I need some advice about my teenage sister(19 Posts)
I am posting on my phone so forgive the random autocorrects.
This is not my first post but I have name changed as this is quite identifying.
I'm 33 and have two sisters, one 31 and the youngest 14.
When I was 18 my Mum remarried and had my
technically half but I've never referred to her as anything but sister 14.
They moved across the country about 10 years ago just before my DS was born and we see them special occasions and about every 8 weeks we travel there for the day.
My step dad was diagnosed with aspergers about 3 years ago and so I know these family meetings are always hard on him (I mention this as I feel it may be relevant as over the past 10 years my mum who was always very extroverted when we were younger has now completely changed and become introverted to the point where it is sometimes hard to get her to finish a full sentence)
Anyway, this year things with my 14 year old DSis have been particularly difficult.
Typical teenage attitude, eye rolling, etc but the last two months I have seen her more recently as she came to stay with a different family member without my DM and her behavior was awful.
Sarcastic, rude, actively correcting everyone's grammar at every opportunity and being extremely unkind and judgmental. At the time I didn't mention anything to my mum as it wasn't my house she was starting at and I knew it would potentially cause issues if she said she didn't want to go and stay there again because of me.
Fast forward to two weeks and it's DDs 4th birthday. Dsis 14 gets into a row with dsis 31 and storms upstairs slamming my doors locking herself in the bathroom and damaged the wallpaper. My DMum and stepdad refused to go and speak to her I had to go and jimmy the lock after 2 hours when she told me through the door that she would prefer guests piss themselves then her come out.
She was on Snapchat the whole time writing disgusting posts about all of us, my mum had no idea until my teenage god daughter saw and came to show her.
I don't want to give too many more details but basically I spoke to my DMum over the phone and the crux of it is that:
A. DSis is nearly an adult now and if she wants to vent frustration like that in others houses then she is entitled to.
B. The snapchat thing is not true - she believes my god daughter made them to get her in further trouble this is not true and I'm not even sure if it's possible
C. It turns out DSis has made up a lot of nasty and malicious lies about things me and DH have supposed to have done when she came to stay. My DMum believes her despite me saying otherwise.
D. The grammar thing, my DMum is proud she knows the correct grammar and is proud she has the confidence to educate others.
I mentioned my stepdads diagnosis as between the age of 5-12 they have been going through the diagnosis process with her and 4 HCPs have all confirmed she does not have ASD.
My DS has asd so I do understand how sensitive this can be, but I am 100% sure this is teenage attitude not additional needs etc.
So my Aibu, an I being over sensitive? Is there any way past this? It's her birthday soon and then Christmas I've always been over generous paid for expensive cake Xbox presents etc in the past and this year I don't even want to send her a card. I know this will be seen as petty if I don't keep up the extravagance of the past 14 years but I'm so cross and upset, I just don't know how to proceed.
Wow that was long! Was hoping to avoid drip feeding, not sure if anyone will even get through all of it...
Well, you have 2 choices:
Or back away and live your own life.
If your DM wants to put up with it, even suport it, then she can, and has made that decision!
But until your DM stops doing that then no, I doubt there is anything you can do, no way you can get passed it, without choosing to simply ignore it and put up with whatever your dSis chooses to do/say.
Maybe just let it all drop, stop trying to make it better. I'd send the presents, you have bought them so why not?
But I would make plans to have Christmas at home... and maybe refuse more family get togethers. Tell your DM you find too upsetting and don't want to have to keep on protecting your DS from all of it! Let her chew that one over! It might help!
Thanks Blanche for taking the time to read.
It just seems so unfair. I've always had a fairly good relationship with Dmum and I'm upset that she is so convinced her 14yr old could never lie she's picked a side.
I did try to tell her how upset I was that she thought I would behave the way I have been accused of and she hung the phone up on me, then sent me a text saying That I had told her I thought she didn't love me. (Which wasn't even close to what I said)
I think she is so incapable of dealing with conflict anymore that she has just chosen to believe this as it's easier because she doesn't see me everyday.
I haven't brought any presents yet, I always buy them the week before as her tastes change frequently and she gets brought a lot of stuff so I wouldn't want to spend money on something she already has
I would most certainly reduce extravagant presents. You will do her and your relationship with her no favours by ignoring her behavior. Your sister is in no way an adult and is a while away from it. She sounds like a nightmare teen. She also sounds dangerous with the lies. You deserve respect in your own home. Be very cool with her. In my experience, teenagers want what they can't have. Treat her like a 5 year old when she's around you. Ignoring catty comments, remarks as much as possible. Ignore disgusting behavior. Its attention she's looking for. Reward nice behavior with nicer conversation. Don't give out about her to DM, when everybody stops making an issue of this nightmare your mum will start seeing her for what she is!
