Having a sister has its definite advantages. When you want to borrow a skirt to go with your new sweater, or gossip about this really cute guy at school, just head to her room. If you need to gripe about your Mom and Dad, she can totally relate. And honestly, who else in this world knows you better than your sister?
On the flip side, having a sister has some major disadvantages, too -- especially if she's the star athlete and straight-A student, while you trip over your own feet every time you run and can barely keep a C average.
In the six months after her parents' divorce, 13-year-old Caroline (not her real name) gained more than 20 pounds. Feeling sad and alone, she consoled herself with food -- and lots of it. Day after day, she was binge eating.
"I remember the night my dad left, I went into the kitchen and devoured a dozen glazed doughnuts and a quart of milk," Caroline said. "Still feeling hungry (but really sad), I took a bag of chips up to my room and ate them in the dark while sitting on my bed, crying."
Being jealous of your sister (or brother) is totally normal. It's called sibling rivalry, and just about everyone with a sibling has had to deal with it.
Here are a few of the reasons behind sibling rivalry, and what to do if your sister (or brother) is making you crazy.
Sibling Squabble 1: I'm Living in My Sibling's Shadow
Your sister has just brought home her umpteenth soccer trophy, which your parents have placed prominently in the living room case, right next to her cross-country, swimming, and gymnastics trophies. Every person who comes to visit is marched over to that trophy case so your parents can rave about how proud they are of their "little soccer star!"
Meanwhile, you feel invisible.
Whether your sister is stunningly beautiful, a perfect student, or a star athlete, she hogs the spotlight, while you disappear into the darkness of her shadow. You watch as she snags all the cute boys, the As, and the medals. And what do you get? Nada.
It's even worse when your parents constantly praise your sister or ask, "Why can't you be more like her?" That kind of needling can make you really hate your parents -- and hate your sister for being so perfect.
"That can be a real source of bad feelings between sisters," says Anthony E. Wolf, PhD, a child psychologist in Longmeadow, Mass., and author of Mom, Jason's Breathing on Me! The Solution to Sibling Bickering.
Living in your sister's shadow can make you feel awful about yourself -- so awful that you can even get depressed. "If they really take it to heart, it can affect their mood," says Peter Goldenthal, PhD, a psychologist practicing in the Philadelphia area. He also wrote a book about sibling issues, called Beyond Sibling Rivalry.