Lol, I think she will grow out of it. She’s only 16. I visited a friend’s home when I was in collge. Her sister was also 16 at that time. I wasn’t the only guest from college at their home, but her sister proceeded to put up a fit about the dinner being served. Then she wanted to go out, but her parents asked her to stay for a bit because it was my friend’s birthday. She threw a screaming tantrum about how she hated her sister. She screamed through the house how she should just go away and how she didn’t matter anymore since she left for college and didn’t live there anymore. She was the only child that mattered since she was still living there, and everything in the house belonged to her. After two years, she came to the same area for college and had calmed down a lot. Back then, we (the guests) were all horrified at what she was saying and that she was behaving this way in front of guests. Her sister (my friend) and parents were mortified. One could only wonder what she was thinking, because in no way would that have ever seem justified in any situation. But at 16 her brain wasn’t fully developed yet, and that does have a large part to do with her behavior.
Here’s a quote from an article:
“scientists used to think human brain development was pretty complete by age 10. Or as she puts it, that “a teenage brain is just an adult brain with fewer miles on it.” But it’s not. To begin with, she says, a crucial part of the brain — the frontal lobes — are not fully connected. Really. “It’s the part of the brain that says: ‘Is this a good idea? What is the consequence of this action?’ ” Jensen says. “It’s not that they don’t have a frontal lobe. And they can use it. But they’re going to access it more slowly.”
That’s because the nerve cells that connect teenagers’ frontal lobes with the rest of their brains are sluggish. Teenagers don’t have as much of the fatty coating called myelin, or “white matter,” that adults have in this area. Think of it as insulation on an electrical wire. Nerves need myelin for nerve signals to flow freely. Spotty or thin myelin leads to inefficient communication between one part of the brain and another.
Recent studies show that neural insulation isn’t complete until the mid-20s. This also may explain why teenagers often seem so maddeningly self-centered. “You think of them as these surly, rude, selfish people,” Jensen says. “Well, actually, that’s the developmental stage they’re at. They aren’t yet at that place where they’re thinking about — or capable, necessarily, of thinking about the effects of their behavior on other people. That requires insight.” And insight requires — that’s right — a fully connected frontal lobe.
As for when your parents will stop being so overprotective of her? Probably never. I’m the younger of two (also with a large age difference), and my parents are still very overprotective of me. It’s what comes with being the youngest. But my mum practiced the calm, ignoring method with me and for the most part I was a well behaved teenager.
And perhaps the problem doesn’t just lie with your sister but also with your mother. She may also be going through some kind of personal crisis. Your sister is steadliy growing up, even if she is acting like a little brat. Your mother may be having a hard time accepting that her kids are grown up. It’s much easier to accept the oldest one growing up when you still have little ones in the house. But when the littlest one is growing up and getting close to leaving, then what’s left for your mother?
She may also perceive your having grown up, and getting married as a sign of you leaving the nest forever. This may lead to her being more distant with you and closer with your sister.
Giving your parents parenting advice seldom works well. Perhaps the way to working up to civilized conversation is to engage your mother in activities outside of the house, away from your sister. Do things with just the two of you. When you strengthen the personal relationship between the two of you, it might help her listen more when you say “Hey, I may be grown up, but I am also your child. I know that you may be frustrated with little sister’s mood swings, but it is not okay for you to take it out on me. It hurts me, and makes me feel like I am not a valued part of this family.”
Spending bonding time alone with her may also help her see that even with your younger siblings leaving the nest, and you getting married, that it’s not the end of her world as mommy. Instead of clinging onto your sister, she has a lovely, grown up daughter who is reaching out to her. That when kids grow up, they don’t stop needing their mother. And that she won’t be lost once the last one is out of the house because she’ll have you, and the new activities you’re helping her explore.
Best of luck to you! I hope things work out with your mom, and that your sister calms down in a few years.