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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
FrozenRobot7 Offline
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Name: Danielle
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what do I do to help? - April 8th 2017, 02:41 AM

This thread has been labeled as triggering, particularly on the subject of self harm, by the original poster or by a Moderator. The contents of this thread might therefore not be suitable for certain sensitive users. Please take this into consideration before continuing to read.

So I just had a long conversation with my 8 year old brother and I am very concerned for him.

He has said things before like "I want to die" and "I want to kill himself", and that obviously isn't okay. It is usually in the heat of the though, and we as a family haven't done much to help the situation. My mom is trying to get him in at the local therapists office, but there unfortunately is a very long waiting list. It has gotten pretty bad recently though, so my mom has thought about reaching out to the physiologist at his school. My mom says though "she doesn't want everyone knowing", because yes, it is a tough thing. But, what he told me tonight might change things.

He through a fit over something and I asked him if he wanted to talk alone. After he said yes, we went upstairs and I had us both sit down. He then instantly opened up saying that he wants to get into trouble(he gets in trouble quite frequently at the house, but never at school). He said he liked when my mom and dad yelled at him, and at this point I was very concerned and very puzzled. I then figured out he thinks he deserves it. He things he is mean (for getting mad at my parents), a jerk, and he even said a bully(which is nowhere near the truth). At this point I ask why he hasn't been mean at school, and he said "I haven't found the right time". My final question is if he as ever hurt himself, and this one almost made me break into a full sob. He said that he has scratched himself multiple times alone, and has even gone as far to go outside and purposefully scrape both of his knees. Now looking back, there has been a few times where he has come home from school just with a scraped knee, and I thought it was nothing. Turns out, he might have meant to do it, and that breaks my heart more than anything.

This kid has been through a lot, my whole family has with all the surgeries my dad has had to have. But this is defiantly something that needs to be talked about, I just don't know how to do it. My poor mom is under enough stress as it is, and this would honestly break her. But, I also know I can't have it keep going like this, he needs help. So, how do I bring it up to my mom? I would obviously bring her aside and stuff, but how do I present it? Less severe than it actually is to try to make her a little better, or give her the truth? Or should I maybe tell a teacher at my school first, to see what they say too? I know this is a very complex subject and all I need is a little support, because I honestly have no idea what to do.
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Re: what do I do to help? - April 8th 2017, 03:14 AM

Hi Danielle.

I am touched to read this. You are a very caring and loving sister. I am very sorry for your brother, he is still very young yet have such degree of depression, it is sad.

There is so many things you can try to tell him. First, tell him how much you care for him. Tell him that its okay and that you are always there to help him, or at very least, you will listen and give support.

Your brother is not a mean person I imagine. A mean person will not feel guilty or feel like needs to be punished. I think he might have some very bad experiences in school where someone told him he is bad. This is verbal bullying and it has to be fixed. You can slowly try to open him up and tell him why does he think he is a bully or a mean person. Because I think he is not, but someone must have telling him the wrong thing. You assure him millons of times that he is not a bully, and you mean it. He needs positive feedback about it and you can give him that.

Also I think you can be more observant to his behaviour. If you ever noticed he is moody or sad, you can always ask him to talk. Its good to know that he is willing to open up to you, and I hope he will do that more in future. Remind him that you are there to talk, and he doesn't have to hesitate even a bit if he needs to talk. You are his sister!

I understand why you do not want to tell your mother. I think you can keep it to her for now, and see how things goes on. I believe you can do so many things to help your brother, but remember to take care of yourself. If you ever feel stressed or sad because of it, then its commonly a good idea to seek help from others. Okay, here I will tell you something a bit different.

He is your brother too, and he cares for you I am sure. In the process of talking to him, if you ever feel heartbroken or stressed, tell him. Tell him how you felt and its okay to do that. But always assure him that you will not care him less because of all these, and he is not a burden. You tell him how you felt because you trust him and you are concerned about him, and you need his support too. Remember, while it seems like you are helping him, dont forget that he can also have a chance to help you when you need! Let him know that he is so much more worthy to help you too! Dont hide how you feel because it hurts you more and might make you and him unable to open up more thoroughly. You both can definitely help each other.

