How do I stop my younger sister getting hurt?

by Lily
(England, UK)

I have read your other stories on this subject, but they all say to report it. I was wondering if anyone can think of different ideas.

I live with one of my older brothers because of problems with my mum and have done since I was six, my younger sister also lives with us and she is now seven and I am 14. My brother has always been like our dad to us, but he can be very pushy. When I was little I would get punished about school work as he wants us to do well. But he would often whip and slap me, etc., if my work wasn't up to his standards. It was horrible and all it achieved was that I started lying to him, causing him to get angry if I was caught. I have always done well in school, but teachers would often say I wasn't very social and I was slightly too mature. Alex never seemed to mind about that.

I am scared he is going to start being pushy and hurt Roxanne, my little sister, as he is already starting to tell her off for playing and just generally being like every other 7-year-old. She doesn't understand what's going on. I have tried to talk to Alex, but it got nowhere and just got me into more trouble.

Can you please help me find what to do? I'm not sure how to sort it out, as I love Alex and don't want him getting into trouble about it. I don't want my sister to put up with what I had to, as it just isn't fair on her. Please help.

Thank you

Reply from Darlene: The first thing I will say Lily is that you are a terrific sister; one, for caring so much, and two, for trying so hard to protect your little sister. I commend you for all your efforts at trying to keep Roxanne safe.

Lily, there's a very good reason I tell children and youth to report abuse: It's because as children—adolescent in your case—you have little or no power with a full grown adult. The only "idea" I would have been able to offer you, you said you tried without results; and that was to talk to your brother. Perhaps it's the way in which you talk to him that I can help you with, but I am not in any way advocating that you take this step, Lily. Only you can decide if it's safe enough to talk to him further.

Remainder of my answer to this Ask Darlene question "How do I stop my younger sister getting hurt?" can be found at Comments below this submission. Depending on system activity, there are sometimes delays in comments going live on my site; but rest assured, they do eventually appear. So if you don't yet see them, I hope you will return later to read what I, and possibly others, have written. I thank you for your patience and understanding.

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this, I do try to balance the need for the submitter to be
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