Concerned Aunt

by Deanna
(Interlochen, MI USA)

I recently visited my Brother with my family. I have a 4 y/o daughter and a 3 y/o son. My brother has a 13 y/o boy,4 y/o boy and a 2 1/2 yo boy. My concern is with the youngest. He is cute as a button but something is clearly "off" with him. I know all children grow at their own pace but this little guy does not speak, look you in the eye or have any desire to play with other children.

He is quite aggressive with hitting and pinching just about anyone. One night I heard him running back and forth across the room and every so often would let out a high pitched scream. He has severe seperation issues with his mother. Sometimes he can't sit still and other times he sits staring into space. I am concerned because they seem to be in denial and I want him to be healthy and happy. He disrupts the entire house and is making everyone stressed. They don't have health insurance and have never had him checked out. Any suggestions on what to do first and maybe how to approach them without seeming controlling?

That is a great question. HOnestly, I have come to learn that parents will not see something they dont want to see. This comes from many years of working with families who pull their children off medications that are helping them because they don't want them to be bipolar.

My guess is that if the problems are a serious as you say, once he becomes school age they will have to pay attention to the isues because it will be obvious to others. It is inevitable that these kinds of issues will eventually come to light.

If there is a way for you to address the behavior as concern and not criticism obviously that would be best.

Expressing concern about how he gets so anxious when he is away from mom, or he seems distracted ( when staring into space) might be easier. Something open ended like, " he seems to have such a hard time being away from you, or he misses you so much."

I would leave an opening for the parent to talk with you about their concerns rather than getting defensive. Making an observation or statement that is judgment free.

That is if you even want to risk that. It may be better not to say anything at all, depending on your relationship with them and their willingness to take feedback from you.

Good luck!!


Kristen McClure

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