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to be very unhappy about this

(23 Posts)
kiola Fri 21-Oct-11 22:10:08

My brother is doing his a levels and is struggling a little in his second year. I went to Cambridge uni and my parents are using this against him telling him that if he doesn't make a good university then he will be a failure and they are also saying like if kiola can do it then you should be able to. I'm really unhappy about this as its really mean and unconstructive and I don't want a competition between me and him as it could cause tension between us.

FabbyChic Fri 21-Oct-11 22:12:05

I would find that disgraceful, my eldest 23 went to Warwick the 3rd top Uni for maths after cambridge and Oxford, my youngest 18 felt pressurised to also get into Warwick becuase his brother went, he was worried he couldn't do as well as his brother.

I told him that he is an individual and he has to do the best to his abilities, he decided to go to Bath refusing Warwick.

Talk to your parents and tell them yourself also talk to your brother and help him as much as you can with his studies.

Lucyinthepie Fri 21-Oct-11 22:12:06

Tell them then.

I agree. Tell them to stop it because if they don't - they could ruin your relationship with your brother and they don't have the right to do that.

blackeyedsusan Fri 21-Oct-11 22:18:50

it is not helpful to compare siblings as each one is an individual. have you spoken to your brother about it? you might become hated through no fault of your own and you need to try and counteract that. poor brother sad

kiola Fri 21-Oct-11 22:18:52

Lucyinthepie- I was going to see what MN thought before saying anything

Kayano Fri 21-Oct-11 22:26:55

That's awful

My cousin went to Oxford... But seriously had no life. I was not as gifted but tried so hard and got a degree from a lesser university

My dads family made me feel like shit despite both getting 2:1 and now we don't speak

I did resent the fact I was not up to their standards despite my best efforts sad

lydiamama Fri 21-Oct-11 22:31:19

yes talk to them kiola, they are seriously harming your brother by making him feel less, and yourself because they will stir problems between you two, go and hug your brother and support him, tell him how wonderful you are, and let me really congratulate you so much for being more mature than your own parents!!!!!!!!!!!!

piloi Fri 21-Oct-11 22:40:43

I think it depends on how serious they are when they say these things. I f they say it in a half hearted way then YABU but if they actually mean it then YANBU and it could cause problems between you.

janewa Fri 21-Oct-11 23:00:03

YABU thers nothing wrong with encouraging him to try and get one over his sister. Like it or not sibling rivalry is natural and can be motivational

Xiaoxiong Fri 21-Oct-11 23:14:57

janewa I totally disagree in this situation. Sibling rivalry may be natural but it's certainly not something I think any parent should be actively encouraging between their children, especially not at the stage the OP and her brother are at.

kiola I would talk to both your parents and your brother. Tell your parents to back off and that they are likely to harm the relationship between you and your brother and undermine his confidence. And tell your brother that you think your parents are being twats and you think he's a legend for trying hard at his a-levels - there are loads of great universities, if that's where he wants to go, and you will support him in making a success of whatever he wants to do.

AgentZigzag Fri 21-Oct-11 23:17:08

Not only are they using you to pressure him, but saying 'well if kiola can do it, then you can' is a bit bloody cheeky!

They just sound as though they're trying to manipulate him.

You should foil the plans they have mapped out for him in their heads, and let him in on the fact that he's old enough to make his own decisions.

wikolite Fri 21-Oct-11 23:17:41

Are you sure you haven't got the wrong end of the stick and that these things are being said in a serious manner rather than jovially. It sounds like it could be friendly family banter.

Matronalia Fri 21-Oct-11 23:28:31

My dad did this with my brother. I did very well academically, went on to excellent university and excelled. My brother did very badly in exams but was pushed into going to university. He repeated his first year twice and then dropped out. He got a job in IT on the basis of his enthusiasm and obvious talent despite poor grades and now earns £35k+ at the age of 27.

Throughout his life he was constantly compared to me and my parents continued to push the academics in which I excelled (and he didn't), rather than seeing that he had other talents and interests.

I dont think its a co-incidence that he had a breakdown at university and now barely speaks to our father. Our relationship is not very close either, although as we get older we are getting back on even terms.

My parents didnt listen to me. I hope yours listen to you.

oila Fri 21-Oct-11 23:28:32

YABU they are using you as an example for him to aim for, thats no bad thing and reflects well on you IMO. Why would it strain your relationship with your brother?

Xiaoxiong Fri 21-Oct-11 23:30:16

wilko if the brother is treating it as banter as well, then fine - but if he's feeling pressured as the OP seems to be implying (as he is struggling with his a levels anyway) it doesn't matter if the parents meant it as banter or not. It will still have the effect of pitting the siblings against each other for their parents' approval.

The intention of the parents in saying these things is immaterial - it's how it's being received by the kids that matters.

AgentZigzag Fri 21-Oct-11 23:39:20

Oila - because it makes the OP out to be smug and superior, and if he doesn't live up to their expectations, then he's a failure in their eyes.

I would be reluctant to take it up with your parents OP.

Arming your brother with the knowledge you defintately don't think like this yourself and he can do as he jolly well pleases, is one thing.

But getting involved in the relationship between your parents and their son, may be construed as you trying to manipulate them, which is similar to what's upsetting you about the situation (I might be being a bit harsh there, not sure).

Sibling relationships can be extremely complicated, Oila. If one feels that the other is somehow favoured, or thought better of, or that they are a failure in their parents eyes for not being as 'good' as the other one - they can begin to resent (and sometimes hate) their sibling. You would think they would resent the parents for saying it, wouldn't you? But people are funny creatures and quite often when someone feels they are the less favoured one it sours their relationship with Favoured Offspring.

ragged Sat 22-Oct-11 08:32:06

yanbu. I would be very very angry, OP.
Funny how everyone is focusing on the sibling rivalry, it's the emphasis on what they think of as a "good" university that makes my red mist descend.

oila Sat 22-Oct-11 10:18:41

I suppose you could be right, tbh I'm an only child and I only have 1 dc so I don't have any experience.

bned Sat 22-Oct-11 10:37:23

They are just trying to encourage him using you as an example, I don't think there is anything wrong with that.

EllaDee Sat 22-Oct-11 23:12:17

Really, bned? shock

Can you talk to your parents and say you don't like what they are saying? It is not nice, IMO - both because it implies if you can do it, anyone can, and because it is mean to your brother to insist he should be like you when he's his own person. My little brother got this from my parents a lot - he went to Leeds and my parents insisted he'd have been happier elsewhere and could have gone somewhere better. It is upsetting, DB and I have talked about it, and even though he graduated a few years ago and is a very happy, relaxed type, he admits it was upsetting and made him feel rotten.

I agree with ragged about the 'good' universities thing, btw.

pigletmania Sun 23-Oct-11 00:09:36

bned there is a lot wrong with that, it can be psychologically damaging. Putting the kid down and telling him that he will be a failure if he does not get good grades shock. How is that encouraging hmm

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