Teenage sister stress (LONG)

posted 2 years ago in Relationships
Post # 2
2666 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 1996

I’m going to be honest: I think you are really judgmental and you need to detach a bit from your strong opinions about her life choices when, frankly, she is clearly bright and moving on with her life (she is accepted to college and preparing to go in the fall, I assume?) Her relationship with her mom is not your problem or your responsibility. If you want to “help” her, maybe try to focus on the things she is doing right, like getting amazing grades and getting into college, and try to ignore the stuff you disapprove of. I don’t know her boyfriend, but I’m not sure why it’s so impossible to believe he’s going to get his GED and get a job? Plenty of people do that. (And I assume he’s approximately her age, not a 35 year old or whatever, at which point a person’s patterns in life seem a bit more realistic to predict.)

Post # 3
27 posts
  • Wedding: April 2013

I dont think you’re being judgemental, i think you’re being concerned!

Post # 4
4719 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

pghbride2013:  Agreed.

I certainly don’t think you’re being judgemental, just helping to paint to big picture. I honestly don’t know how I’d proceed. I too have a much younger sister from my dad’s second marriage (we’re 14 yaers apart) so I totally “get” it. Although my sister and I are close, sometimes I’m at a loss of how to move forward with dealing with certain issues.

Does she have plans to go to college? Is it out of the town in which you guys (and her boyfriend) live? If so, I would just bide my time until she leaves for college and if she’s serious she will most likely thrive there and forget about the boy. However, if she doesn’t have intentions of going to school I would probably tell her that I would help her find a job IF she gets rid of the boyfriend and gets serious about life.

Post # 5
1131 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

I agree, I don’t think you’re being judgmental. Or at least only in the most natural way – when people make stupid choices, we judge them. It’s human nature.

i don’t even have any advice. I think if I were you I would try to share my worries with my sister in the most loving way possible. I would try to listen to her side of the story, find out why she left, what she plans to do about school. 

I might try to negotiate a compromise with sister and her mom so sister agrees to go home. I would beg the mom and help her find a therapist sister could start seeing.

Post # 8
687 posts
Busy bee

I agree with others that you are not being judgmental. Of course you’re going to worry when your sister is doing things like having unprotected sex.

That said, she’s a teenager. We all did a lot of that stuff and turned out fine. My 7-years-younger sister was immature, had the same dream of “getting a job and getting a place” and soon learned how hard it is to support yourself on a minimum wage job especially with a boyfriend who contributes minimally. It took her a few years longer than some, but she’s getting her act together now.

There is nothing you can do to control someone at that age. You just have to strike the right balance between being supportive, but not totally enabling. A lot of times that involves stepping back and letting them make their own mistakes.

Post # 9
560 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2013

Just go with what you’re doing. Be the person she can go to for advice, for help and to talk. She needs you to be there for her since her mother isn’t. Tell her you’re proud of how we’ll she’s doing in school and how great it is that she’s going to vet school. She need to feel supported by the good so if you have to say something negative it doesn’t feel like she’s always getting yelled at for not being good enough. And only get negative if she asks your opinion or you are seriously concerned she’s in danger. 

Help her get a job! Help her pick places, fill out applications, whatever. It’s certainly more positive than the last things he asked for “help” with as the more time she’s working, the less time she has to party.

If it’s possible, I would let her know you’d be happy to get her some birth control or take her to the clinic for it, or buy her condoms. Just let her know you’re not judging her and it’s normal to have sex with your boyfriend, but you just want to help her be safe, too. Maybe if she feels more accepted and less “dirty” about it she’ll agree to use protection. (I have a feeling her mother may not have been very supportive in this area.)

Make sure she follows up with all the college stuff and has all her paperwork done. Your goal is to get that girl to school. Lots of kids break up when one goes off to college, and I don’t think this will be different. Let them break up organically, just validate her once she starts to realize he’s bad news bears.

I have siblings/friends a lot like your sister. All you can do is support the good decisions they make and lend an ear when they realize they’ve messed up. You’d much rather her come to you when stuff gets weird than some party friend who is going to give her terrible advice.

Post # 10
1987 posts
Buzzing bee

I agree with the other PPs–you are most definitely not being judgmental. You are being a wonderful sister. You care about her. You don’t want to see her hurt. You worry about her. I wish I had good advice for you, but I just wanted to let you know to keep being there for her. One day she’ll realize that you care, and why, and what a great sister you are. 🙂 

Post # 11
2150 posts
Buzzing bee

urchin:  Your sister sounds exactly like mine.

I did everything you’re trying to do. And let me tell you, it didn’t work.

However, my sister dropped out of high school and hasn’t gotten her GED (she’s 22 now).

And now she’s pregnant (see this thread.. update: she said she was going to give it up for adoption, but also lied about that)

All I can say is that you can try and try and try and try until you’re blue in the face and emotionally drained. But SHE has to be willing to help herself. 

I would take my sister to work (when she worked) if she needed a ride, I would practically beg her to hang out with me and she never would, I offered to help her get on track to get her GED- she didn’t take it, etc. Only when she needs something does she come to me. For instance, she needed her taxes done last year. So she asked me if I could help. I said sure. She came over to my house, messed around on her phone, barely talked to me, and asked for my wi-fi password while I did her taxes. She’s a very ungrateful person and extremely immature. 

I wouldn’t say I have written her off, but I don’t make an effort to make contact with her. She has never once reciprocated any of the positive things I have done for her; it’s all about her and what she wants or needs. I’m not going to continue to give and give and give and not receive even a goddamn thank you. I’m here for her, I will listen to her if she needs something, I will pick up the phone if she calls, but I’m done making an effort because it’s pointless. 

I’m not saying you should give up- especially because your sister sounds like she has more potential than mine did/does- but there comes a point where you have to realize it’s her life and her ultimate decision. You can warn her, give her all the advice you want (I started doing that when she was in junior high- look what it did for her), but she has to decide to use it to her advantage. 

Good luck. 

Post # 12
2150 posts
Buzzing bee

I also asked my sister to be in my bridal party at no cost to her. She said no.

Post # 14
2150 posts
Buzzing bee

urchin:  You will eventually get to that point where you have to decide if her emotional well-being is more important than yours. Because you mentally and physically cannot be equally involved in both and remain sane. 

My sister was causing me so much worry and stress, I had to walk away. My health is more important to me than trying to help her.

My poor dad has clinically diagnosed anxiety and he is CONSTANTLY worrying about her. I feel so bad; he has frequent panic attacks. I wish he could just let her go. She’s an adult now, if she wants to screw up her life, that’s her choice. 

You may think you know what’s best for your sister (and you’re probably pretty close to being right), but you also know what’s best for you. You come first. 

ETA: I’m still up in the air about inviting my sister to my wedding. I’m really worried she’s going to use it as an opportunity to cause a scene… we’ll see..

Post # 15
2894 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

urchin: stop enabling her but keep being supportive. It’s hard when you don’t agree with her choices but you can still support her!

What worked for me and my brother was for me to stop paying for him and bailing him outright, but for us to come to an agreement — he had to apply to jobs and he was always welcome over for a meal, roof, shower as long as he was applying to jobs. It only took him a few months before he had two amazing offers and his career has really taken off. He now checks in with my FI and our BIL (sister’s husband) for things he doesn’t want to discuss with his sisters. It’s great. 

Just keep being there for her, no matter what and if it’s possible, get her to a therapist, have her talk with your SO / FI, etc. and just keep loving her. 

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