How to Stop Your Brother from Annoying You

Four Parts:Easing Tensions With Your BrotherDealing With JealousyGetting a Parent InvolvedEstablishing Boundaries Between You and Your Brother

A sibling can be a wonderful lifelong friend, but at some point, you and your brother will probably be at odds with one another. It's important to address problems with your sibling in a calm and rational manner, as sinking to his level will only add fuel to the fire. Learning how to stop your brother from annoying you can help you and your brother get along better and develop a stronger relationship.

Part 1
Easing Tensions With Your Brother

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    Ignore your brother rather than responding. If your brother is being difficult, you may have to try temporarily ignoring him. This isn't a very effective strategy for long-term sibling relationships, but if you want to avoid lashing out in anger, the best response is to just ignore him.[1]
    • Not responding is not a sign of weakness. If anything, it takes more strength and willpower to resist lashing out at your brother or sinking to his antics.
    • Remember that you have to pick and choose your battles. You can't engage with your brother every single time he annoys you, especially if he's not very communicative.
    • If you don't give your brother the response he wants (getting upset or irritated), he'll tire himself out eventually and give up on it.
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    Remain calm if you do respond. If your brother is annoying you, you may be tempted to lash out at him in anger or respond with equally-annoying behavior. However, that type of reaction will only make things worse. Any time you feel an urge to respond with harsh words or annoying behavior, remember that being calm and collected is more likely to break your brother out of his annoying behavior than getting angry.[2]
    • Take a deep breath and let it out slowly. Keep your focus on your breathing pattern to calm down quickly.[3]
    • Try counting to 10 before responding. Take deep breaths in and out during that 10 second count, and try to think about how to express yourself calmly and rationally.
    • Go for a short walk or leave the room for a few minutes if you need to compose yourself for longer than 10 seconds. Let your brother know you'll be right back, and think about what you want to say and how best to say it.
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    Compromise with your brother. Any time you can negotiate a peaceful resolution with your brother, you should try to do so. Sometimes that may require compromising on some aspect of the situation, or even putting your brother's needs before yours for a short period of time. Ultimately, though, this will help de-escalate the situation and may help prevent future conflicts.[4]
    • Ask your brother directly what it is he wants to communicate to you.
    • Let your brother feel heard and validated, and try to rephrase the things he says. Say something like, "I think I understand where you're coming from. You're saying you feel ____ when I _____, and that's causing problems."
    • Try to arrive at a mutually-beneficial solution. Ask your brother for input, offer your own input, and try to compromise.
    • Recognize that no one is going to get their way all the time. The goal is to arrive at a solution that both you and your brother feel somewhat satisfied with, even if it's not the solution you'd hoped for.
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    Give your brother positive attention. A common cause of annoying sibling behavior is simple boredom. Perhaps your brother is bored, or feels like he's not getting enough attention. Instead of giving him negative attention by fighting back or engaging in your own annoying behavior, try doing something fun and productive together.[5]
    • Doing something fun together should take your brother's attention away from being annoying pretty quickly, and it might help the two of you bond over the shared experience.
    • Try going for a walk or riding bikes together (if you're still young, make sure you get your parents' permission first), or do something indoors like watching a movie, putting together a puzzle, or playing video games together (although this may cause more fights).
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    Try not to take insults/annoyances personally. It can be very difficult to not be personally offended or bothered by insulting/annoying behavior. However, at the end of the day, your brother is still your sibling, and he does actually care about you. Let your brother know that he's upsetting you and try to find a resolution, but don't take it personally.[6]
    • Know that your brother probably isn't trying to actually hurt your feelings. Some people (especially at a younger age) just don't know any better.
    • Your brother probably won't remember the annoying or hurtful things he said/did in an hour, so don't waste your time holding a grudge.
    • Remember that by letting your brother's behavior upset you, you're giving him all the power. If he sees that he's bothering you, he's more likely to keep up with the annoying/hurtful behavior.

