Little brother’s a tiny terror

This sibling’s disturbed by his toddler brother’s abuse of the family dogs.

Appalling behavior, says our elder, even for a child. She offers suggestions on where to turn when mom and dad won’t help.

Dear EWC:

My two-year-old brother, almost three, is very abusive towards our small dogs. He will hit them, pull their fur, their legs, their tails, and does not stop when they cry…only when we force him to stop.

He’s recently been picking up our blind/deaf elder dog and throwing her on the floor on purpose. He laughs when he does this like he enjoys it. I’m really disturbed and concerned about his behavior, but my parents say “he’s just a kid” and that he’ll grow out of it. Why does my brother act this way, and how should it be addressed?

Maryanne replies:

I am, also, very, very, concerned about your brother’s behavior. I have a dog and find his behavior appalling. Yes, he is young BUT even for a 3 year old that is terrible behavior. This is abusive behavior. I cannot understand why your parents are not dealing with this. I do not want to criticize them but I think they are making a very big mistake. Your brother is acting out and hurting another living thing. 

I do not know how old you are but I am sorry that the burden to “do the right thing” is on you.  The adults in your home are NOT doing what they should be doing. Even if they do not care about their dogs (why have dogs if you do not love them?) they should be concerned with your brother’s behavior. Why does he feel the need to hurt something? 

Is there another adult in your family (aunt, uncle, older cousin) that you could talk to about what is going on in the home? That would be best, I think. If your family has a religious connection, you could speak with your clergy. A family doctor is another option, as is a teacher at school.

Again, I am very concerned for the dogs and for your brother and, of course, I am concerned for you since you have to take on the role of the adult.

Take care, stay safe and well.



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