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Bob’s Advice for a Kid with a Mean Big Brother


My big brother is being mean to me. Can you help?


DEAR 7-YEAR-OLD,          

Thank you for writing to me. I’m sorry to hear about your mean big brother.

Around here at the dojo, we really like respect, which means being nice to each other. I would love it if everyone was nice and respectful to everyone else, including their siblings.

But the world and the people in it are not are not always nice to us. Maybe your brother being mean to you is a way for you to get ready to go out in the world and do more things. Maybe you can try two things that I’ve learned from the dojo:

1) A wise karate teacher once said, “What goes around, comes around.” He said that if you frown at everyone, they will give you frowns back. And if you are nice and respectful, you will get respect back. You might try this theory on your brother. When he’s being mean to you, you could go out of your way to be nice to him.

(In my bobcat world, I have seen that this doesn’t work instantly. But if I keep being nice to a mean cat, over and over, eventually, they act nice to me. Or there was one mean cat who just stayed away from me after I was nice to him all the time. And that was okay with me.)

More Thoughts on Dealing with a Mean Big Brother

2) Maybe a mean big brother is actually helping you to learn how to deal with other mean people in the world. If number 1) above, being nice back, doesn’t work, I’m sure you can think of a lot of other things you can try if your brother is being mean. There are many people in the world who may treat you in different ways. But you are very smart, and I bet you can think of many different responses to someone being mean. Just make sure your responses fit in with what you know to be the right thing.

For example, depending on what someone is doing to be mean, you could: get a parent involved, use humor, act crazy, reason with them, treat them like a little kid, accept/agree with their behavior, or ignore them. Those are just some ideas. I bet you can come up with a lot more. For inspiration, check out these tips for dealing with bullies. Just remember this note from another wise karate teacher: nobody has the right to physically hurt you. And you always have the right to protect yourself if they try.

One day, I think that you and your brother will learn to be friends. Most siblings eventually do.   



If you have a question for Bob Cat, you can ask him here.

Jenifer Tull-Gauger Kyoshi

Children's picture book author/illustrator. Traditional karate teacher and practitioner. Loves drawing and all kinds of art. Also into animals, plants and Mother Nature.

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