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Old 04-27-2011, 07:53 PM   #1
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Default Rocky relationships with difficult teenagers get better right? RIGHT?!

Hi everyone! This is basically my first post besides a few profiles I did on the 20 somethings section a while back. I'm naturally a lurker but know that you all are awesome support and I could use some advice. Unfortunately, this is going to be pretty long (scroll down for the short n' sweet version.)

Ok, so my mom is finding it impossible to deal with my little sister J who is 17. They have pretty similar personalities and knock heads often. She doesn't seem to appreciate anything my parents do for her and is extremely disrespectful. She has access to so much more than I had when I was her age and still finds reasons to complain. If asked a question she automatically has a snarky response and talks to my parents like they're stupid. She has been driving for less than a year and already has a ticket for speeding and it really doesn't seem like she's learned her lesson.

By teenage standards,though, she's a good kid. No drinking, smoking, drugs, goes to church of her own free will because she wants to, she gets mostly A's, and wants to be a doctor.

The only extremely difficult part involves our family. She treats the family unit as a whole as if we don't matter but then turns around and treats her friends and their families as if they are her own. She goes to a christian school and is very close with the family who runs it (they're great people) but I often feel like she wishes they were her family.

And yet, she recently posted online that she is tired of feeling like second best and that as soon as she graduates she's gone. The only thing I can connect to her feeling second best is jealousy over my coming home from college on the weekends and spending time with my parents, but I really don't understand it. I'm afraid that as soon as she graduates she's not going to want anything to do with us.

If you read that, you deserve something amazing that I can't think of right now but thanks for letting me rant.
What I really want to know:
Any advice on dealing with her?
Does it get any better?
Have any of you had rocky relationships with your parents as teens but great relationships with them as adults?
Have you been the parent of a difficult teen?
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Old 04-27-2011, 08:19 PM   #2
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Not sure that I can be of any help. I'd like to think that my mom was the difficult one when I was a teenager. I'm much older now and I still think that might have been the case in our relationship. But I digress...

I'm wondering if your sister might benefit from having a better relationshp with YOU. If she feels second best and thinks she's being overlooked, it might help her to feel a stronger bond with you. Maybe a little sister time/day at the mall kind of thing might go a long way.

Then again, could just be standard teen angst. That can really bring on a big case of "poor me" syndrom.

Just thoughts...
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Old 04-27-2011, 08:52 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Carnivorousdaisy View Post

Have any of you had rocky relationships with your parents as teens but great relationships with them as adults?
YES! I was a pain in the butt as a teenager, and became close with my parents once I had gone to college and we established a mutual respect.

It is possible that this other family treats your sister in a way that she likes and therefore she spends more time with them. Maybe you could get closer to her like the above poster suggested and figure out what she needs from you guys. Good luck, and I hope things work out. Keep us posted!
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Old 04-27-2011, 08:56 PM   #4
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Thanks for the responses
She and I do actually have a pretty good relationship (better in the summer) though we've always been a bit uncomfortable with the emotional stuff. Its kind of unspoken that we love each other because shes never really been the "I love you" type even though I have no problems saying it. But I actually sent her an email explaining to her how I support her and how if she wants to talk I will listen. No response yet, but I wasn't really expecting one haha.
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Old 04-28-2011, 12:02 AM   #5
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Holy smokes, so much you said had me going "is she talking about MY sister?"

Seriously, I have a 20-year-old sister who still lives at home and works at 7-11. She has no plans (or she's not talking about them) to go to school to better herself. She has 2 chores to do in the house: unload the dishwasher and fold the laundry. She doesn't even have to load the dishwasher or put the laundry away, and yet consistently my parents are harping on her and getting into fights because she absolutely, positively, will not do either of them.

Her attitude is: You're all stupid, and how DARE you interrupt my life for house work? In past tiffs, when I lived at home, she voiced her thoughts that she likes staying in her room because that means no one asks her to do anything or to help out.

She is an incredibly sweet, out-going, eager to help you out type person when she wants something. If there's nothing in it for her, it's like pulling gator teeth.

She has a matchstick temper, absolutely -everything- sets her off; my mom and I firmly believe that she ENJOYS being pissed off all the time because it's a serious amount of energy she spends into being angry.

