Post # 1
Sorry if this is a long post – please help me figure out what to do.
I am 25, graduated college with a good job and living on my own. I have 2 younger sisters. The youngest is 17. When I was living at home my parents were pretty hard on me. Grades and family image were the important thing. I struggled in a few classes in highschool was yelled at and called names when I did not receive grades up to my parents standards. I would dread coming home because inevitably there would be yelling and I would end up in my room crying with shame and guilt about my poor grades and very low self esteem. I grew introverted, shy, anxious and depressed. Because of the depression and of thinking I had no one to turn to and these problems were a reflection of my worth as a person, I cut myself for 4 years. No one noticed or decided to act on the cutting or the depression. Overall, high school was a tough time for me. I was afraid of my parents and their reactions to anything I did wrong. It was like walking on eggshells most of the time. Overall though, I was a good kid. I spent my time in academic clubs, studying and watching movies with a small group of friends. After HS I graduated and got a good job, however I continue to suffer with anxiety and depression all through college and even currently.
Right now my youngest sister is in highschool and my parents have changed a lot. She sneaks out, she drinks, she cusses and talks back,she had her ex-boyfriend spend the night in her room, she has sex, she has had pregnancy scares and an STD scare. When the preganancy and STD scares happened, my sister called me to help her out so my parents didn’t find out. Her grades are far worse than mine ever were. However, mom and dad turn a blind eye to this! They have seen photos of her with drinks and dressed slutty. They found birth control information and a used pregnancy test in her room. She dropped out of several classes. Yet, my parents offer no consequences. It is really frustrating when I think about how much I was scolded and how high the standards were for me.
Fast forward to present day. I called my mom to ask about some mail. During the conversation she mentioned that my sister recieved flowers from her ex-boyfriend (the one that cheated on her twice who she took back and who gave her the pregnancy and STD scares) on Valentines day. I told my Mom it made me sick and how I couldn’t believe that her and dad had no response. Then, later, I recieve a text from my younger sister saying “I don’t appreciate you gossiping to mom about me and relationships dealing with me. If you want to express your concern you can call me and talk to me about it. I came home to yelling and this is not fair. I didn’t do anything and you had to bring this up. I thought we had sisterly secrecy, but apparently not.”
I was blown away. She apparently doesn’t remember who helped her when she was scared she was pregnant or had an STD. The fact that she is still talking to this ex boyfriend is sickening to me. Just thinking about her situations and the fact that mom and dad play dumb to all of this is very stressful to me. Part of me wants to ignore both mom and sister and let them make the next move. All of this drama is driving me crazy.
Should I opt out contacting them/seeing them until there is some apology?
How do I respond to the text message?
Post # 3
This is tricky. Double standards are annoying. Its not fair that you had such a different experience growing up than your younger sisters.
You could tell your sister that you were concerned about her, and thats why you brought it up with your parents. If I had a younger sister who was acting like that I would definitely have spoken up. Your sister needs to learn that there are consequences to her actions, and your parents needed to be made aware of her behaviour.
I hope this works out.
Post # 4
Your story sounds like a slightly more difficult version of mine.
It’s a tough place to be in when you want to help your sister but at the same time think your parents should know what is going on.
I really don’t have any advice, but if you need to rant, shoot me a PM anytime 🙂
Post # 5
I have been there… I am the oldest and I have a younger brother (21) and a younger sister (18). There was always a double standard, just like you’re describing. I would really encourage you to be there for your sister as much as you can, even if you don’t agree with everything.
I don’t know if you can related to this at all, but in case you can, I wanted to share.
Last year, my little sister who was 17 at the time was a victim of an asault that was completely not her fault. She turned to her friends for help getting plan B, going to the emergency room etc. She didn’t want to tell my parents… and she didn’t call me. She was afraid I would tell mom and dad and she wasn’t ready to let them know yet. I honestly wish I wouldn’t have been as hard in the months prior to all of this happening… maybe she would have felt comfortable turning to me for help.
This situation really made me re-evaluate the relationship I have with both my mom and my sister. It was a drawn out over many months – meeting with lawyers, court dates, my sister trying to pull it together to graduate HS (not grades, just making it to school every day – the kids found out what happened and were ruthless, even though she was a sports “star” at the school). I learned to tell my mom that I wasn’t willing to break my sister’s confidence and visa versa. I feel likely I truly cherish the relationship that I have with both my mom and my sister now, but I’ve learned how to keep them separate. I have also learned that while a double standard does exist between my siblings and myself, my parents are truly trying to do what is best of each child as an individual – no two sibilings are a like.
Moral of story: It sounds like your sister is going through a rough time. I would try to keep communication with her open in case she really needs your help in the future.
Post # 6
Reading this kind of reminds me of my family and me. I’m 24, the oldest, have a sister who’s 23 and a sister who’s 17. My parents, especially my dad, were very strict on me and my sister who is close in age to me. We couldn’t get anything lower then a B, a C was tolerated and we better not get anything lower, we rarely went out with friend but when we did there were a lot of questions (like what were their grades) and a bit of intimidation involved. But with my 17 year old sister it was so different. She could basically do whatever she wanted. She would get horrible grades and they would get her a guitar or a cell phone saying that if her grades weren’t up it would be something they could take away from her but it would never happen. She could go out with her friends whenever. My mom would give her a time to be home but whenever she complained about it my mom would say it was okay to stay later. She also has a bad attitude problem sometimes so they cave to her whenever she yells and cries. I swear I was more of a parent to her then my parents were.
I’m sorry you had to go through all that and that it’s left you with some emotional, and maybe even some physical, scars. The only thing I can really advise is that you live your life to make YOU happy. You can be there for your family when they need you, but you also have to let them learn from their mistakes. I don’t think your parents realize that they’re different with your sister then they were with you. I’ve heard most parents get softer as they get older. I also don’t think they really know what your sister does and they won’t know if you help your sister clean up her mess. And I know, as the oldest you want to help her, but she won’t learn if she has someone doing it for her all the time. She also doesn’t seem to appreciate your help. I don’t know if you’ve tried talking to her about where her life is going and what consequences her actions can bring but you can try it and maybe that’ll help open her eyes.
As for the text, I’m not exactly sure what you should say. If it was my sister, I would just let her be mad and get over it. You can’t be there to care for her but your mom can and if her life is heading in the wrong direction, I think your mom should know. Your sister could just be over reacting because she’s never had to deal with consequences. She might get over it in a few days. I hope things get better for you and I wish you the best.
Post # 7
Thank you so much everyone. It is reassurng to know that other oldest children have had similar experiences. I am going to lay low for now and let her deal with the consequences for now on. I have offered her advice and supported her through her ‘scares.’ Not much else I can do if she won’t listen to me. Hopefully when she grows up and older we’ll have a better relationship.
Post # 8
I hope that when she gets older you will have a better relationship. The standards were much more lax for my younger sister as well. Unfortunately there is not much you can do about it; I think you are already doing well by helping to bail your sister out of her messy situations.