Reply To: Sister w/ ADHD, I'm out of patience and she thinks I'm selfish

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I would suggest a sit-down talk (but not after a fight on the topic). Explain to your sister how her lateness affects you and your anxiety. It’s important for her to understand how her actions affect others. Especially since your chronic condition is just as important as hers.

Explain that you will not do things for her. It is perfectly acceptable to create boundaries, but they need to be clear and well-communicated. Then suggest that you help her create a system for the things that she finds she struggles with. Always losing her shoes? Create a space where the shoes always live. Losing keys? Put a bowl by the door–they always stay in the same place.

That said, there may be times when your options are help her or leave without her, and it is important that you listen when she tells you what she needs. If she says “I need you to ask me this question,” then that’s how you can help. If you’re ready to go, staring at the clock, give her a time warning, and ask what she has left to do. If you feel so inclined to refill her water bottle for her, do it. If not, say “I’m getting in the car and leaving at x o’clock. If you aren’t ready, I’m leaving without you.”

I feel like maybe part of your reluctance to help her is that you feel like she’s always getting help (maybe too much help) while you’re getting none. It is easy to get resentful over such things. But remember this: you also aren’t asking for help. People aren’t mind-readers.

Try to find some tips for getting one’s teenagers out the door–I’m sure this website is rife with them. Help her develop a system and routine. And try to be understanding. As frustrating as it is for you, it is at least as frustrating for her.

And if you just don’t want to help her at all, just be ready for the consequences of those actions. You can put your foot down, refuse to help, amd drive separately. But she isn’t just a roommate. She’s your sister. And while that doesn’t mean she’s entitled to anything from you, it is a lifelong relationship. Is this really worth hurting it for?