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by Abigail Van Buren

Copycat Little Brother Causes No End of Irritation

DEAR ABBY: I am a 13-year-old who wants to be an individual. My 10-year-old brother constantly copies me and mocks me, yet he gets upset whenever I point it out. The last straw was when I went through his YouTube and found almost all of the same music I like.

My parents always say I should be flattered, or he's just looking up to me. I am tired of it! He copies the things I say (and the way I say them), the music I like and my hobbies. It's very, very annoying, and I guarantee that is why he continues to do it.

I've tried telling him to stop, but somehow, in any conversation relating to that, I end up being the bad guy. Should I just throw away my entire collection of interests, enjoyments and hobbies? -- LOSING MY INDIVIDUALITY

DEAR LOSING: On the contrary. Accept that because you are older, you may always be the leader, and your younger brother will continue to follow you and mimic you. He may not do it to annoy you but because he lacks your imagination and interests of his own. Your mistake is letting what he does affect you. The sooner you overcome that impulse, the better off you will be. You may not be able to control your brother, but you can control the way you react to him, and that's a skill that will serve you well as you go through life.

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