I’m so sorry you are under so much stress. Somehow you’ve been made into the man of the house when you’re only 18. Your sister is only part of your problem. She couldn’t get away with any of this if the adults in your life didn’t let her. The only comfort I can offer you is that you are learning how to be a responsible adult with many skills and your sister is learning how to be a spoiled brat. I don’t know if everyone expects you to take care of things because you are the oldest, the boy, or both. But, whew! This is really too much to ask of a young guy.
Don’t waste your time trying to change your sister. From her point of view she has no reason to change. Her relationship with your mother is their relationship, not yours. Bow out of any attempts to discipline her. It’s not your job. It is only stressing you. And it isn’t doing any good.
Instead, focus on your own relationship with your mom and the other relatives in the family. Since you shoulder so much, they probably have no idea that you are stressed out. Be your most mature self and ask for some help. Encourage your mom to get some counseling so that she isn’t stressed by sis and so she can learn new ways to handle her. See if your dad is willing to take on some of the repairs. He may be divorced from your mom but he’s still your dad and it’s reasonable to ask him to help you.
Then start to figure out what you want to do with your life and take some steps to get there. You’re in your senior year. I hope you are letting yourself enjoy this last year of high school at least some of the time. It’s also your time to think about what you want for your life after graduation. Sit down with your guidance counselor and take a look at your options. Not interested or ready for college? There are many options that could take you away from home for awhile so that you have the chance to grow. You might find it helpful to take a look at my article “Are You Ready for College? Alternatives for the Unsure” that is in our library.
I wish you well.
This article has been updated from the original version, which was originally published here on April 23, 2010.