Time will prove everything. I understand that you might feel at loss of what to help. Remember, always be at his side, always be caring to him, one day he will know how much you care for him. Do you know that being there for him already helped a lot? Sometimes you dont even have to say something. Being there with him itself helps so much. The key to it is to be there, and don't give up. He might have gave up on things, but tell him that you will not give up on him, because he can be better. Dealling with this can be very hard. It can be a month, or a year or many years to heal, but the key is always to be there. The help you can give one day wont be much, no matter how you try, but with preseverance, you can heal him with time.

Sibling bond is strong. I am certain that you can help him so much than you imagine. Keep going and I hope the best for you both!

Do my best at everything I can to live a happy, perfect life.

Happy life won't come by being happy everyday. Struggle and always work hard.

Forgive other's imperfection, they will work hard about it once I point it out to them, just like what I should be doing.

On the other hand, never tolerate with my own mediocrity. Never slack and always strive improvement.

Never settle. Never give up.

Last edited by Thinking; April 8th 2017 at 03:39 AM.
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del677 Offline
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Re: what do I do to help? - April 8th 2017, 07:43 AM

Hi Danielle,
Thank you for talking with your younger brother and being concerned about him.

It's hard to know what the problem with him might be. He's pretty young at 8 years old.

I see you mention your dad has had a lot of surgeries. And your mother is under a lot of stress. That could be a clue right there.

There are a number of possibilities. You can determine if any of them seem to fit.

One possibility is all the attention is going towards dad, and mom doesn't have any time to spend with her children, and your younger brother needs attention (we all need some attention), and the only way he can get any is to throw a fit, and mom and dad yelling at him is better than no attention at all.

One approach is to set aside some "sister/brother" time with him every day. You figure out what time, and how much time you can spare. Even 15 minutes a day could make a big difference. It could be something he looks forward to.

You could also try an "Active Listening" approach with him, where you listen without responding. This can take some practice, as we all love to talk and give advice, but in the "Active Listening" mode we don't give advice, we listen attentively, we let the other person say whatever is on their mind, whatever story they have to tell, whatever feelings they wish to express, knowing that it is the listening itself that is helping them.

Or maybe he wants 15 minutes of hug time from his big sister, and noone has to say anything. Or maybe he has a story to tell. If you ask him "What's wrong?" he might say "Nothing", because now he's spending time with you and everything is OK for that moment.

Another option is to see if you can have a private talk with his teacher. This depends on how good and caring a teacher he has. If she's a good caring teacher she may welcome the opportunity to get some feedback from big sister. It might help her better understand him, or she may have some insight into what's going on and be able to give you some suggestions. I don't know if it's possible you and his teacher can meet after school someday. Maybe you can call her. Maybe you can get a message to her that you'd like to meet for a short private talk.

And another option is you could ask your mom how she's doing, just mention that you've noticed she seems stressed, and if you can engage the "Active Listening" role she may open up to you. Maybe she needs to vent her frustration over surgeries and husband and whatever else is stressing her.

And you could do the same with dad, say, "Wow so many surgeries, how are you feeling?" "See if he wants to talk. He may flip it around and ask if you want to talk.

I don't know any of these people so you'll have to judge if any of these ideas sound good or not.

A few conversation tricks you can try with your brother (or anyone for that matter), is after actively listening to him say whatever is on his mind, you summarize it back to him, to see if you understand him correctly, and see if he says, "That's right." That's a magic phrase if you can get someone to say, "That's right". It means you truly understand the other person, and you've demonstrated that you fully understand, by summarizing back to him his feelings and why he feels that way. You're aiming for that magic phrase, "That's right."

(Note you are not aiming to hear the phrase, "You're right." If he says, "You're right," then you need to go back and try again. "You're right" means you're trying to get him to see things your way, which is the opposite of what we're trying to do; we're trying to see things his way, and summarize back to him our understanding of how he sees things, which should elicit a form of "That's right" from him.)

I also agree with everything Ivan said. Sometimes helping is a matter of being, rather than doing. Possibly the best thing you can do is be his older sister, and that's pretty easy, because you already are!

Best wishes! Thank you for being a caring sister!
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