Younger sister issues...

@Dask1221 (160)
United States
October 28, 2007 6:26pm CST
Ok, I'm at a stand still here. I figured I'd put my situation out there and see what interesting/helpful things other people might have to say. I am 23 and have 2 younger sisters, 16 and almost 15. I love them to death, but it seems that a lot of issues started shortly before or after (give or take a little time) I moved out of the house and joined the military 5 1/2 years ago. Now my youngest sister is not as bad as the middle one, but she definitely has her moments. They both have very bad attitudes toward my mother and each other, though they have started getting a little better with each other, which is good. I was by no means an angel when I lived at home. I was the classic rebellious teenager, self-absorbed and only really cared about keeping my good grades and being able to get out of the house and do what I wanted, especially after I got my drivers license. I totally regret now how I treated my parents, especially my mother, back then. Luckily, I have changed a lot over the last 5 years, and now I have a fantastic relationship with my parents! However, now my sisters are acting the same way I did toward my parents, mainly my mom (my dad would knock them silly), that I did in late junior high/high school. My parents used to tell me I couldn't say anything to them because I was the same way (which I was, but that is crap because they are both well old enough to know how to act, especially to our parents), but now that I've gotten older and greatly matured, I see the way they treat my mom and I just want to slap the heck out of them half the time after prying it out of my mother how they've been acting. I know my parents want me to let them handle disciplining my sisters, but it's so hard when I see/hear them roll their eyes and come out with their attitudes to not smack some sense into them, especially when I can hear over the phone how upset my mom gets over it. She gets really depressed over it sometimes, and that kills me. Like I said, I love them to no end, but I can't see myself standing by and watching while they treat my mom like that and say/do nothing. My mom isn't so great about standing up for herself. She just gets so frustrated that she starts yelling, which is bad for her health-wise big time because she has so many medical issues that are worsened by her getting upset. I'm going to be moving back home and staying with my family for a few weeks until my husband and I get a house of our own settled on. What's your take on this whole situation?
11 responses
@jillhill (37399)
• United States
28 Oct 07
I wouldn't attack them or get involved in a way that is direct. Instead I would go to mom...remember when I used to act like that? Then the two of you can have a converstation in front of them about how you used to act...and maybe you can set an example while you are staying there.....and remind them not to bite the hands that feed them!
1 person likes this
@Dask1221 (160)
• United States
31 Oct 07
Thing is, I have talked to my mom about it, quite extensively actually. I've tried to let her know that most likely they will turn out like I did, being crappy now, but come to the realization as they get older and mature. I've also tried to give her suggestions on how to better handle my sisters, how to make punishment for acting crappy more effective on them, all without getting so upset herself at them to the point that she physically feels worse than she needs to with all of her medical problems. However, she just kept giving me the excuse that "she already tried that" or "that wouldn't work with them". I told her that if she never tries it, she'll never know if it works with them, but I think she's got this mindset that she doesn't need help or suggestions from me on how to handle my sisters because she's been a mom a lot longer than I have and has many more years of experience with raising her kids. If that's the way she wants to look at it, then there's really nothing I can do more other than try to comfort her when she's feeling angry or hurt when my sisters act up. But having a conversation in front of them I don't think would work, simply because they'd just sit there and roll their eyes or leave the room. I've told my sisters before that mom and dad are the ones that love and take care of them and make a lot of sacrifices for them, and that it's not smart to build a wall between them, but of course, it goes in one ear and out the other every time. They'll understand what I mean one day. Hopefully it just won't be too late.
