Jul 20, 2013

Rebelious Teenage Girl

Category: Teens
Posted By: Luisa

Question: My sister is 11½ . Since the year began she has changed, her hair style, her clothes, make-up, etc, which was no problem, she was a sweetheart, but then the problems started. She has always been disorganized, and undisciplined, doesn’t listen to a word her parents say, was always slow when she was told to do something, though there were good times too.

Then she started using my stuff, my deodorant, my nail polish, my hair straighteners, and mom always told her to stop, but still, I had to hide my stuff.  She got her tongue pierced at school, she failed all subjects but 2. I can’t tell how much discipline was applied at home, but I just know my mom is not strict. Her step-father is, but she doesn’t take him that seriously either, although she listens to him more than her.

Last night, I overheard that she was supposed to give her parents a letter from the teacher asking to speak to them, but she forgot or something and they were supposed to be there today. Her step-father was really angry, and told her to give him the letter in the morning. She didn’t give her step-father the letter.

Today, when I came home, my mom was crying wholeheartedly, and she told me the school called her because my sister was in the principal’s office because she didn’t want to go into class, and she was disrespectful to the principal. Also, it seems she pierced another girl’s tongue. It looks like she’s the ‘bad girl’ of the school so everyone seeks her out to do all kinds of stuff and she does it all.

I don’t get along with her since the year began and she started being disrespectful to me too. I don’t know how to talk to her, I actually hide from her, ‘cause I don’t know what to do or say.   We got along pretty well and we were really close, until the year began. Now we don’t talk.

But my mom is kind of lost and I just don’t know what to do. They are not very good with this kind of situation. I read a lot and I give them a lot of advice with my little brother, because I know a lot about ‘setting them straight when little so they are good when older’, and have some idea about teens and tweens, but this is something I can’t just read and give them an answer, all my research I will never come up with an answer to her. This is a case I think needs more professional help.

Is there anything you can tell me that I could tell them to do?

Thank you…

Answer:  Hi Luisa,  Thank you for your question, I have answered quickly because I am touched by how hard you are trying on behalf of your mum and your sister.

It does sound like your sister is slipping out of anyone’s control and I can see why you are worried.  From what you describe some of her behaviour is just irritating younger sister stuff, but some things are more worrying, like building an identity on being a rebel within the school.  I think the most worrying thing is that she isn’t recognizing any authority at all, which leaves her very vulnerable to getting into dangerous situations.  It also means that she is likely to continue to get worse until someone manages to contain her and put in appropriate boundaries.

If you really think that your mother and step-father are not able to do this on their own then I would agree that they should get some professional help to manage things.  I would recommend a child and family therapist if there is someone available in your area.  If you are in England then you can find someone through the Association of Child Psychotherapists: http://www.childpsychotherapy.org.uk/therapists.

As you mention that you have been reading, I can recommend a couple of books that might help your parents.  Firstly Margot Waddell’s book ‘Understanding your 12-14 year olds’.  Chapter 6 is particularly about managing difficulties.  The other book I would recommend is by Asha Phillips ‘Saying No, Why Its Important for You and Your Children’.

I really wish you well with managing things with your family.

Best wishes,


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