Sometimes you love them, sometimes you don't...that's what brothers and sisters are all about. Get advice from the IML experts and Mentors on all sorts of sibling situations.
Advice Questions about Sibling Problems:
- My 10 year old brother is ALWAYS hitting me and bugging me when I don't do anything wrong. Lately I have gotten really frustrated and said, ‘Why do you always do this to me?’ and he says, ‘Because I can!’ It makes me so mad. I'm afraid he’s gonna become a bully because he just doesn’t seem to care about other people's feelings or anything. He even talks back to our mom! Help!
- My brother has a girlfriend and now he cares more about her than me. My brother and I have always been really close. He is always talking on the phone with her. But I really like his girlfriend and she's nice to me...it's just he likes her more than me!
- My younger brother is so mean but I am very nice to him. When I have friends over he bugs us, and he recently started playing pranks on me. I told my mom but he said that he would do no such thing. Also, he embarrasses me around random people!
- My older brother and I are always fighting. He always calls me names and tells me I'm short. My friend and her brother are really close and nice to each other. How can I strengthen my relationship with my brother?
- My older brother Adam is so rude and mean to me. Every time I try to make things fair, he calls me names and says things like, "I'm surprised anyone even likes you.’ I always try to do nice stuff for him but he always says I am stupid or something. He always accuses me of lying or doing things I don't do. I've tried talking to him about it but he doesn't listen, and if he finds out a secret he tells his friends and embarrasses me. I really want us to stop fighting and be closer, but nothing works. I'm tired of it and I want it to stop. Can you help?
- I used to make up really fun games with my sister when we were little. Now I'm in sixth grade and she's in first. She always whines when I don't want to play her kind of games. I feel like our relationship is tearing apart. For example, when I talk to my friends on the phone she asks me dumb questions and yells. When they come over, she is rude to them and embarrasses me! It is getting worse. HELP!
- I have my own room and when I'm in there I like to be left alone unless it is totally important. Dad always opens my door and lets my sisters Madison, 1, and Natalie, 7, in the room! And then I have to pack up everything that I'm doing, which usually involves felt-pens and stuff, and that really stinks. What can I do to stop my Dad from doing this?
- Lately it seems like my younger sister is ‘in my shadow,’ and I think it's upsetting her and affecting our relationship as siblings. People always tell me I'm the ‘perfect child’ -- intelligent, talented, and whatever else -- and I have a lot of friends. Sometimes she gets really upset, and my parents tell me that she has low self-esteem sometimes because she feels she can't live up to my image
- Me and my little sister have a 6 year age difference. We argue about everything, we never get along and we never agree on anything. She whines too much and gets everything her way. Then she copies me and it's frustrating. IML, please give me advice so I can deal with her attitude and stop arguing with my sister!
- I have to share a room with 2 younger siblings. I hate it, because they always wreck my things, I have an invasion of privacy, and it's hard to get my schoolwork done. I asked my parents for my own room, but they said no because they need the other extra room to store stuff! What do I do?
- My brother Kevin and I used to have so much FUN! He's in grade 11 and I'm going into grade 7. But he has a new girlfriend. She is SO mean -- all of his friends says shes mean too. She calls me names like Garbage Picker and Outcast Fatto! Kevin always laughs at these names too. I want to hurt her back, but I don't want my brother to get mad!! Please help me!
- Im afraid for my older sister Kathy. She cries herself half sick almost every night. Shes 15 and has a lot of friends and is popular. I don't know if shes on drugs or something, but shes very sad. How can I talk to her and my mom and dad about it?
- I think my brother's becoming a bully! I've already talked to my dad, but he's not doing anything. My brother's 4. He says things like, 'If you don't do what I want, I wont let you do something you like to do.' He's only 4, so he can't do any damage, it's his attitude I'm worried about. Please tell me what to do!
- I'm the youngest of four, so I'm last at everything and it's like it doesn't matter as much as when my brothers did stuff. What should I do?
- I'm in fifth grade now, so I have a lot more homework. My little sister is really upset that I can't play with her as much as I used to. What can I do to make her happy and still be able to do all my homework?
- I found out my brother has been on some Web sites that he shouldn't be on. I feel like I need to tell my parents, but I don't want him to be embarrassed. What should I do?
- My sister, Angel, has a crush on a celebrity. She is SO in love with him. She talks about him 24/7, dreams about him, and plans their wedding. She hasn't even met him yet. She is so obsessed, it is making her sad and not very social. Please help me!
- Me and my sister always used to fight, but towards the end of last summer, we became really close. You know, we would share clothes and hang out like real friends. But now she has a boyfriend, and she spends all her time with him and completely ignores me! I really miss the way we used to be, and I've tried to confront her about it without directly coming out and saying whats wrong. But she doesn't get it! I just want things to go back to the way they were!!!
- My little brother is only 2, but he drives me crazy! My parents say our age difference is so far apart it shouldnt matter, but it does! He's ALWAYS following me around, and when I try to be nice to him he tries to bite me or spit at me! I don't want to hurt him but I'm afraid I might, what should I do?
- Im the youngest in my family. My sister is 23 and works in the city, and my brother is 30 and owns a pizzeria. Im close to them but never see them, and on the weekends I end up so dead bored. My mom and my friends are always busy on the weekends. What can I do to make my siblings spend more time with me?
- "My sister is being mean to me and trying to be the boss of me."