@Aussies2007 (5339)
• Australia
29 Oct 07
Well... your reaction is interesting... and quite funny really... if you think about it. You know how parents sometimes wishes that your children will do to you what you did to them... Well... it seem to have caught up a lot earlier with you... probably because you did learn discipline in the military. From my own experience... I had two younger sisters... and when I was 18... my 15 year old sister was out of control. I was supposed to make her do things around the house while my parents were at work... but she had a boyfriend... and decided to stop listening to me... and listen to him instead. The moral of the story is that... if your parents cannot control them... what make you think you can? You have no power over them. And if you use force... they will hate you for it. If you really want to change them... you have to be smart about it. You are dealing with children after all. First you become their friend... and then in a very subtle way... you talk them into showing some respect for your mother. A few subtle bribes along the way will get you a long way. Make them rely on you to take them somewhere. Promise them to buy a CD or a DVD. And then you have something to bargain with. Force and bullying won't do it. That is what they do... and they are expert at it because they have the law on their side and you cannot touch them.
@Dask1221 (160)
• United States
31 Oct 07
I don't agree with you that using a bribe now and then is right. That wouldn't do a darn thing with my sisters for one, and two, I don't feel you should bribe kids to get them to do what you want them to. And I understand what you mean about them being experts at force and bullying, but I have one good thing on my side, and that's that I still remember how to use force to get my way also. Just because I'm a little older now doesn't mean I don't still have it in me. I am a woman after all, and all smart women know how to use little tricks to get what they want in life most times. Another thing I have on my side is that my youngest sister does actually listen to me most of the time. She and I are closer now than my middle sister and I are. And that's fine if they want to hate me for these things now. They will thank me for them later, and realize I was right and I was just looking out for them, just like I realize that now about my parents, even though I hated them back then for certain things. And I know for a fact that my dad is the higher law in the house, and if he knows that I am being hard on my sisters when he's not home to make things easier on my mom, he won't have an issue with it. Just because the parents are the law doesn't mean they don't need help sometimes, like I know my mom does.
• Australia
31 Oct 07
Good luck and all the best. But don't make the mistake in believing that what you learned in the military will work in civil life. In the military you have no freedom. In civil life you do... and your sister has the law on her side to protect her from you.
@Dask1221 (160)
• United States
31 Oct 07
I never said I was going to beat the crap out of them or anything, just set them straight verbally. And the military has not had anything to do with how I've turned out. The military did not particularly agree with me, though I did well, which is why I only stayed in for 4 years and not longer. I know things are totally different from military to civilian life. It's really not much of an adjustment, except job-wise.
@laurika (4537)
• United States
4 Nov 07
I understand you parents, that they want to hadnle it their way , btu not only that, but your sisters can remeber how you was treating your mum back then and don't think it would be real help.If your mum cannot standing for herself , then I think you dad should do something about that and talk to your sisters.And you can talk to your mum and calm her down telling her how you was the same way and now you have such a great relationship.
@Dask1221 (160)
• United States
4 Nov 07
My dad does handle things the best he can, but he works a lot and isn't home all the time to see what is going on. Of course, by the time he gets home, my mom is usually so upset that she just lets it all out on him in an upset manner, and then he gets pissed off and goes off on my sisters. My dad usually handles things in a calm but intimidating manner, which really works for him, but that goes out the window when he comes home and hears a bunch of crap right away from my mom about how they've acted that day. I've tried suggesting to my mom that she give my dad a few minutes to unwind when he gets home before she tries to tell him about my sisters' attitudes, that it'll keep him from getting so upset and also give her a little bit longer to calm down so she can tell him calmly, but once again, she doesn't listen to me. I think it's because it's coming from me, her daughter, and she feels she knows better than me because she's been a mom a lot longer. I understand that, but you're never too old to still take suggestions as a parent on what might help you control your kids. She apparently doesn't see it that way, but I try.
@laurika (4537)
• United States
5 Nov 07
That sounds lile complicated situtation and you are right you are never too old to take suggestions from other people.But maybe your mum feel different way adn you can't do anything about it.But at least you can try talk to her and see if it's change something.
