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Author Topic: Parent troubles
Peter
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What do you do, as a seventeen year old when your parents say "Don't you ever touch my son. if you do, i will kill you."

Now: for the background story.

My thirteen year old brother (bluntly) bothers the crap out of me. He is lazy, eats way more than is healthy, and just generally complains about everything. Yes, i know I'm porbably exaggerating, but it's pretty close to the truth.

[examples]

One night at dinner, he got so into eating he had to take a hit of his inhaler because he couldn't breath. Yes, i know that some people have ahsma that bad, but he dosen't.

We own a pool. when he is the only one to swim in it that day, it is easier to get my father to help me cover it than to argue with him to help me.

[/examples]

Now, tonight, i was sitting at the computer, downloading and checking stuff for my dad, becasue i am the most computer literate person at my house. my mother comes in, begins to nag on me about how i need to work on my eagle scout. At some point we get onto the topic of my brother. At this point i say that it wouldn't hurt to smack my borther on the mouth when he gets lippy, or keep him from getting his way all the time. She says, 'How could abusing him get us anywhere'. I say that it couldn't hurt, so she takes that to mean that I would do it myself (which I wouldn't). This is where she says that she would kill me if I lay a hand one my brother.

So, mothers and fathers of Hatrack. how should i take this? is it favoritism, or just the motherly defense of her children coming into play? I guess, I'm just curious.

And please, just for my sanity, lets not make this an argument of whether or not smacking a child is ok.

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ElJay
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Whether hitting a child is okay or not, it is never appropriate for someone to suggest to the child's parent's that the child should be hit. That decision is not yours to make, and you were way out of line to suggest it.

I think your mother was probably engaging in some hyperbole when she said she'd kill you, but she probably wanted to make it really clear that this was not something you should do. I wouldn't call it favoritism at all, she was reacting to a preceived threat to one of her children.

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mackillian
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Well, that's probably what got her to respond that way. Not letting your brother get his way is one thing, hitting him in order to get it is another.
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Danzig
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Did she say "my son" or "your brother"? The second would be appropriate, but not the first.
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Peter
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danzig, it was definitly the first.
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Griffin
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From what these examples feel like your the better child in the family (or do you have more siblings?)

You probably already can't wait until your 18 and can move out of the house to go to college (or the military). A simple note on that. Leave The House and Have Fun Not On The Computer!

All I can say is remember that your the older child who is more socially advanced and you shouldn't care about your brother. Correction: You should care, but care in a good way, I would try to help him out sometimes.

But please, parents (and any authority) hate when someone below them (that's you) tries to take control of a situation. Only do what is necessary.

Even if your parents make a mistake don't correct it right away. If it happens again then you could say something, and let your parents know what you think.

But most importantly GEt EAgle, you WIll REgret if you don't get it.

Does this help? Or am I not understanding the situation.


Good Health,

Griffin

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TomDavidson
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Peter, you're coming off like a completely self-interested jerk. Is that what you intended?
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Peter
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Griffin, I'm trying, but I've got so much going on and that's actually pretty low on my list right now, but i am trying.

Tom, I may be coming off that way, but that's not at all what i intended. I, actually, tend to be pretty selfless. I am just struggling with this right now, and it's something that i need to understand from someone else's point of view.

If you want to tell me off like ELJay did, go for it. I can deal with it if I'm out of line, i can fix that. i just need to know if I'm right.

One note about my parents. These are not the kind of people with whom you can sit down and have a resonible conversation. They start off with the assumption that they are smarter than you, and that you feel the same about them. They are, for the better part of them, good parents, they just aren't the kind of people i can talk to.

No offense, but if I could, I wouldn't be here.

I finished typing this and realized that i WILL sound like and arrogant teenager, but i don't know of any other way to say what i said.

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Will B
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Seems to me that a lot of the tension here is driven by the conflict with the brother. (I like to state the obvious.) He won't do things the way you want him to. Here are the things you mentioned:

lazy
eats too much
complains
ate too much one night so it gave him an asthma attack
you covered the pool after he swam

"Complains" is sort of your business if you're listening, but then, who doesn't complain? A lot of your post is complaining, too. I complain. It's wearisome to listen to, at times. Maybe you could reframe it, and consider that he's blowing off steam. Or that he really has something to complain about. Or that by God you are going to love him whether he complains or not -- and you can blow off your own steam by complaining about him, later.

You covered the pool after he swam. You chose to. You could just leave it. If the pool isn't as nice, and if this isn't enough to get him to do it, well, you've still got a nicer situation than most of us, who don't have pools. Or you could take it on yourself to cover it simply because you want it to be nice. You definitely have options.

