My little brother is a very troubled 11 year old. He has had anger issues throughout his life for as long as I can remember. In the past couple of years the issues have become worse, and my baby brother is turning into a tornado of emotions that ride up and down. He was premature at birth, weighing but 1 pound, and I always wondered if his early birth may have had an affect on his mental health. He is just so angry, and I want to help him. He screams at people and lashes out to our family members. My mother is so depressed as she attempts to control him. She has been taking him to a counselor for the past year. He acts “OK” for a while after each session he attends, but if he doesn’t get his way he will cuss and hit and scream. My grandmother lives with my mother and him, and he has even hit her. He hit me in the stomach when I was 8 months pregnant. He is uncontrollable. If you ask him to do something, and he doesn’t want to he will scream, “no!” and march off, or hit you. I just really want some help for him. I love him so much, and I hate seeing him act this. I fear that if he doesn’t receive help soon that he will go down a very troubled path as he gets older, and perhaps end up in jail.
Thanks for writing in regarding your little brother. His behavior does sound troubling so you are right to be concerned. Are you able to talk openly with your mother about your concerns for your brother? If not, I suggest that you talk with your mother to express your concerns and to ask how you can be supportive in her efforts to get him help. In the conversation, be sure to acknowledge what she is doing to help your brother.
While I can’t say how his premature birth has impacted your brother’s current behavior, I can say that early experiences help shape our development. You may want to inquire as to whether your brother has had a psychological or neuropsychological evaluation, and if not, suggest that to your mother.
You can directly help your brother by spending time with him and developing a positive relationship. Participate in activities that he enjoys and listen to him. You can also help by setting strong boundaries when his behavior is inappropriate or hurtful.
Take good care of you and yours!
Julie Hanks, LCSW
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