Dear Suzie, I am 13 years old and live in the UK, Cardiff. I am having big problems with my family. I don’t know were to start. Today my brother wanted a drink and there wasan’t any left in the house and he was screaming his head of and my mum was getting annoyed. I went to get him another drink and then my mum went mad with me and kicked me on my back. I just said to my brother thanks a lot and when upstairs for a bit and then my brother started screaming and stuff and I got in so much trouble and hit and stuff. With my brother even if I say a little thing he starts going to my mum. And sometimes I pretend to hit him but I don’t really I just touch him and some how he just starts crying. He’s really annoying and bossy. I love my Mum and I know she cares about me but sometimes she goes mentle. I dont know what to do, I just feel like going somewhere and sitting down by myself but I dont have that because of my brother.
Thx so much for reading
It sounds as if you’re having a really tough time and you have my sympathy. In fact, it sounds as if all of you are having a tough time! Let’s see if I can make some suggestions that could help.
I wonder why everyone in your family is on edge at the moment. Sometimes it helps to work it what is happening and why. People often get touchy when they’re feeling sad or angry or upset and can’t talk it over. Sometimes, we don’t even realise we are tense. You mention your Mum and your brother – but no mention of a Dad. Is he living with you? Or do you only see him sometimes …or not at all?
Dads being absent full time, or not exactly pulling their weight when they are around, can make a big difference to a family. It means your mum has all the work and the responsibility of looking after you, with no-one to back her up or support her or give her a break, or simply make her feel good. It could mean that underneath it all she feels rejected and abandoned and maybe even a failure.
It means both you and your brother can also feel rejected and abandoned. It means your brother can find it hard not having a Dad around to look up to – boys whose fathers don’t spend a lot of time with them can often get the idea that ‘being a man’ means being demanding and selfish and aggressive.
And not having a dad as a 13 year old girl is also really painful – just at the time you’re growing up and need a man around to tell you you’re pretty and matter, you’re on your own.
OK – maybe I’ve got the wrong end of the stick. But you didn’t mention him and that’s significant. And even if I’m wrong, it points you to the sort of things you might want to consider. What’s happened in your family to make everyone feel upset and angry? We usually ‘sweat the small stuff’ and kick off about little things like drinks when really there’s a big thing that’s making us feel bad and we don’t feel able to talk about it.
So – what to do? You need someone to talk to, for a start. Do you have a family member, a family friend, a teacher, a youth worker – some adult you know and trust and can talk to? Someone who will listen if you say “I’m not trying to diss my Mum but I’m miserable and I wish things could be different”?
You could try your doctor – some doctors are really sympathetic and trained to listen, or can refer you to a counsellor in their own surgery.
I’d also have a quiet word with your mum when things are going well. Say you know she has a tough time and you’re sure she hates the shouts and fights as much as you do. She could get some excellent help and support from Parentline Plus or on Parentline, their 24/7 freephone helpline, on 0808 800 2222.
I do hope you can get some help – you deserve it, and so does you family. Try some of those avenues of help and let me know how you get on. Good luck!