A close relative's fraternal twin boys are almost 10. Since they were toddlers, the one boy, I'll refer to him as "Joe", has displayed what I think is an unusual level of resentment and animosity towards his brother. I have watched them together on many occasions and Joe seems unable to leave his brother in peace.
The other twin, "Sam", is rather nerdy, easy-going, and talkative. He is unusually articulate for his age but is less physically coordinated and I may suffer from dyslexia, altho his parents are not forthcoming on that. To me Sam seems a more or less normally developing personality. He can develop strong focuses on certain things that interest him - bringing them up tediously, but not any more than a lot of other young children.
"Joe" does not talk as much, is watchful, more aggressive, more coordinated and athletic, and of slighter build. He does better academically and can concentrate when he wants to. He also indicates a deep need to win in everything. He will even cheat to do so and then become incensed and call everyone else a cheat if he doesn't win, often ruining the game.
Sam can play alone and by now prefers to. For a long time Sam didn't react to the aggression from Joe, but as he's gotten older, he has started fighting back. I have seen Joe watch Sam and then sidle up to quietly suggest they play something together. Sam reluctantly agrees - rather like Charlie Brown with Lucy, which ends up with Joe yelling insults and abuse or starting a fight. From conversations with other family members, this happens most when one or both parents are around. (Although it may happen when the boys are alone as well.)
Bottom line is that I think the whole family and Joe in particular could benefit from family counseling. I think Joe has deep seated insecurities (probably not due to anything the parents have done wrong), just that he craves control and has subconscious fears he can't verbalize. Since the adults are bigger, he goes after Sam. I think he resents Sam's confidence as well. But recently I've seen that he has now moved to yelling awful insults at his parents and even hitting his father when he has tried to discipline him.
I do not know if the boys can ever become friends at this point, but I do see the stress this is causing the family as a whole, particularly his mother. Sam is unhappy and Joe certainly can't be. I have talked to other family members and they also see the problem, but apparently feel the parents don't want any advice.
The parents are intelligent, educated people, and I am boggled at their solution to this. They get angry at Sam for not ignoring Joe's taunts and tell him he should just "walk away". They have been told by other parents of twin boys with this problem that eventually the more passive boy hauls off and beats up the bully and that "solves" the problem. !! I for one can't believe people expect a 9 year old to solve a problem that the adults don't even understand! And that violence is the solution!
Should I just go along with the rest and ignore this?
Mind you, I have said nothing to either boy about any of this, although I have tried to befriend Sam when I can.
If I can't *say* anything, is there at least a book or something I could give to the mother that might help? Or should I just butt out?
I don't know where else to ask about this situation. I really love my family and don't want to become persona non grata by butting in. But we all know depressed or dysfunctional adults who could have benefitted from professional childhood intervention. I don't know why middle America finds it so unthinkable to get help for their kids?