My little brother is going through a lot and I want to help him.

Hey well I have a problem my little brother is going through a lot and I want to help him. He is under a lot of pressure. He lashes out at people and is apathetic. I try to help him but he pushes me away.

Thanks for reaching out. It sounds like you have been working hard to support your brother. It is hard to watch someone you love struggle in their life. Sometimes we want to go in and “fix” their problems for them, especially if there are younger than us. It’s even harder when we try to help and they push us away. But it sounds like your brother is struggling with communicating his anger. Anger is a normal emotion, but uncontrolled it can lead to aggression.

There are lots of things that you can do to continue to support your brother.

  • Let him know if you've noticed a change in his behavior.
  • Seek out support from a trusted adult.
  • Spend time talking with him about his feelings.
  • Let him know that you're there to listen, without being judgmental.
  • Encourage him to try to get enough sleep, exercise, and eat well.
  • Invite him to do things with you.

There are lots of helpful techniques you can teach him to learn how to manage his anger and feelings.

  • Taking deep breaths, in through the nose and out through the mouth.
  • Counting to ten.
  • Hitting a pillow.
  • Walking outdoors or finding a safe space in the house.
  • Talk with his elders.
  • Spending time alone.
  • Exercise. Like traditional dance, yoga, martial arts, or other forms of exercise.

Here are some things to NOT do when you’re talking with your brother:

  • lecture them
  • yell or berate them
  • criticize
  • use guilt
  • name call
  • blame them
  • throw the past in their face

These are all things that might make you feel better, but they won’t improve the situation.

Keep in mind that everyone handles things in their own way. Sometimes this is confusing when it’s something we can’t relate to. The best thing you can do is to let your brother know you are there to listen and talk to. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a trusted adult like your parents, teacher, counselor, or an elder.

Auntie Manda