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My 20-year-old friend was left in charge of her three siblings while the parents were away. She left to buy food, and when she came back, she caught her 14-year-old sister having oral sex with a neighbor boy. My question is, who should tell the parents? Should my friend do it because she was in charge, or should she make the younger daughter fess up?
Who tells is not the issue. The key is that the parents learn the truth, and immediately. It’s a shame that the 14-year-old’s actions will ruin their homecoming, but this sort of thing can’t wait.
Your friend should give her sister the chance to tell the story, with the understanding that the parents are going to find out regardless. Before the parents return, the older sister must explain how it will work.
Parents come home. Parents greet children. After pleasantries are finished, younger girl takes them aside and tells them what happened. If younger girl doesn’t do the job, older girl does it. Very simple, and the 14-year-old has the power to determine how the news is broken.
This is not the older sister’s problem, it’s the parents’ problem. And once the news is broken, the parents can begin to deal with it.
I am 41 with three children. Two are married, one is a high-school senior. I recently became pregnant – somewhat unexpectedly considering my age – and plan to keep the baby. However, our youngest daughter, “Marla,” is furious about the baby because she believes it will ruin her college life. She will be traveling the world with her band next summer, then starting college. For now, she’s staying out until curfew every day and not talking to us. How can we calm her down and help her to not be this angry?
Your daughter’s concerns are both selfish and irrational. Other than telling her the truth – that the baby will impact your life far more than hers and that her college plans need not be altered – there’s little you can do until Marla decides to calm down on her own.
Marla is used to being the baby of the family. Is she normally the type of girl who craves center stage? If so, Marla does have at least some reason to fret, as the presence of a new baby will divert attention away from her.
However, unless you intend to press your daughter into service for baby-sitting and other baby-related chores, the tyke will not cramp her style. Other than lessening her ability to be the family diva, I don’t see a problem. However, Marla sees a huge problem, and you need to learn what it is. I know she doesn’t want to talk to you, so you must take the initiative. Get her to go beyond the vague “ruin my life” argument and find out why she’s upset. If she has a legitimate beef, address it directly. If it appears she just doesn’t want to share the house with a baby, address that as well.
In an attempt to ease the transition, explain the following:
- You do not expect her to take on many child-care responsibilities unless an emergency occurs.
- Marla’s schedule need not change just because there is a new baby in the house. She can come and go as needed to meet her college responsibilities.
However, after you’ve hit on the above points, you need to go to the crux of the problem. Yes, it will probably make Marla even angrier, but both of you need to get the issue in the open.
It’s time for Marla to grow up. You’re her mother, but you’re also the mother to two other children, soon to be three. The world does not revolve around Marla, and the sooner she realizes it, the easier life will be for her, and for you. Try not to be too combative or patronizing, but make it clear that the advent of the new baby will be difficult for Marla only if she makes it so.
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