DR. WALLACE: I’m 17 and share a room with my younger sister who is 11 years old. This girl likes to act like she’s 16! She is always in my stuff, trying on my clothes and shoes, and even my cosmetics.
We get along fine most of the time, but she listens to everything I say on my phone and she even overlooks me when I’m texting my friends and tries to follow the conversations. Sometimes, she will misunderstand my texts and tell my parents what she thinks is going on. Then I have to take my time to explain everything I’m texting. None of it is bad, but the whole experience is really awkward.
I’ve asked my sister to mind her own business, but that hasn’t worked so far. When I tell my parents about her overzealous activities toward me, they just tell me that my little sister looks up to me and that I just need to work it out between the two of us. What can I do about this? — Pestered older sister, via email
PESTERED OLDER SISTER: Your much younger sister indeed needs to learn to respect your privacy. I suggest that you try a sweet approach with her rather than a sour one. By this, I mean try to find a nice way to work with her instead of simply scolding her or complaining to her.
Sit down with her one day, perhaps on a Saturday afternoon when both of you have free time, and explain that her behavior is aggravating and that you’d like to work with her to establish healthy boundaries.
Calmly explain to your sister your reasons for wanting her to respect your personal space and your cellphone usage. Then be sure to tell her that you love her and you want to help her, too. Mention that you’ve noticed that she seems to look up to you and that she wants to emulate your manner of dress and lifestyle.
Tell her that as long as she respects your privacy, you’ll agree to spend some time with her to show her how cosmetics work, and spend some time showing her your wardrobe and asking her about hers. Tell her that you’ll take her shopping the next time your family plans to buy her some new clothes and shoes.
She looks up to you, so be her mentor and truly help her to feel involved and happy about herself, too. I trust if you can establish this sweeter interaction, you’ll have many fewer sour experiences with her in the future.
OUR CAR GOT KEYED!
DR. WALLACE: My dad agreed to let me drive the family car to and from high school the first week to see how it would go. It was fine the first couple of weeks, so I got to continue to drive the car to school.
But yesterday when I went to get into the car, I saw that it had been keyed all along the driver’s side. We don’t have any cameras at the school that capture the part of the parking lot where I park, so I don’t know who did it. My dad is going to be mad at me, but it’s not my fault. Will our family’s auto insurance policy cover these damages? — Worried son, via email
WORRIED SON: You should promptly report the vandalism on your car to your high school administration, so they can have it on record the date and time of when this occurred.
Your school will investigate to see if it’s a one-time event or if it has happened to other vehicles in the parking lot. If your father decides to report the loss to his insurance company, your comprehensive deductible will apply, and you could get the vehicle repaired. However, depending on the amount of the potential claim, your father may not opt to make an insurance claim.
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.