Social Question

ssarti's avatar

My younger brother is planning to walk out?

Asked by ssarti (183points) October 3rd, 2010

hey all
my brother is going to become 18 in a few weeks. hes in his senior year. our parents are very controlling and this leaves him pretty bitter. the folks always tell me to drive him wherever [be it school, to see his friends, off to football etc] and he has a very strict curfew of 6 pm on weekends/holidays, and no going out on school days. girlfriends are out of question, and hes forced to basically all family events [ie thanksgiving at grandmas], and to church on sundays. this has left him a rebel, and for whatever reason, he has gotten suspended a few times. he and i are pretty close, and he tells me that he plans to leave the moment he finishes high school.
tbh i was in his exact situation a few years ago. my parents kept me in a cage till i was in college, and i thought i was free after i graduated from school. but then, real life dawned. i ate at shelters, worked as a burger flipper at mcdonalds, and was kicked out for not paying rent more then once. real life was tough, and i realised it was that much easier to live with my parents, accepting their rules and their money. my fathers biggest rule is that if i want to live on his money, i follow his rules. its pretty simple and once it dawned on me how lucky i was that my parents still payed for everything for me, i never questioned them twice. many of my friends are sceptical – im doing a masters degree while getting an allowance from my parents and not being allowed to have a girlfriend, but i feel that its me whose gonna suffer if i were to listen to my friends’ advice and vouch for freedom instead of family.
how can i convince him to do the same? my parents will definitely not pay for his college tuition if he leaves, but he is young and he can’t understand in what sort of position he will be in on his own.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

28 Answers

Neizvestnaya's avatar

It sounds to me like your brother is very aware of his options and having seen your choices in action, he’s still resolved to want to be on his own enough to chance it. Let him go.

For parents who can afford to support an adult child through college, great, good for them but other than that I’ve always felt legal adults should get out there in the world and start taking up for themselves to spend more years doing for themselves than being bitter at their families.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

It sounds as if you have made the right decision for yourself. You had a taste of reality, and by moving back home and not bucking the system are able to achieve a scholastic goal.

Does he want to attend college? If so, there is no one that can paint a more realistic picture of reality than you. If he doesn’t, or at least wants a chance to spread his wings, as you did, it may be better to support his decision. He might land on his feet.

marinelife's avatar

I think that you have paid a huge price for the college education. Although it sounds like you went through some tough times.

Perhaps there is a middle path for your brother. Perhaps he could enlist and get college tuition benefits from the military.

Or perhaps he could get a combination of scholarships and student loans.

If he wants to go to college, he should apply, and then contact the college financial aid office.

Loried2008's avatar

Let him make his own mistakes. I’m sure he saw by your example how hard it was and you can tell him how hard it is all day long, but when it comes down to it he’s gotta live his own life.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

I don’t think he’d be making a mistake at all. Good luck to him; I think he’s doing the absolute right thing—for him.

ssarti's avatar

thank you for your input all. ofcourse, ive always known that in the end it would be his decision, just like it was mine when I left my parents. and when i came back. being his older brother, however, that familial instinct always kicks in as to what i feel is best for him. plus, since ive been through the exact same thing, its more then just emotion thats talking, its experience.
he doesn’t really appreciate our parents. in exchange for not getting girls pregnant and beating up other kids [as he has done oftentimes in school itself], my parents give him lots of financial leverage. that 55” LED television in his room wasn’t a gift from his clandestine lover, the several 100 dollar iphone bill isn’t paid for by his gang of fellow conspirators. hey, just saying, having to sleep on the sidewalk, struggling to pay 30k tuition bills while fighting with the admissions office for a better grant leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.
but thank you all. you’re quite right in saying that its his decision, and if i am anything to go by, he will come around :D

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

Some people see a different path than the ones that are forced upon them.

ssarti's avatar

@Russell_D_SpacePoet true that. everyones an individual. but i know my brother. for all my parents social boundaries, we grew up in a very materialistic environment. i know that he wont be able to handle being on his own two feet with no help from my parents, at least not so soon. i wasn’t, and im not ashamed of it. i totally understand why he wants what he wants. it cant be easy having to justify to his senior year friends why a family member is always there to pick him up from school, why he can’t attend that night concert, why he leaves prom before the party has even started. im just worried that, trying to free himself from my parents frying pan, he might just walk into the fire. he’s a pretty stubborn lad for sure, i wouldn’t be bothered if he wasn’t because everyone deserves a chance to experience the world by himself. my concern is that out of his stubbornness he might leave the household for good, and in doing so ruin his best chances of a good education

ninjacolin's avatar

This is pretty easy stuff. @ssarti, the reason you didn’t fare well outside on your own is because you didn’t know what you were doing. Your parents didn’t seem to teach you anything about how to live on your own, so you basically went out there and proved how little you learned from them. Your parents taught you how to be coddled (money) and enslaved. You haven’t learned to be the “Free” person you were hoping you would be.

