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Christmas Problem

Hi, so basically long story I have a younger cousin age 15 who is a regular drug user, skips school, is out of control and doesn't to anything he is told. My immediate family and I tried to help him out about 6 months ago which resulted in him trying to punch my mum and then attacking me. Since then we have not spoken to him. His Dad has never given him rules or responsiblities and spoils him rotten. My family tried to help his Dad by telling him that there needs to be rules and consequences set towards his son, on aspects such as when he needs to come home from school, chores need doing, that his drugs cant be brought into the house, and that he needs to attend school more. (We even got the police around to speak to his son) This all worked for awhile until his Dad gave up and into his sons ways.


At this point now his son is off the rails and doesn't come home for weeks and gets away with everything including, stealing, meeting up with older adults, hanging round train stations late at night, not attending school, getting into fights.


He has been in couselling and had psychologist talk to him and has been in out of hospital reluctantly a lot, for depression and bad behaviour and it doesn't seem to be helping. When he is on drugs he hurts himself, gets panicked, loud and then goes on a downer and is sad until he gets his next fix. 


My family haven't heard from him as he hasn't wanted to speak to us for months now. It is very stressful and now that it is Christmas coming up we are unsure on whether to let him come to our Christmas dinner as we are worried about him stealing, acting out, or hurting us again. Also the fact that he has ignored my immediate family and not spoken to us, or made any effort to sort things out after months. What should my immediate family do? Do we just let it go and move on and let him join or christmas? What would you do?


He is also known for lying a lot and we are unsure on what to believe these days as he tells us things such as, he got beaten up multiple times, has been raped by 4 people. Everytime he tells these things to his dad or his grandparents they feel sorry for him and let anything he did before for example "swearing at them, hitting them, running away for weeks, skipping school" get away with. I think deep down they are worried about his depression getting the better of him. 


 If his son won't get help from the professionals and his dad/grandparents supporting him isn't helping what can we do?


Re: Christmas Problem

Welcome to RO @LeilaLo and thank you for reaching out. This situation sounds like quite a complex one. Not just because of what your cousin is going through, which is heartbreaking but also how his behaviour has effected the wider family. Have you spoken to your immediate family about it? Perhaps it's worth talking to them about whether they think he will attend and what kind of safety plan you're family could put in place if anything goes wrong? Or if your cousin requires extra support (crisis services etc)?

Re: Christmas Problem


My immediate family have spoken to his Dad and my grandparents about it. They want to bury their heads in the sand in regards to this problem and say that we should just let things go 'we are family' 'its christmas' things like that and just keep letting him to what he wants because they dont know what more to do.


My concern is I dont want to just taken advantage of or be used as we know he still is using drugs daily, and steals.


We even sent texts, made calls, and sent a letter to him to say that we are there for him and will support him. We havent had any responses from him or his Dad in regards to fixing this situation. Do we let him come into our home and he ignore us/be funny with us, or worse steal or hurt someone?



Re: Christmas Problem

I just dont want to be on edge during Christmas and be constantly worried in what he is doing. Yet, I feel guilty not letting him attend. Its a constant battle in my heart and head.

Re: Christmas Problem

That sounds really really hard and messy Smiley Sad

It sounds like you and your family have been doing everything you can to support your cousin and his dad to make good choices, but that there's no obvious progress, which must be really frustrating and upsetting. How are you coping? Do you have people you can talk to about this?


It sounds especially complicated at Christmas. It totally makes sense for you to be scared, hesitant, or not want him to be there at the Christmas gathering if he's hurt and stolen from you before and hasn't shown any signs of change.


It sounds like really good advice your family gave to your cousin's dad about the importance of setting boundaries with him. Perhaps you and your family could talk about what boundaries would need to be there for each of you to feel comfortable around him? You might decide you'd be comfortable having him there if he and his dad agreed that he'd need to leave if he did certain things, or you might decide that you can't feel safe around him until he's taken certain steps to change.


Just because someone's family doesn't mean you have to accept them treating you badly. I'm sorry this is all happening, and I hope you find a solution you feel comfortable/ safe with and have a lovely Christmas, and I hope your cousin can get help and that things will improve for you all Heart



There are also helplines that might be able to offer better support than we can. Kids helpline- 1800551800, (can someone please suggest others if they can think of them? I feel like there's some that are more suited but unsure what they are)

Re: Christmas Problem

Thank you for your response it has helped me shed a little light on what to do this christmas. I am finding it hard as its always in the back of my mind. This messy situation has taken its toll on my Mum and I. It has caused a big tear in between the two sides of our family.


Deep down I worry about my cousin and I want to just fix things but at the same time I dont want to be walked all over. I think letting his dad know the reasons as to why he cant come to Christmas will be a good idea. I am just worried that if we say my cousin cant come something bad or serious might happen to him as he has self harmed in the past. 

Re: Christmas Problem

Its sounds like a very stressful and emotionally complicated situation @LeilaLo. I know it's very hard considering everything but maybe try to focus on the good stuff tomorrow and spending the day with your loved ones. And if your cousin doe show up then again it may be a hope for the best but have a plan for the worst type of situation? Heart