Forcing The Little Brother To Grow Up

Jeremy's youngest brother is 25 and immature but has two children of his own and likes to play "dad" when it's convenient. How can Jeremy help him grow up?

QUESTION: Jeremy in Nashville is the second oldest child of five. His parents have both passed away, and Jeremy is having issues with his youngest brother. His brother is 25 and immature but has two children of his own and likes to play “dad” when it’s convenient. How can Jeremy help him grow up?

ANSWER: How do you get anybody to grow up who really hasn’t chosen to? Those convinced against their will are of the same opinion still. You’re just going to be the nag, I guess. I don’t know that you’re going to end up being anything but the enemy here. I think anytime he’s around you, you don’t tolerate misbehavior by him. You don’t tolerate immaturity by him. You call him to a higher standard when he’s around you, but for you to go and somehow intervene in his life and cause him to start being a man, that’s very tough to do. It’s like me going into somebody’s life who didn’t ask me to and saying, “All right, here’s how you’re going to handle your money.” I have the benefit on this show of having people ask who actually care what the answer is—most of the time—so I’m helping people who want help all day long. Even when I’ve got a friend who’s doing something stupid financially, I don’t tell them they’re an idiot for leasing their car. It doesn’t do any good. They didn’t ask my opinion. If they wanted my opinion, they would’ve asked it. Instead, I just kind of have to stand back, scratch my head, and go, “Well, there’s a friend of mine who’s not real smart.” I think that’s kind of where you are.

One of the bad things about these situations is you have to watch people you love do things to themselves because of their stupidity. If I were you, I would probably just lower my expectations. I would begin to pray for him to have people intersect his life who he trusts and have an impact on him. You never know where he’s going to end up. He may start dating some young woman who jerks a knot in his tail.

One way to enter these conversations sometimes is just to use yourself as an example. Leave the door open for him to talk to you and coach him into manhood.