A: I’m sorry that your younger sister is so disrespectful to you and it’s obvious that you care about her and wish that things could be different. I cannot explain her behavior without meeting her and exploring the issues. But you may be correct in your assumption that it is all rooted in the past and the family separation, but it could also be that she treats you this way because she gets a reaction out of you. Have you ever tried to act indifferent to her obvious attempts to aggravate you? Bullies typically go after the ones who react to their instigations, among other things. I’m not blaming you for her behavior, I’m just suggesting that you separate yourself from it.
I feel like you have two choices. You can ask your mother if you can all go to family therapy to work out the differences in a safe environment with the help of a trained professional. In this case it will be important to not make it about your sister specifically, but helping the overall family work through the events of the past as well as improve current relationships with each other. If your sister feels cornered she may not cooperate.
Or, you can just continue being nice, taking the “higher road” and go on with your life. Her personality may change quite a bit over the next few years and there’s a chance that you two can become close, but if you push for this she is likely to resist. Reprimanding doesn’t work either as you have discovered. Focus on college, your friends, your future and let your sister figure out her own way without much input from you. Don’t let her get to you and hopefully things will improve with time and maturity.
All the best,
Dr. Holly Counts