I didn't handle an argument with my brother over the movies he lets my nephew watch. Do you have some advice?


I need some outside advice. This morning I got into a short argument with my brother who has a boy -- both of whom live with me in my parent's home. All of us have put in equal hours helping to raising the boy. We all do our best for him. But this morning he was sick and couldn't go to school. Before his dad left he told the boy, "You can watch the Matrix series." I have issues with these movies. Each one of them has tons of violence and the last two have sex and nudity in it.

It's my fault, but I told my brother that it wasn't good for the boy. My brother Craig told me, "It's my choice and my kid." I respond, "Well, when you're not home, it's my choice because we are taking care of him, so he's not watching it in this room with me here while I am home." That got him riled and he used some bad language. I didn't get angry or rude, but I acted smuggish toward him. I told him,"You wonder why the boy wants to shoot and kill everything and then you send him to bed for it. But it's your fault because you let him watch this stuff. " My nephew has major anger issues. He responded, "It's my kid, not yours." I told him, "We all have put effort into raising the boy, so don't go there." He said he would do what he wants. Then I told him he can no longer use my bank account to cash his checks. (He has bad credit and can't open a bank account.)

That was the end of the conversation mostly because i laid back down on the couch out of view and ignored him.

I know i did at least two things wrong. One, my nephew was there, and it is bad for him to hear me disagree with his father. I am at fault for that. The second is that I question my brother's authority in front of his kid, which I don't think someone should do.

My brother gets irritated with me because I tell his son to choose God over movies. I told him that just because your dad says it's ok it doesn't mean watching some things are ok with God. Sometimes you have to ask yourself if this is what God wants me to watch. Then you should make your decision. My brother lets him watch movies with tons of violence, language, nudity, and sexual content. When I ask my nephew if he thinks he should be watching this, he says, "My dad says I can." I tell him, "I'm not asking if your dad says it's ok. Do you think God wants you to watch it? If you think God wants you to go do something else, I am willing to do something else for the hour it's on with you. But remember this if you know God doesn't want you to watch it and you do it anyway, it is a sin."

Because of this on going disagreement about shows and movies with my brother, I have actually curved what I watch now. Nothing with sex in it or anything of the sort. I watch action movies still, but only if it's clean and doesn't have gore. My nephew brought up a good point to me about a year ago. He asked me if you can watch these movies, why can't I? He also asked me why do you own them? I realized he was right. So that day I went out and burned 30 or more DVD's.

I think I should apologize to my brother about questioning his authority in front of his kid, but I think I should still talk to him about the movies. (It won't be the first time.) I wanted your advice before he comes home. I acted out in disgust this morning and not humbly and it was very wrong of me. I know he's not a good father, I don't need that pointed out, but I do feel the need to talk to him. I still don't know if I should stop letting him cash checks at my bank because I don't want to help someone with his school or stuff he does when it takes him away from his kid and he lets him watch all these bad movies. I don't want to see my nephew grow up to be a totally messed up kid who in the end hates his father because his father doesn't give a jack about him in taking care of him and spending time with him. My nephew will hit the teenager stage in a couple years and he won't care what his father does.

If my brother wanted to move out he couldn't. It's not like he has lots of choices. I think my parents should lay down rules and if he doesn't like it, then he can make his son's breakfast, lunch and dinner, wash his clothes, take him to school, help him with his school work, and cash his own checks.

The reason why I help my nephew is because I love the kid to death. At times he's like my own kid. Even though his father should be doing all this stuff, and he doesn't, I don't think my nephew should pay for his father's mistakes when he not getting help with his homework and when he asks his dad he just tells him to do it. If I can provide comfort for a child, I do the best I can.

Sorry I'm rambling. I'm frustrated and have issues with my brother. That's part of my downfall with dealing with my brother. Any advice would be awesome, and I know in a lot of areas I am wrong.


I understand your frustration, but you hit the core point. The boy is your nephew and not your son. You're the religious one, your brother is not. The reality of the situation is that all your nagging isn't going to change the situation. If anything, it will make your brother dig in his heels more.

People seek advice from people whom they respect and whom they believe are successful in the area they need help. You generally don't ask the wino on the street corner for financial investment advice. The problem you are struggling with is that you know what is the better thing to do because you have learned it from God's word. But your brother sees you as his little brother who has no experience in life, but who thinks he can tell him how to raise his own son. I would suspect that your brother knows that he has failed in many ways, but he doesn't see his younger brother as a source of authority.

Yes, you need to apologize to your brother for arguing with him in front of his son. Even though he is a poor father, your nephew still needs respect for his father to carry him through his teenage years. If he sees everyone else arguing with his dad, he will feel justified in arguing with him as well in a few years. The problem is that his arguments are not going to be about acting more righteously. Thus, you should also apologize to your nephew and tell him you were wrong to argue with his dad. Be honest and say you don't agree with his decisions, but that doesn't justify belittling him.

If you think about it calmly, the check cashing business has nothing to do with the matter of how your nephew is being raised. You have been doing your brother a favor and now that you are butting heads over this issue, you want to withdraw that favor. That's vengeance. Perhaps it is time to study Romans 12:16-21 in detail again. I would suggest telling your brother that you spoke rashly and apologize for causing him undue stress.

So what could you have done instead? When you're nephew wanted to watch a movie that you disapprove of, tell him that you don't like watching shows with bad language, nudity, violence, or sex so if he insists on watching, you are going to leave the room. But, if he would rather play a board game with you (or some other activity), just say so and you'll stick around. In other words, hold to your principles and invite your nephew to join you. Now it is no longer you against your brother. It is about encouraging your nephew to make good decisions for himself. You might not "win" each time, but each time will accumulate in memories of you in your nephew's mind. You see, you're not a source of advice for your brother, but you are for your nephew. He will eventually see that his dad is not very successful, but I hope and pray that he sees his uncle as a good and successful man. When he has difficulties, guess who he will turn to for help? So keep the lines of communications open.

Your nephew is going to use your brother's leniency to justify doing the bad things that he wants to do. When it happens, just quietly tell him how disappointed you are in him. Don't go along with it, but offer something good as an alternative. It would be easier if your brother was a good man, but he isn't and you can't change it. Do the best you can with what you have to work with.