June 10, 2011 - submitted by Frances, Canada

Q. Team Oracle - #28
I am 13 years old, but my family keeps treating me like I am 5 just because I am the youngest. I've tried to tell them how I feel about being treated that way (it embarrasses me, it makes me feel stupid, and it's driving me nuts!) but they don't listen. It is keeping me from being able to communicate with them because sometimes they don't take me seriously. Any ideas that could help?

The Oracle replies:

You're clearly acting maturely which seems to go unnoticed. I can see how frustrating that is for you Frances. I (vaguely) remember turning into a teenager and feeling that I was all grown up but soon realised I was still a child and more over, my parent's child and also their youngest. I still am in a way! Basically it's a short answer. I suggest you keep gently reminding your family each time they belittle you but try not to let it bother you as that will also be a great sign of your every increasing maturity.
Over to you...

Part of growing up is not harboring immature feelings towards words and actions that are emitted by the people around you (while often immature in and of themselves). The older you become the more you will realize that this type of thing is commonplace in the "real world". You will constantly be treated differently by various people in life whether it be your career or personal relationships. The difference is how you choose to react to these situations.
For years I was treated in the same fashion. I really feel as though it ultimately put me on the maturity fast track. Show them by example that you are deserving of respect. There are aplenty of things that a 13 year old can do quietly to earn the respect of his/her peers.
The respect will come, and you will see that regardless the disrespect doesn't stop. There will always be people out there that think you're too young for certain things. Once you get older there will always be the people that think you're too old for certain things. With only hearing one side of the story, I would ask that you consider your parents argument. Maybe there is some validity to their position and this could be the stepping stone to you "leading by example". Greg.

My suggestion for Frances - since conversation has so far gotten nowhere, how about trying a letter.
Sometimes when someone reads written words it has a different impact, plus it will make you feel better to put it all down. If however you choose to do this, try to get your feelings across w/out making anyone else wrong. I hope this is helpful. Love & Light, Lezlie.

My name is Michael and I too am the youngest of seven in my family and I understand exactly how you feel and what you are going through, My entire life when my mother would introduce me as “the baby of the family". I would want to scream at her.
In my parents eyes I was the baby and they loved me and nothing could ever change that, it wasn't them trying to embarrass me it was them trying to hold on to their last child as long as they could because they knew what I did not at the time (life is short) and you have to hold on to every precious moment and memory because they don't last forever
I am now 49 years old most of us would give any thing to just be a kid again so don't be in to much of a hurry to grow up enjoy the time you have with your parents and your family enjoy the time you have as a kid because youth will vanish before your eyes, and most important of all cherish every moment you have with your mom and dad because one day they wont be there and you will miss being called the baby of the family. Michael.

I feel sympathy to you becouse I'm the youngest of four, too. Please think like this, Being grown-up is YOU, not your family. Your family can't make you grown-up, and your family can't grow up instead of you. So, please try to look for your favorite or curious things, and learn many things. Maybe it's hard becouse your family too care about you. But find the way and you can grow up by your own.
Don't forget, families love you so care about you. They will help you many times in the future so sometimes listen to your family. 合月 彩 .

I have two son both grown up now, it is just as hard to get children to listen as it is adults. People have never learned to listen properly, because they are to easily distracted with thier own thoughts and what they want to say. The easiest way to put your point across is to write it down, people always take in what is being said when they are reading it, less distraction. You are 13 now and getting very frustrated with the situation, and these frustration will arise a lot as you grow up, so keep a journal of how you think and feel about things and let your parents read it every week, it will help them understand you better. Unfortunately a lot of people forget what it was like and how difficult it is to be your age, to old for somethings and to young for everything else. Try it you never now it might work. Good Luck, Myra.

If you've talked with your parents about how they treat you, and if they have ignored you, the best way to handle this is to prove how mature you've become by acting that way. Do what your parents ask you to do without complaining. Study hard and do your best. Don't do things that you think your parents would deem childish. The more you act in a responsible manner, the more your parents will realize that you're growing up and deserve to be treated less like a child and more like an adult. This way, everybody wins, and you and your family can put this behind you. Good luck, Frances! Violet.

If your parents treat you like a 5-year-old, act like a 5-year-old. They expect silliness from a 5-year-old, right? Eventually, they'll get sick of your actions and they'll make you act your age, which will force them to treat you your age! Alex.

Thank you all for your replies. There was a huge response to this and I'm sorry to omit so many of you. Hopefully you'll be able to help with this week's dilemma.
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