Need help with little sis

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-30-2003
Need help with little sis
Thu, 11-20-2003 - 7:55pm
Ok, here is the deal, there is this girl that is 5 years younger than me, she is the little sister of a guy friend of mine. She is the middle child, and the only girl. So she has always kinda looked up to me, So I have tried to be the big sister she didn't have. I even refer to her as my lil sis. Well the problem is that she is 16 now. All of her "friends" have gotten into the party thing and kind of left her by the wayside. She is the type that she really doesn't want to go to the parties, but she wants to be invited. There is only like 1 or 2 of her "friends" that still talk to her and hang out with her. She is feeling very left out. We haven't done much together lately, but I'm trying to change that. I am taking her to dinner and a movie tomorrow night. My question is what do I tell her? I hate to see her hurting and I feel this need to "fix it" some how. I know I can't actually fix it, but i'm hoping i might can help her. She goes to the same high school that I went to, but just in the few years that i've been out of school, things have changed so much that I don't even know where to begin. I don't know what to tell her or how to help her. Anyone with any advice or experience with something like this, I would love to hear from you. I need all the help I can get. Thanks in advance.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-14-2002
Thu, 11-20-2003 - 10:32pm
It does hurt to see someone you care about hurting like this, but you are right: there is nothing you can do to *fix* it.

Mostly, I just have two comments that might help:

First, don't be so eager to *fix* it. This is how kids and teens learn to deal with the big, bad world out there; by suffering through frustrations, disappointments and pain, then overcoming those. I think there are too many parents (and other family members & friends) out there who want to protect their kids from the pain and ugliness in the world, but don't they realize what damage they're doing to their kids in the process? No, kids NEED to learn how to get through the pain and ugliness, with loved ones there to guide them and support them, rather than protect them from it. Life will be very tough for them one day, as it is to all of us --- how else are they going to learn to deal with it?

So I think the best thing you can do is just to BE there for her. Ask her questions and get her talking about what bugs her, what hurts, etc. and tell her stories from your experiences and how you got through it. Just giving her a strong shoulder to cry on and letting her know she's not alone would do wonders for her.

Second, you mentioned that she's only 5 years younger than you and you both went to the same high school, but things have changed so much you don't know where to begin. Well, let me tell you things have changed a lot MORE for me, out of high school now for 26 years. And like you, when I was in my 20's, I saw the changes happening so fast I thought there was no way I could ever relate.


Fast forward to today, and I've realized really nothing has changed at all! Oh sure the styles are different (or maybe not.. hiphuggers, midriffs and beads are back! woohoo!), dating customs are different, the lingo is different, what's hot and what's not are different, but KIDS ARE THE SAME! They know more about the world and technology, and less about history and culture, but deep down they all still have the same desires, needs, dreams, fears, and insecurities as my generation did, and the same as my parents and grandparents.

What's on the surface has changed... but deep inside, this girl is facing the same feelings you did when you were her age.

Think of it from that angle, and tell her about your struggles and how you got through them. Most of all, just keep in contact and let her know you'll always be there for her if she needs help, or just needs to talk.

I think you've taken the most important step in just taking her out and showing her a good time. She needs to know that lots of *friends* or lack of them is not the key to happiness and acceptance. More important are the QUALITY of her friends, and she'll be much happier in the long run by standing her ground when all those around her want her to give in. You can help her most by giving her an out, and a good time - even if it's just going for a drive and some laughs, away from her friends.

Hope this helps.