The other things are really about him and none of your business.

I don't think you should shut up about it, though. I think it's better to say what you feel (here, where nobody's going to have feelings hurt I trust), no matter how it makes you look, becuase it IS what you feel, and hiding it doesn't make it go away. Expressing it might.

In the Landmark Forum (a workshop I do *not* recommend, but it did have some things right), there was something about a "racket": a state of being based on a persistent complaint. The idea is that if you don't like your situation, you can either change it, or reconcile yourself to it; if you keep complaining, you must get something out of it. Maybe the emotional pleasure of complaining. Or being the one who isn't fat and lazy, that is, superiority. Or maybe something else. You would know.

None of this is to say your brother isn't [insert insulting word here]. He may be. But you can't change him. You can, however, with the help of God, or others, or something, be not-bothered about him.

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TheDisgruntledPostman
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Take it from and older brother, hitting just leads to a road of trouble. My little sister, about same age as your brother, gets on my nerves alot. When she dosen't get her way with me, she sometimes hits me, bites me, or even hides something of mine. Im always bringing it up to my parents how even though im older dosen't meen that i can't defend myself. It may seem like it works at first, but it just leads to alot of stuff you don't want happening. Just try to sit down with your mom and dad one night(god i sound so corny) and tell them whats on your mind, or at least to your father. My little sister is also getting a little to lazy around the house, dosen't pick up after her self at all. But i have an older sister home from college now, so she has become an outrulling force of disapline. Whoever your brother looks up to for whats right or wrong must tell him when it is time to help out and put down the fork.
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TheDisgruntledPostman
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Take it from and older brother, hitting just leads to a road of trouble. My little sister, about same age as your brother, gets on my nerves alot. When she dosen't get her way with me, she sometimes hits me, bites me, or even hides something of mine. Im always bringing it up to my parents how even though im older dosen't meen that i can't defend myself. It may seem like it works at first, but it just leads to alot of stuff you don't want happening. Just try to sit down with your mom and dad one night(god i sound so corny) and tell them whats on your mind, or at least to your father. My little sister is also getting a little to lazy around the house, dosen't pick up after her self at all. But i have an older sister home from college now, so she has become an outrulling force of disapline. Whoever your brother looks up to for whats right or wrong must tell him when it is time to help out and put down the fork.
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TheDisgruntledPostman
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double post, sry
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Will B
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Addendum, based on your last post: I don't think many 17-year-olds can have calm reasonable discussions with their parents about any sort of disagreement. Or 27-year-olds. Or 37-year-olds, maybe! Too many repeated disagreements seem to overwhelm any new ones. Maybe it's possible.
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Bob the Lawyer
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This is one of those posts that, in a few years time, you'll think back on and be secretly embarrassed about, even though you won't tell anyone about it.
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TL
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Dude, he is your little brother. Come on. (The following post was written with love) There is no one in the entire world he looks up to, learns from, and loves as much as you. Try a little patience and understanding. Take the kid under your wing. He's not so bad.

As far as your parents go, it is fairly obvious that your Mom was shocked and hurt at your callous suggestion that your little brother be beaten. She definitely lashed out and didn't articulate it well, but you have to see that she wants you to care for your kid bro. She's probably utterly frustrated that you don't.

Hasn't anyone taken the time to explain to you what being a big brother is all about? Get on the big brother train, man.

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B-HAX
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Peter, you're obviously adopted. Sorry.
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Corwin
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PARENTS KNOW BETTER. They know what's best for their children, they know you better than you know yourself, bla, bla, bla. It seems that your parents belong to that category and as such they won't take much advice from you. If you got to suggesting that your brother needs a smack I think I'm not far off when saying your parents don't do much to discipline your brother. Am I right here? Are your parents even aware of what he's doing? I think your mother overreacted and maybe it's also because she doesn't believe in discipline through smacking. Does she?

quote:
Peter, you're coming off like a completely self-interested jerk. Is that what you intended?
Tom, do you realize that YOU are coming off as a "know-it-all" jerk right now? Peter posted two examples of what his brother isn't doing "right" but there are probably other little things that can add up to generate his reaction. And how exactly is Peter "self-interested" when he's saying that his brother should take more care about how he eats? Peter came here for some advice about his conduct and I'm glad he did, but your post does nothing to help him with that. If you believe he's wrong and needs to change his way of thinking say it, and try to indicate alternative ways of seeing things. But posting something acid like that is surely not going to help.
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TomDavidson
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quote:

I finished typing this and realized that i WILL sound like and arrogant teenager, but i don't know of any other way to say what i said.

