Teen Refuses to Let 'Traumatized' Step-sister into Bedroom

Gillian Sisley

Should boundaries exist between siblings?

A lot of things can happen in life to leave a deep impression, and in some cases some very significant scars or psychological damage. This is especially a tragic reality when it comes to children.

Statistics show that between 14% to 43% of minor children will suffer through at least one trauma during their childhood. Of those minors who suffer from a trauma, between 3% to 15% of girls will develop PTSD.

These realities were highlighted in a recent online post in which a 16-year-old boy locks his step-sister out of his bedroom, because she keeps invading his privacy as she deals with recovering from a significant trauma.

Should boundaries exist between siblings?

An online post published on September 25th, reported on by Alice Gibbs from Newsweek, has gone viral with 5,700 upvotes and close to 1,000 comments.

The author begins his post by explaining that his parents are divorced and his father has since remarried. Due to this marriage, he now has a 14-year-old step-sister as well. With that said, his 14-year-old step-sister is currently recovering from a 'traumatic event' that she experienced six months ago, and one of the biggest symptoms of her trauma is a 'fear of being alone'.

The author adds the context that he and his stepsister 'aren't very close' because they don't live together full-time. The author visits his dad every other weekend. However, his stepsister is also prone to 'going into his room and taking things', or even just spending time in his room even though she's not allowed to do so. Due to these frequent intrusions, the author's father installed a lock on his bedroom so that his stepsister couldn't just go in whenever she pleased.

Referring back to his step-sister's recent trauma, he adds that she will enter his room at completely random times, and will most often do so when their parents leave the house and they're left home alone.

She will come in to ‘talk a bit’ or just sit in the author's room and ‘sob uncontrollably’, which he clarifies that he finds 'rather uncomfortable', because while he wants to be sympathetic, the two of them aren't exactly close and he wants to have his own privacy, too.

How much should a person's trauma be accommodated in a household?

The author talked to his father about this, and the dad told his stepdaughter's therapist about the situation. Though it doesn't happen super often, the author had just grown tired of his step sisters bursting in, so he just started to lock his door.

Recently, when the author's dad and stepmother were out, his stepsister knocked on his door again. He asked if she needed something, and she said 'no', so he said that he was 'busy' and wouldn't let her in, leaving the door locked.

When the parents returned, the stepmother saw that her daughter was sitting outside the author’s bedroom, and the stepmother scolded him for not letting his stepsister in when she knocked. His father then told him to go and ‘stay in his room for the night’ as a punishment.

What do you think? Is the author being insensitive to his stepsister, especially knowing that she has experienced such a significant trauma? Or is it in no way the teen’s job to facilitate his stepsister’s healing journey at the expense of his own mental health, and his parents need to step up more?

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