My rebelling brother is too "fiery" to listen

By Ask Alex

Alex, our agony aunt, is here to answer your questions, ease your doubts and help you make tough decisions.

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Dear Alex,

I am upset to see my little brother, who's in Form Two, rebelling against my parents. Before, he was very obedient. Now he is rude to my mum and loses his temper if my dad points out his mistakes. He also yells at me. His behaviour is upsetting the whole family. He is too "fiery" to listen to me - perhaps because I am two years older than him. How can I help without worsening our sibling relationship?

Strained relations


Dear Strained relations,

Some kids have a really difficult time adjusting to adolescence. Your brother is obviously under stress, either from the hormonal changes in his body right now, or from social and academic pressure.

Firstly, let your brother know that you're there for him, no matter what. If he won't let you in his room, write him an email or push a letter under the door: tell him that it's tough being a teenager, that you've been through it, and that if he wants to talk or let off steam, you are available.

Let your parents know what you're doing and give them lots of hugs - and links to websites about handling a teenager. Encourage your parents to have a few, non-negotiable rules for the household and to stick to them calmly, rather than getting angry and making the atmosphere even more negative.

Email your problems to [email protected], and watch for Alex's answers. And don't worry, you can remain anonymous.