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A Dilemma

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mentzer51
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I have a bit of a dilemma. My twin brother, who is 29, just seperated from his wife, who got sentenced to three years in prison for a crime she committed. My brother has four children(1,5,8,10 years old) and he asked me if I would move in with him to help take care of the kids and chip in towards bills and expenses.

My brother and I have never been that close but I realize he's in a tough situation. The main reason I'm hesitant to go live with him is because I'm a novelist and there may not be sufficient time or the right environment that will allow me to write at my best ability. Other reasons why I may not go: I'm not very good with kids, my brother annoys me if I'm around him for too long, and I like living alone.

I want to help him out but I also dont want that to jeopardize my writing career. But if I dont go, he mentioned earnestly that he may have to give up his youngest child for adoption since he wont have enough time or money to support her.

What would you guys do if you were in my situation?

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I have a bit of a dilemma. My twin brother, who is 29, just seperated from his wife, who got sentenced to three years in prison for a crime she committed. My brother has four children(1,5,8,10 years old) and he asked me if I would move in with him to help take care of the kids and chip in towards bills and expenses.

My brother and I have never been that close but I realize he's in a tough situation. The main reason I'm hesitant to go live with him is because I'm a novelist and there may not be sufficient time or the right environment that will allow me to write at my best ability. Other reasons why I may not go: I'm not very good with kids, my brother annoys me if I'm around him for too long, and I like living alone.

I want to help him out but I also dont want that to jeopardize my writing career. But if I dont go, he mentioned earnestly that he may have to give up his youngest child for adoption since he wont have enough time or money to support her.

What would you guys do if you were in my situation?

Tough question. Without knowing the full context of your situation, I don't know that anyone could answer that well.

If you do choose to move in to help him, I would recommend that you do it for a predetermined period of time. 6 months or one year or what ever you are willing to invest. Then later, if it worked out in a way that was acceptable to you, you could extend it longer for an additional 6 months or whatever. This would avoid hurt feelings when you left and give him time to get a second job or whatever was required to keep his family together, while giving you a fairly easy out so that you don't end up making a sacrifice you regret and blame him or his kids for.

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Before you decide one way or another, I'd recommend carefully considering all possible options. Can you help him and his kids out without moving in with him? Does he have other possible sources of help, e.g. other family? Has he looked into private charity? Or an au pair? If you did move in with him, could you arrange to have a few hours each day of uninterrupted time (preferably away from the house) for your writing? In what ways don't you get along with your brother -- and can those problems be resolved or worked around... or will they just fester?

Also, your brother's attitude toward any help that you might offer is critical. In particular, does he regard it as your duty? (If so, then I can guarantee disaster. He'll feel like you're never doing enough -- and you'll feel like he's using you.) Also, does your brother take responsibility for the mess into which he's gotten himself? Will your brother pay you back for your expenses you incur to support his family? Will he be responsible with the money he has?

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Before you decide one way or another, I'd recommend carefully considering all possible options. Can you help him and his kids out without moving in with him?
This came to my mind also. Could you move near him? It might be possible to give very close support if you live about a mile or so away, even farther if you are willing to drive several miles daily. You'd be able to keep your privacy. Of course, if he wanted you to move in partially because of a rent issue, he may have to think about moving.
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Does he have other possible sources of help, e.g. other family?
No. We dont really have any family left or others that would help.

Has he looked into private charity?
Not that I'm aware of. But I should inform you that my brother tends to drink quite a bit and that may prevent him from getting money from a charity if the charity questions neighbors or friends on his behavior.

If you did move in with him, could you arrange to have a few hours each day of uninterrupted time (preferably away from the house) for your writing?
Featherfall mentioned possibly not moving in with my brother but near him. That seems like a good idea. Just as long as my whole life doesnt revolve around him and his family.

In what ways don't you get along with your brother -- and can those problems be resolved or worked around... or will they just fester?
Probably fester. His mind is what an Objectivist calls a concrete-bound, Neanderthal-like mind. His first priority is to impress other people, he doesnt try to gain knowledge but instead gets drunk and used to go insane on weekends with his friends since his wife was home with the kids. Also, he purposely tries to annoy people and make them feel ashamed or guilty. I can handle brief and infrequent meetings with him but being around him on a regular basis will be a challenge.

