Updated: April 2, 2011 5:44PM
Dear Annie: I have an 18-year-old fraternal twin sister. We have the same friends, the same classes and the same extracurriculars.
The problem is, she bullies me. If I have something she wants, she throws things at me. She pushes me out of my chair so she can sit in it. She constantly teases me, even when our friends are over. She says things like, “People only hang out with you because you’re my twin,” and “You should lose some of your fat.”
Everything I do, we do. Everything we do, she’s the boss. If I resist, she hits me. We have an older sister, but she favors my twin. My friends don’t want to get involved or are oblivious to it. My parents do nothing. It’s obviously hard to avoid her, and I’m tired of sinking to her level. What can I do?
— Twin Problems
Dear Twin: This is extreme sibling rivalry. Bullies are often jealous and insecure. Talk to your school counselor. Then look into switching classes and extracurricular activities so you are not together. Make different friends. Join sports groups outside of school. Be sure to attend different colleges. You and your twin need to separate yourselves and develop independent interests so she no longer feels so threatened by you. And she needs to grow up.
Dear Annie: My son and his girlfriend, “Mandy,” have a beautiful baby boy, “Cal,” who is my first grandchild. Mandy also has a daughter, “Lila,” from a previous marriage. Lila is now 4, and Cal, with whom I spend a lot of time, is 2.
Lila used to call me “Grandma,” but recently began calling me “Grandma Kay.” Mandy has always kept her distance from me and I suspect this is a way to keep Lila from getting too close. I am worried that Cal will start calling me by my first name, too. I asked Mandy to have Lila simply call me “Grandma,” but she refused and now laughs when her daughter calls me Grandma Kay. Cal is already starting to pick up the name. Any advice?
— Just Call Me Grandma
Dear Grandma: Where is your son in all this? You should be registering your complaint with him, not Mandy. He might want to point out to his girlfriend that it is in her best interests to get along with you. That said, however, this is not such a big deal. Many children use “Grandma First Name” to distinguish one set of grandparents from the other. It is not an insult and is no reflection on how close and loving the relationship is. Kids also find their own nicknames for grandparents, which is something you can encourage. Please don’t make a fuss over this.