I know this forum is for parents but....


New Member
I was researching and figured out that my younger brother has ODD. I know I'm not a professional or anything but he fits this disorder to the T. He has been driving us all crazy and I have known that there had to be something deeper in it. He's 12 years old and it just keeps getting worse. He displays all of the symptoms and it's HELL to live with him! I'm 20 and I'll be leaving home soon but I can't even express how much stress this has placed on me. I can't stand sitting by and watching him disrespect my parents this way, let alone myself. I have tried talking to my mom about it but she doesn't want to get him evaluated because she doesn't want him to grow up thinking he's not normal. It's to the point where our home environment is constantly hostile! I can't stand the way my parents handle it -they do nothing! They don't even punish him to try to keep him in line. He basically runs the show and I hate it! It has created a huge rift between my parents because they blame eachother and I feel like if my brother didn't act this way our whole family would get along so much better.
I'm also just worried about my brother's own well-being because I don't want him to become a troubled teenager. I feel like my parents don't know how to be real parents because I was so well behaved and never needed to be disciplined. My brother is the opposite and something needs to be done. Luckily he stays out of trouble at school (although I don't think he has many friends there and I know he could be doing a lot better academically) and to people outside the family he seems like the nicest boy. He really is very smart and he knows how to behave in public...it's just that at home he's out of control!
Thank you for letting me vent!! It's a relief to see that my family isn't the only one dealing with this...I felt like no one could really understand what I have been going through.

hearts and roses

Mind Reader
{{{love8}}} I'm sure if you got together with my easy child, you'd have a lot of feelings in common about having a difficult child sibling. It's not easy and as long as your parents allow difficult child to come between them, their relationship will suffer. But those are not YOUR issues - that is for your parents to handle. Don't take on things that you shouldn't or things that will overwhelm you. It's wonderful that you care enough to see the burden lightened at home, but you've got to be thinking about your life now and your parents need to help find their own ways of dealing with your brother.

I realize it's difficult for you to just detach and ignore what's around you, but its commendable that you've come here - whether it's to vent or seek some information. The more you understand where your brother is coming from in regards to his difficult child-ness, the more you'll be able to deal with his stuff and how it affects your family. This is a great place to come for support and information. I hope you'll continue to visit. Perhaps you could introduce the site to one or both of your parents.

Again, hugs to you!


Well-Known Member
I'm sorry that your family is in such turmoil. I have a 20 year old daughter just like you who has been deeply affected by her sister's behavior. We did have our daughter evaluated and she has been going to therapy and on different medications all her life, but the chaos never really ended until last year. She is now 16 and life is much easier but it took a lot of consistency on our part and tough love. If your parents aren't willing to do that then you may just have to go and live your own life and hope that when he moves out on his own you can reestablish some sort of relationship with them all again.

I know this upsets you, I can hear it in your post. There is nothing you can do to help your brother if your parents aren't behind it. What you can do is try to stay out of the chaos and not control the situation, this was something my daughter had a difficult time with and now she is living with a great deal of anxiety because of it. Also, her interference only caused more chaos and ruined any relationship that they could have had. Hopefully that will change in the future, but for now they just tolerate each other.

If there is any way you can get your Mom or Dad to read this forum perhaps it will cause them to want to get help for your brother. He may get a lot worse or he may just straighten out as he matures.



New Member
JoG - Thank you for your response. You're right - the problems between my parents are not my problems to have to fix. I have been in therapy and I have come to realize that but it's hard because I feel like I am put in the middle. Like my mom will complain to me about my dad and then gets mad when I tell her I don't want to talk about it. I have told her it stresses me out and I have too many other things to worry about in my life aside from worrying about their problems. But when she's upset she does it anyway. I feel bad because I know it's hard for her.

