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NormanM
NormanM, Author, lecturer and psychotherapist.
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 2543
Experience:  ADHP(NC), DHP, ECP, UKCP Registered
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Hello, Im raising my 16 year old brother on my own here

Customer Question

Hello,

I'm raising my 16 year old brother on my own here in Canada. My parents work overseas, and I've been on my own for roughly 4 years. My brother just moved in with me 2 weeks ago from Saudi Arabia, and this is the first time we live together in years. Usually I only get to see him for a few months during the year, now we're sharing a bedroom together, along with a kitchen, laundry room, and some flat mates. My brother grew up in a different culture in Saudi Arabia, where men don't have to work or do anything. So he had a housekeeper and butler at his house in Saudi Arabia. He also had his own driver. The reason why we brought him here to Canada, is because his marks are really bad, and he's giving my parents a hard time. He also told me that he wanted to come here to Canada because there was nothing to do in Saudi.

Anyway, so I brought him here to live with me, and I enrolled him in this expensive private school where his marks have started to go up. I on the other hand am busy with my 3rd year university. So I do my homework up late, then I go to my classes, and come back and cook dinner. My brother received an allowance of $170 for this month, and he spent it all by the end of last week. He bought junk food, even when I told him not to, and he spent $50 on summer clothes when winter is coming, I also had to spend $24 every week for his bus tickets, including the ones he used up on the weekend to catch up with his childhood friends.

The only problem I have with him is his eating, his spending, and staying up late during weekdays. I don't know how to get him to follow those rules. He doesn't pack his lunch because he's too "lazy" to make it, and because he wakes up late to catch the bus. He expects me to do that for him when I'm very busy with my studies. He starves himself all day, and complains to my parents that I'm not "feeding" him when there's food in the fridge that he can prepare himself. When I make dinner, he also complains about it, and tells my parents that my cooking is terrible when in fact its pretty good, and my flatmates agreed as well. Because he stays up late, when he comes back from school, he goes to sleep from 4-7, and then starts on his homework. So when I try to sleep early from 10:30 to 11, his laptop screen lights up the room, and it's hard to get a long with him then.

Two nights ago I asked him at 10:30 what time he was going to sleep since he was watching on youtube. He said 11, so I waited for him, and when it was 11, he said to give him 10-15 mins. I argued with him a bit, and he started yelling "Don't piss me off, I'll sleep whenever I want." At 11:15 I got angry again when he said to give him till 11:30, and so I had enough by that time. I told him if he didn't get off the laptop I bought him for $546 I was going to return it, and that I was gonna take a pic of what he was doing right now and send it to mom. He ignored me, so I did what I said, and my mom got my dad to talk to him on the phone. When he heard my dad's voice, he turned off the computer quickly, and went to bed. They talked for two hours in the dark while I slept.

Last week, we decided that when I cook, he has to do the dishes. He sometimes does them, and sometimes doesn't. One time he was whining about wanting pizza and because he didn't have any money he wanted me to buy him some from my allowance. I had already made dinner by then so I said no. My brother started yelling (and this is something my flatmates complain about because it wakes them up) I yelled back at him and told him that if I heard one more complaint from him I would send him back to Saudi Arabia just as fast as I brought him here to Canada. So then he shut up and ate like a good boy.

Could you give me some advice as to what to do with him, because our flatmates said got angry two nights ago about my brother getting angry, and threatened to complain to the landlady. I don't want us to be kicked out especially since this house is between my university and his school, and there's nothing near those areas.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  NormanM replied 1 year ago.

People like him are rather liable to push things to see what happens, and what they really need are firm boundaries. Being ‘soft’ just makes you easier to manipulate, and anger just teaches them to be angry when they in turn are faced with a difficult situation.

These boundaries must include keeping his temper, behaving decently towards you and taking responsibilities for his own issues and failures.

He is quite old enough to know about actions and consequences. We humans only indulge in behaviour that brings reward of some kind. Only when that reward (whatever it might be) disappears, or the consequences of our behaviour promise to be unpleasant do we consider changing what we do.

Here is the clue to sorting things out. When you are faced with non-co-operation – give him choices, and make sure he understands the consequences of his choice – and always follow through. If you don’t he’ll just get confused.