You escaped your parents’ only to find out that you had a lot to learn. Then you retreated from learning and went back into submission. You haven’t learned anything. You’ve failed to achieve your goal of freedom.

Try again. This time, do some reading on money management. Move out WITH your brother and together help eachother to learn to become free. Your parents are misguided in their guidance.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Have you tried talking to your parents about allowing a little more freedom now that he is 18? If he breaks a rule, then it’s back to the way it was before. I’m not a parent, but isn’t that the way to teach responsibility as a child grows up?

SamIAm's avatar

dude, are you just going to live at home forever?? 6pm curfew? no girlfriend? let your brother go and learn the lesson for himself. and as for you, get a decent paying job as soon as you can and start saving money. it sounds like you’re going to need a whole lot of socialization and reality is going to be a huge slap in the face, again. your parents are not helping you learn to adapt to being a part of society, this is only hindering your (and your brothers) growth.

ssarti's avatar

@Samantha_Rae lol this isn’t about me. and my parents aren’t the bad guys here. they obviously know what they are doing, or else why would they invest so much into us, financially and emotionally? i can’t remember the last time our dad missed an important milestone in our lives. and while he probably didn’t have ‘much’ trouble financing my education, it couldn’t have been easy shelling over those several hundred k’s over the last few years. i have a cousin my age, his dad decided to let him go when he was 18. where is he now? in a steady relationship, living on his own, doing some pre-requisite course to enter college [for a bachelor’s degree at that] – a course that i’ve admitabbly never heard of, and i, on the other hand am at graduate school, having done my internship at France’s largest oil company over the summer. yes, my mother was there with me on my visit but it was great having someone to do my laundry while i was off calculating risk management at some high class building in paris. yes, that cousin of mine is happy, just like my brother probably would be if he left. but in the face of financial hardship one’s core values are challenged. tryeating baked beans at the church for a few days, it really makes you rethink what’s important.
but ofcourse, i appreciate all the advice i can get guys. thanks a lot – i now at least know what angles to approach my brother from when i ask him to give the folks a chance.

ninjacolin's avatar

Of course they care, they just haven’t put a lot of thought into the best way to raise you guys. Your parents love you, they’re just wrong about how to love you best. That’s all.
lol, sorry, for being so antagonistic. it’s difficult not to when you’re dealing with totalitarian mindsets

SamIAm's avatar

@ssarti : sure. just keep in mind, that growing up is about balancing doing laundry AND working a job. mommy won’t always be at your side to do that stuff for you. sometimes you have to learn to do everything and deal with the hardships of reality. good luck to you both.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@ssarti I’m a parent myself, and though I don’t like to judge other people—so I won’t judge your parents—I will judge their actions as parents: piss poor.

They’ve coddled both of you with the fine feathered nest and iron rules (stupid iron rules, apparently) without letting either of you learn or take any responsibility for that. More than that, they’ve apparently enabled his irresponsible behavior. (You say nothing about your own, so I won’t guess.)

There’s a lot more to life than 55” televisions and $30K college tuition. In a way it’s too bad you’ve each got so much “to come back to”, because you both need to grow up and get the hell out of that place and learn to take responsibility for yourselves. I hope your brother will, and I wish him well. Maybe he’ll set an example for you.

Jeruba's avatar

I think a parent’s chief responsibility is to teach you how to get along without them. If they don’t, you have to teach yourself.

I’d suggest concentrating on knowing what’s best for yourself and letting your brother decide what’s best for him. He just might do all right.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I’m curious, how are you in grad school when here you said you were turning 17 in February of this year (meaning you are the one that will be turning 18 in the next few months)?

If you want to walk out of your parent’s home and try living on your own, go for it, but be smart about it. Get a job and start saving up as much as you can as soon as you can. If it is in fact your younger brother, show him this thread and let him make his own decision. Being out on my own and struggling when life got hard sounds way better than living by your parent’s rules in my opinion.

mrrich724's avatar

It all comes down to values. He sees that you came home, and now you are dealing with your parents B.S. just for the money.

He doesn’t think the money is worth it b/c he’s over that S***. Who knows, he may have the same experience you did, his values will change, and the prodigal son will return.

On the other hand, he may have more resolve than you did, and his values truly may make it worth it for him to struggle in order gain his independence from his controlling parents.

Seek's avatar

Some people value individual thought and personal freedom over materialistic possessions.

I know I did.

I would call those “rules” both imprisonment and parental neglect. The parents in the OP are clearly making no effort to teach their children how to be self-sufficient members of society, and they seem far too concerned with controlling your sex lives.

Took me ‘till I was 20 to leave my cage. What a waste of life that was. If your “brother” wants to break free, let him. He’ll either sink or swim. Hopefully, he’ll swim. Even if he has to struggle for a while first, it’s better than living in a cage.

