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weather: sunny
outside: 16°C
mood: sad
music: Ben Heppner - Carmen, La Fleur Que Tu M'avai (Bizet)

I had an argument with Brother Boy last night that ended in us both crying and having to ignore each other to cool off. He's 16 right now and going through more or less the same friction at home as I was at his age. Different exact situations, but same overall concept - trying to go from a dependent child to an independent adult and having differing opinions with the Parental Units as to how to do things. Same shit, different pile.

I feel horrible that I'm not being totally supportive when he comes to me. The problem is, I don't just see his side, as I do with online friends or other people I know. I also see my parents' side of the argument. I also have a 16 year history with my brother and, in those 16 years, I've seen things from my point of view (I can't help but see things from my own point of view!). I'm not an objective third party.

There's a reason why we're more receptive to advice from strangers than family.

And being way older than he is, isn't helping. Our temperaments aren't complementary, which means we get along when things are hunky-dory, but things flare up between us too easily because we're too damned similar. There are situations that I think, based on my own experience, he didn't exactly do the right thing or he didn't do the best thing for the situation. And I tell him so. The conversation goes down the crapper from there.

With online friends, my job is much easier. If I can't physically do anything, then a simple word of support is appreciated. But with my brother, I feel like I need to get in there, really talk to him and help him understand why he's wrong and what he's doing is going to cause more problems. I feel I owe it to him, as family. And that often turns out badly because it's much harder to convince someone they're wrong, especially if they're hanging on to the opinion that they're right. It's a lot easier to just say, "oh, there, there... *pat head*".

*shrug* But that's the way it goes. In the end, he's still my brother. I'll still help him learn to drive. I'll still help him with his resumé and be a good reference for him.

I was debating disabling comments on this post. Because I know all my friends will be supportive of me. None of them see the whole picture, so they can only see it all through me.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 21st, 2002 01:42 pm (UTC)
Wait. It only gets harder. You have no idea how hard it is to be supportive of a child who you know is doing the wrong thing, but yet you feel the need to let them spread their wings and try. I for one have a real hard time keeping my mouth shut. And even when things are going well, and I should say something positive I still manage to find something negative to say. Right now my 24 year old and I are on way opposite sides of the fence with a lot of issues, and my youngest is trying so hard to fly away from the nest I think his tail feather's might be on fire! Hang in there, you will always be family and no matter how things go now, he knows in his heart you will ALWAYS be there for him. It is such a shame that it takes them so long to find this out.
Sep. 21st, 2002 02:20 pm (UTC)
Re: supportiveness
For a while, I tried treating my brother like I do someone else's kid, so I didn't feel the need to make him understand and all that, like he wasn't family to see if I could get along better with him and maybe get through to him.

But that didn't work either. I get too caught up in it. I simply don't take it as personally with other people.
Sep. 21st, 2002 03:13 pm (UTC)
Re: supportiveness
I can understand that too. I am way better at handling other people's lives. :o)
Sep. 21st, 2002 03:16 pm (UTC)
I completely understand this. I'm generally pretty good at giving advice to people, even those I know, but in many ways it's easier when you only hear one side of the story... But, you should use your experience and your bias to help your brother understand where your parent are coming from, without making him feel attacked. As the resident Libra, I find myself "solving" lots of problems for friends and the best thing I can do for them is help person A understand where person B is coming from, and vice-versa if possible. Even if you don't know 100% what your parents are thinking, you can probably hypothesize.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


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