I would definitely not be sending her any extravagant gifts. If your sis or DM complain I would point out that since she's nearly an adult now and is perfectly entitled to vent her frustrations that way in another's house
yours no less then she is also capable of dealing with the consequences of her actions as an adult should and you who are an actual adult not nearly are perfectly entitled to vent your frustrations by withholding gifts.
What ruletheroost says!
Let her get on with it. Hopefully she'll be out the other side. You are fortunate that you don't live close enough to have to deal with it on a more frequent basis.
Your Mum maybe sounds as though she may be suffering from depression though - probably after coping with StepDad and now Teen going through stuff or may just feel ground down by it all. Maybe you could take her out on her own for a treat (afternoon tea or the like) so you just have mum and me time.
Thanks broken your advice makes sense, but I fear it won't work.
My mum has definitely 'normalised' the tantrums and rudeness (and I couldn't because it was my house she was locked in the bathroom in at the time)
Like I said she is proud my dsis has the skills to educate others on their failings - these were her exact words.
This has come to light because of seeing her more recently. My step dad confided to me at the party this is everyday behaviour. I've just never seen it.
I know if I scale back the presents my mum will see this as 'proof' of me being mean.
This must very frustrating for you, it appears that your DM is struggling and is preferring to stick her head in the sand and pretend it isn't happening, perhaps she cant cope and is in denial. However, your sis won't be learning that her behaviour is unacceptable. I think you may need to take a back seat even though you want to help it doesn't sound like it will be welcomed. Try and keep things civil with your sis, she may well come through it in a few years. When my sis was a teenager she was vile, but when she hit her early twenties she outgrew it. My parents were also in denial and wouldn't deal with bad behaviour leading to lots of arguments. I do sympathise OP.
Hi here and rule posted before I saw your replies,
This really will be seen as supporting evidence of my meanness. I can't win.
I can't reward positive behaviour because a, it's not my job I'm not her parent, and b, I haven't seen any kind / nice behaviour sinse probably March or April. And even then pleasant is a better description.
OK well if you don't want to appear mean but still aren't to happy about sending a gift then why not sponsor a child or adopt an animal in her name? That way she's getting a gift that she physically benefits from & they'd look pretty shitty complaining that you've got her a gift that helps a charitable cause.
I wouldn't be getting her any presents! You say you can't reward positive behaviour as you aren't her parent and there is no such behaviour! Equally negative/bad behaviour should not be rewarded. You say your DM will see this as further proof of you being "mean"-well, she's already in denial now and if you continue to send extravagant presents, a) your DM is likely to see this as you admitting you were wrong, or "proof" that your DSis' behaviour was not as bad as you made it out to be. Your sis will think she can get away with vile behaviour with no consequences. I wouldn't have her in my house again tbh and I'd step back and disengage. What does your other sister that she had the row with think? Is she getting flak from your DM also?
I do not think your step dads diagnosis has anything to do with it. I have aspergers. Neither me or dh tolerate our kids being rude (Dd is a similar age to your ds).
Dh hasn't become introverted or afraid of conflict in the 17 years we have been together. He still parents effectively.
Your mum is choosing how she behaves.
The fact that they have seen people about her behaviour and been through a diagnosis period, means your mum is aware her of your sisters issues. But isn't dealing with them. She may have run out of ideas and her reaction is to blame everyone else instead.
Personally I would distance myself and tell them that until they actually do something about her behaviour you won't have it in your house.
She isn't nearly an adult. And even if she was, that's not how adults behave.
Thanks to everyone for taking the time to reply and try to help me.
Phillipp I hope that you were not offended by the fact that I included my stepdads diagnosis. I included it purely because I do see that my DM has taken on some of his personality traits, the main one being the inability to deal with conflict, and also because he is prone to sulking like Dsis
although my op was so long I think I missed that out
I have also seen a lot of threads regarding behaviour, and a 'sounds like ASD/ADHD etc' answer seems to get used a lot here, I wanted to show that this is not the case without drip feeding.
My DS has ASD and I would be horrified if I have offended you, I hope this is not the case.
I think that I was half hoping that everyone would come in and say no YABU this is perfectly reasonable teenage behaviour and DMum is dealing with it in the correct way (even though I know that it/she isn't) so that I could legitimately call DMum apologise and bury my head in the sand along with her.
Its hard to disengage when it is me and DH she has targeted with the lies.
I feel very sad that at the age of 33 I will probably now have to have more of a civil and polite relationship with my mum and how this may affect my DC as MIL and FIL have both now passed away so they have no other grandparents.
Dsis who she had the actual argument with at the party has a life debilitating illness, and I have no idea what my DMum would have done if the roles were reversed. I think in all honestly I have been the target of the lies because I am the 'safest bet' as to who DMum would have sided against iyswim.
I think that I will go with the 'adopt a...' route at least for her birthday next month and see what kind of response I get - I may be back!