Consider what sanctions you might use – any display of temper or disrespect he will be asked to leave immediately and to come back when he is prepared to be civil.

Privileges (such as allowances, food being cooked for him and so on) are just that. Privileges, not rights. These should be reduced or withdrawn as necessary and should be reinstated after he demonstrates that he has earned them by not crossing the boundaries you set.

Ask him too, what he is prepared to do to change his behaviour in future – tell him to research what might help him, what help he feels she needs, and even consider a ‘contract’ between you. In other words, involve him in his own change, with a prospect of a small reward for success. Split the house chores between each other, and let him understand that his share must be complete correctly and on time or there will be adverse consequences.

Never get angry, stay cool and in control, matter of fact and stick to the facts. Avoid drama.

In the end of the day, he may just not choose to respond.

It sounds as if you simply cannot allow him to exploit your love and nurture any more, so it’s time for VERY tough love indeed. Letting him just drift on like this is NOT doing him a favour, it just delays his maturing. I do know the Saudi lifestyle and expat mentality – I lived there for 12 years!

Other than that, you have done all you can. After this, he must live with the consequences of his choices.

Best wishes, NormanM




People like him are rather liable to push things to see what happens, and what they really need are firm boundaries. Being ‘soft’ just makes you easier to manipulate, and anger just teaches them to be angry when they in turn are faced with a difficult situation.

These boundaries must include keeping his temper, behaving decently towards you and taking responsibilities for his own issues and failures.

He is quite old enough to know about actions and consequences. We humans only indulge in behaviour that brings reward of some kind. Only when that reward (whatever it might be) disappears, or the consequences of our behaviour promise to be unpleasant do we consider changing what we do.

Here is the clue to sorting things out. When you are faced with non-co-operation – give him choices, and make sure he understands the consequences of his choice – and always follow through. If you don’t he’ll just get confused.

Consider what sanctions you might use – any display of temper or disrespect he will be asked to leave immediately and to come back when he is prepared to be civil.

Privileges (such as allowances, food being cooked for him and so on) are just that. Privileges, not rights. These should be reduced or withdrawn as necessary and should be reinstated after he demonstrates that he has earned them by not crossing the boundaries you set.

Ask him too, what he is prepared to do to change his behaviour in future – tell him to research what might help him, what help he feels she needs, and even consider a ‘contract’ between you. In other words, involve him in his own change, with a prospect of a small reward for success. Split the house chores between each other, and let him understand that his share must be complete correctly and on time or there will be adverse consequences.

Never get angry, stay cool and in control, matter of fact and stick to the facts. Avoid drama.

In the end of the day, he may just not choose to respond.

It sounds as if you simply cannot allow him to exploit your love and nurture any more, so it’s time for VERY tough love indeed. Letting him just drift on like this is NOT doing him a favour, it just delays his maturing. I do know the Saudi lifestyle and expat mentality – I lived there for 12 years!

Other than that, you have done all you can. After this, he must live with the consequences of his choices.

Best wishes, NormanM

 

People like him are rather liable to push things to see what happens, and what they really need are firm boundaries. Being ‘soft’ just makes you easier to manipulate, and anger just teaches them to be angry when they in turn are faced with a difficult situation.

These boundaries must include keeping his temper, behaving decently towards you and taking responsibilities for his own issues and failures.

He is quite old enough to know about actions and consequences. We humans only indulge in behaviour that brings reward of some kind. Only when that reward (whatever it might be) disappears, or the consequences of our behaviour promise to be unpleasant do we consider changing what we do.

Here is the clue to sorting things out. When you are faced with non-co-operation – give him choices, and make sure he understands the consequences of his choice – and always follow through. If you don’t he’ll just get confused.

Consider what sanctions you might use – any display of temper or disrespect he will be asked to leave immediately and to come back when he is prepared to be civil.

Privileges (such as allowances, food being cooked for him and so on) are just that. Privileges, not rights. These should be reduced or withdrawn as necessary and should be reinstated after he demonstrates that he has earned them by not crossing the boundaries you set.

