Social Question

88_Jenn's avatar

Question for parents - How to handle situation with brother.

Asked by 88_Jenn (193points) January 18th, 2010

Good Morning!

I am wondering how to handle a situation with my 16 year old brother. He is pretty much the biggest slacker I know and is constantly taking advantage of everyone in the family. Despite this, I am constantly trying to give him a chance, only to be let down. He lies constantly, never does anything he says he will, and has massive gauged holes in his ears, so it is very hard to look at him and take him seriously. Then he has the nerve to complain that he can’t get a job because of them.. anyway.

So a while ago, he informed us all that he wants to be a pastry chef. Which I think is great because he is going to attempt to do something. He has always enjoyed cooking so it could be a good route for him. I have been behind this 100% and have been having him over to learn a bit about baking and different techniques for things. He has seemed to enjoy coming over, but today, the day that we have planned to do a huge cake… (3 tiers 9 layers) He texts me this morning and asks if he can push our time back an hour.

My dilemma is, do I let him push it back? Or go pick him up at our scheduled time? How would I talk to him about this when he gets here? I baked constantly for the past 2 days to have all of the cakes ready to decorate today… Or, is this just teenager behaivour that I should live with? I am really lost. Because I have pretty much always been his biggest supporter, and have been able to share my thoughts openly with him but I am afraid of doing it the wrong way. Because he has no respect for anyone’s time.. or anyone/thing in general.

Is it just that generation?

I’m lost.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

28 Answers

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

Well first of all.. you must be the greatest sister in the world! (aside from my sister .. sorry.. XD)

I think, as difficult as it is, you should keep being the good sister you are being until he wakes up.. He is only 16… and lots of parents would kill to trade for a kid that would even consider baking instead of… getting baked.

john65pennington's avatar

You have gone WAAAAAY beyond the call of duty with your brother. i know he is blood kin, but like the old saying goes “beauty is only skin deep”. at age 16, he apparently has mastered the art of using people to his advantage. you are the person doing all the work and he wants to grab all the glory. you have done your part and have done it very well. he is 16 and its time for you to let go and let him pretend to be a man, if thats possible. being a man means honoring your obligations in life. learn to say no to him and stick with it.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Your brother needs to suffer the consequences of his own behavior. Too many people and shielded him for too long.

Sophief's avatar

What is he doing in that hour? Is it important?

Trillian's avatar

You are all probably enabling him. If he never has to face the consequences for his decisions and actions, he will never make better decisions. Why should he? He has you all to take up the slack.
Pick him up? You don’t give a reason for his wanting to delay. Did he? Do you not have things to do yourself? If you allow him to spend your time for you, then he won’t value that either. When I left my S/O in August, one of my issues with him was that he wanted to spend MY time with no regard to what I may have had planned. People who don’t work seem to not care about the schedules of those who do.
He’ll never learn any younger.
The correct thing to do, in my opinion, is text him back and say “Sorry, the time delay will cut into some there things I have to do. Maybe we can plan to do this again another time.”
Because you’re right, he has no respect for your time and feelings. He won’t learn any until you teach it to him. It may be a bit tough, as you’ve all let it go on for this long. He may cry and fuss and call people names. But if he can’t learn to deal with the little “no’s” in his family, how will he deal with the big “no’s” out in the real world?

Supacase's avatar

Is this the first time he has asked to change times during all of the times he has been coming over since deciding to be a pastry chef? It could be something legitimate or at least reasonable for a 16 y/o. It is one hour. Haven’t we all needed to push something back an hour once? What are you going to do with the cakes you’ve made if you tell him he can’t push it back and that means he isn’t able to come at all?

If this is the first time since the pastry chef bit began, I would agree to it. Then I would have a conversation with him when he gets there to explain that your time is important to you. You want to help him, but he has to work just as hard if he wants you to continue working with him. There need to be legitimate reasons, just as required with work or school, for rescheduling.

marinelife's avatar

I think you should continue to help him achieve his ambition to be a pastry chef. I think you shopuld speak to him about the importance of keeping appointments and tell him you will not be available if he is late a next time.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

I’m kind of clueless here. He wants to be a pastry chef, and yet you have been baking for days? So that he can… what? ... come over and put icing on the cakes?

First off, I have to tell you how wacked that sounds. Don’t pastry chefs also bake?

