Dear Carol

"Dear Carol, My life has been super overwhelming lately"

Dear Carol, 

In my 11 years of life, I've moved eight times. I'm the oldest of five kids, and my 9-year-old sister copies me. It's so annoying, it's like she's my clone. I got my period for the first time a month ago, and she keeps asking me questions. I feel like I can't talk to my mom because she's always busy, and I get jealous because she used to treat me like I was her only daughter. We used to laugh and cry hysterically about everything together. Before our latest move, we lived with my grandparents and uncle for six months. Having two adults controlling your life is overwhelming, but five?! It's also very hard for me to make friends, and my sister is perfect at everything and gets all the attention. I feel alone and like I'm not a normal kid. I'm home-schooled, and I'm shy and my siblings win over people before I can. I've always been a good dancer and gymnast, and whenever I'm doing either of those, I feel like my worries fade away. 

-  Overwhelmed

Dear Overwhelmed,

Wow, eight moves in 11 years is a lot. And it's hard to go from only child to oldest of five. But you know what? I bet these changes have made you observant and resilient and wise for your age. Your sister has moved a lot, too, so try to get along with her rather than just feeling annoyed or threatened. She admires you (and, in some ways, you admire her), so why not strive to be allies forever? As for making new friends, is there a way you can meet more kids this summer? Gymnastics or dance classes? Many kids feel shy and wonder if they're normal, so I promise you're not alone. Might you want to talk to your mom about attending a public school in the fall. Big step, but she's probably overwhelmed, too, and being in a school setting would help you feel like you're a part of the world beyond your own family. Even showing her this letter might help. Or saying, "Mom, I know you're busy, but let's do something fun just us this weekend. Maybe Saturday morning?"

Carol Weston is the author of 16 books including GirltalkSpeed of Life and Ava and Pip. Follow her on Insta @carolwestonnyc and visit

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by GL | 6/20/2023