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Helping a nephew through parent separation

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I am seeking some advice about helping my nephew through the separation between his mum (my sister) and her partner. The relationship has recently failed as my sister’s partner cheated on her after being together for over 9 years. This is having a very negative effect on my 15 year old nephew and I am unsure how to help him through this. He has become very withdrawn, angry and communicates in one word answers. I have tried lightly to see if he wants to talk about it but he would rather not so I haven’t pushed him to do so. I find myself now trying to take him out as much as possible for fun things he enjoys like go-karting or even simply a trip to McDonalds. I also find myself buying him things like console games or giving him money to spend on what he wants which initially makes him a little happier but this doesn’t last long. I know this isn’t a solution and at best it is only a temporary distraction. His Mum was in a relationship with another woman  so I am the only male influence in his life which if I’m honest does give me some anxiety. I also work a rotation which sees me being abroad for 5 weeks then home for 5 weeks. I am concerned as I can’t always be around to offer support to him. He is a good lad and I try to be the laid back “cool uncle” within reason. I would like to think he knows he can talk to me about anything but I am worried what consequences may occur if he continues to bottle things up. I don’t want to pressure him into talking about it because I don’t think that will be productive and will probably have the opposite effect. I hate that he is pretty much going through this on his own. Can anyone give me some advice on what I can do to help him please? 

Topic starter Posted : 02/09/2023 12:38 am
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Hello adviceforanuncle 

thank you for sharing your experience. Well done for all the support you are giving your nephew so far, spending 1-1 time with young adults when they are faced with life changing situations that are out of their control is really important. 
I would however like to recommend that you try not to spend too much on “things” for your nephew. I can see the logic behind it, but it’s the time and effort that he will appreciate from you in the long run which will be the best. I understand with your work pattern this is tricky, but keep up with the meetings. One word answers are certainly better than none. 😊

Would it be worth mentioning to your sister that she see if her son would agree to talking with a therapist or teacher about how he is feeling ? 
You are doing a lot of good work with your nephew and by letting him be hopefully in his time he will talk to you about things. Perhaps agree to video call him twice a week when you are away working ? Then the connection continues between you both whilst you’re away. 
Hope this helps in some way. 

wish you all the best

Parent Support 

Posted : 15/09/2023 4:31 pm

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