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Ad­vice on rais­ing teens, nu­tri­tion and skin­care

Friday - - Beauty -

RUS­SELL HEM­MINGS Q I’m 30 years old and the old­est among my sib­lings. My con­cern is my brother, who is 15 and the only child who lives at home. When I went home re­cently, I was shocked to no­tice how dis­re­spect­ful he was towards our par­ents. My par­ents seem to lack the en­ergy to stand up to him and I’d like to help, but I don’t know how.

AFirst, I’d like to say that it’s really heart-warm­ing that you care so much about your fam­ily and want to of­fer your sup­port, and it cer­tainly sounds like it’s go­ing to be needed.

Of course, your brother is a teenager and if you’ve been away for a while, the pace of change in a young per­son of this age can take you aback. I think one of the defin­ing fac­tors in this sit­u­a­tion is the fact that your brother – un­like the rest of you who have grown up, have your own lives and are prob­a­bly en­joy­ing new ad­ven­tures – feels left be­hind and per­haps a lit­tle jeal­ous and an­gry about be­ing at home. His be­hav­iour may be in re­sponse to the sense of loss he feels.

I can’t tell whether you are close to your brother, but I do feel that now would be a great op­por­tu­nity to try to build or re­build the bond that sib­lings gen­er­ally share. A boy of his age, on the cusp of adult­hood, would ben­e­fit hugely from hav­ing another pos­i­tive male role model in his life who is closer in age, but also ex­pe­ri­enced enough to act as a guide through this trans­for­ma­tional time.

I sug­gest that first you meet with your par­ents without him be­ing there and dis­cuss the sit­u­a­tion. Avoid be­ing judge­men­tal, that never helps, but per­haps raise the idea of of­fer­ing more sup­port to your brother. This is some­thing you must think very care­fully about, be­cause your in­ter­ven­tion needs to be con­sis­tent or it could cause more harm than good.

Your par­ents, if they are strug­gling to deal with your brother’s be­hav­iour, might wel­come the chance to talk about it and tap into fam­ily sup­port. Some­times it’s tough for par­ents to ad­mit they are find­ing things hard. I won­der, con­sid­er­ing your age, if they are a lit­tle older and maybe feel out of touch with what is go­ing on in their son’s life with re­gards to peers and so­cial me­dia, so you could help them bridge that gap.

When you have spo­ken to your par­ents, turn your at­ten­tion to your brother and try to en­gi­neer a way you can spend some qual­ity time with him, away from nor­mal teenage dis­trac­tions and without it be­ing too ob­vi­ous. Ini­tially, you could just try to get to know him again. Lis­ten to him, reach out and let him know you are there for him. You are not so very far in age that you can’t think back and re­mem­ber what a dif­fi­cult time the teenage years can be, so draw on that ex­pe­ri­ence and try to find out more about how your brother is feel­ing and what’s go­ing on in his life.

Don’t for­get, there could be things go­ing on that nei­ther your par­ents or you are aware of, such as bul­ly­ing, so it’s wise to tread care­fully. Teenagers of­ten don’t look like they care, but I guar­an­tee, deep down he will and if he knows you care, he will come to value this.

When you have gained his trust and con­fi­dence, then you can start to dis­cuss the more chal­leng­ing as­pects of his be­hav­iour and start to guide him to a bet­ter path.

It’s not ac­cept­able for young peo­ple to be dis­re­spect­ful and rude, but it is be­hav­iour that is, more of­ten than not, mask­ing other feel­ings such as in­se­cu­rity and anx­i­ety about the fu­ture. With your and your par­ents’ sup­port and love, I’m sure he will come through and de­velop into a happy, kind and suc­cess­ful young man.

Lis­ten to your brother, REACH OUT and let him know you are there for him. Don’t for­get, there could be things go­ing on that NEI­THER your par­ents or you are aware of, such as BUL­LY­ING, so tread care­fully

is a life coach, and clin­i­cal and cog­ni­tive be­havioural hyp­nother­a­pist

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