Posted by: Worried | 2009/04/14

Two kids so different

I have 2 daughters aged 12 and 13. The 13 year old excels at school, does excellent n sport and just has a wonderful life in general. The 12 year old has a weight problem, her schoolwork is below average, she suffers from oily hair and bad skin and has no interest in doing any sport what so ever. Her friends are all from the worst group in school and she is like a magnet for bad influences. At home she is the most helpful child but she doesn' t have the ability to " protect"  herself when she is not constantly in my care. How do I handle the situation?

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Our expert says:
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it may be that your daughter feels she needs to be the polar opposite to your other daughter in order to be individual and to be noticed. For some people they can react angrily if a sibling is doing so well and feel they cannot live up to them no matter how they try. It will be helpful to try and help her see the positive things about her do not have to be compared to her sister or anyone else - that being her is good enough.

Talking with her about friendship choices is also worth doing as you can help her see that this can change the course of where someone is heading - but to do this in the context of not wanting to choose her friends for her. If there are continual problems with her peer group you may need to become more firm about who she spends time with and where, but see what choices she makes.

Essentially this looks like a self-esteem issue and it is also worth asking her if she would like to speak with a counsellor or psychologist about ways to improve her confidence.

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