Part 2
Dealing With Jealousy

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    Recognize that jealousy may be causing annoying behavior. If your brother is jealous about some aspect of your life, he may be acting out as a way of expressing his frustration. If you think this may be the case, you may want to at least attempt to have a direct and honest conversation with your brother about how his jealousy hurts your feelings and makes things difficult between you.[7]
    • Think about your situation and the times your brother has lashed out at you with annoying behavior. Is it possible he's jealous of your grades, your possessions, or your lifestyle?
    • Your brother is probably motivated by a simple urge to vent his frustrations.
    • If your brother is jealous because something you're doing now takes away from the time you used to spend together, the best way to calm his feelings may be to spend more time with him. However, it's important to set your own limits and boundaries, and let him know that he needs to respect them.
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    Find ways to make your brother happy. Your brother's jealousy is probably related to not getting enough attention. If you make him feel better about himself by finding things to feel good about, it might help snap him out of his jealous streak.[8]
    • Even if you can't get your brother the same thing he's jealous you have, you can help him find something to be happy about. That might help curb his annoying behavior, at least temporarily.
    • Give credit to your brother for the things he's good at. If your brother is jealous that you made the soccer team, remind him how good he is at other activities, or talk about how good he's doing in school.
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    Motivate your brother to get what you have. If your brother's annoying behavior is motivated by jealousy, one way to resolve the situation is to help him get what you have (or something like it). This obviously won't be feasible all of the time, but in certain situations it can help calm down a jealous sibling. Plus, if your brother sees you trying to help him, he might learn to be less resentful of you.[9]
    • If your brother is jealous of your good grades, offer to help him study.
    • If he's jealous of the fact that you're better at him in sports, spend some time playing catch or practicing with him to help him improve.
    • If he's jealous that you have a significant other and he doesn't, offer to help him ask someone out (if he's old enough to date).
    • No matter what it is your brother is jealous of, the point is to show him that he's not limited to what he currently has. If you offer to help him get the thing that he wants, he'll be even more receptive to changing his present situation.

Part 3
Getting a Parent Involved

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    Recognize behavior that requires a parent. As you and your brother grew up together, you've probably had your share of fights. However, sometimes squabbles cross a line and become hostile acts or even bully-like behavior. In those instances, it's best to get a parent involved who can mediate the situation and take action as needed.[10]
    • Picking on a sibling is normal. However, if your brother continuous to torment you about the same topic over a period of several days or weeks, it might be bully behavior.
    • If your brother doesn't apologize or try to make up with you after a fight, or continues to show hostility towards you at all times, it's a sign of bullying.
    • Having some type of advantage, like being bigger/older/more popular, can quickly turn simple sibling rivalries into a bullying situation.
    • If you think your brother is legitimately bullying you, talk to a parent right away.
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    Have your parents mediate a conversation. If you believe that a situation is out of control and you haven't been able to reach any kind of agreement on your own, it may be helpful to have one or both parents moderate a conversation. This can allow both you and your brother to express your thoughts and feelings on the conflict in a safe, supportive environment. Your parents can also help keep the peace if a disagreement arises, and ultimately give some type of command on how to proceed.[11]
    • Have your parents sit down with both of you individually, then together to moderate a family discussion.
    • Encourage your parents to try and find a solution that makes everyone happy. Ideally, you should be able to arrive at some type of win/win situation.
    • If you were unsuccessful at reaching a compromise on your own with your brother, your parents' final say in the matter should resolve the conflict.
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    Encourage your parents to enforce the rules. If your parents are ignoring your brother's aggressive, annoying, or otherwise problematic behavior, you may need to bring it to their attention. Ask your parents to be fair and apply the same rules to both you and your brother, and to enforce the rules to keep the peace.[12]
    • Your parents may not be aware of the situation, or may not realize its extent.
    • It's easy for parents to get caught up between work and family distractions. Make a point of bringing problems to your parents' attention when you haven't been able to resolve those issues on your own.
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    Try to plan family activities that bring everyone together. This may not stop your brother in the moment from being annoying, but it can help you build a stronger sibling relationship. It can also provide a much-needed break from any tension that might have been building between you at home.[13]
    • Sometimes getting out of the house and having a positive, shared experience can help you bond with a sibling.
    • At the very least, a group outing should distract your brother from his problematic behavior.
    • You can use the time with your family to find things that make everyone happy, and try to incorporate those elements into your everyday lives.

