My married brother sleeps in room with 13 year old son instead of with his wife.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-29-2011
My married brother sleeps in room with 13 year old son instead of with his wife.
29
Wed, 06-29-2011 - 1:47pm

Hey,

I don't have children so my brother will not listen to any advice I have. I wanted to post here - for other folks that have children to respond. He sleeps in a bunkbed with my 13 year old nephew. (He sleeps in lower bunk, nephew sleeps in upper bunk.) I think his wife prefers he sleep with her. I fear that this behavior is severely stunting for a 13 year old's normal development. He is home schooled, has limited opportunities for social interactions (except an occasional outings with a small group of other home schoolers), and is in general - a fearful young man. My brother sleeping in his room is doing nothing to helping him, but I feel like he's instead inabling him. I strongly believe this is wrong as a child should be sleeping alone at an early age and 13 is beyond too old. Also - I don't believe it sets a good precedent for the parents who should be establishing healthy boundaries and showing the children that the parents are in love and a team. Instead it is reinforcing my nephew's fears and my brother is putting his emotional needs in front of his wife's. Again - I feel like it is affecting my nephew's normal development in becoming a healthy, independent person. My brother will not listen to this. He just says "You do not have children, so you don't understand." If I didn't think this was extremely dysfunctional - I would not be asking for input from other parents and would mind my own business. I would, however love any input or advice from other parents please. Thank you for your time!

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-29-2011
That's a totally different situation. My brother has a 3 bedroom house, the 17 year old sleeps alone, my nephew and his dad sleep in one and my sister in law in the other. I understand your friend's predicament. I honestly don't think anything sexual is going on. I just know that my nephew is so immature - and scared of doing anything different - like being somewhere away from home. I also think my brother isn't addressing or looking at his own issues with his wife honestly - which I don't care about except that he's using my nephew as an excuse to not sleep with his wife - which at the same time is stunting the normal development of my nephew to obtain the regular milestones (like sleeping alone and not being afraid of ghosts - at 13). My brother reinforces my nephews fears of everything. Anyway - thanks for your response.
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-29-2011
I don't think anyone is saying that its not normal for parents to ever sleep with their children occasionally, instead they are addressing my concerns about my brother and his dysfunctional insistence on sleeping with my nephew every night since he was 4 against my sister in law's desires which also reinforces and perpetuates my nephews fear that he cannot sleep alone. Yeah - a lot of this is my sister in law's issues - but its growing into my nephews problem as well. Also - my nephew isn't all that fond of my brother as he (my brother) has lots of anger issues and issues with depression. Another excuse my brother has stated to his wife about sleeping in my nephew's room is that "Its the only time we get along." That's really messed up in my mind and setting up a bad precedent for relationships in my nephew's future. He may very well seek out partners that are mean, emotionally abusive, and then sleep with them. I see nothing wrong personally with loving families sleeping together or occasionally parents sleeping with kids in hotel rooms and such. Again - what I'm talking about is COMPLETELY ABSOLUTELY different.
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-29-2011
That's a totally different situation. My brother has a 3 bedroom house, the 17 year old sleeps alone, my nephew and his dad sleep in one and my sister in law in the other. I understand your friend's predicament. I honestly don't think anything sexual is going on. I just know that my nephew is so immature - and scared of doing anything different - like being somewhere away from home. I also think my brother isn't addressing or looking at his own issues with his wife honestly - which I don't care about except that he's using my nephew as an excuse to not sleep with his wife - which at the same time is stunting the normal development of my nephew to obtain the regular milestones (like sleeping alone and not being afraid of ghosts - at 13). My brother reinforces my nephews fears of everything. Anyway - thanks for your response.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2009
<<>>

That might have nothing to do with how he's being parented. You could be describing my DS, who's family (me, DH, his step-siblings) is pretty mainstream. My DS didn't want to go on the grade 8 school trip because it was an overnight (didn't even bring the permission form home).