Just keep in mind that you're an arrogant teenager, and will grow out of it. Your younger brother may in fact be lazy, overweight, and otherwise indolent. It is not your responsibility, however, to raise him, and moreover I don't think you can safely trust your own diagnoses from the vantage of your limited experience.

I don't hear much actual concern for your brother in your post, which would have led me to moderate my tone had it been present. Instead, I hear a lot of "poor me" whining disguised as righteous anger.

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Scott R
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Um. . . no one thinks that the mom has gone a little overboard if she threatens to kill one of her children?

That is, if what Peter says is true, then Mom is acting WAY out of line.

But I'll bet there's a lot more to this story. And Peter should be working on his eagle project, not browsing internet forums. . .

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Farmgirl
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Peter -- I swear you wrote that as my 19 year old son. Are you mine?

No, really. My 19 year old feels exactly the same way about his 17 year old brother. We have constant clashes over this. Sometimes I also say things to him I regret, but usually it is temper -- as he says something sassy to me, and I lash back (we are getting better about resolving our differences, though, as he matures.)

My younger son fits some of your description of your younger brother. Compulsive eater, a much slower and less driven personality than the older son (first borns are historically much more Type A personality). And my older son DOES occasionally "slap around" his younger brother, because he thinks it will help (it doesn't -- it makes him eat more, because the eating is like an emotional thing to him anyway.)

No, it isn't favoritism you are seeing. Obviously, your parents have great faith in your ability to really make something of yourself and achieve (hence the pressure to continue your Eagle scout) - because they see better things in your future. Perhaps they have just accepted that he will always be like that, and will have to find his own place in the sun, which will probably be very different than yours.

Remember the "accept the things we cannot change" part of the serenity prayer. You cannot change your brother. It isn't even your responsibility to do so (which you seem to want to do here). Quit worrying about whether he is reaching whatever potential you think he should. Worry about yourself only and your accountability. Live your life and quit trying to live his, and quit trying to tell your parents how to parent. I say this for your own emotional goodness. Trying to change others is only going to frustrate you.

Farmgirl

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TomDavidson
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Dude, I was a Scout.

Trustworthy.
Loyal.
Helpful.
Friendly.
Courteous.
Kind.
Obedient.
Cheerful.
Thrifty.
Brave.
Clean.
Reverent.

Where in there do you see "thinks he can parent better than his parents" or "wishes his lazy younger brother got slapped around more often?"

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mackillian
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Tom, get out of my head.
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katharina
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This is between your brother and your parents.

My older brother did a little bit of slapping around, too. It didn't get his way then, and it's certainly affected his relationships with his siblings later. Don't do it, and don't threaten.

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Katarain
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When I was a kid, my older brothers hit me all the time. "Oh, stop it. I hardly hit you!" And sometimes they did hardly hit me--but I have a very low pain tolerance.. so it DID hurt. I found out years later that when I would punch them back, it hurt them a LOT--but they never would let it show. Wish I had known that at the time--woulda been quite satisfying.

I don't have scars from it. We were kids.. we fought.. it was just part of growing up. Nothing to overreact about.

Anyway... you're way too old to be hitting on your brother now. That was when we were kids--and yeah, it might not have been right--but hardly something to get all upset about.

You probably forgot this...but teenagers are a mess of hormones, drama, and inconsistency. They can annoy the crap out of you and be lazy and pigs one minute...but don't forget that another minute they can totally surprise you with generosity and good deeds.

Be a mentor to your little brother.. if you want him to change, then YOU change first and be the good example. I bet there are a bunch of things he would change about you if he could.

And don't you dare say anything to him about how much he eats. If you're concerned about his health, invite him on a bike ride or a hike. Spend some time with him getting some good exercise out in nature. Take him camping. Make yourself an example of good health and invite him along.

Remember in Enchantment when Ivan was complaining about eating his cousin's HUGE breakfasts? Well Marek let him know that she cooked just enough food for someone working hard in the fields all day. So help your brother match his activity to his food intake. It'll probably curb his appetite to.

He's probably eating a lot because he's depressed. Exercise helps with depression, too, with all the fancy chemicals released in the body and brain. [Smile]

That's my two cents.

-Katarain

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quidscribis
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And two very nice cents, two. [Smile]
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Katarain
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[Blushing] Aww shucks... [Smile]
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dean
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This reminds me of my own conflicts with my little brother. Of course I had a fair amount of power myself because my mother was never home, so I was completely in charge of him for a goodly amount of time. However, I don't really believe in hitting anyone younger or weaker than me, so I never hit my brother except on occasion when I had to defend myself.

