My sister's son is 16. He can’t read; he is failing in school. The teachers say he can't understand.

He doesn’t know how to talk to people properly, if at all. He still cries when his parents don't give him what he wants, or if they get mad at him for something wrong he did.

He doesn't have any friends; all he does is watch cartoons and play child-like games. His overall behaviour is as if he was 8 - 10.

It's not that he has a mental issue or his brain is not growing or anything. I think that he spent too much time sitting alone watching TV and playing games which caused him to be the way he is and not develop himself and grow up.

What can I do to help him get out of this situation and grow up to fit his age?

I tried giving him some interests and tasks to do to change routine to be more aware. For example, I got him excited about Hacking and talked him through a couple of things and told him how to learn more, but he forgot all about it in a week and got back to the way he was.

I have no clue into how to do this. His mother is always getting mad at him and his father always treats him like a child. I feel like I'm the only one who cares about his situation and I have no clue how to help him.

  • 3
    "It's not that he has a mental issue or his brain is not growing or anything." -- are you a doctor? What training do you have that makes you competent to say this? – user19912 Aug 13 '16 at 17:48
  • @LeopoldoSparks Because he looks fine but didn't allow him self to develop by communicating and...etc – Ali Almoullim Aug 13 '16 at 17:51
  • "looks fine?" That's not any kind of way to assess emotional or intellectual development. Leopold has a good point. Sounds like this might go deeper than just being spoiled or pampered. – PoloHoleSet Sep 2 '16 at 16:09

From your description your nephew should receive some professional care sooner rather than later!

However, that is up to his parents, not you. The best you can probably do is to convince your sister to seek help for his learning problems. Try to convince her it could make life better for all three of them.

You won't get a diagnosis from a site like this, but being unable to read or understand teachers and acting like a 8-10 year old at 16 sounds very much like he has some developmental impairment. The younger therapy starts for that, the more chances of him learning at least how to function better.

Your sister and her husband/the father seem to be in denial over this or simply completely unaware that there is more going on than their son being stupid or lazy. Talking to your sister in a non-judgemental way is the only way to find out. Remember that they are likely under immense stress from dealing with their son all day, so don't be too harsh on their anger and frustration. Ask your sister about her own experience and feeling and see if she's open to getting help.

Depending on where you live, you have a last resort of calling the local variety of Child Protective Services. This is really a nuclear option though and may destroy any trust your sister has in you.

  • 2
    Calling CPS is an extremely dangerous option - you do that only if you want that family potentially destroyed via government intervention (eg. In the case of child abuse). – Demis Aug 14 '16 at 19:03
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    In the case of child abuse, I'd say the family is already destroyed by the abuser and the child needs rescue. In the Netherlands, our CPS is very reluctant to do such a thing when it's about inadequate care or neglect and they will try all kinds of assistance first. I've heard some stories from the U.S. that suggest you may not be as lucky there. Hence the "last resort" and "nuclear option". – Cyrus Aug 14 '16 at 21:01
  • Agreed - just saying this is generally a dangerous thing to do in the US, and is only worth doing if completely breaking up the family is your goal. – Demis Aug 14 '16 at 21:03
  • Please update the answer to include something that can be done other than only "seek professional help." An answer where that is the only course of action is not valid. The answer may include that as a suggestion in addition to another course of action, but is not very helpful in terms of this site when it is the only component of an answer. – user24631 May 11 '18 at 18:25

This sounds like it requires a multidimensional approach, across various disciplines. This boys parents should also work with a Parenting Coach and Educator along with the school, special instruction/education, Speech Language Pathology, and reading specialist. I find it strange that this boy is 16 and didn't receive any services. With such characteristics the question is who was neglectful, not if. This case requires a major Intervention, and time is of the essence because by the time this boy is 18, his challenges are his problem and his alone.

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