Part 4
Establishing Boundaries Between You and Your Brother

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    Spend more time apart. Whether you're the older sibling or the younger one, you may find it frustrating to spend a lot of time with your brother when he's exhibiting annoying behavior. If your parents have you watch your brother a lot or make you bring him with you when you go out, talk to them about spending more time alone or with your friends independent of your brother.[14]
    • A growing sense of independence and individuality is one of the biggest reasons siblings end up fighting when they spend time together.
    • Let your parents know that you value the time you and your family spend together, but that you really need more time by yourself or with your friends.
    • Remind your parents that you and your brother can still be close while spending more time apart. If anything, it will make the time you do spend together be of greater quality.
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    Avoid having to babysit your brother. Depending on your age and your family's living situation, your parents may frequently ask you to watch your brother. If this is the case, you may find it difficult to have your own space and time alone. Talk to your parents about finding alternatives or working out a compromise.
    • Suggest hiring a babysitter. If your parents are resistant to the idea, you could at least ask for some type of extra allowance or compensation for babysitting.
    • You might try suggesting that you could continue to babysit your brother once or twice each week if you get to have the weekends to yourself without your brother.
    • It's best to have this conversation without your brother present, as he may have hurt feelings or voice objection. Younger children often have a hard time understanding why someone who is older might have more responsibility or freedom.
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    Demand privacy when you have visitors. If you have friends or a significant other over, it's important to set boundaries with your brother. Your visitors shouldn't be subjected to your brother's annoying behavior, especially if he tries to direct that behavior at your friends.
    • Tell your brother to stop. If he won't listen, try getting your parents involved.
    • Try inviting friends over when you know your brother won't be home or will be busy with his own friends.
    • If your brother won't stop and your parents won't intervene, putting a lock on your door might be the only way to enforce your right to privacy when friends are visiting.
    • Ask your parents before you install any locks, or they may get upset or suspicious.
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    Ask your parents for your own room. Sharing a room can be a great bonding experience if you and your brother get along reasonably well. If you don't get along or if you simply need your own space, ask your parents about rearranging your home to accommodate your needs. There may be an extra room being used as a craft room or home office, for example, that could be an extra bedroom.[15]
    • Depending on your living situation, having your room may simply not be an option. You may have limitations on space that would make it impossible for you and your brother to have your own rooms.
    • If your family is limited by space, you may be able to rearrange a room to allow for you to have your own space. Talk to your parents about converting a home office into a bedroom, or perhaps part of the basement or attic.
    • When you talk to your parents and make your request, frame the petition as an issue of privacy. It's much easier for a parent to make arrangements if it ensures privacy, rather than simply to solve a short-term dispute.
    • You might say something like, "Mom and Dad, I know we don't have a ton of extra space. But I'm getting older, and I'd really like it if we could try to find a way for me to have my own room so I can have more privacy."
    • If your parents are planning on moving, let them know that you would really appreciate it if having separate rooms were a factor in choosing your new home.


  • Give him something to occupy himself instead of bugging you.
  • Don't argue. All he wants to do is get a rise out of you, so why let it bother you? If you have a hard time controlling your temper, take a few deep breaths and tell him nicely that you want to be alone for a while.
  • Try doing some stuff he likes and when you guys are done tell him you want some alone time for your self. Hopefully he'll give you some space.
  • Try to be nice to your brother. Remind him that someday you might be the only family he has.
  • Try telling your brother nicely that he wouldn't like it if other people did to him what he's doing to you. It's possible he may not realize how bad his own behavior has been.
  • Be the bigger person and show your brother how to act. Don't actually give him a lecture, but act well and be a good example.
  • If all else fails, just ignore him. He will get bored and stop annoying you.


  • Never use bad language, because it will get you into trouble with your parents.
  • Don't engage in bad behavior. If your brother tries to insult you, tell an adult or walk away.
  • If your brother starts a physical fight, tell him to stop then go to your parents. Fighting back will only cause greater resentment and anger.
  • Never call your brother names or hit him.

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Categories: Siblings