More Ask Lori and Liane
- PMS What is it and do you have it?
- Down There
- What is WRONG with me? I JUST CAN'T SLEEP!
- How do siblings stop fighting and start getting along?
- Bad Driving
- Splish Splash, time for a bath?
- The Truth about Marijuana
- Just Tired and Sad? Or is it Depression?
- An Awkward Topic
- Sister Squabbles
- Sweating and smelly, what's a girl to do?
- Boys on the Brain!
- Family Break-ups
- Understanding Cancer
- BROTHERS: why do some bully?
- Girl Talk - PERIODS
- Sisters - same genes, just not the same 'jeans'
- Sometimes I really DON'T LIKE my Mom!
- How Come I'm Not Allowed?
January 2008 Blogs
- Real Girl - Isabella
- Global Warming and Our Planet
- What Did They Say?
- BROTHERS: why do some bully?
- Teen Stuff - Ultimate New Yeary's Party
- Zzzzzzzzzz... good night = good morning
- Boys! - Top 10
- Tuareg: The Blue People
- Cathy's Book, by Jordan Weisman and Sean Stewart
- Deciding Your Career
- Goddess of the Month - SOL
BROTHERS: why do some bully?
ASK LORI and LIANE, January 2008, by Liane Knoll-Kowk and Lori Clemente
Emotional and physical...
What goes on for them?
My brother is two years older than me and every day he swears and yells at me for no reason. Even my parents can’t stop him! I asked my friends how their older brothers treat them but everyone said that their brothers aren’t as bad as mine. I really don’t want him yelling at me but there’s no way to make him stop
~Jessica 12, Sudbury ON
My brother picks on me constantly. He is bigger than me so I can’t really fight back. It’s been going on for a long time and he punches and pushes me around to the point where I cry myself to sleep because I’m so upset about this. I am ashamed to say that I swear at him pretty bad when we fight. It makes me so mad and helpless feeling and I don’t know what else to do. My mom isn’t really around too much to ask for help.
~Signed: Bullied by my brother in Verdun, QC, 15
LIANE: Living with older brothers certainly has its challenges. As you’ll read in Lori’s letter below, teenaged boys go through their own difficulties and sometimes have a hard time controlling their moods. They can get irritable and grumpy. They may look down on you, treat you like a baby and sometimes be just plain mean. Sibling rivalry is a normal part of growing up. It can involve fighting, name calling, door slamming and even occasional feelings of hatred. It goes both ways and often is about jealousy over who gets more freedom or attention from parents. Conflict between siblings is not easy for anyone to live with (including your parents), but it is usually something that decreases over time.
Sibling rivalry is NOT the same as sibling abuse though. It seems that when abusive acts occur between siblings, they are often not perceived as abuse. Here is the difference between normal sibling rivalry and abuse:
• If you are always the victim and your brother is always the aggressor, it’s an abusive situation.
• If you’re feeling helpless and fearful and find yourself avoiding your sibling, you are likely being abused.
• If you have difficulty sleeping and concentrating, are tearful and feel bad about yourself, it is an abusive situation.
Girls, THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE! You need to get help from someone.
Your best choice is usually a parent. You may need to sit them down when your brother is not around and tell them exactly what is going on. This might be frightening (especially if you’ve been threatened with worse harm for doing so), but it is necessary. Write down the sort of incidents that have happened. Let them know that this has gone beyond normal sibling rivalry and it is affecting you in other areas of your life. Explain that you don’t know what to do and you need their protection. Keeping this secret will not do your brother any favours either. He is in the process of learning how to treat the important female people in his life. He needs some guidance.
If talking to your parent is not an option, then you have to find someone, anyone who will listen. This may be a guidance counselor, a good teacher or a friend’s mother. If this doesn’t work out, don’t stop there. Find someone who will listen. The Kids Help Phone is a free, anonymous, confidential phone and web counseling service for kids of all ages. Call them! 1-800-668-6868 or Kids Help Phone
Please remember that this is not your fault. You may do your share of swearing, teasing and yelling, but no one deserves to be abused, physically or emotionally. Childhood abuse has far reaching effects and may cause low self-esteem and affect your ability to trust those you love in the future. Get help now.
This might sound strange but I just got my period (I’m 13) and I know what puberty is all about for girls-like crying for no reason and being super mad the next minute!-but what about boys? My brother is 14 and he all of a sudden got taller than me and he has these like squeaks in his voice sometimes that I’m not allowed to tease him about. Is that puberty? He’s just weird anyway since he’s my brother, but what do guys go through since they don’t get periods and stuff?
~Curious sister, Wainwright, AB 13
Dear Curious Sister,
Believe it or not, boys have lots going on around puberty too. They don’t exactly have periods or cycles, and their hormones are different (testosterone instead of estrogen and progesterone), but they feel lots of the same ups and downs that us girls do.
The first sign of puberty for girls is the development of breasts between 8 and 13 years old. Usually 2 years after that starts, girls will have their first period. A year after that they will reach their full adult height.
For the boys, the first sign is an enlargement of the testicles between the age of 9 and 14. They reach their full height four years after the first signs of puberty. That’s why we are so tall in grade 6, and in grade 11 the boys are taller.
Boys get a huge increase in their testosterone levels with the onset of puberty and will find their voices changing, usually starting as the squeaking you described, and eventually changing to a deeper sounding voice. They will find an increase in body and facial hair, body odour, acne, and will have more muscle mass.
Some of this may make you giggle out of nervousness or embarrassment, but it’s totally natural and normal and not something we should ever tease them about. Just like we wouldn’t want them to tease us.
Just like girls, often at puberty boys can be pretty moody and not really understand why. It can be a very difficult time for them, since they don’t have cycles like we do, they have no idea why they are suddenly so angry or irritable. Boys usually have a harder time communicating their feelings than girls, so if they do struggle with extreme feelings it can be very tough to deal with. Understanding the changes that all teens face can really help us get through them with compassion for each other.
If you or someone you know is suffering from sibling abuse, TALK to someone.
If talking to your parent is not an option, then you have to find someone, anyone
who will listen. This may be a guidance counselor, a good teacher or a friend’s mother. If this doesn’t work out, don’t stop there. Find someone who will listen. The Kids Help Phone is a free, anonymous, confidential phone and web counselling service for kids of all ages. Call them!
~ Lori and Liane