Struggling Nephew

Dear Sara,

My sister and her husband were killed in an automobile accident and I now have custody of her four-year-old son. I was close to my sister growing up and I am having trouble dealing with everything. They lived in another state and I have met their child a few times but he doesn’t really know me. He won’t or can’t talk to me. I feed him and take care of him but he won’t say anything. Mostly he just points at what he wants. He has his own room and toys but all he wants is to watch TV. How do I get him to talk?

Dear Jenna,

This has been a really big change in this little one’s life. He may just need some time to adjust. It might help if he had some kids his own age to interact with. Are them some friends of yours who have kids in his age group that you could invite over for an hour or so?

If there is some kind of park close by you could let him play on the swings or sliding board. He may just need some diversion for a while or something to think about besides the fact that his parents are gone.

If this goes on for a while you might ask your doctor to recommend a child psychologist for your nephew to talk to. His life has changed completely and he could need some professional help. Mostly he needs your love and affection and some cuddling.

You have had a big loss and change yourself. Take care of yourself as well.


  1. Dear Jenna,

    Sorry for your loss. It certainly will be
    a big adjustment not only for you but
    your sisters son. Unless he actually has
    a hearing problem he’s probably confused
    by the abscense of his parents. I don’t
    think he’s capable of understanding what
    has happened to them. So it will be a
    big job to make him feel adjusted because
    children usually have routines that they
    follow to keep them content. Ar some point
    he probably will start talking and asking
    questions. The good part is you have the
    whole summer to create a new routine for
    him which may make him feel more secure
    so he gets to know you better.

  2. Shyrell says:

    Both of you are going through the same thing, however, because of his age he doesn’t understand why mommy isn’t there to bathe, feed, play, or just cuddle with. Everything you are doing as usual activities mean something special to him because of who did them with him. That being said, remember he and you are grieving so deal with that first. If you have a clergyman or family counselor, you should both seek them together. Many healing prayers for you both and God bless

  3. A four year old who lost his parents need much love . Pick him up hug and kiss with love, Hold his hand feed him love and good food. take him out for a walk . a simple situation either you are single or not a loving person Any 4 year old will succumb to love. turn the TV off

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