T Nation

Disagreement with Family Member


Last summer, visiting my brother with my wife and two children, that are 6. My brother, whom I'm close with, had a huge agrument with my wife about the raising of my two kids. My kids were diagnosed with significant ADHD with depression (confirmed by mutiple physicians). My brother and my wife were screaming at each other, and he feels that my children don't have ADHD, its a discipline issue due to my wife. He doesn't believe in medication or psychiatry.

We were visiting from out of town, and my brother doesn't see my kids that often. I stuck up for my wife, defending her to my family and my brother. My wife then sent emails and texts apologizing for her role. All communication were not responded to by my brother (including being cut off on Facebook and phone calls being blocked). Now most of my family doesn't contact us, since I believe he's tainted us behind our back.

My wife feels that I should reach out to my brother. I feel I shouldn't since my wife apologized profusely. I feel it's my brother's next step. We have done our part and I don't want to be the middleman between my wife and brother. Again, it's his next move. The sad part is my kids suffer due to this but we don't need negativity like this in our lives. I'd like to get your thoughts.


If you value your relationship with your brother, reach out to him. If not, don't.


Agree, life is too short to stretch this out. If he is rational, you should be able to work it out and set some agreed upon boundaries for next time.


I have read about siblings stabbing each other over potato chips.

You need to do what is best for the kids. If keeping extended family away to reduce stress, them do it.

Granted what you said may be naturally one-sided but it strikes me that it is his move.

What I find interesting is that the family took his side without contacting you about the incident. I find that more troublesome than losing contact with your brother.


Is it possible that it IS a discipline issue?

Look, I see many kids like this (just treated one), and I swear in many of those cases, I am thinking there is no way in hell my mother would have allowed me to act like that...and she wouldn't have.

If I hit a doctor as a kid while he was just talking to me, my mom would have put an end to that right then and right there...often with nothing more than a word because they had already set the rules years ago....but apparently a lot parents do not think the same.


I get the "family / blood" thing, I do, but really... one less angry asshole in your life and around your family is a problem why?


A kid hit you? Well, sounds like they have a little honey badger in them.


It is the level of discipline that many of these kids lack today...and the parents DO NOT DISCIPLINE THEIR KIDS. The kid will do something that would have ended with me getting a spanking as a kid but the parent will just stand there and say, "oh, stop that now" calmly about 300 times...while the kid keeps doing it.

I wouldn't call that ADHD. I would call that not disciplining your kid and letting them do what they want.


Not to derail this thread, but there is a new book about French parenting whose premise is that French patents raise their kids understanding that everyone's feeling matter, not just their (kids) own. American style has become too special snowflake.

I think having parent(s) that are/were school teachers prepared us differently than others, especially the younger generations.


I'm with this.
The statistics are terrible, and it correlates with our culture's lack of parental attentiveness (not always the parents' fault - considering that both parents are working today, usually overworked and under-rested, stressed and appeasing to the child out of guilt).

However, my wife and I raised our son to the best of our combined abilities, and he turned out way better than I could have hoped (never had behavioral issues, and is now acing college).

My brother, on the other hand (who is childless), had a shitload of criticism over the years on the way my wife and I handled raising our son. He even ranted to my parents about it until they took his side in the matter.

Then, without warning, he cut us out of his life several years ago. I guess we didn't live up to HIS expectations. Yet somehow he thinks we owe HIM the apology! I still wonder what it is he expects us to apologize about.

Anyway, I move forward, keeping negativity and toxic people out of my life. I'll accept him back with open arms when HE'S ready to see his error and make amends.

My point is, you can't please everyone. If your bro has a problem with you, it's HIS problem. I don't know if your child has a legitimate problem, and neither does your brother.


I think that my brother and SIL are doing a great job raising their children. Even if they weren't, I can't imagine openly criticizing them (to the point of shouting at each other?) unless there was some harm being done to the kids (some sort of physical/mental abuse or neglect).

Anyway, he is your brother and I would make some sort of attempt to work things out. If your actions are rebuffed, you at least tried.


1 is your wife and children. I love my family, but I have had to take a similar stand with them and spend some time away.

If you have taken your children to multiple Drs for correct diagnosis and your kids are doing BETTER in school and life that is all that matters.


Sounds like we aren't getting the whole story. Did your wife direct some personal attacks at him that she felt she needed to apologize for or was she simply apologizing for standing up for her children? I'd hope she wasn't apologizing to him for defending her children because that just makes it seem like he was right.


I seriously doubt we will get an objective list of events.

If his wife apologized, I am guessing the OP wasn't exactly the most innocent angel in the conversation.

I am interested in if the kid is doing well in school or if there are on going issues that made his brother respond.

I don't know...but I've seen this so much I do not believe by any means that ALL of the children I see on drugs for their ADHD actually need those drugs. I think more than will admit it need a parent who won't take shit lying down and has the stones to correct behavior in the moment.


Couple points to my original thread:

-regarding discipline, It's a difference in how we discipline vs how my brother disciplines. He doesn't like the approach that we are implementing and getting good results from thus far. If my brother was on this blog, he would likely say "I don't agree with your parenting approach."

My brother also disagrees with the diagnoses from the health care providers. My brother would likely say "all that psychiatric stuff is bull shit. It's you who are the issue"

Regarding my wifes apology, she has taken accountability for her role in the disagreement. It was heart felt.


I tend to agree.


By the way, my wife called him an asshole, which caused the disagreement to escalate. In addition, as mentioned above, we are getting good results from our discipline approach, huge improvements in my kids behavior, as well as the meds. My kids have ADHD, there's no over medicating. It was the last option. If you read the reports from teachers and multiple providers, and spent a week alone my kids, you'd be a believer.

Again, should I reach out to my brother? I feel we did our part.


Would you consider yourselves to be soft on parenting? Can you stop your kids with a look? Do you negotiate more than you would like to?


I agree with Derek... your wife and kids are #1.

Your brother has no bearing on your family's lives. That all falls on you, - the parent/husband/provider.
You owe your bro nothing.


Sounds like he is an asshole, and an ignorant, judgemental one at that.

I say fuck him..... don't apologize.