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

@ssarti Sounds like to me he wants to experience life. IMO I think limiting the socialization of a teenager
in the fashion that your parents have is interfering with their development. By not having a girlfriend in high school he is missing out on learning about relationships. The 6o’clock curfew is a middle school curfew. I can totally understand where he is coming from. Sounds like the actions of your parents are pushing him away at an age where he is ready to live. Your brother and I are kindred souls. My parents weren’t that way, but I was ready to leave home and did so early.

ninjacolin's avatar

@ssarti there’s some logic to your request for your bro not to waste his time trying to live outside. I mean, since your parents have indoctrinated you guys with inadequate social intelligence, it may indeed be a difficult and painful choice for your brother to just launch out into the wild knowing no more than you did at his age about how to live on the outside of a coddled and restrictive lifestyle. (by the way, prisoners get all their needs paid for as well) It makes sense then that you would want to protect your brother from making the EXACT same mistakes you did.

But you should be aware of what your mistake was: Ignorance about how to handle money. Ignorance about how to hold on to a job. And I suspect some ignorance about how to get along with normal people who never lived their lives under the psychologically damaging and socially retarding pressures that the two of you have uniquely endured. Because of the unique way you were brought up, you two have been held back from knowing what most others would know by the time they were 18 regarding how to function along with the rest of the established world. You are held back. Your brother likely is too. It may be to his advantage for him to take some time to study and catch up to the rest of the world in head knowledge and street smarts before he ventures out. There’s many books, videos, and people (both professional and non-professional) who he (and you) should consult so he will gain insight and wisdom with a view towards having a successful exodus instead of a failed one.

You guys need information, time, and experience to adjust to the real world. At this point, I’ll have you know I grew up under similar circumstances and I’m speaking to you from a place of empathy and optimism.

Haleth's avatar

”...for all my parents social boundaries, we grew up in a very materialistic environment.”

That reminds me of my own parents. Those values (conservatism, materialism) leave a bad taste in my mouth, and I always felt uncomfortable around my parents. I did pretty much the same thing when I turned 18— moved out ASAP and went through some tough times. My younger sister stayed with the family and ended up joining the military. We may not understand each other’s decisions, but I respect that it was her own decision to make.

If your brother moves out now, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. He’ll be in for some tough times, but it’s a great learning experience that builds character (even if it’s not something you’d want to go back and relive.) If he makes it on his own, he can be proud of the fact that he’s an independent and self-made man.

And it doesn’t have to be a black and white choice between living comfortably with the parents or being independent on the streets. Later on I moved in with some relatives who were more understanding. They’re not paying for any of my expenses (which I wouldn’t want anyway), but it’s easier to be with family just for the advice and support they offer. Do you have any aunts, uncles, or adult friends your brother could stay with?

BarnacleBill's avatar

@ssarti, I invest as much in my children as your parents do, but they never had to buy my support by blind obedience. I payed for college, bought used cars for them, pay car repairs, cell phone bills and car insurance because my priority is that they get an education. They work and pay their own rent and food. Neither one has cable or internet because they can’t afford them.

Your brother should not be denied the opportunity to learn from his own mistakes. Perhaps he recognizes that a 55” television and an iPhone doesn’t really equate to love if you have to pay for it with your soul and individuality.

Neither love nor respect can be purchased with material items.

lonelydragon's avatar

You are correct about one thing. Your brother will struggle on his own if he does not have a plan. But you have created a false dichotomy. His choices don’t have to be limited to a) Stay at home and smolder under the iron clad restrictions or b) Move out and live in the streets. There are college scholarships and grants, if he wants to attend university. He could also save money by starting out at community college and finding a job to support himself. Although striking out on his own will not be easy, there are options for him, and there is no need for him to quit before he even tries.

The best thing you can do for him right now is be empathetic and supportive of him. Perhaps he values freedom of choice more than creature comforts, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Jeruba's avatar

I notice that the OP has not been back since @Seaofclouds raised her interesting question above, calling into doubt both this question and the previous one. We may be offering heartfelt advice to a fictitious case.

keelymama's avatar

support his decision, b/c if he ends up miserable for a long period of time, and it becomes hard for him to recover, he will blame you… you made the decision to relinquish your freedom for comfort; allow him to make his own decision, but there’s no harm in presenting your experiences to him imo

keelymama's avatar

@Jeruba why would someone want solutions for a fictitious case? what are they getting out of it?

not saying you’re wrong… just wondering… i know there are people that do some questionable stuff or stuff i may not understand or agree with in general

Jeruba's avatar

Maybe just experimenting with the idea, @keelymama?—a way of thinking something through? Or even possibly of trying out an opposing position? For example, if I were having a battle with my son, it might occur to me to post a question from his point of view to see if responses strengthened my position or his. (I wouldn’t really do this, but I can imagine it, and I’ve seen fluther questions that made me wonder if someone was doing this.)

My comment was just an observation, not an accusation.

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