Confusing situation vent


Ok, this is going to be a vent and I’m going to try and keep it as short as possible but it’s probably going to end up being quite long.

I help with VBS at my parish and we invited my husband’s little brother (BIL is 12 yrs old) to attend. He has learning disabilities, speech problems, and anger issues. We thought it would do him good to get out of the house away from the video games and his 80 year old grandma that watches him (she had another battery put in her pacemaker the week he was gone) while his mom (my MIL) works ~50 hrs per week. BIL is on adderall for adhd and my husband decided we were not going to give him his meds all week because he wanted to spend time with his brother, not a little drugged out zombie. BIL’s personality changes significantly when he’s on his meds. We didn’t think it was a big deal because he didn’t need to concentrate on anything, and quite honestly he did fine without it. He didn’t have a problem sitting still, he was able to occupy himself if he got bored (picked fingernails, daydreamed, but nothing was inappropriate) but most important of all, he was not angry or threatening to hurt anyone else or himself (he does that on a fairly regular basis). He did things we asked him to do and by the end of the week he was saying thank you, please, carrying things without complaining, and generally being a completely different -pleasant- kid than he was the beginning of the week. We taught him how to cook eggs, how to eat a balanced diet so you don’t get diarrhea from too much fiber, made him bathe (he’s like a cat when it comes to water), let him play with other kids, didn’t say anything bad about him in front of him, and he got to spend some time with his six month old niece. He’s never spent time around babies so I expected him to be curious. He was. He watched me change her diaper every chance he could get because she had a bit of a rash that was clearing up and he wanted to see if it was doing better each time. He missed one diaper because he was in the bathroom and he was shouting through the door “How’s her rash this time?” The first diaper he watched me change he asked, and I kid you not this boy is 12, “where is her penis?” I said “Emma is a girl. Girls don’t have a penis, they have a vagina.” He said, “Oh, I did not know.” Seriously :eek: He’s old enough to father a kid and most girls in his grade are probably able to get pregnant and he doesn’t even know who has what parts?! Anyway, I made him call home every night and after he was done talking, I bragged on him to MIL about how good he was doing, the things he was doing, and such every night because he doesn’t usually get to hear people say good things about him when he’s in earshot. He really beamed when I would praise him like that.

When they got here after the week was finished to pick him up, he turned into a different kid. He was acting impulsively, couldn’t sit still, was misbehaving, complained, and was being a general pain as soon as they showed up to get him. I couldn’t believe it because it was like someone flipped a switch on the boy’s behavior and personality. Fast forward a day and MIL is talking to my husband. She found out we didn’t give BIL his adderall and she’s in tears saying how my husband is just like his father (they are divorced with many bad feelings) and disrespects her and now she’s stuck trying to deal with BIL and catch up with his meds. I know how dangerous it is to double dose that kind of drug and I’m worried that MIL doesn’t know how that drug actually works so I tell my husband she could kill him if she overdoses him. My husband is pretty irate at this point and knows he can’t talk to his mom so he calls his other brother (22 yrs old and lives in the same city as MIL) and asks him to find out subtly if MIL is overdosing their little brother or not because it’s very dangerous and little brother could get hurt if she is. This brother was watching a movie when asked so it’s to be expected he messed things up a little. He called his mom and said “Hey, older brother wants to know if you’re double dosing little brother’s meds so he can consider his options.” I have no idea where the “consider his options” came from, but the next day we get a call from husband’s grandma (the one that watches little BIL) asking my husband if we are trying to take BIL away from her (not away from MIL, away from her). My husband tried to reassure her, but I’m not sure how good of a job he did. The next day we got a message from MIL saying BIL has pinworms and we need to wash where he slept. I’m pretty sure we’re getting blamed for those too, never mind the fact that it takes 3-4 weeks for you to notice symptoms because they started breeding and we had him the week before he noticed symptoms.

My husband says that his mom is just stressed out and she overreacts when she’s stressed. I can understand her being upset with us for not giving him his meds (we expected that to be honest), but crying and yelling rude things seems a bit much to me and then on top of that jumping to the conclusion that we’re trying to get custody of BIL… I just really don’t get it :shrug:


Okay, let me see if I got all that … You and your husband agreed to watch your BIL. You knew ahead of time you were not going to administer his medication to him. You also knew his mother has made a decision to put him on this medication. You did not tell MIL that you were witholding the child’s medication, but she found out. MIL was upset and put BIL back on medication. You and your husband then asked another brother to ask MIL if she was overdosing the child. Your brother was not tactful when he asked MIL about the meds. Now everyone is upset.

Taking a child off medication is a serious violation of trust. You and your husband obviously feel strongly that BIL should not be on medication (you disagree with MIL’s decision to put him on meds) and you involved another brother to check up on MIL’s administration of the meds (this implies that you feel MIL is incapable of taking care of BIL). I can see why MIL would be upset & brother would not be particularly tactful. You and your husband’s actions show that you think MIL is a bad parent. Perhaps it’s true. This boy sounds like he lives in a stressful environment, is on medication that he may or may not need, and has pinworms :eek:

My advice: apologize for undermining your MIL and for making your other brother the messenger. Start to foster a loving, trusting relationship with your MIL so you can help the boy under MIL’s terms with what she is comfortable with (no more lying about meds!). It sounds like he enjoyed his time at your home and it may be good for him to visit every now and again (also might be helpful for MIL to have a break).


Oops, forgot to thank you for commenting :blush:


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