In particular, does he regard it as your duty?
He hasnt said anything outright about this- he just essentially is begging me to do it- but since he is my brother and I know him well enough, I would say he probably thinks its my duty to help him out. If I said no, he would assumably try to make me feel guilty and rotten about myself for being selfish. Like I said, he has no clue what a rational moral code is and the things stored in his subconscious is a huge junk heap of mind-destroying quotes he has picked up involuntarily throughout his life.

Also, does your brother take responsibility for the mess into which he's gotten himself?
I hate to say it but my brother is a second-hander and doesnt realize his life is his responsibility. I cant imagine what he would do if I didnt help him out with this problem of his.

Will your brother pay you back for your expenses you incur to support his family? Will he be responsible with the money he has?
I dont think he would be able to afford to pay me back after its all said and done. He doesnt make much money himself as he owns a very small business where he teaches martial arts and other fight techniques that are used in Ultimate Fighting. However, he will probably be responsible with the money he has or if he gets some from me because he cares a lot about his kids and wants them to be happy.
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that my brother tends to drink quite a bit ....His mind is what an Objectivist calls a concrete-bound, Neanderthal-like mind. His first priority is to impress other people, he doesnt try to gain knowledge but instead gets drunk and used to go insane on weekends with his friends since his wife was home with the kids. Also, he purposely tries to annoy people and make them feel ashamed or guilty.......... he has no clue what a rational moral code is and the things stored in his subconscious is a huge junk heap of mind-destroying quotes he has picked up involuntarily throughout his life.....I hate to say it but my brother is a second-hander and doesnt realize his life is his responsibility.

Are you identical twins? Because if so, that should be the nail in the coffin of genetic determinism :lol:

I am curious what value you think you would gain by entering into this arrangment with someone you hold in such low regard. It seems like a one way street. Were I in your shoes I would not move in, based on what you have explained. He can man-up get a second job if he needs to in order to keep his children. If he does value them as you say, it would be little inconvenience for him.

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Are you identical twins? Because if so, that should be the nail in the coffin of genetic determinism :lol:
No, we're fraternal.

I am curious what value you think you would gain by entering into this arrangment with someone you hold in such low regard.
I guess I wouldnt really be gaining anything except possibly enjoying spending time with his kids. I think I may be surprised at how much I enjoy their company. But either way, I may not be gaining much or anything if I decide to change my living situation for him, but what if I'm not losing anything either? If I can figure out a way to make the situation something other than an inconvenience to me, than could it be a fine idea to accept that living situation with him just as an act of kindness?
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What is it about him, beside genetics, that makes him your "brother"? What I mean is, what does the term "brother" mean to you, what value does it have, and does he fill that value? Do you share more than just a biological connection?

I know how difficult it is sometimes to think of family members in terms of just how they are as people, but it may be important for you to do that in deciding how much of your life you are willing to invest (and it sounds like risk) helping him based on what type of person he is, and not simply because there is a superficial biological connection.

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We dont share anything more than a biological connection. I hadnt come in contact with him for five years before he called me recently about his problem. And I chose not to associate myself with him because hes really not the type of person I like being around. I typically judge every person using the same criteria and try not to let any external factors influence my decision such as if they're family members or celebrities, etc., and I came to the conclusion awhile back that my brother wasnt someone who I would consider a friend but just another person Ive met who happens to share the same genetics as me.

After saying those comments, it wouldnt really make sense for me to do such a large favor for him, would it?

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After saying those comments, it wouldnt really make sense for me to do such a large favor for him, would it?
You haven't said anything positive about your potential situation, or your brother, other than you may like his kids once you start hanging around them. Kudos, also, to being able to remove yourself from the family element of the situation. If you can find a way to stay away from your brother most of the time, and you think there is a good chance you will enjoy his kids, enough to make writing novels a more difficult task and enough to give up a big part of your life for a while, do it. But don't move in with the ultimate goal being to let him keep his youngest kid. He sounds kind of messed up to me, and an adoption would probably not be a bad option for the 1-year-old.

