Saturday, February 25, 2012

My troubled 10 year old nephew!


I have legal guardianship of my 3 nephews since my sister passed away. The youngest one is 10 y/o and giving me a run for my money. He has a major attitude, doesn't get along with my 3 children or his 2 brothers. He is always yelling and throwing temper tantrums, he's doing POORLY in school and i'm at my wits end, I thought i was doing the right thing in keeping them together, but idk what to do anymore, i need help with this child.

Dear Mayra:

What type of grief counseling has this 10 year old had? He sounds like he is still reacting to the loss of his mom. You didn't say how long it has been so I don't know however, I would strongly encourage you to seek out family counseling. This does not mean you are doing anything wrong only that you have taken on a tremendous amount of responsibility raising 6 children.

He can be helped though and things can turn around with some great counseling. I would look for someone who has an established, successful background in working with children and specializes in grief and blended families. I would also ask the school to screen him to see if he has any learning disabilities or mental health issues. A full physical from his doctor is also a good idea. With all three of these in place. I am confident you will find what you need.

Remember that children often take roles on in their family. I don't know the ages of all the children however now they are being raised as brothers and sisters which changes the placement in their family of origin to where they are now. For example, the oldest of your sisters family may or may not now be the oldest child, the middle child, the baby on and so on. Removing him from the family probably will only be a short term solution to a long term problem and another may start acting up in his place. Besides then children learn that love is very conditional.

Partially he is 10 and entering into the teen years. The sooner you seek professional help the better these years can be and you will be greatly rewarded by your success.

My heart goes out to you as you have lost your sister and are an amazing person for taking on three more children. You must have an incredibly big heart. Do seek the support you can use to make this successful.

I don't offer more than one follow up on this site as this is what I do for a living. However, you feel free to come back as often as you like. Your amazing big heart deserves support and rewarded for keeping this family together. You can speak to me in person and I will send you as many free minutes as the system allows by dialing the phone number below.

Best Wishes!

M Kay Keller


  1. Hi Mayra and Kay,

    This is a great response with some really good insight. There are some good suggestions here in this post.

    I am a parent coach, and find that this 5 minutes a day of PRIDE skills can really turn a child around. Often times with tantrum issues that parents are concerned about, the child is just feeling a loss of control - and regardless of age, we all naturally need to feel some sense of control in our lives. Children will react to this feeling with tantrums and attitude at home and school. I write my blog NOT to sell my services but to help parents. I try to take the topics based on issues that my clients are experiencing.

    I highly recommend taking a good look at this post: .

    Also, Love and Logic has a little guide of tips on helping your child deal with tragedy:

  2. Thank you for your comments!