August 30, 2013 - submitted by Emily, France

Basically I'm really worried about my 14 years old sister. Her new friends aren't respectable people, they're all older than her, they drink, smoke, take drugs, have sex. I'm scared because she's REALLY an easily influenced person, plus I found out few months ago that she smokes and her boyfriend tried to have sex with her. I'm only 17 but I'm her big sister, it's my duty to protect her but I really don't know how anymore. I tried to talk to my parents and they had a conversation with her, so now they think it's over and they still trust her but they're wrong. So Oracle, please help me because I don't know what to do. I care about, I don't want something bad happens to her.
Thanks for reading.

The Oracle replies:

It's unfortunate that your sister seems to have fallen in with the wrong crowd but as it's happened you'll have to tread carefully or she will rebel against you. I'm sure you know that people tend to do the opposite of what they are told to do so you need to be her big sister without being a nagging preacher. It's actually not your duty to protect her, that lies with your parents but I can see exactly what you mean - you want to quite rightly protect her by telling your parents.
It's good you told them but if she hasn't listened to them she most likely won't listen to you.
I suggest you talk to your sister in a casual manner. Be her friend and her big sister by telling her you're there if she has anything she needs help with. If your sister is defiant & tells you to mind your own business, the best route then is to advise if she's going to do things that she thinks of the consequences – e.g., poor health, bad reputation, no prospects, pregnancy - and explain you want her to protect herself (mentally & physically) and keep her safe. Encourage her to look after herself no matter what choices she makes.
Now, about those choices...
If your parents really are still unaware of what she's doing, maybe it's time to talk to them again. Don't worry if your sister gets mad at you - she probably will - she is still a child no matter how mature she feels and until she's an adult, I feel you're very right to watch out for her welfare.
Lots of teenagers are easily influenced especially when trying to impress boys or older friends. I'm recalling when I was 14 (a VERY long time ago) and times have changed. People do seem to be doing everything younger: drinking smoking, sex... luckily I didn't really do what everybody around me was doing and had no interest in peer pressure. That doesn't mean I was always well behaved but that as my mother would say is all part & parcel of growing up.
I'm assuming that 3 years ago you weren't hanging around with undesirable characters who led you astray but maybe you know of someone in your year who did.
Remember, treat your sister with respect and as an equal otherwise she is likely to tell you to butt out and do all the things you fear her doing.
Over to you.

As one of the members of your sister's age group, I will tell you this; at such an age teenagers think that they are old enough to make their own decisions and that they don't need to be controlled by anybody anymore. That's completely wrong because your sister is still too young for responsibility of her own self. I see you have said that she is with 'new' friends, that suggests that she has old ones. If so, try to make her regain communication with her old friends so that she doesn't think about the new ones as much. If that fails, make her earn new friends of her same age group, from school, the neighbourhood, etc. Have another conversation with your parents with proof that she's still not trustworthy, try to find evidence in her room when she's out. Keep an eye on her when she's with her friends and make sure she doesn't engage in any sort of activity or conversation that exceeds limits. Tell your parents to have her hang out with them less, and make a schedule with only little free time for her friends, that way she'll be way too busy to think about those kind of things. Have your parents make very strict rules by telling them how their daughter is an inch away from falling into a deep hellish pit of sin. You also have stated that she smokes, depending on how far she went with it and if she got addicted or not, you should find her cigarets and hide them, leaving her only with two or three. Then slowly start decreasing the amount you leave her with. If she's not addicted then you should completely take them away and give them to your parents. Try to also emotionally connect with your sister, ask her why she's doing it and get in touch with her. Spend lots of time with her so she won't have to go spend time with other people, that being her 'friends'. It's going to be tough, but I think that you're a very responsible person and you can handle it. Just be patient and don't worry! Solaf.

It is normal and good that you be worried by your little sister and her behaviour, she is really young and maybe your parents are just too much trustful maybe not being involved enough in her education, spending time with her and trying to speak kindly with her.
I think the only way for you to understand why she is turning to the "wild wrong side", with not respectable older friends. It is just to try to talk with her, try to be close to her as her better friend but without criticizing her too much because I think it would be worse.
And since she is so interested in having older friends; maybe it could be a good idea to invite her to go out for having fun with your own friends like that you could better know what she has on her mind and, why she seems to want to grow older too fast.
It think your sister is a little lost as a teenager and I believe the only way to know what she really thinks is trying to get closer from her.
I just hope my advices could be useful too you since it is not really easy.
I wish you to be successful and try to involved your parents too. Much love from France too, Marina.

I think it's so great that your sister's got someone like you watching her back and worrying for her. Maybe it's time to get a counselor involved, but as for taking into your own hands, I think you really should let her know how much you care for her and want her to be making the right decisions. Let her know as meaningfully as you can how you believe she should choose to hang out with different people and a different boyfriend. Also try to mention that the choices she's being influenced to make are going to very likely lead her down a path of destruction - not just her own, but the people who love her. Also talk to your parents, and express that this is a matter that needs to be taken seriously. Trust me, you care about your sister and I'd think that your parents do as well very much, and because of that, there's a good chance things will get hopefully better.
Good luck, Everly.