She's perfectly fine with cracking a joke at you, or jokingly saying "oh shut the **** up" all day long, but God forbid you say it once to her, jokingly, then she's stomping down the middle of Vancouver with no idea where she's going but being absolutely certain she's not getting into the car with you.

Her friends come first. Even when they sh*t on her and use her (which she lets), they will always come first.

If you correct her on anything, she's mad.
If you ask her to help you make dinner, she's mad.
If you ask her to set the table, she's mad.

She sat in the back of the car a few years ago and bawled her eyes out because mom'n dad told her that if she wasn't going to school, she would have to pay $100/month for rent, which they would, after a year, give back to her to use to go to school. She insisted that I never paid rent, and she's right. But I also was going to school at home for my medical transcription certificate. I was also doing all the laundry, 95% of the house work, cooking 90% of the meals, packing dad's lunch, tidying up, doing my school work, and working in mom's day care in the basement which involved doing the dishes, and the laundry, tidying up, cooking meals, playing with the kids, supervising them outside, etc.

Her and I do not have a good relationship and I can't tell you how many times I've told my parents to kick her butt to the curb. She thinks she has it so-o-o-o hard where she is. She constantly complains about being broke, but when she gets her pay cheque she buys at least 5 or 6 new shirts, a few new pants, and MAKE UP!! She must have $2,000 worth of make up. Her bills include $100 for the rent (which she rarely pays), $80 for her phone, $75 for her car and... that's it. O_O Mom'n dad pay for everything else.

When I tell her I'm broke, suddenly I'm the one that is a loser and can't "make it" in the "real world." I make $2100/month and have $1400-$1800 in bills each month and a dog to raise/train.

End of rant.

As for your specific situation: Rocky relationships in general do tend to get better as the person matures and ages. Unfortunately, sometimes that may take more time than anticipated.

I would not take anything your sister does too personally. It's not coming from a position where she has any legs to stand on with her attitude. She's being selfish.

Eventually, she'll either grow out of it, or she'll move on. If she's THAT much of a toxic person (as my sister is slowly turning into), distance may be the best thing all around.
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Old 04-28-2011, 05:06 AM   #6
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A) Have either of you ever TOLD them this stuff? I know its hard with people like this (I've had a fair share of them in my life and was even somewhat one of them back in the day, pff, boy did I learn!!!) cos they usually get angry and stomp around and/or yell before you're even done talking........ but what about writing them an email? Or a letter? Just say everything you feel, the good and the bad.... and don't forget to add the fact that you love them. Cos I know you do.

B) These children are under mom and dad's roof, and when mom and dad enable them to keep on living like this.... well, it's somewhat mom and dad's problem. I had to raise my brother from age 17 to 20 (his father passed away and our mother was unavailable) and since he was a good kid, with decent grades and a job after he graduated (fast food), at first it was fine. I didn't mind letting him stay at my place, or buying food for him, or even paying his cell phone bill while he was still in high school. But after graduation, he just wanted to sit around and smoke pot and complain about the tiny room I made him live in and blah blah blah.... then he lost his job and continued to do nothing but feel bad for himself, smoke pot, and barely look for new jobs. Finally, one day, I blew up and told him how angry I was about all of it and told him he had to leave my apartment. I was no longer going to enable him, though I loved him and wished the best for him. Within a week, he was living half an hour away at our mothers place, on the couch (so the tiny room wasn't good enough, eh? How bout not having a room AT ALL??). Within a month he had joined the army, straightened up, called me and told me he loved me and appreciated everything I did for him and he's glad that I forced him to grow up... that it needed to be done. We have a wonderful relationship now, same as before.

Sometimes, just sometimes... you need to put your foot down, tell it like it is, and quit enabling them, no matter how much you love them. One day, they might thank you for it.
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Old 04-28-2011, 05:55 AM   #7
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I've just entered the age of parenting a teen, and there has been a change in my oldest son that sent me looking for advice, guidance, support, etc... I found this blog post yesterday, and this blogger really makes some excellent points. Maybe it'll be of use to your parents. http://www.danoah.com/2011/04/worthl...rents-who.html

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Old 04-28-2011, 08:11 AM   #8
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Honestly, it is abnormal if there isn't some conflict I don't know too much about it yet, but rebellion in teens is pretty typical as we try to establish ourselves as adults in our own right.
You can't out-exercise poor eating habits.
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Old 04-28-2011, 12:15 PM   #9
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From the age of 15 to 22, all parents are stupid and don't know anything. Once they are out of the house and on their own, or with their own kids, suddenly mom and dad are smart again.

