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Question
Posted by: Anon | 2011/03/07

little sister who is a rebellious teenager

My little sister just turned 3 when my mom passed away so needless to say she never really had a mother figure. My older sister " hates"  my younger sister and they just dont get along, why?? I dont know. I would think that because my mom is gone my older sister would take over the role. My dad starting dating shortly after my mom passed away and still with the same person. My little sister says that he only pays attention to his girlfriend and not to her. In 2008, i took her and brought her to my home town for a holiday (I moved out of home due to work), only to find that she started stealing my money etc. When I checked her cellphone for something she had taken pictures of her private parts and was sending it to people she met on MXIT. I explained to her that if she doesnt respect her body nobody will and that was she is doing is wrong. I sat down and asked what the problems were and she told me that nobody loves her since my mom died and she cannot talk to anybody. When i told her that I am here she says I too far away. Fast forward 2 years and she has dropped out of school (Grade 7), starting smoking tik and fornicating. My dad has tried many times to make her realise that what she is doing is wrong and he has since written her off and left her to her own devices which i dont agree with. My other sister says that my father is continuously in tears because he doesnt know what to do. I suggested that she moved in with me but there is going to be rules, but how do i trust that she is not going to steal from me or even go to school. This child refuses to say 3 words to me but expects me to help her. I told her that she is being disrespectful. What can i do because our entire family is at our wits ends and dont know what to do anymore. I know that a child will always be a child but at some stage you have to open your eyes. We have consulted with the police, social workers and even the centre for disruptive children, they never ever return the call or never turn up to meetings. When you ask why they say there are too many kids " like that"  to handle in that community. What can we do? I sometimes believe that we should let her do what she wants but at the same time I will not forgive myself because she never had the priviledge of having our mother around. My sisters think it doesnt bother me because I have my own child that I care for but they dont realise that they are my sisters and I will always be concerned.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

A "mother figure" need not be one's mother - but someone who by the way they act, demonstrates how a good mother functions.
Unfortunately, though, it seems that your father has failed this younger sister, and his long-term gf doesn't seem to have been helpful. If he genuinely doesn't know what to do with her, he could have asked welfare and child welfare organizations for advice and help.
You are right to establish clear rules if she is to stay with you, and again, if she is supposedly going to school, her problems should be discussed with the principal and maybe a school psychologist involved to work with her. And the rules must be applied - she needs to be reminded that she is not doing you a favour to allow you to help her, and that one rule is that she needs to be polite and communicate pleasantly and inform you of problems that need to be dealt with.
"letting her do what she wants to do" ( which would be a decision of despair ) would be saying that all she wants to do is good and OK, which it isn't. That's not the same as facing the fact that you can only go so far in trying to help, and if she refuses to work with you ( and anyone else enlisted to help ), she can't be helped. Nobody can take that responsibility away from her.
It is not your fault that she didn't have a mother around, and this fact ( which is sadly a very common situation ) does not have this effect on most children, and is not excuse for the bad choices she is insisting on making.
Being concerned is appropriate and natural, but it should not amount to blaming yourself for what she does - you cannot behave well on her behalf, and none of this is your fault
Purple's comments are useful, and she makes the important point that you and your other sister have grown up to be responsible citizens. The route your sister is insisting on taking is her own choice, and was never inevitable

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3
Our users say:
Posted by: Brensenix | 2011/03/18

thanks

Reply to Brensenix
Posted by: Purple | 2011/03/07

Surely it is your fathers responsibility to parent his daughter - not yours or your sisters. That''s a bit of an old fashioned attitude that your older sister should suddenly fill your mothers shoes because she ws the oldest.

Why don''t you speak with your father and suggest to him that he sees the school counsellor or the a psychologist for some parenting help. As your sister is still too young to stop going to school, if she is caught, your father could be prosecuted by the department of education.
He''s managed to bring you and your sister up as well adjusted women, so he must have the basic skills, your sister is just more difficult. Yes, there are problems she no doubt experiences from losing her mom so early, but there comes a time when someone needs to take responsibility for their own behaviour and stop blaming their parents. You and your sister also lost your mother at different no doubt critical developmental times and have not acted this way.

Reply to Purple
Posted by: cybershrink | 2011/03/07

A "mother figure" need not be one's mother - but someone who by the way they act, demonstrates how a good mother functions.
Unfortunately, though, it seems that your father has failed this younger sister, and his long-term gf doesn't seem to have been helpful. If he genuinely doesn't know what to do with her, he could have asked welfare and child welfare organizations for advice and help.
You are right to establish clear rules if she is to stay with you, and again, if she is supposedly going to school, her problems should be discussed with the principal and maybe a school psychologist involved to work with her. And the rules must be applied - she needs to be reminded that she is not doing you a favour to allow you to help her, and that one rule is that she needs to be polite and communicate pleasantly and inform you of problems that need to be dealt with.
"letting her do what she wants to do" ( which would be a decision of despair ) would be saying that all she wants to do is good and OK, which it isn't. That's not the same as facing the fact that you can only go so far in trying to help, and if she refuses to work with you ( and anyone else enlisted to help ), she can't be helped. Nobody can take that responsibility away from her.
It is not your fault that she didn't have a mother around, and this fact ( which is sadly a very common situation ) does not have this effect on most children, and is not excuse for the bad choices she is insisting on making.
Being concerned is appropriate and natural, but it should not amount to blaming yourself for what she does - you cannot behave well on her behalf, and none of this is your fault
Purple's comments are useful, and she makes the important point that you and your other sister have grown up to be responsible citizens. The route your sister is insisting on taking is her own choice, and was never inevitable

Reply to cybershrink

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