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ghostdaise* Offline
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Problems at home making me question my goals? - October 26th 2015, 09:07 PM

To make it blunt, my home life has been miserable. I spend all weekends at home alone with my brother and when our dad or stepmother comes home, my brother and I just stay in our rooms unless we HAVE to get out (bathroom, eating). For the longest time I've dreamed of the day I'll graduate and go to a college that's far away. I live in South Carolina and want to go to a college in Connecticut. But now I question that. I'll leave my brother, who's in 6th grade. He hasn't been doing well with his behavior in school and our dad treats him badly at times because of it, often going overboard to the point that my brother doesn't want me to leave, and he feels that our dad hates him. Our stepmother does absolutely nothing about it except sit there and watch the screaming, and threatening. She doesn't care. She says that she does but my brother and I don't listen to her because she hasn't proven it. As much as I want to go as far as I want, I'm thinking about going to a local university until my brother graduates, and then I could transfer to CT. I hate to say that since I've had this dream for a long time, but I don't know what to do. He can't live with our mom, she has a drinking problem. I have no one trustworthy to talk to about it, which is why I'm here. We do care about and love our dad, but he just makes us feel so badly at times. Any advice or words to give?
   
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Re: Problems at home making me question my goals? - October 26th 2015, 11:07 PM

Hey there and welcome to TeenHelp!

I'm sorry that you have been feeling so miserable and are having these problems at home. That sounds like a complicated and stressful situation to be in. You are a caring sibling to be so considerate of what your brother is going through to even think of sacrificing going to the college you want to go to at this time. I imagine your brother would appreciate that all by itself.

Are the problems with your dad possible to improve on? Have you tried talking to him and working things out to hopefully build a better relationship together? Maybe it would be helpful if you were to sit down with both your dad and your brother to have a family talk with the encouragement that everyone discuss their feelings calmly with respect. Everyone hurts each other's feelings at some point and hopefully most of your dad's actions or unintentionally being hurtful. Could you ask him why he is treating you and your brother like this? If your brother is trying to do well in school, hopefully you could have your brother calmly explain that he's having trouble in school and he can't help that. Maybe your dad could help your brother with his homework rather than treating him badly due to his bad grades. Your brother's grades and behavior needs to be attended to with care and understanding to figure out the problem, which may be due to the tense home life.

You and your brother talking to your dad in a calm way to share how you've been feeling could help him realize the error in his ways without him feeling "attacked", you know? For example, if you end up yelling then he'll most likely feel as he has to defend himself and yell too. Whereas a calm talk simply discussing feelings could be more effective if he's listening and willing to put in effort. You and your brother both may have attempted to talk with him and sort out the difficulties between you so I apologize if you've already put effort into communication. I hope you are still able to get through to him in a way that he understands how much his ways are affecting you both.

Hypothetically if you were to go to a college nearby, would you still be able to fully achieve your goals as if you went to a college far away? If that's a yes then it would be nice of you to be near your brother so that he doesn't have to be alone through this. You wanting to help him is wonderful and kind-hearted, but know that you don't have a direct obligation so much to give up your dreams simply because of how your dad is treating him. That isn't your fault and you aren't responsible. I do know that he's your brother and you want to protect him though. If you were to go to the college you want to go to, can you ask your brother about ways you two could keep in touch as if you were still right next to each other? Perhaps you could video chat with him often, text him and talk on the phone in your free time. Simply being there, asking him how he is doing and offering inspirational/kind words could help a lot.

The situation you're in sounds like a very tough situation and I'm really sorry that you're in this situation. I really hope that things work out to where you can achieve your goals yet go to college without the worry that your brother will be mistreated. I hope your dad changes his ways after a talk that makes him realize the impact he's having. Be sure to reassure your dad that you love him and care for him; both of you do but that you'd extremely appreciate if he'd do his best to try to keep in mind that since you love him, his words can really hurt.

Not sure if this helped but I hope it did. Take care and stay strong. Feel free to reach out for support throughout this. God bless you for being so thoughtful of your brother.
   
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Re: Problems at home making me question my goals? - October 27th 2015, 12:50 AM

Hi there,

I'm so sorry that your home life isn't going well. It's never a good feeling when you're isolating yourself in your room because you don't want to deal with any yelling. I can understand that all too well.

I have a story similar to yours. If you don't mind, I'm going to share that with you and maybe that'll help you out. When I was growing up, I was bounced from house to house (I lived with either my mom, grandparents, dad, or aunt). I finally settled in with my dad and sister. He was extremely depressed and suicidal. It made him have intense mood swings, and it was a very hostile environment to live in. When I was seventeen, and about to apply for colleges, I debated going away for college or staying home so I could take care of my little sister, who was still in high school. I ultimately decided to stay home and attend community college.

I regret this tremendously. I not only postponed my college education, but I was stuck in an environment that was no good for me. I ended up resenting my sister for staying with her instead of following my dreams. I knew in my heart that it wasn't her fault, and she would have wanted me to go, but I still felt annoyed that I had to stay because of her. Gosh, I sound so rude, haha. Sorry. Anyway. The story ends with me being nineteen, almost twenty, and deciding to move almost 300 miles away from home for school and my relationship. My sister was sad that I left, but she was okay with it. I'm now 22, and I have been away from home for 2 years now. It was the BEST decision of my life. I have a great relationship with my dad now that we're not butting heads. I visit for holidays, and all is great.

The point of my story is this: don't back out on your dream because you feel like you should protect your brother. I have a great relationship with my sister now, and we Skype all the time (so maybe that's a good option for you when/if you leave?). Leaving will benefit you and your brother. He will see that you can get out of a tough situation and change your life. It might motivate him to do better in school and achieve his own dreams. It will change both of your lives, but for the better.

Another idea is to sit down and talk to your dad about what's going on. He needs to be aware of the situation and change his behaviors. If y'all have a plan in place, it might help. If you don't want to talk to him by yourself, consider having a mediator like a teacher or counselor around to help facilitate. It might help out the entire situation and make you feel more comfortable about leaving. Your dad literally just might not know how to handle stress. A lot of people don't, and they have to learn through experience or other means like counseling. If you talk to him, it might give him the push to change his behaviors and treat your brother and you right.

This has gotten really long, and I apologize.

I hope that this helped in some way or another. If you ever want to talk, you're welcome to PM me and we can chat about this or whatever you want.

Take care and stay strong! You will get through this!


There is no beauty without some strangeness.
-EAP-

   
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