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My adolescent sister is aloof towards her family, what to do?

Q: I have a 14 year old younger sister who seems to have absolutely no affection within and outside the family. She does not speak to our father or grandmother and most of the time insults us if we tell her she is wrong. She is fine in studies and is quite close to her friends. She is becoming more and more introvert day by day and does not like to go out at all. Even when someone comes to our house, she does not come out of her room. She has a negative attitude towards my mother and does not listen to her at all. Now even outsiders have begun to notice her behaviour. Please help. We are very worried.

A:It is very concerning to hear that your 14 year old sister does not talk to or listen to anyone in the family. Who are her friends that she is close to? If she has some good relationships, it would be less worrying than if she had none at all. You mention that she has no affection for anyone, but also that she is close to her friends. Perhaps you should talk to her friends too (tactfully and with great sensitivity, of course), to find out what is bothering her. How is her school work? If she is good at academic work, perhaps her teachers can also help in the process of getting to the problem. But this will require a lot of tact. Normally teachers will not have time to discuss individual problems, especially with the family. Perhaps her appearance or size bothers her? Or she feels that her family is conservative in deciding what she wears or whom she meets? Or that her older sister is much smarter? Adolescence is a period of confusion when a person feels both a child and a grown up and I have known girls of 15, who thought their mothers were terrible. Later, by the time they were 18 they had a very good relationship with the mother and others. You as an older sister (or brother)? should talk to her nicely, as you would to a friend. Instead of treating HER as a problem, maybe you could see if she has a problem that she is handling alone. She seems to have erected a barrier. You may need a counsellor or psychologist to help out, in case your affectionate interventions do not work. All the best in your attempts.


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