I am a mid-older teen living at home and preparing to go to college in about a year. I generally keep to myself and only interact with my parents on the most essential topics so I may be simply not understanding this point of view but my 12 y/o brother's behavior seems erratic and violent spontaneously. He does have a somewhat closer relationship with my parents than I do and when I have asked them about his behavior they think it is normal but something doesn't seem right.


On the slightest displeasure (recent example: asking for my seat and me refusing) he becomes rapidly disrespectful and abusive to the point of occasionally creating a dent in a door or wall in anger. I feel the best way to describe him as being a huge bully with an uncontrolled temperament when he doesn't get his way. In addition to this, he has recently started just randomly yelling insults or profanities at people just to get attention. He also has been refusing to follow directions and at times I feel like his behavior (especially when surfing the internet) comes across as rebellious.

He has had some anger issues for as long as i can remember but it got worse about a year ago when he finally found a group of friends that he enjoys being around (parents don't particularly care for these new "friends" and they come across to me as being of the wrong crowd) after being pretty much entirely isolated for his entire life. His new friends have taught him a lot of stuff that is not best learned from older teens.

A side note that may be relevant is that he also definitely has some social issues and doesn't know when/what is funny and when it is not.

Is this a concern that I should push to have addressed by a professional or is this just a rebellious 12 year old being 12 and something that we have to put up with for a few more years?

To clarify: His abuse at times has left bruises on me and/or holes in thinner walls.

  • 1
    I think another question is if you need to deal with this. Here at home we have the rule 'parenting is for parents'. Meaning you can raise this issue with your parents, or leave it be. You're off in a year. Can you just live with it for that time and then leave the issue with your parents to deal with.
    – Batavia
    Commented Mar 11, 2018 at 14:30
  • 1
    They’ve spoiled him. If he hits you, you need to hit him back. Eventually, he will realize that every time he hits, he will get hit back.
    – user31652
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 4:53

3 Answers 3


As the older sibling you have an opportunity to model positive behavior and be a companion for your younger sibling. Interacting with him more might have a positive influence on him (and you). Your good behaviors would rub off on him.

I think it would be good for you to tell him that if it upsets you when he is disrespectful. Usually people try to say this in "I" statements rather than in "you" statements. So a good way to say it might be "It hurt my feelings when you called me those bad names," or "It makes me feel uncomfortable when you say profanities to get attention," rather than, "You need to stop calling people bad names." Generally people listen to their friends more than they do to strangers so it is even better if you develop a friendship with him and then tell him.

I'm not sure what kind of professional you're thinking of getting involved. If your parents think it's worthwhile to send him to a therapist that's of course only going to help. At the end of the day that's their decision.


He's violent. In your home. This is not normal, and frankly, it's not something that is going to get better on its own. You need to tell adults, starting with your parents, that you don't feel safe at home. If your parents won't act, adults at school will.

  • I completely agree. As @qwerty describes it, he's correctly reading the situation. His brother needs help and ignoring these symptoms is the wrong thing to do. As an older sibling, imploring the parents to act is the best move. The parents may just need a push to act, but they'd have to be blind not to be concerned about the behavior.
    – Terence
    Commented Mar 23, 2018 at 5:39
  • The parents might not help. But "safety" is the red flag word that will get other adults, especially teachers, to do something. Lack of safety is why this needs to be dealt with swiftly, not left alone.
    – swbarnes2
    Commented Mar 23, 2018 at 18:01

It is difficult to understand what is normal. You can 1) Talk to your parents, 2) Talk to your brother, or 3) Do nothing

  1. Talk to your parents. This should include specific examples when you feel he was inappropriate, written down, recent examples. Your parents may be in denial that there is a problem. If you catch your brother with alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs, go straight to your parents. I think what you're looking for from your parents is an acknowledgement that something isn't right. What they do at that point is out of your hands.

  2. Talk to your brother. This has a far greater likelihood of more bruises than insight and reflection, but it might be worthwhile, especially if you're a lot bigger than him. Bullies respond to the alpha dog taking charge. However, his behavior seems deeply ingrained. It seems unlikely you can accomplish much on your own.

  3. Do nothing. This is the path of least resistance. His life is his life; your life is your life - whatever. You're caring for even coming onto this site.

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