Some kids don't embrace *new* and don't do sleepovers until they are much older, and it doesn't have anything to do with the parents. For example, my DS has been primarily public schooled (we tried homeschooling one year but it was a flop), involved in activities, and pretty much pushed to have a social life. Yet, he's very shy, immature (compared to his age-mates), and has yet to manage a sleepover. Also, I've never been one to co-sleep (or room share). Did it a couple of times (when DS was a baby) when I was exhausted, but otherwise hated it. DS has, most of his life, slept alone in his own bed, in his own room. Yet, he sounds a lot like your nephew.

We all want to find someone to blame when kids don't achieve what we think they should, when we think they should. The reality is that kids will develop at their own pace despite our doing everything right, or despite our making mistakes (some kids do better than would be predicted). Sometimes, how a kid develops (meeting milestones), is just down to fate, or (for the religious) God's plan.
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-29-2011
I agree. I've even tried to talk my sister in law into getting therapy. Its really frustrating for me. She says she's open to it...but I know her well enough to know she will not do anything. ugh. Thanks again for your support of the situation. It really bugs me. I know lots of folks here are talking about situations where parents are occasionally spending the night in the same room. I see no problem with that what so ever - or even loving families sleeping together - like you said - in a family bed - especially if the family is loving, supportive, etc. That's different than what is going on at my brother's place. I have two other sisters who also think its messed up but they are not as close to it as me. My nephew talks to me regularly and looks to me as an unconditionally loving family member who accepts him and also gives him encouragement. That's the only reason I know they sleep in the same room as my sister in law or brother would have never opened up about that. Again - I don't care if my brother and his wife have issues....when it affects the healthy growth and development of children - it really makes me angry. Thanks sabrtooth. I also read the link you provided. I just know - since they are so isolated and since I'm the only one they've shared the fact that my brother sleeps in my nephew's room (and other stuff that I'm witness to) - they would KNOW it was me. Should I still take the risk to call DSS? I think they are all uncomfortably comfortable in their dysfunction though. Its a weird situation and I really try to not butt in too much...but good grief....its messed up.
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Registered: 12-03-1999

Remember,All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-29-2011
Thanks again. I just think there's a very unhealthy lack of boundaries within the entire family. My sister in law has said that maybe my nephew go to therapy...and that maybe my brother would see the change in him and be inspired to seek it out himself. I told her that if my nephew sought counseling - at some point they would HAVe to participate. I know them enough to know that there will be extreme resistance (on my brother's side). Anyway I'll see what I can do but do appreciate the advice of all you parents.
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2009
If the information you've shared so far is all you have, CPS is going to do nothing but talk to them, and you won't ever be allowed to see the child again. Your brother will anger issues will see to that.

Take it from someone who had both her niece and nephew taken (eventually) from my sister, a longtime meth addict and prostitute. It wasn't my calls that had my nephew taken, but a cumulative effect of all my calls and her and the baby being put out on the side of a busy interstate while on a drug run. Cops came, she ate all the pills, o.d.'d, etc. That's what it took before CPS would do anything but talk to her.

Keep talking to your nephew, and if you come across evidence of obvious abuse or neglect, then consider calling CPS. And even then, don't expect immediate, or even much, action.

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999

If you really feel that nothing sexual is going on then basically your concerns are that your nephew is being hindered socially and overly shy and afraid.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-29-2011

Good point Musiclover12. After reading Emotional injury - I'd definitely say that is going on....but the kids are clothed and take baths regularly....just not given any healthy boundaries or encouragement towards development.

OK, so once again though - I asked my nephew if he would spend the night with me and my nephew told me that my brother said, "IF you spend the night, you're going to get sick and die." (nice...real nice...) My nephew does have allergies - but is not asthmatic. I have 3 cats but clean and vacuum regularly. My nephew asked if he DID spend the night and there was a bad storm, could he sleep on the couch next to my husband and my room and I said that would be OK. I just think he needs to get away from my brother and his enabling wife for a while. Oh, of course my nephew ended up changing his mind about sleeping over. (Gave in to my brother's f-ed up comment about dying I guess....) Yeah, but I do think DCF has bigger problems - families with sexual abuse or physical. Emotional abuse is just as damaging in my opinion...but they might not see it that way. I just wish they'd get some help....but know they won't. Its frustrating to sit by and watch it all happening. Again - I feel helpless.