Rainbowgirl, your sister needs to be booted out on her own. Your parents need to tell her to either get her chores done or move out. She is old enough to live on her own and if she keeps treating her parents like crap, than she doesn't deserve to stay with them.

Carnivorousdaisy, it sounds like your sister is a bit spoiled..ever notice how the kids who have everything, complain about everything? She also sounds insecure too..do her parents tell her they love her? Maybe she feels that everyone is always yelling at her, and happy and relaxed when you come home.
Thats a hard situation to be in..maybe take her out to dinner and have a heart to heart with her. See if she will open up to you about how she feels. Let her know that you love her. Say the words. My family never said them to me, but my sisters and I say it to each other all the time and its important to say it often.

Not sure what else to say, but I hope things work out for you. She will outgrow it eventually.
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Old 04-28-2011, 01:38 PM   #10
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It will get better with time and patience. Talk to her and remind her that she is loved but still must be respectful. Just because you're part of the family doesn't people you can treat others poorly.

It may sting but she may need to realize as part of the family there are expectations. If she wants to be treated with respect, she will do so to others. And, as a member of the family, there are certain tasks and chores that must be accomplished. If her chore is cleaning up after dinner, or dishes and she doesn't do it, don't call her for dinner next time. If she asks, I would just say "You didn't feel it necessary to do your chores as laid out by the family, therefore, I didn't feel it necessary to inform you that dinner had begun." I feel that, to retain the perks of being part of the family, you need to do your part. No one should have to shoulder it all.

On a personal side, I was the youngest and often felt like second fiddle. My sister always seemed so perfect and I was (and still am) different than the rest. As I've grown up, I've become much closer to my mother and couldn't imagine raising my kids away from her. I also see all the flaws in my sister I couldn't see before. We all respect each other for who they are because we understand what it means to be family. For some (myself included) this knowledge takes a little longer to learn, but the vast majority do learn it eventually.

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Old 04-28-2011, 02:18 PM   #11
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Carnivorousdaisy, I must apologize. I did not mean to hijack your thread in any way.
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Old 04-28-2011, 02:42 PM   #12
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Thanks everyone!
And don't worry about it rainbowgirl. Some of the advice that's been given may help you too
My sister finally replied to my email and really ranted to me about everything that's been bothering her, which I'm glad about. I'm trying to maybe explain everything to her in a different light than her side of the story because while my sister is having her feelings hurt by feeling second best, my mom is also feeling under-appreciated. I'm actually pretty confident that it'll be ok once the lines of communication are opened and everyone can start expressing what's bothering them.
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Old 04-28-2011, 03:35 PM   #13
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I had a pretty bad relationship with my parents in high school. I am the middle child and felt that I didn't really connect with either of them. My older brother connected with my dad because they both had car interests. My sister connected with my mom because they both played softball. I was cranky and all around a terrible teen (I mean, I didn't smoke, do drugs, or drink either, but I was disrespectful, and kind of ashamed of it now). I took it out on my parents. They always said "oh no! it's the wrath of Ashley!" which never helped.
Our relationships have improved drastically since I moved out for college. Even more so since I spent a year out of the country. My mom is literally one of my best friends now and I love going to visit them. It does get better...it just sucks for a while.
Good luck!

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Old 04-28-2011, 06:21 PM   #14
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you description of your sister is pretty much exactly me from the time i was about 12 until i was about 20. it gets better. teenagers are jerks.
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Old 04-28-2011, 09:58 PM   #15
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I was a "good" teenager. I stayed out of jail, didn't get pregnant, worked for my pocket money and was a high honor roll student in all the advanced classes. I sat first chair in the school orchestra, had lots of friends, and deeply loved my parents.

I was still an obnoxious little tart who deserved to get backhanded down a flight of stairs from time to time though. I'm pretty sure it's only the ABNORMAL teenagers who don't fight with their parents (especially daughters with their mothers) over dumb stuff.
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