But you’ve gone this far with him, and you’ve (all) enabled so much for so long that one hour now wouldn’t be a deal-breaker to me.

However, I would tell him that the bar is being raised from here on out. If he has an appointment with you to address his career ambitions, he’d better treat it in a businesslike manner from here on out. If he’s late again without a valid excuse or decides to blow you off so that he can sleep in for an hour, then the deal is off, and he can bake his own cakes. Or not.

88_Jenn's avatar

Thank you all very much. I really needed to hear that.

@Dibley – He wants to sleep in.

@CyanoticWasp – Yeah.. I know we have all been enabling. Thank you for saying so. I just kept telling myself that everyone else has given up on him, so I didn’t want to do the same. I think there is a difference between giving up and allowing myself to be walked on. Which is what I seem to do most of the time.

I appreciate all of your help. I’ll go pick him up at 9, when I said I’d be there.

Cupcake's avatar

Here’s my test… if you are doing more work than him, you are not being helpful. If you have nothing else to do and really enjoy baking 9 layers of cakes and want to hang out with your little brother to ice and stack them, then do it. If you have other things to do, then do the other things. Don’t be co-dependent, and don’t think that doing things for him that he needs to learn how to do helps him learn and grow. It doesn’t.

Sophief's avatar

@88_Jenn Oh, that’s not acceptable. I know you have put a lot of work in, but I would cancel him now. Still support him, but don’t do anything for him until he grows up. It sounds to me that he just saying he wants to be a chef just so you all think he has dreams, when clearly, as yet, he hasn’t.

88_Jenn's avatar

@Cupcake – No, I have much better things to be doing than do this for him. I have a 1 year old to chase around. :)

The whole thing is more to learn how to use Fondant… not really just ice a cake. Since he knows how to bake a cake, I just bake cheap store bought cake and we spend 5–8 hours working with Fondant and piping.

Since he only goes to school about an hour a day (his parents let him enroll in “online” high school) I just thought it would be a more constructive way to spend some of his days rather than sleeping in until 2 and going to school for a few hours. :(

Cupcake's avatar

@88_Jenn You sound like a real sweetie-pie with a big heart.

My point was to assess the level of your work, your motives, and his level of work. Clearly, your effort vastly outweighs his. So what do you get out of it? You obviously want to be of help, mentoring, provide some structure, etc. But the point that this “mentoring” becomes burdensome to you… quit. Mentors don’t do all the work. They advise, guide, listen.

If he only goes to school 1 hour a day… then let him bake the cakes. Let him buy the fondant and make the icing. Let him call you and arrange a mutually available time to get together. If he needs a ride, let him arrange it (with you or someone else).

88_Jenn's avatar

@Cupcake – Thank you very much. I just know he feels like everyone has given up on him and I didn’t want to be among them.

I think that’s an awesome point about what mentors do.. I have been doing too much. I will definitely talk to him about it today and tell him how it will all go next time. I knew that I should have given him some sort of task that needed to be done before we did this again.

Thank you again for your help and insight. I haven’t had to know/learn much about psychology yet with my 1 year old :)

Time to go get him. lol.

Cruiser's avatar

I would stop coddling your brother he needs some serious life lessons and pronto. The only way he will learn is to feel the pain of hunger and cold and what it is like to not have everything handed to him.

john65pennington's avatar

Dibley is correct. you are his sister, not his mother. i hate users. and he is using you. please do not be a follower for your brother. be a leader and explain the facts of life to him.

daemonelson's avatar

Actually, this is fairly normal behaviour. Knowledge of and ability to have your life completely planned out and organised by age 16 is a big indicator of insanity, possibly psychopathy.

Seek's avatar

I’m with CyanoticWasp and Cruiser on this.

There’s a point where you just have to let it go. I have (had?) a brother like this. He had the mastery of getting everything he wanted handed to him. Its amazing how much work he’d put into being lazy and useless. I’d often tell him if he put half the effort into actually accomplishing something as he did into getting other people to serve him, he could rule the world. Never worked.

Yeah, he was going to be a chef, too. He never cooked, baked, or washed dishes, but he sure did stand in the kitchen and order my little sister around quite a bit. Of course, this was all supported by our parents, who believed he was just “acting like any Master Chef would”. eyeroll

You can’t make him be a functioning human being. I understand the desire, the need you feel to help him, but there comes a point where you realise you just can’t help someone that has no desire to help themselves.

