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16 y/o SD nagging disabled 12 y/o SS

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
My 12 y/o (future) SS is learning disabled (borderline mentally retarded). His 16 y/o sister is constantly nagging him. CONSTANTLY.

"Don't eat like that. Eat your foods in this order."
"Play the video game like this."
"Change your clothes. Wear this."
"Don't stand in the hallway. Go stand over there."
"Roll your window down three inches."
"Don't cough like that."
"Don't hum to yourself like that."
"Stop twirling your hair like that."
"Don't breathe so loudly."
"Go use the bathroom."

I understand the 12 y/o had a lot of medical problems in his short life (he was born with some deformities and spent the first couple years of his life in the hospital having many, many surgeries). Now, he's a pretty normal looking 12 y/o, who has the potential for acting normally... it's just his sister has turned him into a wimp. He never stands up for himself. He's constantly apologizing, and she's constantly criticizing him. She loves him dearly. Her actions have been pointed out to her repeatedly. She just has a VERY controlling personality type, and refuses to stop nagging her brother. It's getting so annoying, and I find myself jumping down her throat every time she says anything to him, because it's ALWAYS some criticism.

They only spend every other weekend with us (plus random times between that). The rest of the time they're at their mother's house, and the 16 y/o takes on the role of the mother, as she has since the divorce many years ago.

We want the 12 y/o to be independant, and learn to stand up for himself, especially with his disability. But, she's doing a disservice to him, and we can't figure out how to point this out to her, and change her behavior.

HELP!
post #2 of 3
Tough question- because unfortunately people tend to forget that the word "able" is implicit in a learning disability, and assume that because their brains work differently, they're walking talking vegetables. (I worked with clients with learning difficulties, including some who were wrongly institutionalised, for most of the time since leaving university and it bugs me more than anything else on this planet.)
If you google terms like "person-centred" you may find ideas coming up, but unfortunately I don't think it's realistic to expect your s/son to correct his sister, at least not yet. Breaking out of roles in families is very very hard, and he'll need a lot of support to do it.
Thinking off the top of my head, if you haven't already read "How to talk so kids will listen" and the one about sibling rivalry by Faber/Mazlish, I would. There's some good stuff in there on helping children deal with a sibling with different needs. I'd also make a real effort to give them both some time away from each other and get to know them independently, but most importantly let them break out of their roles as the protector and dependent. When he does something for her, point it out with descriptive praise, and if you hear her make an assumption, call her on it.
I'd cross-post this in the Parenting with Special Needs forum as well- they're bound to have some ideas that I've missed.
post #3 of 3
My older daughter did this with my son and i just kept telling her she was holding him back , she got the message after along time of me telling her

good luck its tuff
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