Little Baby Brother and Big Bad Attitude


I have a problematic little brother.

He is the youngest and we (the older siblings) tried our best to educate and nurture him in our own way. When he stepped into secondary school, we found out that his attitude was changing and his studies was declining. Our parent was asked to come to school on multiple occasions due to his misbehaviour. 

We tried to focus our attention on him. We tried to help him with his studies and help him remove his bad attitudes and behaviours. But, he is still the same.

Please help. Thank you.


Salam wbt.

Thank you for sharing.

I have to be honest: I don’t know your brother. So, it is rather challenging for me to give an accurate answer specific to his situation. I can’t give a textbook answer because human beings aren’t textbook beings. Each is unique.

What I can do in this situation is offer you a few general guidelines:

First of all, the foundation for an effective communication is knowing who you are talking to. Even if we are speaking the truth, the message won’t get across if we don’t know who our audience is. We can’t touch their hearts if we don’t speak their language.

Secondly, sometimes what we see is not the real problem. What we see might just be the symptom. If we focus too much on the symptom, then we could miss the real problem. Avoid being fooled by the apparent, because it might not be what you should be paying attention to.

Thirdly, education is the goal but school is not. Being educated doesn’t mean that we go to school and doesn’t mean that we get straight As. Going to school is one of the methods to attain education, but it is not the only method. Before school was invented, education was already around. So the concept of education needs to be revisited, hopefully that we don’t make the mistake of equating being educated with going to school. Maybe your little brother doesn’t have a learning problem. He might have a direction problem, meaning that he hasn’t found his passion and potential yet. Or, perhaps he already knows what he wants to do with his life, but his choice might not be accepted by the people around him and he might not get the support he needs.

Lastly, never lose hope. Everybody can change, if Allah wills it and only Allah can make it happen. This means that we can’t change people. Luckily, that wasn’t our job to begin with. Our job is to deliver the message the best that we can, with wisdom (hikmah). Hikmah requires creativity, patience, humility, and a good listening skill – among other things. Focus on that, and not on changing people. That is the power of God, not the power of a human.

Hope that helps.

Allah knows best.