@SViswan (12095)
• India
31 Oct 07
I have a sister who is 6 years younger than I am. Growing up, I was always arguing with my mother...but when I was married and had kids of my own, I understood her stand (though I don't agree with the way she put it across). The same thing is happening with my little sister now and I can see myself as a youngster. What I've been able to do is word it properly for my sister. She is a very understanding girl...it's the way our mother puts it that affects her. When I visit them and they are having their moments, I usually talk to my sister about what my mother is trying to say. My sister then vents about how hurt she is by the way my mother puts it and then keeps quiet till she cools down. Soon, she will be moving out when she gets married and then I'm sure things will settle down...they won't be getting into each other's hair. Maybe you can talk to your sisters? It worked for me.
@Dask1221 (160)
• United States
4 Nov 07
I've tried talking to my sisters, and the youngest seems to listen to me more than the middle one, who just rolls her eyes and pretty much ignores me. However, after a short while she even goes back to acting the same way. Maybe I will try what you said, explaining it a different way. We'll see. Thanks!
@shadowing (309)
• Malaysia
29 Oct 07
Hi Dask. To be frank, I am facing the same problem as you do. The only difference will be the person involved is your sister and in my case he is my brother. Alright, he is the only son in my family and it's one of the reasons why is he acting over in his attitude. I can never stand a child yell at his/her own parents, especially he is MY brother. After a long time start yelling back, finally my parents just gave up and ignore. However, I just can never stand that! So, when my parents remain silence, I will be the one yelling back at him. Haha. Well, that's my style. When I am not satisfied, I will VOICE out. So, all the best to you and all the best to me as well.
@Dask1221 (160)
• United States
4 Nov 07
I am the same way, especially when it's something I'm passionate about, like how my parents are treated. I can't just sit around and watch it. Funny thing is, I get it from my mom. Ironically, she is the one in this situation getting walked on. I try to suggest to her better ways to handle the situation with them, but she doesn't listen to me.
@tlb0822 (1414)
• United States
29 Oct 07
I think you should talk to them about your mothers health situation and their negative impact on it. Then i'd speak with your mother about how you use to be the same way. Hopefully its just a stage that will pass over.
@Dask1221 (160)
• United States
31 Oct 07
Already did all of that. But thanks!
• India
29 Oct 07
My take would be not to get involved in it. As you said, we all are a bit rebellious, selfish, disrespectful to our parents. Most parents take it in their stride, some hit back some are not bothered. But again most of us outgrow our rebellion, become responsible and look at our parents with renewed respect. Your sisters are at a stage in their life when unsolicited advise will only vitiate the atmosphere at home further. Any day now, they are bound to turn back and throw at you the question that if you could do the same thing, get away with it, and then outgrow it…why can’t they? And who gives you the right to act as the moral guardian of the family?? Just back off, let things cool down and then talk to you sisters about their problems (we all know how complicated teenagers’ lives can be!). maybe you have become too matured for your age and what usually happens between parents and teens (generation gap problems) are happening between you and your sis(s).
@Dask1221 (160)
• United States
31 Oct 07
No, I know how complicated teenagers think their lives are! What exactly do you mean by asking what gives me the right to be the moral guardian of the family? I'm part of the family, and I actually give a crap, that's what gives me the right!! And the reason they can't just do it, get away with it, and then outgrow it just because I did is because they know it's wrong. They know that how I acted was wrong, and they are both old enough that they know the difference between right and wrong way to do things or treat people. The fact that I was the same way at their age is no excuse!
@cxalqq (8)
• China
29 Oct 07
They are in a treason period.Time will change all.
@Dask1221 (160)
• United States
31 Oct 07
That's what I try to tell my mother, that they are typical teenagers, just like I was, and that they will mature over the next 3-5 years, and come to the same realization that I did. I treated my mom like crap when I was younger, and I totally regret it now. Luckily, I was able to turn things around and make them right once I grew up. I try to comfort her with the fact that it will hopefully and most likely turn out the same with my sisters.