Nancy - Yeah I know what you mean about straining my relationship with my brother. It's hard because sometimes I get so upset that I cut in and say something when really I should just walk away. My brother has this whole idea that my parents favor me and I always get what I want and I think that creates even more anger towards me. The way he treats me is just mean a lot of the time and it upsets me so much that it's hard to remember that I'm the adult and he's the child and that I should just walk away. I'm trying my hardest though to stay out of the arguments between him and my parents...I just get so disgusted at him treating them so badly because they have been good to us and have given us everything we could want. It's weird though - my brother will be so pleasant when he is getting lots of attention. Like if I play a game with him or get involved in doing something with him he will act so nice and I love being around him. But as soon as he feels he is not in the center of attention he will act out.


Well-Known Member
love8, hi. First of all, you can't diagnose even based on symptoms. I would wager a guess that everybody here has a child with ODD symptoms, however the disorder is usually linked to another disorder too, and it rarely stands alone. I'd bet you'd get a similar reaction reading symptoms of almost any childhood disorder. ODD just goes along with stuff like mood disorders (in which you need mood stabilizers to help) or autistic spectrum disorder (in which you need school interventions), and a host of other nifty disorders that we, as laypeople, can't touch. Kids with ODD symptoms often respond to mood stabilizing medications--your brothers doctor would have to assess if that is causing his ODD. I can tell you right now that many parents here can testify that just strict discipling doesn't tend to really "do it" for kids with childhood disorders. Often they need a special type of parenting and, even then, it's hard. They could use direction, because he is apt to get more difficult if they don't learn what's wrong and what to do about it. Whatever "it" is can spiral out of control without help.
I would approach your parents to have him evaluated by a Child Psychiatrist or a neuropsychologist. NeuroPsychs do really intensive evaluations and Psychiatrists are the ones with the MDs. Once the main disorder is treated and helped, either with the right medications or other interventions, often the ODD is greatly alliviated or disappears. My son was first diagnosed with ADHD/ODD. He is on the autism spectrum. They missed it. He is no longer in any way ODD due to some great help. I wish you luck. Try to talk to them again. He won't get better if he doesn't get an evaluation. Maybe they'll be willing to read this board. Hugs to you.


Well-Known Member
Welcome. Sadly I know there is no "answer" to the problems you are facing so I'll just suggest as some others have done. Do try
to separate yourself from the family issues and look forward and
upward and onward for determining your own future. I know it sounds a bit selfish BUT truly you are at a crossroad for your own future. My older children were my willing assistants in trying to keep GFGmom safe and under control. They never were able to express (to me or to counselors) how much they resented
the constant strain etc....and I, naively, didn't "get it" in an
adequate way.

Going away to college and finding their own life without hearing
daily details of life with difficult child made a huge difference in their
respective futures. They both found careers they truly enjoy.
They both found mates.....LOL.....one of whom is a delight! They
took the years from 20 to around 28 to find out who "they" were,
other than just being my precious adult babies.

Get in the habit of saying the Serenity Prayer. Ask for the serenity to accept what YOU can not change. The courage to change what you CAN. The wisdom to know the difference.

THEN......plan YOUR own future! Hugs. DDD


Well-Known Member
Hi Love8, what a sweetie you are, and so caring. There is so much stress on you to grow up b4 your time. Sigh.
The next time your mom balks at the idea of not having your brother evaluated because she doesn't want him to grow up with-the label "not normal," try to tell her that he has no chance to be normal unless he's evaluated and receives help. And remind her that he can't be happy the way he is. (Or at least not as happy as he could be.)
You've already gotten some good ideas here. I'm sure you'll find other notes to read but feel free to keep posting. Hopefully the interaction will make you feel not so alone.


