Shortly after mom died I found myself in the parenting section of Barnes and Noble. It didn’t take long for me to realize that there isn’t an instruction manual for raising your teen brother who has lost both his parents.
I found a book about “tough topics and teens”, but it was mostly about sex and drugs with no good tips on how to raise someone else’s teenage son when both of you are grieving.
I refused to stop searching. Just because I couldn’t find it in a bookstore didn’t mean there wasn’t one out there. There are so many crazy books out there these days that I figured someone had to have written something to help me.
There is no guidebook for raising your sibling
After many internet searches I can tell you with certainty that there is no guidebook for raising your sibling.
On a side night, NPR does have a fascinating Talk of the Nation episode on siblings raising siblings. It was interesting, but not helpful to me at all.
I made a comment to my little brother, Charlie, about not having a guidebook to navigate us through these new waters. His response was that maybe we should write the instruction manual for raising siblings (and being raised by a sibling).
I love that idea.
Since I have a little too much on my plate already with 4 boys, 2 ignored businesses (this blog and my compost company), a husband, and a personal life, I figured blogging about our experience works just as well, if not better, than writing an official guidebook for raising siblings. So here I am, writing a blog post about raising my brother.
There is only thing I can currently add to a guidebook for raising a sibling
I’d like to think that by this point I have some advice for people in similar situations, but I don’t have much. It hasn’t even been three months since mom passed away.
We are still deep in the trenches of figuring out where we stand in relation to each other.
Are we siblings?
Or do we function as a responsible adult guardian and teenager?
The obvious answer is that I am the legal guardian and he is the child.
The not so obvious truth is that I don’t want to lose a brother in the same year I lost my mom.
The only thing I can add to my guidebook for raising siblings is to keep trying new things until something works.
Bringing a new person into your home and lifestyle in their teens is challenging. Even though Charlie is family, I’ve never lived with him.
I’m 20 years older than him. Twenty years. We are literally a generation apart. Twenty years is the exact time span of a generation- biologically speaking.
It’s not like I’m dealing with a moody teenager who has come to trust me and my parenting model over the last 15 years. Instead, I’m dealing with a moody teenager who has no clue how I’m going to handle situations. Or any reason to trust that I know what I’m doing when I’m handling them. He’s been thrown into a new family dynamic while also mourning the loss of his mom and his old lifestyle.
The only thing that is proving to work is to keep trying new things until something works.
I won’t go into details into what works for us, but I will tell you that today he came to me and said, “hey, that was pretty cool how you did that. I liked it!”
Today we found a way to communicate that made both of us happy. And that is good enough for today.
New to this blog?
While I love to write tutorials and informative posts on how to save money, I also like to write personal essays. I’ve written a few about my mom’s cancer journey and our life afterwards. Want to catch up on all this family drama? Read these posts in this order:
- Love is the Theme of my Third Life Crisis
- An Update on Mom- She’s Home
- Frugal Friday Update- Life, Mom, and Money
- Cheers to Mom’s Next Great Adventure
- Frugal Friday Update- A New Normal
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