teenagers

A BROTHERS UNDERSTANDING
This is a personal project designed to bridge the gap between my 16-year-old brother and my parents, who still viewed him as a child. Given our intimate relationship, I was able to bring out aspects of him that only a brother could see. Over the years I noticed an unhealthy pattern of bitterness and frustration evolving in the house. A pattern that I was able to break out of by going to uni, but my brother living at home couldn’t.

Two sentences that stood out the most from the bellows of my frustrated parents were “Why are you lazy?” and “What are you hiding?”. This greatly upset me as I realized, from my own experience and by observing similar patterns in my brother and in others, that in this tender and vulnerable period of time we unintentionally learn how to masks ourselves.
No longer kinds, screaming in the playground unaware of social rules nor conformed adults strong in their identity, teenagers undergo a major psychological shift of themselves and of others. The scaffolding of a new sense of one’s life, of one’s self, slowly begins to be established. And as decades of wisdom are accumulated under the belt we slowly soften the tight grip of our protective walls.

Once our foundations are well established, we become playful with our barriers, testing them, trying new things and as time passes we forget what it meant to start the process of forging one’s identity. And with our society moving at an unprecedented pace, it will be increasingly harder for parents to grasp the struggles of their kids.
With my brother, I became aware of him closing off from me and my parents as well as manifesting signs of anger. I noticed how I was behaving with him and who that was affecting him. How my encouragement was heard as being patronizing and belittling to his passionate innovative ideas. I realized that in order for my brother to feel comfortable expressing himself with me and with my parents honestly and openly, we had to change in relation to him. And not to ask interrogative questions such as “What are you hiding?” which will only further the separation and the trust between us.

This project helped me focus on who I needed to change to help re-establish a bond with my brother as well as show my parents the hardship that hi was going through.