I have a sibling who's stressed/saddened their parents whom they live with, with their lifestyle. Communication is poor to nigh non-existant between parties involved. (1 parent felt like any attempt to confront the individual would've been met with 'fuck you') I've been disconnected as I've spent the last 3 years in intense schooling, mainly focused just on keeping myself afloat.

Most recent incident was a starkly silent family dinner where I felt I perceived tension/awkwardness was rather stifling.

The person in question is

  • Low-20s (age) currently doing work/study rotation (in post-undergraduate school with a career related part time job) to finish off a post-undergraduate degree, eventually take a related license exam.
  • They were advised to work from home as it is dull work or something. A point of friction in the past with their parents was a few failed courses which delayed graduation.
  • Has had a strong/unhealthy interest in playing video games from a young age <= 11, parents were busy and the parenting was so-so arguably
  • Lives at home with parents, recently moved to a small/quiet town (nice place for seniors to retire, not so great for young new-ish grads) 40 minutes from suburbia (previous town), 1 hour and 40 minutes away from a big capital city, their network of friends moving all over to pursue their careers etc.

Primary points of friction appear to be

  • Sleep cycle leans towards being a night owl (my understanding is this is prime time to be undisturbed as normal people are asleep, don't want to be interrupted this days for dem online multiplayer games)
  • Absolutely awful, unapproachable and ungrateful attitude when in their early waking hours (related to 1st point)
  • Cycling through an abundance of video games, movies, shows, etc, entertainment
  • Lack of engagement outside of leisure/entertainment activities or social life? The house hold has recently moved to a location that's great for retiring seniors not so much new graduates. (My impression is their friends have kept in touch online and I know they play games together online.)
  • Prefers to stay on the computer at home, leaves room for meals. Bathroom is connected to their room.
  • Doesn't help with chores, (grandparents used to consider this their duty and would be irritated if someone took their work as it made them feel useful, additionally parents didn't emphasize independence or helping around the house, as they wanted us to devote all our time/focus into academics)
  • Hasn't been going out of the house much outside of work/school, I asked and they haven't been going to the gym recently.

Other Considerations

I feel it would be somewhat hypocritical for me to call them out on this as I wasn't much better either previous years, when on break from school. I believe that the fact I haven't lived at home for any extended period of time recently, makes me look better. Or at least I am out of sight and out of mind, free to live however I like and suffer the consequences of my actions.

This has been a problem for them since childhood for them (only thing they really seem to want to do is play games, which I don't know if I can blame them as I feel the same, much of the time).

A few years ago there were issues with the individual angrily screaming, yelling, punching the table and walls over online video games. A polite request to calm down, and maybe not play if the game is clearly not making them happy and just angry was met with: "BUT IT'S A GAME I CAN'T WIN" followed by seething with anger.

A recent discussion with the individual about this makes it seem that this should be slightly better.

What can be done?

My belief/understanding is that unless a person wants to change themselves or wants to be helped there is very little an outside party can do. But I suppose I owe at least 1 attempt at a cringey/awkward intervention, that will get brushed off before I return to being overwhelmed at school. As far as I can tell/believe there's a nasty feedback loop of snowballing.

I share little in common with my sibling besides common vices and parents. We aren't that close either and didn't like each other while growing up (I wanted computer time too, which they would be loath to share), and I've spent most of the last 3 years focusing on passing school.

What are the best things that a younger sibling can do? What are the best things the parents can do? Otherwise context is ~1st generation? Asian/American/Canadian low to middle class suburbia. We're pretty much low to no public displays of affection and don't like to talk about our feelings.

Current planned future approach

My current impression, at this point is the only effective thing to do as a sibling is state this discomfort across the entire household, and suggest they move out to survive on their own (out of sight and out of mind, no longer creating friction). Or if not make some serious effort to make their parents happy since they've sacrificed a lot to do right by us.

Though I don't know if there's any stock in my words when I wasn't much better in the past.

Follow up Hypotheticals for my current planned approach

Hypothetical 1 good/bad end?: if they were to somehow agree to move out but fall apart, are they just a lost cause that should be truncated? My parents won't be around forever and I can't/don't want to spend my life burdened babysitting/enabling their lifestyle. I have enough trouble trying to get by.

Hypothetical 2 nothing changes: they don't want to move out, (It's a pretty sweet deal living with your parents , economically ,etc.) and doesn't change their lifestyle, doesn't help around the house.

We're still at square 1 here then.

Thank you for your time, sorry for the long post, I'd be happy to add any more details I can/feel comfortable sharing.

  • Have your parents complained to you, and what parts of the relationship are they unhappy about? Are you both boys?
    – Warren Dew
    Apr 23, 2017 at 2:13
  • My parent's haven't really complained to me, mum once asked me how she could get the sibling to play less games, I didn't really have any answer. How would our genders be relevant/matter, maybe there's some other more useful information I can give you? Apr 23, 2017 at 20:18
  • What you can do is recommend to him, in private, to move out, to grow as an independent individual. What you shouldn't do is recommend to your parents that they should throw him out.
    – Peter
    Apr 24, 2017 at 11:09

2 Answers 2


This answer may not be popular but my immediate thought when reading over your problem is to simply do nothing.

You are in complete and total control of just one person, and that person is you. It may seem a selfish point of view but you are living your life and you should continue on your own path. Concentrate on your own happiness and do not think of future 'what if's' like 'will I be stuck with my sibling in the far future' because such worries are a waste of energy. You control who lives with you.

The parents and sibling have created this situation and there is nothing you can do that will change it. Yes you can offer assistance but don't invest too much energy into it. It doesn't seem like you are TOO fond of this person anyway, so move on. This situation is not your responsibility.

To change desire and habitual laziness into something productive comes from within. The sibling has chosen their path, so have the parents.

You are number one. Take care of yourself and let them work it out.

  • 1
    Thank you for your answer. I completely agree with you about the only person people can really change is themselves, but I'd like to make them all to get along better if I can. Ensuring their happiness is a means of preventing something that could make me sad/irritiated (them being irritated with one another). Apr 23, 2017 at 20:20

Could be a number of things wrong.

Your sibling could be depressed and need some help to be able to break out of the negative cycle they have found themselves in.

If they actually have goals and are making progress towards them, as is suggested, then they may simply have a sleep disorder. This may make them appear to be lazy to those that keep different hours.

Better communication is the key to resolving this. If they have a sleep disorder or simply like to keep different hours to everyone else maybe they could keep their parents updated with their progress so they can see that something is being done.

If you suspect they are depressed then get them some help ASAP before things get any worse.

If they are not open to discussion in their early waking hours then try a time when they are more agreeable to communication, no one really likes being jumped on about problems when they have just woken up.

  • I could agree that they're in a negative cycle. I don't think I can formally clinic/claim sleep disorder/depression, though I wouldn't be surprised by a mild self-inflicted case of both. Overall I think I see apathy to anything that's not entertainment/stimulation, and an excess of this. Finally could you provide any more details of how you might approach to help? I don't think they will be responsive to being told to go seek professional help, and would be offended. (I know I would've been in the past). I don't know if it would help, but rather they'd feel insulted.. Apr 25, 2017 at 3:11

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .