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My Ten-Year-Old Brother is Very Unsocial

16 October, 2023
Q 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 math 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, mashallah.

It’s just that I can’t seem to help him in his difficult moments and my parents make matters worse for him by 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, insha'Allah. I am sorry for the long detailed question. Jazakum-Allahu Khayran.

Answer


In this counseling answer:

• What your brother does is a self-defense mechanism to protect himself from feeling hurt.

• Find out how his school-life is. Maybe he suffers from dyslexia.

• Does he have Attention Deficit Syndrome?

• The more rounded his daily activities are the more he will develop.


As-salaamu alaykum little sister,

Please do not apologize for the length of your question. It helps us understand your situation better.

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Your little brother does not know how much Allah has blessed him with a sister like you, mashallah.

First of all please forgive your parents, as they obviously want as much good for your little brother as you do. However, they feel a sense of helplessness that makes them frustrated. 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.

Self-Defence Mechanism

What your brother does is a self-defense mechanism to protect himself from feeling hurt. He probably does not understand the reason your parents react in that way because emotionally he would like more tenderness and understanding.

My Ten-Year-Old Brother is Very Unsocial - About Islam

With your insight into the situation, despite how you feel, you are able to do a bit more if the circumstances allow 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 they go to the other extreme and be convinced that there is something wrong.

Talking About School-Life

You said your 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, 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 your little brother might be dyslexic.

Dyslexia?

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. I

If this is the case, you can do a lot to help him. At the same time, 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; 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.

Attention Deficit Syndrome

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.

If he does not eat at set mealtimes and does not eat enough healthy food, he might develop the problem of Attention Deficit Syndrome.

There are many causes for this syndrome. What you can do now is test whether he has an allergic reaction to any chemicals or additives to the food he eats.

Fasting will help to correct this problem. However, be careful, he might not be ready for this kind of regime yet, especially if his eating habits are 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.

We pray that Allah makes life easy for your brother and your family.

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.