Annie Fox for Teens... Hey, Terra!

Annie (AKA Hey Terra!) has been around long enough to have experienced a lot of what Life can dish out. But, it hasn’t been so long that she's forgotten what it's like to be your age. Check out some of the thousands of email questions teens from around the world have sent to Terra. You may learn something useful from her answers:

“My brother and stepbrother aren't nice to me.”

Hey Terra,

I am in a blended family with 7 kids. The two oldest ones are very good friends. The next two oldest are very good friends. The last two are my brother and step brother, both are 13, and they are extremely best friends. That leaves me no one. All of the older ones live by themselves or with roommates. So I live with the two 13-year-olds. My stepbrother is the leader and my brother is the follower. If my stepbrother is mad at me, then my brother will be mad at me too. Also, if my brother isn't home and it's just me and my stepbrother that will be practically the only time he will have a more than five word conversation with me or play with me. I'm very nice and usually liked by everyone. I want to understand why my stepbrother isn't very warm to me and what should I do when they both gang up on me in a verbal fight? Please help.

Left With No One

Dear Left With No One,

You are an extremely intelligent and insightful young woman. It is rarely easy to "blend" two families into one family that gets along. But it sounds like your family really does get along most of the time. That's great! You're lucky.

But what you're describing between your brother and stepbrother and yourself, well, that doesn't sound so great.

I can certainly understand why it wouldn't be fun to feel "ganged up on" by these two.

Maybe you also feel a little sad that your brother doesn't stand up for you more. Maybe you also feel a little disappointed that he isn't more of a leader who is willing to be "his own person."

There's no reason you should have to put up with this kind of treatment, so here's my suggestion -- have a private conversation with your parents.

In a mature, calm, and respectful way describe to them what you told me. (Show them this email if you think it would help.) Let them know how it makes you feel. Tell them that you need their help making this situation more peaceful. Then let them be the parents and take care of it. They love you and I'm sure they want you to feel more comfortable in your relationship with your brother and stepbrother.

After you talk to them, please write back to me and let me know what happens.

I hope this helps.

In friendship,


Need some advice? Write to Terra. She'll give you a straight answer you can trust without any lectures.

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