(Like once for example, he started choking me, and I fought him off forcibly enough that he never again tried to choke anyone else.)

What I did instead is if I noticed something that had to be done (and I felt that I had already done my share and he should do this particular thing), I went to where he was, asked for his attention, waited until he looked me in the eye, and asked him if he would take care of whatever it was. Usually he was watching TV, and though he would give me his attention while the program was on, he would ask if he could just take care of it at the next commercial. I would say, "Fine, but don't forget." If, a couple of hours later, I noticed that it still wasn't done, I would go to him and say, "It's been a couple of hours since I asked if you would do [whatever], and you haven't done it yet. Seeing as how I asked you to do it a couple of hours ago, please come and do it now." And then he would because he knew that it was totally fair and that he'd had his chance to schedule it himself.

My mother, by contrast, would holler at him from the kitchen that she wanted him to do whatever it was. He wouldn't hear her or wouldn't pay attention. Then she would get angry and rant and rave that no one loved her, and then she would go into his room and goad him until he exploded and broke something. Then she would yell at him that he was an awful kid and he hated her and she would spend her afterlife just as she had spent her life-- as an unwanted, unloved SLAVE! And then he would yell at her that that wasn't true, and would try to help with whatever was the problem while she would say that she didn't want his help and he didn't want to help, so he should go back to his room and watch TV, and so on.

I can very well believe, Peter, that you might have some better ideas about parenting your brother than your parents do. However if so, the idea of smacking him for "talking back" is not one of them.

Perhaps you can ignore things like how and what he eats and otherwise treat him with respect as though he is in every way your equal except perhaps that he doesn't notice that the pool needs to be covered. Perhaps you can find something you do have in common and some way to communicate with him even if that requires compromise and follow-through on your part.

You can't change your brother, but you can make things more pleasant for both of you.

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romanylass
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I think you were out of line to suggest your brother be hit, and your mom was out of line to say she'd kill you.

My suggestion? Call a family meeting. Write your grievances down so you can present them in a non-confrontational manner. Look for solutions. Maybe try to educate your brother in what a real portion size is, and let hiom know you CARE about his long term health.

And remind yourself you can move out in a year.

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Dink
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NO! I say lie, tell the jury how you only suggested she give the boy a little punishment here and there, and how all the emotional abuse you've taken from being second priority to these two very disturbed human beings led to a downward spiral of mental self destruction, resulting in a threat on your life! YES, HAHA! then sue for all they've got! Don't settle until that pool is under your name! HAHA (sounds evil)HAHa!
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Storm Saxon
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What romany said. Moving out has been known to bring many families closer together. Not joking here.
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mackillian
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I have to just agree with the moving out bit. It's true. I now get along with and will hang out with my younger sister, now that we live apart.
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El JT de Spang
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quote:
Dude, I was a Scout.

Trustworthy.
Loyal.
Helpful.
Friendly.
Courteous.
Kind.
Obedient.
Cheerful.
Thrifty.
Brave.
Clean.
Reverent.

Where in there do you see "thinks he can parent better than his parents" or "wishes his lazy younger brother got slapped around more often?"

Where in there do you see "judges others harshly" or "offers insults rather than solutions?"
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UofUlawguy
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I think that would go under "Helpful", if the person you're talking to is clueless.
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Father Time
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May I suggest the following:

Every child has a different need for attention. Some get it from friends and school others get it from home and parents, and some get it in any way thay can conjour up. Maybe little brother needs some positive feedback.

As much as little brothers bug you, try focusing on yourself and not his shortcomings. You won't change the way they treat little Johnny, but you can change the way you choose to react to it.

Good luck.

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Kwea
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If you think he was judging harshly, you don;t have a clue either...life is a thousand times harder than that, on a daily basis.

Tom was letting him know how he was coming across to a good portion of the board....mostly everyone over your age,I bet.

It is neither your responsibility nor your right to raise your brother. It is your parents.

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Griffin
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
Dude, I was a Scout.

Trustworthy.
Loyal.
Helpful.
Friendly.
Courteous.
Kind.
Obedient.
Cheerful.
Thrifty.
Brave.
Clean.
Reverent.

Where in there do you see "thinks he can parent better than his parents" or "wishes his lazy younger brother got slapped around more often?"

Tom, tom, tom... "I was a scout"?

Sorry man, should be "I am a scout"
Once a scout, always a scout.

Griffin

Posts: 131 | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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