My Brother The Bully

Dear Dr. Darcy:

I am the oldest of 4 and my siblings consist of a 10 year old brother, a 6 year old brother, and a 2 year old sister. I love them all very much but my 10 year old brother seems to hate the whole family. He brings everyone down. He's punched my sister and constantly beats my brother while yelling at him. It has gotten to the point that my 6 year old brother doesn't talk when his older brother is around. [My] brother beats me up and verbally abuses me. Constantly words come out of his mouth like "I'm going to kill you" or " I hate you and wish you were never born' or " the world would be better of with out you" He says this to our whole family.

My parents don’t take it seriously they brush it off as being a phase but he’s been like this since he was 2. My dad babies him asking him who made him mad then punishing one of us for the things my brother has done saying it is our fault he is like this. I'm tired of being scared of my brother and I am worried for our family if this doesn't stop. We are all homeschooled so there is no real escape for me or my other brother.

ANSWER

I am so sorry that you’ve been going through this for years.  Let me start by saying that you’re right to be worried  - this is a MAJOR problem and someone must take action.

Your brother is actually BEGGING for someone to parent him, to structure him, and to teach him boundaries, which is why his behavior hasn’t gotten better over the years.  Children who behave like this actually need more active parenting and greater structure than others.  Your parents, for whatever reason, are creating a big, big problem by minimizing the significance of his behaviors and by failing to intervene to ensure the safety of you and your other siblings.

I don’t like asking a child to act like an adult, but since the adults in your life are failing to step up to the plate and take care of the family, I’m going to ask you to do it:  You need to involve adults who can intervene on your behalf.  To be crystal clear, I’m asking you to call 911 the next time your brother threatens to kill one of you.  You need to tell them everything you just told me.  In fact, the situation is so serious that if I had any identifying information about you, I’d be forced by law and by the ethics of my profession to contact Child Protective Services in your state.  I actually wish I could do this for you and if you’d prefer that I do it, email me with your name and home address and I’ll take over from here.

I shudder to think of what will become of your family if your parents aren’t given the support that they need to appropriately parent your brother.  I want you to know that I understand the magnitude of what I’m telling you to do and I think that by reaching out to me, you’ve already taken the first step to help your siblings. Now I need you to take the next step and either call 911 or send me your information.  Please.

Writer’s Stats: Female, Straight