Sunday, 18 January 2015

Dealing with Annoying Brothers

How I survive every single day is as mystifying as an episode of Sherlock: I simply don't know how I do it. Not to draw comparisons to a forgettable Sarah Jessica Parker film, but it does amaze me how I get through the day without exploding into a hot, lava-like mess.

The reason why? I am the sister of a younger, deeply annoying brother whose main ambition in life is mostly to drive me around the bend - a full-time occupation with no paid leave. As if my brother even cares about being paid a wage - the angry look on my face is worth more than an entire year's salary!

Irritating your older and typically female sibling appears to be a trait instilled into most young males, or so I feel: very few boys I know are exempt from the have-to-annoy-a-girl-gene, which makes all girls' childhoods an absolute atrocity when growing up with a brother. My parents may sternly tell my brother off when he takes his jokes way too far, but it doesn't prevent him from trespassing into illegal territory on another occasion: like a stick, he keeps prodding me with it over and over again.

Hence why I ask myself how I keep my cool and don't erupt like a volcano every single time that my brother flashes a cheeky grin that faintly masks his devilish nature. Years of experience may significantly help, but I nonetheless get as annoyed as my eight year old self when my brother decides to talk over my favourite TV programmes - a habit which even my parents are immune from. Instead of hoping that he would grow out of his let's-annoy-LikeATeen tendencies, I now spend my time praying that he won't live up to his highly irritating persona: if only I appreciated the mind-occupying powers of weekend football a bit more.

Despite sometimes reserving a special anger that is only unleashed when he pushes me to the edge, there is no denying that I love my brother because, on the occasions that mischief isn't glinting in his forest green eyes, he is warm, friendly and rather caring, though the latter is often forgotten when he sneakily drinks all of the Diet Cokes before I touch one! Because of this, I somewhat reluctantly accept the saying 'boys will be boys' because, underneath the machoness, a kind-hearted boy exists: the brother whom I admire and adore massively. Sadly, I sometimes lose sight of this when my brother is hellbent on winding me up for his own pleasure - making one lose their temper is hardly what I'd consider to be an admirable act! No wonder why I'll never understand a teenage boy's humour...

Having had a younger brother for fourteen years, I've gradually gained the status of an expert in the keeping-yourself-sane-with-a-wild-monster sector as I've older older and have (unfortunately) been on the receiving end of my brother's unamusing jokes. Sometimes, I've had no choice but to rely on my parents' advice, yet neither of them grew up with a little brother - the past fourteen years of my life have been like an experiment as I've had to figure out methods of keeping my cool all by myself. Not particularly what you may call an easy feat!

If you're in need of getting a grip with younger brother (or even sister) blues, read on for some top quality, tried-and-tested advice. Who knows, it might be a temper-saver...

1) Ignore him
Most likely the advice that you'll be given by your parents, who are so frustrated at hearing you moan that they'll only mention the most glaringly obvious - and ineffective - suggestion. In my experience, ignoring my younger brother sometimes works, though it depends on how determined he is to irritate me beyond belief. If he has little else to do, he will carry on regardless of how much I'm ignoring him, or paying more attention than I usually would to my Chemistry work (which he already knows that I don't particularly like). The more that he remains in my presence, the less patience I have - resulting in my being unable to ignore him for longer than five seconds. Ugh, ignoring somebody extremely distracting is far easier said than done - ignore at your own peril!

2) Yell like mad for help
The most trustworthy trick in the book, yelling at the top of your lungs for your mum and dad - who really cannot ignore a frustrated cry whilst trapped in a car - works wonders. If your dad is around, expect a spine-tingling yell to escape his lips, which makes your brother shake in his fluorescent Nike football boots. The air is suddenly subdued, as your brother's naughtiness is drained away, dripping like a leaking tap. You sit in a corner, fighting the urge to grin like The Joker, pleased to no longer being subjected to an annoying campaign from your number one pest. Such a glorious fantasy - if only your brother bothered to pay attention to your dad's warnings, which are pretty much meaningless at the age of fourteen.

3) Lock your bedroom door
Might seem a bit extreme - and, considering that you haven't done anything wrong, similar than a prisoner would receive - but don't destroy the concept of locking your bedroom door just yet. Sometimes, a lock can be the key (quite literally) to keeping you sane and providing a much-needed break from your younger sibling, who you are obliged to live with. Besides, don't parents hate nothing more than doors being slammed in a rush of adolescence anger? Locking a door not only gives you some distance, but enough distance to cool down and let your irritation fade away... Anger doesn't help anyone, let alone yourself!

4) Remind them of his homework
As soon as I bring up the topic of homework on a Saturday night, all the colour - and intentions to wind me up - drains from my brother's face, replaced with an urge to complete his assignments all evening. Then, as my parents devote themselves to helping him, I slip away into my room, treating myself to a peaceful evening which isn't blighted with piercing yells of 'leave me alone' directed at my sibling!

5) Or mention his football team
Especially if they have lost a match. When you remind your brother that you won't stop talking about their badly-performing team until he leaves you alone, you will be amazed by how desperate he will be to no longer hear about his cherished club - at all costs. For severe cases only - he might get his own back on you if he wants to!

6) Play-fight him
Sometimes, a physical match might be the only way to settle things. Make the most of every second of boxing that you see on late-night TV and don't underestimate your strength - doing so has resulted in actually hurting my brother a bit in the past. And, like a noble winner, don't laugh if your brother starts to cry - save it for later!

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