This is a bit of a tricky one but here goes:
I'm in my mid-twenties and (for various reasons) currently live at home with both parents, my 15 year old sister, and my 17 year old brother. I regularly help out with family stuff - morning/afternoon school runs and other "taxi services" in particular - and, especially as there is a bit of an age gap, feel like I'm in an 'authoritative' position a lot of the time.
My problem is that both siblings can be very uncooperative, unpleasant and (in my sister's case) even rude or abusive at times, and there's a lot of friction whenever they need to do something they don't enjoy.
I completely understand that they're not my children, I'm not their parent and it's not my job to discipline them. However, I do still feel responsible for them in some ways and I do try to act as a role model for them.
I also don't want to insult the effort my parents have put into their (and my) upbringing but I sometimes feel as though they get away with whatever they like and there are few to no repercussions for bad behaviour. This has been going on for as long as I can remember and it's really starting to cause me a lot of stress and upset. I cannot wait until I can leave home but financially I have no idea when that's going to be possible.
I'm often late for work in the mornings because they simply don't get ready for school in time (they're late regardless of who takes them in the mornings) and being the messenger for requests like "come down for dinner" or even "it's time to wake up" is usually met with aggressive arguments and sometimes swearing and vocal abuse from my sister.
A few examples of their typical behaviour:
- My sister rarely eats with the family at mealtimes and hasn't for several years now. If forced to she will be surly and uncommunicative, sometimes throwing tantrums, demanding to leave the table early, or simply storming off at some perceived insult. Usually she eats in her room or the sitting room and we put up with it because "it's easier than having the argument".
- My brother seems incapable of getting up in the morning. I have found a half-way solution in that I go into his room and keep pestering him until he gets out of bed and starts getting ready. This isn't fool-proof though as he has been known to get back into bed and fall asleep again when dressed. Am I wrong in imagining a 17 year old should be responsible enough to get themselves up in the morning?
- Both siblings are frequently unhappy, tired or feeling unwell. Unsurprisingly, when they feel like this they're more likely to snap or become aggressively argumentative.
- After having read some of the questions on the site, it almost seems like my sister is displaying many signs of Oppositional Defiant Disorder. She hates school and her other brother, she's angry most of the time, is usually generally argumentative and can take offence at almost anything.
Both siblings can be absolutely wonderful if they're in the right mood, but that is rare. I'm becoming increasingly concerned they have learned behaviours and attitudes that mean they will struggle in later life.
I would love to talk to my parents about this but I just don't know what to say or what suggestions to make. Especially without hurting their feelings or implying they're bad parents. Both of my parents are under a lot of pressure and stress at the moment and neither of them deal well with confrontational discussions about these sorts of things which makes things doubly difficult.
Hopefully this all makes sense!? I feel as though my siblings need to learn some self-discipline and become much more responsible for their actions and behaviours towards myself and others. However, I have no idea how to get them to cooperate and see this and getting my parents' help with this seems impossible. HELP! What can I do as a sibling to make everyone's life easier?