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Blue Captain

My little brother wants "to be with Mommy"

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My brother got in trouble because he wished to go to heaven to be with mom. This is what happened:

My brother and I Skyped and he talked about his first sleepover at his best friend's house. He said it was the best thing ever because he got to experience having a mom prepare his food and milk, playing with a dad, and a bedtime story from a parent. He wished he could go to heaven "to be with Mommy." I understand where he's coming from so I didn't think it was a red flag. Thing was he left his door open during our Skype time and Dad heard what he said. Apparently, Dad told him wishing to die young was bad. He wants answers what was wrong with what he said since Dad doesn't talk about Mom at all, and "is it bad to want a mommy."

What should I do? 

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I'm sorry, but I don't see that there's anything you can "do".  You can't change how your brother feels, it's natural for him to want a mom.  What child doesn't?  As long as he understand this isn't something he can do anything about and doesn't act on it...but honestly, if I was his dad I would ensure he got counseling to deal with it professionally, just to make sure he doesn't do something.  But you're not his dad, this is his responsibility to handle.  That said, I know if he ever did act on it, you'd naturally wished you'd done something.

You can keep the lines of communication open with your brother and if he shows signs of being suicidal, talk to his school counselor and father.  Get another adult involved that can help him.  You're in a tough place with how your dad handles things and the fact that he doesn't seem to listen to you.

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On 11/7/2018 at 1:41 PM, Blue Captain said:

He wished he could go to heaven "to be with Mommy." I understand where he's coming from so I didn't think it was a red flag.

You know your brother better than we do, so if you didn't see this as a red flag, you're probably right. If you have any doubts, however, you may want to explore this with him in a bit more detail next time you visit with him. That is, have a talk with him to get a better idea of exactly what he meant by this comment, to make sure he isn't thinking of harming himself. (Suicide is a topic that can be discussed openly with children, and it's a great opportunity to explain why it happens to some people, and why it's the worst solution they could choose. See, for example, Explaining Suicide to Children.)

On 11/7/2018 at 1:41 PM, Blue Captain said:

He wants answers what was wrong with what he said since Dad doesn't talk about Mom at all, and "is it bad to want a mommy."

You might explain to your brother that while there is nothing "wrong" with what he said, his dad may have misinterpreted what he had overheard him say (wishing he could go to heaven to be with Mommy) and he was responding out of fear (thinking that your brother was wishing to die young and was willing to make that happen), and a desire to protect him.

Unfortunately things like this can happen when bits of conversation are overheard and misinterpreted. Next time you talk with your brother via Skype, you might suggest that he makes sure he's in a room where his privacy is protected.

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Dear Madam MartyT,

Thank you for the advice and the link to the article about suicide.

 

With respects,

Blue Captain

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Dear Madam KayC,

I know he's not my responsibility, it's just that I feel someone has to step up because Dad has gone AWOL emotionally. Sometimes it's easy to handle, other times I'm wondering whether I'm doing things right or not 😵. Those around me constantly go on about how kids will retain for life the stuff taught to them.  I'm not perfect, not even grown up enough to be a father but I'm hoping that the little man's life won't be too messed up because of what he learned from me.

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I totally get that, and your brother is lucky to have you to turn to.  I've no doubt you and your brother will be lifelong friends.  I doubt seriously that you would mess him up.  ;) 

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