Ask Jonathots … September 10th, 2015

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I am a fourteen year old boy and have a little brother who is 8. I may sound like a whiner, but my parents act like he can do no wrong. If he breaks something, it’s my fault because I let him pick it up. If he wants more time on X-Box, I have to give it to him. When I say they’re not being fair, they say that I should be mature enough to understand that he’s just 8. But he’s turning into a brat and I’m getting mad. What can I do?

Being fourteen years old, let me clue you into a valuable lesson. You are old enough and smart enough to understand that not every problem in life can be resolved. Matter of fact, true maturity is understanding that most problems in life get handled by being avoided.

The situation with your little brother is very simple–he is secretly your fan, but could never express that without coming across as appreciative or loving. So instead, he follows you around and try to take over what you are doing or what you’re playing with so that he can be close to you but also dominate the situation.

Since your parents believe that he is the younger and therefore weaker brother and you should adjust your life to him, then you should be smart enough to adjust what you do to control his attitudes.

For instance, if you’re not interested in playing X-box, then sit down and start playing it and let him come and take it away from you. Then go do what you really wanted to do.

You may even want to explain to your mother and father what you’ll be doing, so that they can note that your little brother may have the problem of just wanting to be aggravating instead of desiring to be involved.

You can’t stop a little brother who wants to be annoying. What you can do is channel his interest in a direction that you’ve selected, and trap him in his own decision to pursue it.

Let me give you another quick example.

Let’s say you want to watch a show on TV that comes on at 4 o’clock in the afternoon. Here’s what you know–if you try to watch this show and your little brother knows it’s your favorite, he may decide to be mean-spirited about it, come in and change the channel, and then hide behind your mother’s interference.

So if your goal is to watch the show, make a plan to get him involved in something else. And then explain to your mother that you plan on watching this show, so that she can see your little brother in action.

You will never solve this problem by trying to change your brother’s attitude or by disciplining him yourself.

Get him to focus on what you want him to focus on, and then maybe he’ll leave you alone. If he doesn’t, make sure your mom and dad know what your intentions are, so they can see the little fella being selfish.

Parents tend to support the weaker child in a family. Honestly, it’s not terribly intelligent. Weakness is not strengthened by being supported, but rather, by being challenged.

So help your mom and dad understand that you are dealing with a little brother who is trying to be aggravating to get attention. Do this by trapping him in a situation where he shows his true colors. Then your parents will do the rest.

Remember, the key in life is not to out-muscle problems … the key is to out-smart them.

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