- "My little sister is getting on my nerves. She won't stop talking!"
- "How do you deal when your brothers and sisters always have you in the 'annoyance zone'?"
- Miranda and Nicole need help because their younger sisters are always taking their things.
- Read what our Mentors and experts have to say if you are being physically hurt or threatened by a brother or sister.
Me and my sister always used to fight, but towards the end of last summer, we became really close. You know, we would share clothes and hang out like real friends. But now she has a boyfriend, and she spends all her time with him and completely ignores me! I really miss the way we used to be, and I've tried to confront her about it without directly coming out and saying whats wrong. But she doesn't get it! I just want things to go back to the way they were!!!
My sister and I are really close too, and we also hang out a lot. Neither of us is dating now, but I hope we'll never be too busy for each other. A sis is a sis and nobody can replace her. It sounds like you mean a lot to your sister, but it's just that she has something new and exciting at the moment, and she might ignore you a bit. Just always be there for her, so that when she needs your help, she'll find it. Your current situation is probably only temporary, and I dont think anybody will be able to break your sisterly bond. Later on, your sis may even turn back to you for advice about what to wear to a movie with her boyfriend or something like that!
--Joyce, IML Mentor
I know how hard it can be when a close friend (especially a sister) begins to spend less time with you. It's like everything's changed and whenever you see each other, something's missing. That's happened with me with some of my friends recently. But I've told my friends what I felt, and some even did the same to me, and already, just getting that off my chest has made it easier to be around them again. I think making plans to become closer makes you closer. For me, it's easiest to just approach them honestly and directly and tell them how I feel.
--Mikey, IML Mentor
I know it can be tough when you feel like youre being ignored, but remember that she has her own life apart from you, which is totally natural. It can feel like a really big deal when you first get a boyfriend. She might be spending more time with him because she feels youll always be there for her, because although boyfriends may come and go, sisters will be there forever. I definitely think you should try telling her directly why you feel ignored, instead of just hinting at it. Good luck!
--Megan, IML Mentor
My little brother is only 2, but he drives me crazy! My parents say our age difference is so far apart it shouldnt matter, but it does! He's ALWAYS following me around, and when I try to be nice to him he tries to bite me or spit at me! I don't want to hurt him but I'm afraid I might, what should I do?
The world is still pretty new to your brother. When he follows you around, he's probably thinking that you're the coolest thing on the planet! When my sister was that age, she did the exact same things. When he bites you, try not to react in violence or get mad. Instead, try to act normally. Most likely, he's biting you to get a reaction; he's probably thinking, "Hah! Look at the expression on her face!!" But if you ignore him or act normally, and he doesn't get that reaction, he'll most likely stop trying and move on to something else.
--Stephan, IML Mentor
You definitely don't want to hurt your brother, but maybe he is craving attention from you. I would suggest getting him into a hobby that you can do together, like coloring or trains, or maybe even offer to read him his favorite story if he behaves himself. Good luck!
--Jessica, IML Mentor
Here's one idea: ask your parents if you could have a time of the day set apart, when he's absolutely not allowed to bug you. Explain to them that although you love your brother, you need some time without him, and explain that you don't like him biting you or spitting at you. If you're honest and calm about it, without losing your cool, they'll probably appreciate how maturely you're handling it. Maybe someday you'll appreciate that your little brother looked up to you so much that he always followed you around!
--Megan, IML Mentor
Im the youngest in my family. My sister is 23 and works in the city, and my brother is 30 and owns a pizzeria. Im close to them but never see them, and on the weekends I end up so dead bored. My mom and my friends are always busy on the weekends. What can I do to make my siblings spend more time with me?
From Lyn Turnell, Ed.S., LPC, NCC, NCSC, School Counselor, Canton, Georgia
It must feel really lonely sometimes to be the youngest in a family where there is such a wide age difference between you and your brother and sister. I'm sure you all have different interests because of your ages, and that can make finding a middle ground that you all enjoy difficult. You say your sister lives in the city, so I'm guessing that may mean she lives a little bit of a distance away. That can also make spending time together hard. Because your brother owns a pizzeria, he probably doesn't have a lot of extra time to spend outside the business while he's trying to be successful there.
So what do you do? Have you ever simply told them how much you would enjoy spending time together and asked if they would? Sometimes just hearing from someone how important something is to them will cause the other person to try and make it happen. It's important to remember though that no matter how much they may want to spend time with you, adult responsibilities like work may not allow them as much time as you would like.
Are there opportunities for you to hang out with them where they need to be? For example, maybe there are some little things you could do around the pizzeria to help your brother and learn about how a business is run at the same time. Or, perhaps your sister does some other things in the city that you could learn. Showing interest in what someone else does encourages them to show interest in you.
It's also important to remember that you don't have to depend on others to entertain you when youre bored! Are there some things youre interested in exploring like art, writing poetry or short stories, reading or other activities that you can do on your own? Have you considered volunteering or doing something good to benefit your community? Perhaps theres an older neighbor close by who would enjoy having your company or hearing you read to him or her.
Be creative in some of your ideas for entertaining yourself on the weekends and you may be surprised to find out just how much fun you have either with your siblings or alone. Most importantly, remember that how much time they spend with you doesn't equal how much they care about you. I'm sure they feel very lucky to have a sister who wants and enjoys their company as much as you do! Good luck and have fun!
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