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Ask Rene: My Deadbeat Brother Is KILLING My Parents!

Lazy Man Asleep on CouchAsk Rene:
My Deadbeat Brother Is KILLING My Parents!


Hi Rene:

My brother has three children and has screwed his life up to the point that he hasn’t seen his first born in two years (first girlfriend); currently he has to seriously decide whether to claim bankruptcy. I’m not 100% certain if he has to but I know they took away his car and my parents had to pay one of his monthly mortgage bills so he could keep the house.

He finally realized he needed to leave his good-for-nothing, abusive girlfriend (and baby mama). We live 2000 km away from them, but my parents went and got him and his two children (the other one is safe with her mom). They were only supposed to be here for a month, but that was 4 months ago. Now my parents want him to get a job so he can put his kids in daycare because they are absolutely awful. I was a bad kid and my parents could handle it, but I’m watching them crumble under the pressure since my brother isn’t doing a whole lot, so that means to me that they’re bad. He isn’t sure if he should wait until after claiming bankruptcy to get a job or not.

With the back story, here comes my question. What do I do? I’m watching my parents turn into zombies trying to get this all figured out while my brother does nothing. On top of that, I’m going insane. I can’t sleep or eat or focus. I’m watching my brain turn to mush and there’s nothing I can do to change it. I go back to school in September and I need quiet but I can’t afford to move out and I also don’t want to. I love my parents and I don’t want to abandon them and they want me to stay. But living with my brother and his kids in this toxic environment is killing me…and my parents. What should we do?

Anxiety-Ridden Daughter


Dear Anxiety-Ridden Daughter:

Wow I’m sorry to hear about all of this. But the simple fact is that which is allowed is what will continue. So someone needs to put a stop to it and I can just about guarantee it won’t be your brother. I mean really, why should he? He’s got it GREAT! That means the task either falls to you or your parents but he’s not going to do it on his own. Here are some suggestions and what I would do it I were you.

2. Find Some Sort Of Child Care

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I know you feel a bit helpless in this situation and sound just about as frustrated as your parents no doubt are. But as for the childcare component, check out some drop-in programs in your area. Maybe there are local churches or other places that offer low or no-cost child care. That would help give your parents a bit of a break and your brother's kids a much needed escape for their energy.


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Combing the aisles at Target in search of the best deal on Cheerios, it hit Rene Syler like the stench of a dirty diaper on a hot summer’s day. Not only is perfection overrated its utterly impossible! Suddenly empowered, she figuratively donned her cape, scooped up another taco kit for dinner and Good Enough Mother was born.

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