Firstly I'd like to tell you that in my opinion it's wonderful, that nowadays there is a sister like you, who cares about her younger sister and looks for ways to help her. It's clear that it is important to communicate with her a lot, however you should think about what you want to tell her. And from my experience I can tell that nothing can help people more than love. I don't want to say that you should stay calm now and tell her every morning that you love her, but try to talk to her about the problems you see and especially tell her, even in a fight, that you are talking to her only because she is your sister and you like her and you don't want her to be hurt. But don't forget to give her freedom in her decision. Remember, you might talk to her and end up being the "worst person in the world", but nothing lasts forever. Maybe in a few years time she will realize that she made a mistake. I pray for you to stay strong. Joseph.

First, it's understandable that you want to protect your little sister. It shows how much of a good person you are. Actually, I'm 14 too and this a time of life when a lot of things happen. Also, you get exposed to many dangerous things like alcohol or drugs. Personally, I believe that each on of us has to learn from our own mistakes but in the case of your sister, as she is an easily influenced person. She needs to know what's good for her before someone else shows her the real world. Talk to her. But never say "you can't do this or that" because that will only make her want it more. Just talk about the consequences and she will understand that she has to be careful with all her decisions. And always be there for her. Every single doubt. Sisters are more than just family. They're friends for a lifetime.
Wish you the best and more, Lyssete. Lima, Peru.

To me, it seems like your sister is so excited to have a boyfriend and "cool" older friends that she is willing to do whatever they want. When I was her age, I had a lot of older friends as well (we were all music students). We had fun by playing video games, going to free events put on by the community, and sitting out on the lawn while listening to Backstreet Boys. Maybe, if she is just having trouble getting along with people in her own age group, you could spend more time with her. Take her along when you go out with your friends. Find interesting things to do. You and your friends can be a better influence on her. She just needs to see that there is a way to be awesome and have a great time without drugs, sex, and alcohol. Lily.

I’m sorry to hear what you and your sister are going through. I totally understand a situation like yours can be difficult. I myself am 18 with a 15 year old brother and sometimes it can be tough to protect your younger sibling when they seem to think they know everything. Sometimes when we are younger, our judgement can be impaired and so talking to her is the right thing to do. Try to talk to your parents again and express that this situation is more urgent than they may perceive. Maybe you yourself have experienced peer pressure or know a friend who went through the same and you can tell her of a time when you or a friend experienced a similar thing. Maybe write her a letter as you will have time to word out your thoughts properly and it won’t develop into an argument which is what I sometimes do to get my point across to my brother.
At the end of the day you must be there for her to support and guide her through whatever may happen. We all make mistakes especially when developing as people. Mistakes are unfortunately there to be made and is the way we are wired to learn. Don’t fret too much just yet, but if something does happen and you no longer know what to do, please never hesitate to tell an adult who can get help. Remind her that looking for help is not a sign of weakness - it’s really a sign of strength. Lots of love, Harriet, UK.

I myself do not have a sister but have had many friends whom I consider sisters to take this path as well. I am actually going through this same situation with a best friend whom I have known for years, it is hard seeing someone I care about make poor decisions and it's hard keeping myself from wanting to hold her down and knock some sense into her. As much as I would like to, that probably wouldn't help at all. In all honesty the best thing we can do at this point is to be a good example to them through our actions and our words and hope for the best,as much as we would like to help them make the right choices we can't because it all comes down to them. If you haven't already done this, ask her to go out with you one night and have sister bonding time just you and her. Spending time with her and being a good influence will be a great example of the type of people she needs to be around. I wish the best for both you and your sister. Katelyn,USA.

This is a tough battle to fight. Naturally, you feel an instinctive need to protect your sister. People her age are caught in a struggle for independence; an effort to appear more mature is what fuels these phases.
I agree that it is important and necessary to look out for her, but if you approach her as though she is a child you only risk feeding her desire to rebel. She will inevitably make her own choices and she has to be allowed to.
The safest way to protect her is by arming her with the knowledge she needs to make informed decisions. Equip her with real knowledge about smoking, drinking, taking drugs, having sex and hanging out with ‘certain people’. Give her the power to make her own decisions, but protect her with the safety of not making them ignorantly.
I don’t know what the relationship is like between the two of you, perhaps you should be the one to tell her or maybe not. It needs to come from a person she looks up to, and who’s opinion she respects and trusts, so that she won’t feel condescended to. And if she has any friends you think you can trust, you could always try just asking them to look out for her and make sure she’s staying safe. Hope this helps. Best wishes, Holly.

I think your position is the worst because your sister chose to trust in her boyfriend. My advice is that you must be near to her, you shouldn't try to change her, just be there for her at any time in case she gets in trouble or need someone to talk. Your love and the experience will change her mind because we all learn with the wrong decisions and you must remember that you are her sister, not her mother. Nadia.

First of all, try to put yourself in their shoes. You're the older sister and younger siblings generally do not accept the advice of our older brothers, but do not give up. Do not talk from the "wisdom" of your age, but get to their level and remember as you were at age 14, things you were interested, the problems you had, you were discovering things.
Second: Once understood that learn to listen and be his accomplice, not judging or approving their bad decisions, but trying to understand where their needs come, and why she needs to meet with those people who do not do well.
Finally, try to see in what way, as a sister, you can meet those needs. With the help of your parents make her feel important to the family. You should also recognize that she is in a rebellious stage but must be cautious because there are errors that can not be turned back.
I hope I have helped you. Lots of Love from Argentina, Naela.

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