Not So Old Fashioned Advice
Also, rather than creating a new entry for questions, I’m going to ask you to leave them in the comments section of this post. All questions left here will be added to the list of potential questions for next week’s Not So Old Fashioned Advice column. Remember that you CAN remain anonymous if you type “Anonymous” in the “Name” section of the comments form. Just leave the email field blank.
As before, all questions not answered tonight remain in play for future coumns, so don’t despair if you’re question wasn’t chosen this time.
I know you guys are all kind and wise, so please help our reader by providing your advice in the comments section of this post.
Here’s the question;
I need some help… I’m eleven years old and I share a room with my eight year old sister because we live in a small apartment. I live with my mom, my 4 year old brother, my 8 year old sister sister and my grandma. Well, my grandma thinks my little sister is a little angel. The truth is that my sister treats me like crap. My mom always believes her, so I’m always getting in trouble.
My sister yells at me, demands that my side of the room be clean, never gives me my privacy etc. When I ask for my privacy, she wants me to PAY HER!!! I say no and then “grandma’s little angel” runs off crying to my grandma saying that I yelled at her. My mom is no help because she says that It’s my fault… How can her yelling at me be MY FAULT?!?!
Please give me some tips on how I can get my sister off my back.
This sounds like a really tough situation. It must be frustrating to feel like no one’s listening to your side of the story, especially when you keep trying to tell it. Little sisters (and brothers) CAN be incredibly annoying. And it can be even more challenging as they get older, because they suddenly get wise to things like manipulation (sounds like your little sis is doing her fair share with Mom and Grandma) and pushing your buttons.
First of all, realize that A LOT of this behavior is directed at getting your attention. For years, you’ve been the big sister. Your little sister has probably watched you grow up, idolizing you and wanting to be just like you. It’s just the way of things. And like most big sisters, you’ve probably had times when you just want her to GO AWAY ALREADY, which is perfectly understandable!
But right now, I think your sister’s behaving the way she is to get your attention. In short, she’d rather have you yelling and screaming at her than ignoring her. Also, after years of being the little sister, it sounds like she’s started to realize she can make her presence felt, albeit it in not so positive ways. Sometimes, when people feel like they’ve been denied power for a long time, they wield it a little too happily when they realize they have it. By reacting strongly to her bad behavior you’re just giving her the satisfaction of getting a rise out of you.
All that said, I’m going to tell you something you probably don’t want to hear right now. If you can TRY to bring her to your side by including her in a few things, she will feel more like your ally and less like your enemy. I know it’s hard! Especially when all you want to do is pull her hair! (Not really. Don’t do that!) But if you can make her feel, even a little, like you’re on the same side, she’ll have something to lose with her bad behavior – namely, your friendship and regard. Right now, she might feel like she doesn’t have that anyway, so what does she have to lose? On those occasions when she DOES still behave badly, do your very best to ignore her entirely, even if it means leaving the room. It doesn’t seem fair, but you’re doing it for YOU not her, because if don’t give her the reaction that she wants when she behaves badly, she’ll probably start rethinking it altogether. ON the flip side, be extra nice to her when SHE’S extra nice to reinforce the GOOD behavior.
As for your mom and your grandma… that’s a tough one! I’ve probably been guilty of overlooking things now and then just because I want it all to STOP, so I can understand where they might be coming from. At the same time, it ISN’T fair, and I get that. I’m wondering if you can try to find some alone time with your mom and/or grandma? It’s difficult to talk about this stuff with any reason when you’re in the heat of the moment. Maybe if you could find time to go for a walk or something, just the two (or three) of you, it would be easier for them to see where you’re coming from. Try to focus on the way you feel and not the things you feel THEY’VE done wrong, because that wil just put them on the defensive. One trick you can use is to use “I” statements instead of “You” statements. That is, try saying, “I feel like no one listens to my side when we fight” instead of “You never listen to me.”
Living with family can be a challenge, but try to remember that someday, you and your sister will both be grown up. And you’ll probably laugh about these times then!
Good luck, hon! Let us know how things go.