Saturday, January 4, 2014

Time Has Come For Big Sister To Grow Up

Dear Tazi:

I am 14 and my little sister is six. We have shared a bedroom since she was born, which I really don’t mind. I know that sounds weird, but “Larissa” is a good kid and I like being a mother figure to her. Larissa does not like to sleep alone because like a lot of little kids she is scared of the dark.

My parents have told me that it is time for Larissa and I to have separate bedrooms, that I am getting older and need my own space, and that they will be converting the downstairs study into a bedroom for me. Tazi, I don’t want my own bedroom, especially not one that is downstairs when the rest of the bedrooms are upstairs. I told my parents thank you but that I am happy with my current bedroom and sharing my space with Larissa. My parents told me that this is “non-negotiable” and that I will be getting my own room.

Tazi, I don’t understand. I have never complained about sharing a room with my little sister and have never asked for my own space. My parents said that I am at an age where I will expose Larissa to things they do not want her to see, and that means separate bedrooms are needed. Since Larissa is still young, they want to keep her in the upstairs bedroom with them and give me my privacy. Mom and Dad keep telling me that most teenagers would love such an arrangement. Well I don’t. I am not about to corrupt my little sister. Why can’t my parents see this and just let well enough alone?

Big Sis

Dear Big Sis:

It appears that your parents are a little ham-handed when it comes to discussing matters of physical development. At 14, your body is going through the changes of puberty. These changes are not something you can shield your sister from if you share a bedroom. Are you comfortable answering her probing questions about why you suddenly have hair “down there” or why your breasts are getting larger or explaining to her the purpose of feminine sanitary supplies? If you were to have an erotic dream, how would you explain your late night moans to your little sister? These are probably the things your parents are considering but are embarrassed to discuss with you.

There's a big difference between six and sixteen!

Your parents want you to move out of your bedroom, not out of the house. It is not like you will never see your little sister again, and with a little imagination you can make your move sound like a grand adventure! Your little sister already has a mother; she needs you to play the part of her big sister, not that of a mother figure. This change is as much about your little sister needing to explore her own independence as it is about you growing up; if Larissa is to remain by your side day and night she is denied the opportunity to step away from your protective skirts and brave the world on her own.

I suggest you ask your parents if you can decorate the new bedroom however you want, to make it your own space, and to let Larissa decorate the current bedroom in décor appropriate for a six year old child. This will give both of you a sense of control over what is happening and make these changes easier to accept – because as your parents have already told you, this move is non-negotiable; rather than waste your energy trying to talk them out of it use that same energy to make this as positive an experience as possible, for you and for Larissa.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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