• United States
29 Oct 07
We all have perfect 20/20 hindsight. Just as you had no idea how horrible you were acting to your parents, they have no clue either. If you tell them what they should do they won't listen to you. I have a younger sister too, and instead of taking my advice, she just thought I was acting "superior" or i couldn't possibly know what was going on because i am not there. The only way they may smarten up is to have to be responsible for something like you did. And unless your parents create that situation they are not going to - but it won't be complete until they have moved out. The best thing I did for the relationship of me and my parents is move. But really, you are probably not going to get through to them together. If you want to say something to them, why not have a sister's outing where one day you spend time doing something with one sister, and the other day the other one. When you seperate them, they may listen or open up to you without worrying about what the other thinks. They can be uncensored and also they won't gang up on you mentally and refuse to talk. Just ask them what's on their mind, go shopping, etc, but tell them how you feel, and that you were just like them so want better for them.
@Dask1221 (160)
• United States
31 Oct 07
Unfortunately I've done that, talked to them separately in person and over the phone, with both, and it seemed like they took some of it in at the time in person, but once I was gone, what I had said didn't seem to matter anymore. My middle sister doesn't want to hang out with me anymore anyway, right now at least, she just cares about doing her own thing and being with her friends. I don't think she realizes that just because I'm not living at home anymore, doesn't mean I'm not cool. But they don't see that because I don't live with them. So it makes it harder. My middle sister has actually told me that I need to back off and act like her sister and not her mom when I've tried to let her know that I say and do things because I love her and I don't want to see her get in trouble or get hurt, but of course, being a typical teenager, it just goes in one ear and out the other. I'll figure something effective out eventually. Thanks!
@mrsbrian (1951)
• United States
28 Oct 07
I do believe I would have a talk with them about your mothers health and just what there actions are doing to her, you mentioned your father dose he allow the girls to be disrepctfull to your mother? Sure you were the same at there age and nothing you say will matter untill later in life when they really grow up, but than it may be to late. I guess it really is up to your parents how they allow the girls to act so you may have a hard time while you are there biting your tounge, good luck.
@Dask1221 (160)
• United States
31 Oct 07
I've had that talk with them a million times. It never takes. My father definitely doesn't allow them to act badly to my mother. If they did it in front of him, he'd knock their heads off. My dad is one loving, but big, scary, highly intimidating man. Not one person I know tries to cross him. My ex-husband made the mistake of trying to pull one over on him before, after he left me, and my dad almost killed him, literally. My sisters try to be smart and pull most of their crap when dad's not home. I told my mother that instead of yelling at them and getting herself upset and feeling horrible, she should just tell them to get away from her for the time being, and then discuss it with my dad when he gets home from work and let him handle it. He can handle it much easier and calmer than she can, but she rarely listens to me. She lets herself act without thinking sometimes, and just gets so upset she starts yelling. Oh, and I won't be biting my tongue while we're staying with my family. When my dad's home, I will let him handle it. And I will let my mother have first call at dealing with them, but when dad's not home, and I can see that my mother is getting completely upset and feeling worse because of how my sisters are acting and speaking to her, I will definitely step in and say something. I will absolutely let my sisters know that I'm there for them to hang out and talk and be cool whenever they need or want, but that at the same time I'm not going to let them walk all over our mother. After all my mother and I have been through over the last 20 years together, with my biological father and other things, I refuse to sit by while someone tries to badmouth her or treat her badly. It doesn't fly with me. Thanks!
@diillu (5130)
29 Oct 07
Seems like we both have a similar situation going on. Well, now I'm studying abroad and I'm not with my parents. I visit them one in two year. When I was with them I always treated my parents very well. Though I must say that there were some times when mom would make me go mad. I think parents tend to misunderstand the teenages and over react on everything they did. Like I was very good at school and I always managed my descipline and taught my younger bro and sis the same thing. I would never ever be late then 7 pm in the night. But sometimes there would be time when I would be late and mom would go mad. She could leave me sometimes on my own. I can't always play the part of good daughter. But still I never talked back to my mother and father. And now my brother and sister are in their early teen one is 18 and another is 15. And they really have their own issue. Mom just calls me up and talks about it. I can feel how hurt she is by their actions. I just tell her let them little bit loose then she used to do to me.