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proexpert37, Educator/Life Coach
Category: Parenting
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Experience:  Teacher 20+ years, Parent, Expert Mentor
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my 18 year old son has been very mean to my 17 year old son

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my 18 year old son has been very mean to my 17 year old son since infancy and I keep hoping that one day it will get better. this week we were in montreal for 3 days and we gave the boys their space as they requested and the 18 year old ditched his brother each day. I see the sadness in my 17 year old; all he wants is his brother's friendship. but he is so used to rejection that he tries to be cool about it and never mentions it. but he waited all afternoon in the hotel lobby for his brother who was out exploring montreal. he said it was okay and that he was fine but I know that he is crying inside. do you have any help for me? is there anything I as a mother can do or do I have to let them work it out. thanks.
Hello and Thank You for using Just Answer. I am deeply sorry to hear about the problems between your two sons. Have you asked your 18 year old why he behaves in such a manner? Is your 17 year old son the only person your 18 year old is so mean to? What is the relationship like between you and your two sons?

Thanks in advance for your responses! Hope to hear from you soon!
Sorry. My questions are not an answer yet. So no need to accept an answer at this time. I just need additional information from you. :)
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

thank you for answering me. to answer your questions: yes, I have asked my 18 year old why he is mean to his younger brother and he just says he can't stand him. my 18 year old is an athlete and a musician. the younger brother is smarter in school and has a yappy mouth that does annoy his older brother but in all fairness his older brother has been mean to him since infancy. yes, my 17 year old son is the ONLY person my 18 year old is so mean to. my older son is a HERO at school, captain of the soccer team and all round great citizen. But at home, with his brother, he goes between verbally bullying him to totally ignoring his existance. the relationship between my older son and me is usually great but he doesn't like it when I ask him to be kinder to his younger brother. he sees him as "weak".

Sunday greetings!

Thank you for responding. I am a bit concerned that your 18 year old has been treating his brother so negatively for so long. I am wondering had the issue ever been dealt with when they were younger?

Now, your 18 year is much older and he has become rather set in his ways and treatment of his brother. There is nothing you can really do because you cannot change your son. He has to want to change and find the courage to initiate a change. Until then, your 17 year old must continue to have the strength to endure such negative behavior. If your 17 year old can simply act with kindness toward your 18 year old, your older son may come around one day and reciprocate the kindness. Miracles are possible. :)

However, I am wondering if your 18 year old just always had difficulties of not being an only child and having to share the limelight with his younger brother? Your 18 year old may always have wanted to be the center of attention especially as an athlete as he got older. However, having a younger brother may have made him seem like he has had to compete for attention. Thus, your 18 year has decided to treat his brother meanly out of frustration and possibly selfishness.

As a mother, you just keep on encouraging both of them to get along. That is all that can be done now. Although it may continue to be painful for you and your 17 year old, just do not give up. Your 18 year old may be somewhat immature right now. As he enters young adulthood, he may slowly start to realize the importance of strengthening a brotherly bond. It might not happen next year or even the year after. It might be five years from now but it will be worth the wait.

Hope I have provided you with some insight regarding this situation. Let me know if you need more assistance. Have an awesome week.

Thank you for using JustAnswer. Take care!!!
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