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Friday, December 3, 2010

"Dear Saylor, my brother is driving me crazy!"

Dear Saylor,
My brother and I have always gotten along but recently something has happened and I can't explain what...
we seem to be driving each other crazy

he annoys me on purpose
he embarrasses me @ school

he says I try to embarrass him at school
he says I don't laugh when he's trying to be funny just to make him mad

What can we do? I hate arguing and being frustrated all the time!
Frustrated and Tired

Dear Frustrated and Tired,
Wow! Do I totally get your drama! I have a sister, who I have to admit, I have annoyed ON PURPOSE! But she has done the same to me, too.

I am really big on lists!
Somehow, writing a problem down and actually seeing it in front of you instead of it just floating around in your head makes it easier to attack. So, obviously you two have had the "you are driving me crazy" conversation before. You are both, basically, in the same boat. You are annoyed and want it to stop! Being at the same level of frustration is really good in this situation b/c you both can agree something needs to be done. Sometimes getting the other person to see THAT part is the hardest part of fixing something - you have 50% done already!

My suggestion is for you two to sit down and make a list:
  • Start with something like, "Grab a pen and come to the table - we need to create some peace!"
  • YOU make a list of everything you wish he wouldn't do (only things that RELATE to your relationship...not that you wish he wouldn't comb his hair like Justin Beiber)
  • Have HIM make the same kind of list
  • Set a time limit or preface the list with "your top 5"
  • When your list is done, let the youngest person go first and explain each thing
  • Explain what it is that he does, why it drives you nuts, what he could do to make it better
  • Switch and let the other person go
  • BIGGEST RULE: When it's YOUR turn, HE DOESN'T SPEAK! When it's HIS turn, YOU DON'T SPEAK!
  • When you have both shared, hand over the list to the other person and have a conversation, taking turns, about each item. What is fair, unfair, etc. What you would agree to do, not do...
  • When you have both been productive and you feel you have solved the issues, SIGN each other's list. This is now a CONTRACT. You agree to TRY to make it better, to the best of your ability.
**Have a parent/adult present to keep conversations on track and diffuse any tempers. Guidance counsellors are GREAT at playing referee and most would be happy to help!

**Make sure everything is safe, if he wants to be able to share what he knows about your boyfriend with you, let him. It is in a sibling's nature to PROTECT. That will come in handy sometime!

Let me know how it goes!
Here's to hoping there is more PEACE for the HOLIDAY SEASON in your house!


If you need advice you can always send an email to and I will respond with some tips and ideas. I will NEVER post your question online without your permission first. Your emails are confidential!! If I think your question and my answer would be beneficial to other teens, I will ask you if I can post it here. You always have the right to say no and I would NEVER break your trust. Pinky promise!

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