Can’t Solve Disagreements Between Mom and Sister

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

My mother and sister are in deep conflict currently, and have been for a little while. We are still young teenagers and I think my sister has reached that point in young life that I can’t really explain(socially related). My sister feels she is being controlled by our mother and feels she has hit rock bottom with stress, friends, school, etc. From my point of view, my mother has been a little bit restrictive, but has the right morals in her. My sister I think is the one who has changed from her childhood. My mother and sister are in such conflict, that my sister won’t talk truthfully to her, keep her as a friend on Facebook, Skype, etc.(My mother wants this as a parental thing).

My sister has been updating her profiles(mainly Skype) with a little bit of hate towards my mother, such as: “Look like a fucking looser.. thanks mum :/”. My mother and sister have different clothing interests, which is normal, but it has got to the point where my sister refuses to go shopping with my mother, and they never buy each other clothes. I manage to have talks to my sister a lot more often than with my mother by the way, due to that she stays up late like me and we talk over Skype. Unfortunately, I feel like the only connection between them, I’ve been trying to exchange their feelings about each other in this way, but I’ve had no luck so far. My sister seems to be standing firm with her opinion and refuses to budge. My mother won’t change due to parental reasons, which seems right to me. My mother once prevented my sister from going to a certain party, at only the age of twelve. She told us that all of her friends go to them, and there are bouncers etc. But the rest of us get the feeling she is growing up to fast. This conflict has resulted so far that she would like to move out as soon as she turns 18, when she gains her own legal rights here. Hopefully I have provided as much information required. Like I said, I don’t get many opportunities with my mother to just talk. I really want to help them before it gets out of hand and my sister regrets these years. Thanks in advance.

-Concerned Brother

A: We are twice armed if we fight with faith. ~Plato
The reason you are not successful (nor likely to be) is that this isn’t your fight — it is theirs. If you really want to help find a middle path here that allows you to keep a good relationship with both your mother and sister, offer support when they need it, and have faith that they will find a way to work it out. You trying to help is likely to make you a lightning rod for their unresolved angst. Steer clear and put your effort on developing your own skills and talents while you show compassion for them as they figure this out.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 31 Jan 2013

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2013). Can’t Solve Disagreements Between Mom and Sister. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 18, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/01/31/cant-solve-disagreements-between-mom-and-sister/