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A Ten-Year-Old Brother Without Ten-Year-Old Ways

Questioner

S (18-female-Canada)

Reply Date

Apr 14, 2017

Question

Dear counselor, I have tried to interest my 10-year-old brother in the beauty of knowledge, seeking it, trying to interest my brother in the wonders of the world. I have the feeling to do so because I see much beauty in them.However, everyone is an individual and has different views, ambitions, goals etc. My brother is very disoriented and not social. He has no interest in learning or physical play (outside) like regular kids. He lolls around all day, playing with his video games and computer, eats and plays more.Despite this, I see in him an inclination to learn, especially maths and science, but his lack of comprehension in reading and writing usually holds him back in doing his related school work. I try to help, but whenever I try to help he tells me “Don’t bother, I’m dumb!” or “I don’t understand, I’m stupid!” etc.I feel he needs some kind of counseling and many times, I think I should send him to a psychiatrist. I have thought to talk to him when he is calm and relaxed about anything until we come close to the topic of school and life then when we discuss the topic, he gets angry and leaves!He is in the house all day and we have to force him to come out with us. That is unusual for a kid his age. Then I wonder if adolescence is dawning upon him, but he is still young. To make matters worse my parents are uneducated so they get angry with him and eventually beat him, which only increases his anger and depression. He does not listen to them, nor do they listen to what is bothering him, whatever it is. He listens to no one. He just plays, eats and stays inside. Occasionally, he will go out to play with his friends, but that tends to end up in fights. He is a B+ and an A student so he is smart but stubborn at learning. His inflexibility is all show because behind this appearance he is a fine young man, mash’Allah. It’s just that I can’t seem to help him in his difficult moments and my parents make matters worse for him using force, screaming at him and by beating him.Please, I need advice on how to help my brother. He may be only one person, but he is the future of the ummah, ensha’Allah. I am sorry for the long detailed question. Jazakum-Allahu Khayran.

Counselor

Answer


brother

As-salaamu alaykum little sister.

Please do not apologize for the length of your question, it helps us get a better understanding of the situation, which you have presented to us.

Your little brother does not know how much Allah has blessed him by giving him a sister like you, mash’Allah. To be full of the wonder of what Allah s.w.thas blessed this earth with is what makes learning a most enjoyable journey and may your journey continue for a long time, ensha’Allah.

First of all please forgive your parents, they obviously want as much for your little brother as you do, but they feel a sense of helplessness that makes them frustrated and therefore they tend to respond to him the way that they do.

As for your little brother, he obviously feels that there is something wrong with him to the extent that he might feel too ashamed to mix with other boys of his own age. His sense of bravado with his parents is just his way of reacting to the people who love him, his parents. It is a self-defense mechanism to protect him from feeling hurt by their actions and he probably does not understand why they are reacting in that way because emotionally he would like more tenderness and understanding.

With your insight into the situation, despite how you feel, you are able to do a bit more if circumstances allow for it. You will also have to bear in mind that your parents like most parents will not want to consider the fact that there might be something wrong or go to the other extreme and be convinced that there is something wrong.

Considering your little brother refuses to talk about school-life, you might want to try and find out for yourself – from his teachers what he is like a) socially and b) academically during school hours. If this is awkward for you (because maybe you go to a different school or you would miss out on your lessons), try to find an older relative who could help in this process.

Once you have established what his school-life is like, you might want to make a request to have his eyes tested including a reading test. This should not be too difficult in the country in which you live. The reason why I make this suggestion is because there might be a possibility that your little brother is dyslexic.

Basically, dyslexia is the inability to focus one’s vision on written material. The effect is that letters of a word might appear to him to be jumbled. If this is the case, there is something that can be done about it and at the same time with this knowledge, your parents might be able to respond to him more effectively.

In turn, your little brother would feel less anxious about the situation and would not feel as stupid as he feels he is. There are different types of dyslexia and it has nothing to do with intelligence. There are teaching methods and resources that can help him to overcome the problem and still progress academically.

In the meantime, watch what he eats. By the sounds of it, he is always eating, which can in turn make him feel sluggish. If he is eating a lot of junk food, it is time to revise his diet. By not eating at set meal times with the addition of not eating a fresh, healthy and balanced diet, he might be subjecting himself to the problem of Attention Deficit Syndrome.

There are many causes for this syndrome, but we can begin by eliminating any possible allergic reaction to the chemicals and additives in the kind of food that he has been eating. Fasting will help to correct this problem by releasing the toxic build-up in his body. However, be careful, he might not be ready for this kind of regime yet, especially if his eating habits is a form of comfort eating in response to the stress he feels towards his predicament.

You have the right attitude towards what your little brother should be doing for his age. The more rounded his daily activities the more he will develop. By learning new things both mentally, emotionally and physically, he will be exercising his nerve cells which will increase growth and the capacity to learn. One feels more stimulated because the nerves are more stimulated just like yours little sister.

We pray that the obstacles you face towards finding a solution will be made small and that your path will become clear and that your sense of clarity will always be guided by your Creator, Allah s.w.t..

May Allah keep you for your brother and our ummah, insha’Allah.


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About Hwaa Irfan

Late Hwaa Irfan, may her soul rest in peace, served as consultant, counselor and freelance writer. Her main focus was on traditional healing mechanisms as practiced in various communities, as opposed to Western healing mechanisms.

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