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Help! -12 year old nephew is out of control

May 28 2008 at 3:32 AM
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Chris C.  (no login)

This is a long post, but I could really use some feedback. All help is appreciated. Thanks!

My 12 year old nephew is being raised by my mother. My sister (his mom) is psychologically unable to raise him; she has extreme anger management issues, depression, etc. His dad has never been in the picture. My parents have been raising him since he was six-months, though my dad died a couple of years ago, so it's just my mom, now. My siblings and I are all adults, not living with them.

My nephew has always had trouble controlling his temper, and things have gotten a lot worse since my dad died. My mom is having a difficult time handling him; she'd older and doesn't have the physical energy to deal with his tantrums.

My nephew does very little around the house. He doesn't help with the chores. He leaves his toys throughout the house. He talks back to my mom. He throws couch cushions, pillows, laundry all over when he's angry. He breaks his toys. He yells and says hateful things. Recently he threatened violence. My mom doesn't know how to handle him. He was going to counseling, but they've stopped that recently. My mom doesn't believe in counseling - thinks it exists simply to part people from their money, so quitting was easy. She never attended any counseling sessions with him.

He also has issues at school. He gets in fights. He has shouting matches. He doesn't do his school work. And everything is always "someone else's fault" (his teacher's, the school counselor's, his friends', a bully's).

My mom is worried about her health. She's afraid that the stress from raising my nephew will cause a heart attack or stroke, and that she's going to die. With her family's history, it's a valid concern. She's also afraid that in another year or two, my nephew will be big enough that he might harm her. Right now they're evenly matched, physically. With the direction he's heading, this is also a valid concern.

She's asked me to step in and help, possibly to the extent of moving in to their home. I have no idea how to help. What suggestions do you have for me?

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Dr. Wilde
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Re: Help! -12 year old nephew is out of control

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August 9 2008, 12:33 PM 

Your mother's concerns certainly do sound valid. No one should have to spend their twilight years feeling stressed out and threatened. The person who need to be helping out more is your sister. Is there anyway to encourage her involvement by putting some pressure on her? For example, your family could return the responsibility of raising her son unless she agrees to become more actively engaged in his parenting. I also would be curious if there's a relationship between your nephew's anger and the fact that his parents seem to want nothing to do with him. How could that not impact his self-esteem and emotional development?

In terms of what can be done to help him, I'd like to suggest you to consider encouraging your meother to get him back ino counseling. If finances are the issue, you may want to find out what help might be provided by your nephew's school.

Good luck and please feel free to keep us posted.


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Nancy Kirkendall
(Login nkirkendall)

I can so Relate!

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June 21 2011, 5:24 PM 

I can so relate to your mother's issues and since it was posted 3 years ago, I was wondering if she has had any relief? If so, what did she do?

I am also raising a 12 year old grandson that my husband and I have had since he was 4 months old. We legally adopted him at 4 years old so we could insure him. He still knows my daughter as "Mom" even though she is virtually not in his life anymore and his Dad never has been.

My grandson has gotten progressively worse the last few years and has gotten violent with me in the last year. I have called the police to intervene and they have talked to him but little else because he hasn't done anything bad enough to physically restrain him. We have had him in counselling but he absolutely refuses to talk to the counsellors. (We've tried several over the years...male, female, it doesn't matter...he won't talk). He sees his actions as always being someone else's fault and sees no problem with the way he acts or reacts.

I am at my wits end and don't know where to turn either. I love him so very much and don't want to see him ruin his life and realize that he obviously has some real self esteem issues that probably have led to "some" of this behavior. I just need some relief and help...

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