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I’m scared of my violent bro

My younger brother is violent and malicious, but my parents say it’s just his hormones. How can I help them?

You need to encourage them to make him see a doctor, says our elder.

Dear EWC

My younger brother has been acting increasingly more and more hostile to my family, especially my parents and me. I can’t remember the last time he said anything that wasn’t an insult to any of us. Whenever he doesn’t get his way, he becomes violent, screaming and crying and breaking things. It’s like a tantrum except that he’s 14 years old and six feet tall, and he can (and has) actually injure people. I’m 16 and I will likely move out once I graduate high school, but I’m concerned about my parents as well. I’m not sure exactly how much it’s impacted them emotionally, but it’s made me afraid to leave my room, because if I end up in the same room as him, he’ll either come up with some way to exploit things that he knows upset me and follow me around with it, insulting me until I cry or become visibly upset, or push/punch me around. I have learned not to fight back, because if I do, he only gets worse, sometimes even trying to hurt my dog.

He does the same thing to my parents, especially my mother. He’s malicious and seems to enjoy inflicting pain upon us. The worst thing is that my parents often do nothing about it. They just let him behave that way, using excuses like “he’s just tired” or “hormonal” or something similar. As someone who is also hormonal, who interacts with hormonal teenagers on a daily basis, that is not the usual effect. I don’t know what to do. I hate the idea of living with him just for another two years; I’m concerned about my parents having to do so for another four. I believe he might have some sort of mental condition, but as someone who is mentally ill, I don’t believe that is an excuse for hurting people. How do I deal with him, and is there any way I can help my parents?

Helen replies

The only thing you can do is try to encourage your parents to take your brother to see a doctor. He should have a complete physical to determine if his problem is physical or not, and get a referral for some counseling. Sometimes we just can’t do everything for ourselves by ourselves. We need the expertise of a trained professional to ask us the right questions, in an effort to help guide us in a healthy direction.

If they refuse to do this, you may be able to talk to a school counselor about him and get advice. A counselor may contact your parents and encourage them to take him to a doctor if you make it clear to them that he has violent tendencies and that you’re afraid of him.

I don’t want to read anything into this issue but we always hear, “If you see something, say something.” In my opinion, you are right to be concerned about his behavior and someone should do something about it. His behavior could very well extend to areas outside of the home and this should be avoided if at all possible.

If you think it would help, show this response to your parents. Maybe they will give serious consideration to these thoughts if they read your letter and my response. I do hope everything works out well for all concerned.

Letter #: 450483
Category: Family

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