I think the other advice given to you was good, also.

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an adoption would probably not be a bad option for the 1-year-old.

Mentzer51,

Would your brother be able to manage on his own (financially and otherwise) if he only had to take care of his 3 older children? If so, one option would be for you to take care of the 1 year old until his mother comes out of jail. You could use a day care provider for part of your normal working hours and also write after the kid goes to sleep for the night (for a one year old that should be between 7-8pm). This is still a large favor!

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Mentzer51,

Would your brother be able to manage on his own (financially and otherwise) if he only had to take care of his 3 older children? If so, one option would be for you to take care of the 1 year old until his mother comes out of jail. You could use a day care provider for part of your normal working hours and also write after the kid goes to sleep for the night (for a one year old that should be between 7-8pm). This is still a large favor!

Thats a pretty good idea. Of course, its still a huge responsibility for me to take care of the one child but it may also be rewarding if I enjoy having her around. And I think my brother would be able to get by financially if there were 3 children to feed instead of 4, mostly because Katie, who is the youngest, is a baby. I'll propose the idea to my brother.

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Before you make this offer consider this: do you want to be a parent for three years? This is not something to take lightly. At the minimum, give yourself at least a week to think about this, and try to speak to friends who have kids and ask them to give you all the downside enlightenment they can think of.

Will your adopted kid be with you for the weekends? If so, try to understand how that will change what you do on the weekends for the next 3 years. There are other things involved here. You're going to potty train her, make her doctor appointments, figure out play-dates [a couple of years hence], keep track of her clothes and shoe sizes, ensure that she is learning what you'd like her to learn, deal with the tantrums that come with the infamous "terrible twos", listen only to baby-music in the car...

Just think about it a little more...

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Thats a pretty good idea. Of course, its still a huge responsibility for me to take care of the one child but it may also be rewarding if I enjoy having her around. And I think my brother would be able to get by financially if there were 3 children to feed instead of 4, mostly because Katie, who is the youngest, is a baby. I'll propose the idea to my brother.
Oh dear, think about that a bit more, as that choice could be the cause of great heartache: If you do grow seriously attached to her, what will happen when your (irresponsible) brother wishes her back? Will you be willing to throw her back into his household, knowing that she might be destroyed by it? (If you do grow seriously attached to her, your brother might let you adopt her. Without that, he can take her back when he pleases.)

Given your description of your brother, I wouldn't recommend involving yourself in his mess, except perhaps peripherally. It's one thing to rearrange your life to help a genuinely good family member caught in unexpected distress. It's quite another to do that with someone who lives poorly -- and is now reaping the consequences of his past choices. It sounds like your brother is in the latter category.

As someone else noted, I suspect that the youngest would be in better hands than she is now if she were adopted.

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My heart goes out to the little kids who for no fault of theirs have to suffer so much..I do suggest the baby or maybe all the kids go for adoption to a family that WANTS them...your brother being an alcoholic and his wife(I do not know her nature,but having been to jail for a proven offence) do not seem like very loving parents at all.Certainly the kids don't deserve this.You also cannot give mother AND father's love and affection and think that you MAY like them.Although the situation doesn't give too many choice for the kids,I believe that they deserve their needs being meet as much completely as possible.Childhood happens once and has a lasting impact on people.So I suggest you may suggest your brother to give his children for adoption.It would be painful,but maybe the pian would atleast end for the children.Otherwise it may continue.

Edited by Saraswathi
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I should clarify this about my brother. He's not this inconsiderate, idiot bum that I may have accidently portrayed him as. Just because I choose not to associate myself with him frequently doesnt mean he's a hideous person. When he drinks, its on the weekends with his friends but he hasnt been doing this since his wife went to prison. His first priority is probably his kids, whom he treats well and they love him. The best way to describe my brother is to call him average. He doesnt make consistently rational choices and he's not an intellectual genius. But he's a good father and the way he views life and the world is similar to most other people(who arent Objectivists of course).

I'll list the pro's and con's of having his baby stay at my place a little later.

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