Ask Kat Advice Column
After many years of working in various disciplines and industry sectors, none as a therapist, Kat is willing to tackle life's biggest (and smallest) personal questions. Email Kat your questions.
My little sister is 17 years old, a senior in high school, and dating a boy for about a year now who she has trust issues with. He seems to be a pretty good kid and really likes her, yet she always finds reasons to be upset with him, and in return, she is constantly unhappy. For example, she gets upset when she looks at his phone and finds him looking at Facebook pages of female friends they both go to school with, or when he talks with other girls in his classes. I love it that she comes to me for advice, but I am out of ideas of what to tell her as she seems to be going in the same circles, and changes nothing in her thinking, as the boy really hasn't given her any real good reason to worry.
I hate seeing her unhappy her senior year, and would like for her to enjoy these times in her life as we both know it’s over quickly.
-The Big Sister
Trust is not something that comes easily at a young age, it takes us into our adult years to really get an understanding of what trust is all about, and even for adults this can be hard. What makes it more complicated are the individual circumstances your sister has been in. Does she have trust issues with her parents? Was she abused as a child? Has she had prior boyfriends that she has caught cheating? Has she been abandoned by other authority figures in her life? What kind of baggage is she dealing with that’s making trust difficult for her?
Some other questions to ask can be, is she overweight? Does she have bad acne, or an embarrassing scar? Self-conscious issues, especially in high school, can be very difficult for female teens especially.
Your best bet is to be there for her to vent and not always try to fix. When you do try to fix, analyze what is the root cause, because usually it’s always some type of inner personal wound. Then work on that with her, by having her aware of it. She may or may not be able to do so quickly, so tell her to take it easy on herself. Trust will take time to learn. And without all doubt, remind her that if her man is cheating, she will eventually find out, and usually pretty quickly in high school.
Lastly, she is a senior, which is a good distraction from everyday teen high school issues. Get her excited for prom, graduation, college, and the like.
Good luck and trust that your sister is experiencing what she needs to in order to handle something properly in the future.