My older brother doesn’t respect me

My older brother doesn’t respect me. He always says cruel things to me and fights with me. And my parents support only him. Please help.
Subhash (14)

Dear Subhash,

Your older brother’s lack of respect for you, his cruel words, and the lack of support from your parents hurt you deeply and make you feel quite helpless about what to do.

When someone is mean and cruel to you, and you haven’t hurt them, then it is necessary to be firm and stand up to the bullying. If you want others to respect you, first respect yourself. The next time he says cruel things, you can: a) Walk off from there instead of engaging in a fight. b) Raise a hand in the ‘stop’ gesture and tell him firmly that you don’t like being spoken to like that. Say, ‘I will stand here and listen only if you speak politely’. Then walk off. c) Tell him that he is free to dislike you, but that you don’t appreciate harsh words.

If you are the one to start any fights or irritate your brother; or if you whine and complain to your parents, clean up your “own house” first and stop doing so. Then, ask to speak to your parents. Share that you feel hurt when your brother and you fight, and he says cruel things, and especially when they do not support you. Ask them to help you both to resolve this matter so that there is peace in the house. If your brother is willing to discuss, ask him too to suggest what you can do to bring peace between you both.

If these don’t work, either speak to your school counsellor in person, or see if there is a trusted family member or adult who can help you by mediating.

Nasreen Hashambhoy
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Nasreen Hashambhoy

Nasreen Hashambhoy is a Counsellor, Life Coach and a Facilitator of training programmes for schools and corporates. Through a combination of coaching, counselling and facilitation techniques based on cognitive science and positive psychology, she helps clients achieve their true potential. She is the author of the series Values In Action published by Better Yourself Books.