Ask him too, what he is prepared to do to change his behaviour in future – tell him to research what might help him, what help he feels she needs, and even consider a ‘contract’ between you. In other words, involve him in his own change, with a prospect of a small reward for success. Split the house chores between each other, and let him understand that his share must be complete correctly and on time or there will be adverse consequences.

Never get angry, stay cool and in control, matter of fact and stick to the facts. Avoid drama.

In the end of the day, he may just not choose to respond.

It sounds as if you simply cannot allow him to exploit your love and nurture any more, so it’s time for VERY tough love indeed. Letting him just drift on like this is NOT doing him a favour, it just delays his maturing. I do know the Saudi lifestyle and expat mentality – I lived there for 12 years!

Other than that, you have done all you can. After this, he must live with the consequences of his choices.

Best wishes, NormanM

 





 

People like him are rather liable to push things to see what happens, and what they really need are firm boundaries. Being ‘soft’ just makes you easier to manipulate, and anger just teaches them to be angry when they in turn are faced with a difficult situation.

These boundaries must include keeping his temper, behaving decently towards you and taking responsibilities for his own issues and failures.

He is quite old enough to know about actions and consequences. We humans only indulge in behaviour that brings reward of some kind. Only when that reward (whatever it might be) disappears, or the consequences of our behaviour promise to be unpleasant do we consider changing what we do.

Here is the clue to sorting things out. When you are faced with non-co-operation – give him choices, and make sure he understands the consequences of his choice – and always follow through. If you don’t he’ll just get confused.

Consider what sanctions you might use – any display of temper or disrespect he will be asked to leave immediately and to come back when he is prepared to be civil.

Privileges (such as allowances, food being cooked for him and so on) are just that. Privileges, not rights. These should be reduced or withdrawn as necessary and should be reinstated after he demonstrates that he has earned them by not crossing the boundaries you set.

Ask him too, what he is prepared to do to change his behaviour in future – tell him to research what might help him, what help he feels she needs, and even consider a ‘contract’ between you. In other words, involve him in his own change, with a prospect of a small reward for success. Split the house chores between each other, and let him understand that his share must be complete correctly and on time or there will be adverse consequences.

Never get angry, stay cool and in control, matter of fact and stick to the facts. Avoid drama.

In the end of the day, he may just not choose to respond.

It sounds as if you simply cannot allow him to exploit your love and nurture any more, so it’s time for VERY tough love indeed. Letting him just drift on like this is NOT doing him a favour, it just delays his maturing. I do know the Saudi lifestyle and expat mentality – I lived there for 12 years!

Other than that, you have done all you can. After this, he must live with the consequences of his choices.

Best wishes, NormanM







 



Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I spoke with my mom today and she told me to make a chart of chores. Basically my brother has to have 7 chores done by the end of the week to receive $35 on the weekend. For each chore he completes, he gets $5 for it. So for example, because I cook everyday, he must do the dishes everyday for a total of 7 days, and for all of those 7 times he gets $5. So if he does the dishes only twice a week, he gets $1.40 and not the whole $5. Other chores I put down, is cleaning the bathroom once a week, doing his laundry once a week. Sleeping early 5x a week, making his lunch 4-5x, and for things he can get a bonus on would be goodmarks, and completing his homework.


 


My mom says I can make it tougher on him by deducting money from the things he doesn't do. What do you think?

Expert:  NormanM replied 1 year ago.
That is totally correct. A contract is a contract. You do not perform, then you do not get paid!

You are doing well so far. Stick to your guns, though and don´t listen to excuses or "blackmail".

May I add that I am really impressed that you have the courage and humanity to take this task on!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

My brother took a look at the chart and said he didn't like it and that he will only do those chores once he hears of it from mom. So I'm waiting for my mom to talk to him tomorrow, but I somehow feel like he will be doing this every time. I want him to learn to be independent of our parents. Is there anything I can do here, or should I just leave it to my mom to tell him what to do?

Expert:  NormanM replied 1 year ago.
Check with your mother and agree with her beforehand any major changes on how you want to run things, and ask her to tell him that as far as she is concerned, what you say goes!

Remind him that his privileges are just that, and just as in the big bad world, they have to be earned.

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