How to Deal With a Bullying Brother

by Shelly Barclay

Having a brother as a bully can be more difficult than having a bully outside of the family, because a brother typically has more access to siblings than their peers do. He can be a bully at home, outings and even at school, if the age gap is not great. Bullying from a brother can be anything from verbal abuse to physical abuse -- including inappropriate contact. Siblings may be able to stop verbal abuse without assistance from an adult, but it is necessary to involve an adult if the bullying becomes physical or sexual in nature.

Verbal Bullying

Stay out of situations that make bullying arise, such as being alone with your brother. Stay away from your bullying brother and in the company of adults or friends as often as possible.

Bring attention to a brother's bullying by being vocal when the bullying is within earshot of an adult. It is likely that the bullying brother is trying to keep the bullying from parents. Saying something like, "I do not appreciate you teasing me. Please stop," loud enough for nearby adults to hear may stop the bullying. Adults who hear these exchanges may stop it for you.

Behave as if the verbal bullying does not bother you. Act nonchalant and say things that will not give your bullying brother what he needs -- a reaction. Smile and say, "Thank you," to insults. Look in his eyes and do not flee from verbal onslaughts.

Tell parents about the bullying if they do not get the opportunity to witness it and stop it themselves. Let them know exactly what is happening and how it makes you feel.

Physical Bullying

Avoid physical retaliation to bullying, especially if your brother is larger or older than you are. Hitting a brother who is bullying you may make him more aggressive. Instead, use defensive techniques, such as protecting your face with your arms. If necessary, ask your parents to enroll you in a self-defense class.

Avoid being alone with your brother when your parents are not home. If your parents are home when he gets physical, get their attention by yelling for help.

Tell your parents or another responsible adult about any physical bullying from your brother. If one adult does not intervene to stop it, do not be afraid to speak to another adult, such as a guidance counselor, about it.

Dial 911 if bullying from a brother is severe, you are scared for your safety or there is a weapon involved. Contact authorities if the bullying becomes sexual in nature. It is not something you have to handle on your own because it is your brother. If you need help, try to get it.


  • Try to behave confidently. Bullies want victims. Confidence may decrease your potential for being a victim.
  • Do not allow threats from your brother stop you from seeking help from an adult if you need it.


  • Only call 911 in true emergencies or you can get in trouble with the authorities. Any dangerous situations are emergencies. Your brother threatening to break your belongings is not.

About the Author

Shelly Barclay began writing in 1990, focusing on fiction. She has been writing nonfiction articles since 2008. Her work appears on various websites, focusing on topics such as history, cooking, scrapbooking, travel and animals. Before she began writing, Barclay was a line cook for 10 years.

Photo Credits

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