DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: Ever since we were kids, my younger brother got away with just about anything he wanted to. My mom would never yell at him the way she yelled at me, even if I didn’t do anything nearly as bad as he did.
Even now, when we are adults, my younger brother gets away without being lectured by my mom, but if I do the smallest thing she doesn’t approve of, I get the third degree followed by a long sermon on everything I did wrong.
I just don’t get why he gets away with everything, and I am judged and yelled at. I am not perfect, but I certainly do usually make better decisions than my brother.
Am I wrong to want to not always be the one who is wrong? --- MY BROTHER GETS AWAY WITH IT ALL
DEAR MY BROTHER GETS AWAY WITH IT ALL: My best guess is that, fair or not, as you’re the older child, your mother has higher expectations of you and your behavior. I’d also bet that if you ask any number of fellow first-borns, you’ll hear a similar story.
If you’ve never directly and calmly discussed with your mom how you feel about the apparent unfair treatment, it may be time to do so. Old habits die hard, and if she relied on you to be “the responsible big brother” in childhood, she may be hoping and expecting you to continue in that role even now that you and your brother are adults.