Just to let you know. That was exactly how I felt for a long time. Didn't want him in Special Education, didn't want him labeled. didn't want him to think there was something wrong. We had a house of H***. I was in tears within hours of being with him. My easy child often voiced his opinions as you have. Just did NOT want that label. Came a point when difficult child was scared. He was so scared, so full of anxiety, so lost. Thankfully he had a wonderful counselor to confide in. difficult child ASKED to be hospitalized.
I am sure your parents are as upset and scared, worried and a ton of other emotions as you are. Everyone wants to have a easy child. It took me years to acknowledge that my child has special needs. My difficult child is still difficult child. Feeling better though. Has more and more good days. difficult child's do NOT want to be bad. They don't plan on these things. Most of the time they cannot control it. But they find a way to suck you into their fight and at that point you just believe they did it on purpose. Step back, breathe. It is impulsive. Not premeditated. I am sure they do not want to feel this way. It took difficult child to let me know that before I could accept it. My easy child and difficult child are 12 years apart. easy child and difficult child now are closer than they ever have been. difficult child NEEDS easy child. When things are all going wrong the first person he will call, text or email is easy child. Try to understand that your brother probably cannot control his behavior(even though it seems like he can). Be sure to let your brother know that you love him, and you will be there to talk to him or hug him when he is ready. Do not react to his meltdowns, rages or whatever. just give him the look that tells him you are there. I believe he will find you when he needs to and you will be amazed.
Hi and welcome,

I am sorry you are so affected by your brothers behaviors. I have often worried about my other kiddos, how much my difficult child is affecting them. There are several books out there about this very thing. One of them is "The Normal One: Life with a Difficult or Damaged Sibling" by Jeanne Safer, PhD. You can get to Amazon.com through the link on this site.

You are doing the right thing, by reading up on the different issues and educating yourself. But, like the others have said, you need to take care of YOU! My eldest is 23 and often feels she has to "fix" things within our family. Mainly being how our difficult child treats us. We have told her over and over that she has her own life now and her own worries, let us take care of this. But, we have also had our difficult child in therapy and evalutated and on medications for a while now. And my hubby and I are on the same page.

I am sorry that your family has sort of triangulated you, put you in the middle so to speak. I would highly recommend the above book, it is pretty good at showing several examples of how hard it is on the siblings and some ideas of how to detach.

Hugs of welcome,


your post made me think of my easy child. I did what you are saying. I would talk to easy child about difficult child. When he moved out and I would try to talk to him about MY issues with him his reply was "what do you want me to do". He detached from that behavior and they are very close now. I believe it is because he didn't get involved with the way difficult child treated us, or his issues with us. It is not your fault, and it is not your issue to worry about the way he treats your parents. Your parents are the ones that need to deal with that. you just need to be you. Enjoy yourself. Be a big sis., don't try to be his parent. You have the option of leaving ... parents don't. But I sometimes wish I did. LOL.
Enjoy your brother in good times, and walk away at other times. Enjoy yourself.


New Member
Thank you all for your kind responses!

Yesterday I emailed my mom some links about ODD and she seems to agree it sounds just like my brother. I printed out some stuff and I'm going to show it to my dad. Unfortunately my mom thinks that if she shows it to him he won't listen. It's frustrating that this is now on my shoulders but I think once I show him the information I am going to step back. Really I guess that is all I can do. Hopefully my dad won't be in denial about it and they will take the steps to get him evaluated. It's really surprising to me that my dad has not done something already since I know he understands psychological disorders - he does have a masters in psychology. And I'm going to school right now to become a psychologist. I guess it's hard to recognize these things though when they are in your own family.

Again, thanks to all of you. You gave some great advice and helped me get the courage to try to talk to them about it.



New Member
A lot of fathers seem to have difficulty accepting that anything could be wrong with their children, especially their sons. By the time our son was 12, I thought there was a problem, but my husband got angry whenever I tried to bring up counseling. By the time our son was 15, he was so out of control (had started experimenting with drugs and having minor run-ins with the police) that my husband was ready to try anything. And as you can see from my signature, he did eventually come around, but I think we could have saved a lot of heartache for everyone had we gotten help sooner. I hope things don't go that far with your brother. Good luck.


Active Member
Real change occurs when people reach out to kids, they feel understood and see adults as being there for them and helpers. One needs communication skills like dialog questioning in order to bond abd help the kid become part of the solution.
check Unhappy Teenagers , Alfie Kohn etc.
We can't change people using power , but by changing the way we speak , we can begin to ' work with and problem solve ' rather than doing to. There is no quick fix