Sun | Aug 19, 2018

Dear Counsellor | Mom is spoiling our brother

Published:Tuesday | June 7, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Q: Our mother has three children. She is raising her last child (a son) differently than she did my sister and me. There is a 12-year difference between us and our brother. My father and mother do not live together. He lives in the country and she lives in town. I suspect that my father, who is a quiet man, cannot stand the foolishness.

When we were growing up, my parents did not have a lot. They are now much better off, and our brother is benefiting from the better financial situation. My mother was very strict with us. We had to go to school and get good grades. If we were to go to a birthday party, we had to get home before midnight.

All that has changed. Our brother was expelled from high school because he stabbed a boy. He was sent to evening classes and he dropped out. He borrows money from people and our mother pays it back. He has stolen money from us and she says we should just forget it. He is not working and he got a girl pregnant. Now the girl and baby living at our mother's house. We do not know what to do.

A: Sometimes in families the treatment is not even. Usually, as parents get older they become better parents. However, that is not the situation with your mother. She is getting worse and she is splurging on the last child. Perhaps she is over-compensating for what she failed to give you.

You should not speculate why your mother and father not living together. You should ask him. It could be that he prefers the rural life. However, he needs to play a more active role in the life of his son.

Your brother has serious issues. He is behaving as if everybody owes him something. It is dangerous that he steals from you and also stabbed a boy. You all need to exercise tough love. It is a difficult call. If you take him to court for money he has stolen, people will say you are harsh. If your mother puts him out with his baby's mother and child, how will they survive? Perhaps it is best that you rent a room for him and let him take responsibility for his actions.

Finally, you all need to have a family meeting and have a frank discussion. If that goes nowhere, try getting a mediator.