For me, it was letting him live in my house, eat my food, my finding him two jobs and transporting him to and from both with my gas money. He was fired from both jobs for employee theft. He’d yell at us about not respecting him because we asked for rent money one month (he was eating us out of house and home, and never so much as a thank you). I was actually relieved when he stole half my DVD collection, broke a bedroom window, and ran away in the middle of the night. He even told my parents that we were robbing him.

Please, don’t get yourself to that point.

nicobanks's avatar

Let him push it back an hour.

But he should be made to understand 2 things when you pick him up:

1. How much you’re sacrificing just to help him out

2. Were he at school for baking, the teacher wouldn’t push back the lesson for him: he’d simply miss it; and were he working as a pastry chef, his boss wouldn’t push back his shift, rather he’d likely be fired (or at least given a warning—and if he does it enough he definitely will be fired)

Trillian's avatar

@88_Jenn. I just want to jump back in here for a minute. you said in two separate answers something about everyone “giving up on him”. You don’t want him to think that you have too, and he already feels that.
Pardon me for being blunt, but this sounds like emotional blackmail to me. “Oh, poo, everyone already thinks I’m a loser, guess I might as well not even try.” (Peeks through fingers to see if you’re buying it)
Then you say he wants to push it back to sleep in? Because he’s so exhausted from all the prep work you did?
Not only are you enabling him, you’re participating in your own punishment by allowing him to guilt you into doing anything and everything for him so he won’t have to feel like a nobody. Unless you plan to go to school with him and do all the work, then go to every job interview with him…. You can’t expect that someone will hire him based on his need to feel good about himself. I hope you can let go and allow him to fall on his face a few times. It won’t kill him, and as long as you allow him to face the consequences for his actions, he’ll be a better person for it.

nikipedia's avatar

I understand there’s a lot of history with your brother slacking, but I’m not sure I agree that you should be a stickler for the 9am time unless it’s a serious inconvenience for you. He’s still holding up his end of the bargain—he’s just trying to make it more convenient for himself, and I’m not sure there’s really anything wrong with that.

I heard a very interesting talk a couple years ago about sleep cycles and age. It turns out that teenagers have a much harder time going to sleep and waking up on the same schedule as adults because of their biology, not out of laziness.

So while I do think you are right not to coddle your brother, I wonder if your efforts to help him would be most successful if you try to work with him and his particular needs.

phil196662's avatar

In the future make the plans enough in advance so he does not have an Excuse and then Remind Him that he has this commitment with you. If he trys to change it Tell Him about the prep you have to do (IE- Baking!) and then when he did that Sleeping in an extra hour Thing then let him arrive late and then show him Crust Layer on top of the frosting’s and the fact that some of the first cakes have been sitting out too long and Can’t be Used because of Spoilage!

Then Remind him that is is Important to keep High Priority Commitments!

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Your brother must learn to respect other people’s time and his own commitments. Unless the delay is unavoidable and urgent, then he must be ready on time and be fully on task at that time. If he fails to do so, tell him he has lost his opportunity for your help.

He will never learn so long as he is protected from experiencing the consequences of his actions or failures to act.

YARNLADY's avatar

I’m sure you believe you are helping him, but I doubt anyone would hire a chef whose older sister taught him to bake. Professional chefs get their training at approved, accredited schools, and they get kicked out if they miss class.

88_Jenn's avatar

@YARNLADY – He is sixteen. I am by no means replacing proper schooling. I wanted him to get an idea of what it is like to spend 6–8 hours on something that is not Myspace or Twitter and maybe learn a few things about cooking in general. Things he is not being taught at home… that and the quality time together…

YARNLADY's avatar

@88_Jenn Your heart is certainly in the right place, but I would still urge getting him into a professional cooking school. They often allow ages 16 and up. My extended family includes restaurant owners, and they enrolled the family members who wanted to continue the family business at that age.

Supacase's avatar

I think working on this at home with his sister is a great place to start. He will get a chance to see if this is what he really wants to do or if it is just a passing fancy without spending $$$ on culinary school. If he is still interested after a year of working at home, then professional school would be a good investment. If he loses interest after two months, it would be a complete waste of money.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Supacase Good point – and the additional advantage of developing a closer relationship with his sister will add one more skill he will need.

Answer this question




to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther