I have a father with high expectations who, I believe, genuinely wants my brother and me to succeed in life. He's a traditional man, and a bit conservative (firmly believing in the "Good ol' days . . ."). The safest bet for success, in my country, is an academic life in fields that are in high demand, and we've accepted that for a fact. I also have a younger brother who agrees with this vision, but not how demanding my father's approach to it is.
The problem is two-fold; on one hand, my father's expectations are very unrealistic. He expects us to be productive all the time. Even a 15-minute rest, which basically means doing anything other than studying, is a big no-no. On the other hand, my brother's increasingly resistive reaction to this has been slacking off more, failing even objectively more realistic expectations. His grades have started suffering, as a result. He has also gotten very defensive about his actions. They have gotten into some very bitter arguments over this, and no one in the family seems happy after the argument for as long as days every time.
I was initially a rescuer, but as time passed, my brother's reaction to all this was actually slacking off more, and he gradually ended up putting inadequate effort into his studies. I've been more of a bystander in their arguments in the past few months. I feel the need for this to change, and for me to mediate, because
- They haven't gotten close to resolving the issue by themselves, and are not making progress
- My younger brother expects me to support him and play the role of the rescuer again
- My brother has also developed an interesting notion of the right to slack off as much as he wants (not to be confused with taking a break or having fun), so things can only get worse
Next time they got into an argument, I want to mediate, not simply be a bystander. How can I help them realize the limitations and flaws in their own mindset, and gain some respect for the opposing viewpoint?