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Parenting --Teens/My brother is out of control


hello expert, i really need your help to solve a family issue:
my mother and my brother (16 years old) are having a hard time, my brother is at the point where saying bad words, slamming the door in front of your parents became something normal and casual to him. He doesn't care about his studies at all, and my mum ends up even sometimes doing some of the work for him. Whenever he does not get the work the school asked, he becomes very upset and gets furious towards everybody especially my mum like she is the one who stopped him from working and eventually, she ends up mostly helping him and staying up late for him. My mum has been sick a lot, she even had cancer twice and each time she gets mad(which is very often now) I think about her maybe developing cancer again.  These problems make her vulnerable and she cries all the time. I don't know how to act in front of these problems that are destroying our family. My dad in the other hand prefers to stay out of this, he doesn't deal with problems like this because they are going to make him upset and it s something that he doesn't want. how can I help? what needs to be done ?

Hello Sara,
Obviously you love your family and want to help your mother and brother reduce some of their conflicts and stress. You are to be commended for wanting to help.
You didn't mention your age, but I assume you are at least a few years older than your brother. Maybe your parents (at least your mother) and your brother ought to see a family therapist to work on these problems. However, they may not want to do this -- which leaves it up to you to intervene and try to help them. There are a few things you can do.
If you have a good enough relationship with your brother, you should try talking to him. You should not lecture him because I think he will begin treating you like he treats his parents. But you might be able to appeal to commonsense and any feelings he might have for the family.
For instance, you could say to him: "You know our mum is vulnerable to cancer. The more stress she experiences, the more chance that she will have cancer again. We all need to reduce her stress. What do you think you could do to reduce her stress?"
By talking to him in this way, you get a chance to see whether he can consider what is best for your mother and whether he can take some personal responsibility for the stress he causes.
Another thing you can talk to him about is school and his future: "You and mum fight a lot about school. What are your plans for school? You don't seem to like school and you don't do well there. Are you thinking about leaving school? What do you want to do in the future? For your own sake and for the sake of our mother, you need a plan for the future so that both you and mum are not stressing out about school all the time. So, what are your thoughts about the future?"
Finally, my other suggestion right now, is to ask how you might help him become a better student. You could say that you had to work hard (whether it is really true or not) to be successful in school and you would like to help him become a better student. You can say that you love both him and mum and you want to help them both have less stress in their life. "Are you interested in my helping you become a better student?"
Try these approaches and see how they work. Then, get back to me and tell me what happened. Then, if you need more suggestions, I can give you more.
James Windell

Parenting --Teens

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James Windell


I am a parent trainer, psychotherapist, and author specializing in parenting issues.During the past 40 years I`ve worked with parents with discipline problems and challenging children. I give frequent lectures and workshops related to discipline, social skills, and aggressive children. I consult with various agencies and schools where there are child behavior problems. I am listed in the American Psychological Associations` media panel as an expert on parenting and am frequently quoted in leading magazines and newspapers.


I have worked in a juvenile court as a clinical psychologist and as a psychotherapist in private practice. In the Oakland County (MI) Juvenile Court, I developed an award-winning parent training program for parents of adolescent delinquents. In addition I have done group therapy with adolescent delinquents using a social skills-building model. I have consulted with courts, schools, churches, preschools, and domestic violence shelters in areas of parenting.

I received my BA with a major in Psychology in 1963 from Wayne State University. I got my MA in Clinical Psychology from Oakland University in 1972.

I am a member of the American Psychological Association and the Michigan Psychological Association. I have written pamplets, newspaper articles, and professional journal articles. I have been the Coping With Kids columnist for several newspapers for 26 years, and my columns appear weekly in the Staten Island Advance. I have been the author or co-author of 16 books. My books include, 8 WEEKS to A WELL-BEHAVED CHILD, CHILDREN WHO SAY NO WHEN YOU WANT THEM TO SAY YES, 6 STEPS TO AN EMOTIONALLY INTELLIGENT TEENAGER, and THE FATHERSTYLE ADVANTAGE. My most recent parenting book (2012) is THE EVETYTHING CHILD PSYCHOLOGY AND DEVELOPMENT BOOK. I have appeared on over 180 radio and TV shows related to my books and parenting. For more information about me, my books and columns, go to my website at

I have an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Oakland University.

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