youngest?  Does mom set limits/boundaries with others?  There's lots to uncover before she's ready to change.  In other words you won't be able to change her or your brother without their willingness, so don't spend energy on trying to change them.  Just try to understand them, so you won't repeat the same mistakes in your family.  That's really where you need to spend your time, especially as your wedding date nears.  You and your fiance have lots to look forward to. Just be aware that as your family participates in the wedding as they are willling, there may be problems... and is that ok with the two of you?  Everyone knows families aren't perfect, so do the best you can!  For your wedding do you have a pastor you're working with?  That person should have some helpful advise for your upcoming relationship, your family issues and for your mom.  Try to get her to talk with your or her minister, as they should have training in family counseling.

The best you can do is offer your love - unconditionally - to your brother and your mother.  That doesn't mean they get to walk all over you, or unburden on you.  You get to set limits that works for you and for your fiance.  Spend time with your brother individually without pressing him to change.  Offer opportunities to be together abiding by your boundaries.  Ex. Brother's cell phone off after notifying mom to prepare her for the quality brother time, time limits to activities, acitivity limits to places, games, etc.  Your brother probably wants to spend quality time with just you.  Arrange that and establish a relationship that lets him know he's ok to be around.  When the time comes you want to talk with mom or him, set up a neutral place, set ground rules, like no yelling, crying, blaming, and use the technique "I feel ________ when you _________ because of ________ .  Your feeling word needs to be about your feelings, not about blaming the other person.  Ex."Mom, I feel sad when you cancel our walk together because I look forward to spending quality time with you".  This gets her out of defensive mode and more into empathy/sympaty mode.  Hope this helps!  Blessings!


I hate to say this because I am a caring an compassionate person but learned the hard way once I had a family of my own that I need to worry about MY family (my husband and daughter).  You're getting married so start your life off together in a positive way.  Put some space between you and your mom and brother and try not to listen if they complain.  Your brother is just plain spoiled and your mom for what ever reason, has issues that cause her to spoil him.  It's your mom who needs to see a psychologist, not your brother because even though he is a pain and out of control, it's not his fault, it's just what he knows. 

I understand that you love your family but it's already coming between you and your husband.  He will not want to hear it after a while because negitivity can ruin a relationship.  Your husband knows what your brother is like so allow him to realize that any action your brother does has nothing to do with anyone else around him.


thank you all so very much. im gonna try to combine all the wonderful advice i got here and i will report back soon! thank you!