Phillipp I hope that you were not offended by the fact that I included my stepdads diagnosis.
Not in the slightest. I prefer people talking about it in any which way. It's better to discuss these things. I can see why you think it's rubbing off on your mum. But I really think that she is choosing not to deal with it.
She knows something isn't right, why else go through diagnosis? It's easier for her to blame everyone else for setting her off, rather than admit she doesn't know what to do anymore.
Fwiw, when I was born I had four grandparents. My dads mum died when I was a baby. Her husband was a raging alcoholic, who couldn't even remember my name. We never saw him.
My other grandad was also an alcoholic and my nana (his wife) and my aunties enabled (my nana actively encouraged his controlling ways) his abusive behaviour. They have both passed now. The fact that my mum allowed him to destabilise our family so much, has had much more of an impact on my relationship with my parents than anyone wants to admit. Personally I think I would have been better having no relationship with my grand parents, rather than one where everyone was walking on egg shells and trying to avoid conflict when we got together.
I don't think your kids will thank you for letting this happen in their home every time she visits or you see her. Unfortunately we can't make our parents be the grandparents we want them to be.
I do think there is something in you being the safe bet. I also bet you are the most likely to forgive and forget.
I think that I was half hoping that everyone would come in and say no YABU this is perfectly reasonable teenage behaviour and DMum is dealing with it in the correct way
I think some of this is normal teenage behaviour, it has just been allowed to get to extremes.
If I look at my (just) pre-teen I'd say that stropping off upstairs in frustration is perfectly normal. My DD is certainly a door slammer on occasions and I have memories myself of (at a similar age) stomping off to my bedroom and slamming the door.
Where it becomes extreme is that she did it at someone else's house, that she damaged things, that she refused to come out for two hours and that she refused to come out and you had to jimmy the lock. That, in my opinion, goes beyond the boundaries of an acceptable (and normal) teenage strop into something most teenagers know not to do because their parents have reinforced the boundaries. The fact that her parents refused to deal with the situation speaks volumes about why she feels that is acceptable.
Similarly I think thinking they know best and having an answer for everything, including "correcting" people can be fairly typical teenage behaviour. My DD does it and it is incredibly annoying. But again it's up to parents to set boundaries and enforce them, and by saying how proud they are of her for it they aren't doing this.
To be honest they sound like parents of a spoiled toddler - cooing over her behaviour rather than understanding (or caring) how it affects others.
Personally I'd still get her presents because I see the majority of this as bring her parents fault. If they are sending her the messages that it is ok for her to behave like this then how is she supposed to know any different?
However before she next comes to visit you I'd sit down with all three of them and explain the rules of behavior you expect of all adult/teenage guests and if all three of them can't agree to that then maybe you need to meet them somewhere else and leave if her behaviour becomes really bad.
I'd also point out to your mum that in 4 years (maybe less) she will be in pubs and clubs and maybe living independently, maybe with a job or at uni, and if she acts in this way then she will find herself in a whole heap of trouble.
Gosh that was long. Sorry
Ok so much of this is typical teenage selfish behaviour but it obviously has been left unchecked by your dm and dsd. Left to the point that she has completely normalised herself to act this way. I think as her dsis you have a duty to try some more with her. Don't send her a present. Instead offer her a day out with you, theatre show shopping that sort of thing. Something that ties you together for the whole day. Then you can use that time alone to try and gauge some of the shit going on in her brain. Take an opportunity when you are getting on and having a laugh to say "phew I thought things were bad between us, how wrong was I?" Etc.
Difficult I realise but I don't think you should give up on her yet. Also I agree with another poster on here who says your mum may be depressed. If she can't finish a sentence that is very telling. When you are depressed it is often said that "words get stuck in your throat". Best way of dealing with this I think is through your dsd?
For a present how about a teenager self help book. Maybe Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens (talks about relationships, how you treat people etc) . I've not read it it but Chicken Soup for the teenage soul so good too. Charity donation suggestion is good too. You can tell your DM you are doing different presents now she is an adult so it needn't be seen as mean.
Suggest a text sooner rather than later to your DSis stating that she seemed upset when you saw her, and you are there to help if she needs someone to talk to(not mentioning accusations and bad behaviour, teens can come out with a load of rubbish through anger, guilt etc because can't process emotions).
Your DM Doesn't seem very good at dealing with this but she could be overwhelmed and not know what to do. Some teenagers are more prone to this than others and emerge from it eventually. Calm ignoring can work better than shouting as shouting can fuel it. What is more important I have found is the "what happened there, why were you so upset " discussion that you need to have (quietly and gently) afterwards. That gives your teen the chance to explain and unwind their mixed up emotions and this eventually takes the power out of the blow ups. It sound like your DM or DSF may not be doing this unfortunately.
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