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Old 06-02-2009, 09:09 PM
 
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My niece is in junior high and is beyond a handful for my sister, a single mother. The police have been called in twice on her (once for drinking before school, recently for helping to "pants" a girl), she told her mom she snorted Smarties on a dare and her mom walked in on her snorting Kool Aid. Her friends come from broken homes and last week she ran away to her friend's house, whose happy residents include a mom who just got out of jail for meth. She also told her mom she has no qualms in lying, and does so constantly.

My sister called this morning to potentially take me up on our "our house is always open" policy. We are moving to a small, isolated town where the kids' ideas of fun is riding horses. I called my mom this evening to see what she thinks and she starts saying that she will miss out on her sports and she supposes she will still have her cell phone and internet access because you can't just completely cut her off from her friends. WHAT?!! The child is sniffing sugar and has been expelled twice and she is worried about my niece being cut off from her friends?!

Anyhow, I put this to you, oh grand audience of City-Data: What would you do, whether you be the one giving up or the one taking in? Also, do you think the change is too severe?

Our household: myself, husband, two little boys--vegetarians, who have no TV (we do watch movies), moving to a town with a school of 75 kids in K-12 where the closest grocery store is almost two hours away. (My husband is onboard with the situation).
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Old 06-02-2009, 09:25 PM
 
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Wow that would be some undertaking, if you're up for it I say go for it, but you better have nerves of steel! The only downside to moving to such a remote and rural area would be the other kids her age sometimes have nothing better to do and that might add to her experimenting with harder drugs especially meth (seems to be prevalent in small towns where other drugs might not be). I'm sure you probably plan on lots of supervision, so it shouldn't be much of an issue.

As for whether or not I would do it...yes I would.

And yes yes the change is severe, but it sounds like she needs it before she gets herself into bigtime trouble.
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Old 06-02-2009, 11:13 PM
 
Location: Australia
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I love it. I suspect that after a couple of tantrums that the delinquent will too.

Sometimes a shock and hug can make a huge change.

You sound like wonderful people. I bet it wont be easy. She will rebell and may do things to try to get sent home.

Vegitarian, No TV, No internet, and I would get rid of her phone. I would isolate her and let her earn privlidges.
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Old 06-02-2009, 11:29 PM
 
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Thank you for the votes of confidence. I was just shocked after talking with my mom. Now I'm thinking she is just unknowingly facillitating the problem and/or refuses to see the enormity of the issue.

Both my mom and my sister brought up the issue of my boys annoying the heck out of ny niece. I really don't see the problem there, though. That is what little kids do and it is part of learning to live as part of a family. (and it works both ways, my boys, especially my oldest who is 6, needs to learn that not everyone wants to know all the exact details of his latest off-the-wall invention).
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Old 06-03-2009, 07:22 AM
 
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Tell us about mom. How old is she? Have you ever seen her fight with her daughter? What does she say in the heat of the moment to her daughter? Where is the father? Does she know who the dad is? Does mom have any history of drug/alcohol use or mental illness?

I'll go ahead and shoot my second questions as well.

Are you going to have court documents signed over as you legal guardian and will mom be giving you money? How long is mom giving her up for?

Last edited by Pandamonium; 06-03-2009 at 07:34 AM..
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Old 06-03-2009, 08:44 AM
 
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It isn't that my sister is a bad mom--she got pregnant young and unexpectedly from someone who is a pathelogical liar. I haven't seen them fight too much since I live so far away, but I do know that lately it has gotten to sniping and there is a huge showing of a lack of respect toward my sister. My sister rarely "took a break" for the first few years and then for the next several years, her only break was the weekends she had to work (then my neice went to my parents). She rarely drinks and has never evern tried any drugs.

Her father is a contributing factor. He is supposedly working on his issues, and to his favor, it does sound like he is making progress. But here is a laundry list of his issues: He is a pathelogical liar; He was in jail for her first years on a statatory rape charge (he would have been around 26 at the time, I think); he got kicked out of another country for having drugs while he was in doing "mission work"; he has yet to remember her birthday (we are talking a phone call or cheap card even just sometime around her birthday). My sister has tried to make it so they could spend time together, but they would agree on times and plans and then he would cancel at the last minute. Or the times he did go ahead with plans, he would spend the whole time trying to get back together with my sister. He has never driven/taken the bus to go see his daughter--my sister has always driven her to him.

We haven't confirmed how long she will be staying if she comes. My sister wants me to get another okay from my husband first (he is traveling for work this week). I won't be asking for legal guardianship, but will look into what legal documents I will need to act in her behalf while staying here.
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Old 06-03-2009, 08:55 AM
 
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I should have said from the get-go that we live around 1,500 miles from "home." This is the hesitant part for my sister and one reason we haven't decided on a timeframe. If we lived closer, I think we would have her for the longer term. No matter what, I am preparing for the longer term because I think her situation currently is toxic and not going away. She isn't a bad kid and has just been acting this bad for one year, increasingly getting worse as the year went. She has long had this kind of rebellious attitude, but it wasn't until they moved to this new town that she has been acting on it.

I also won't be asking for money. My sister doesn't make a whole lot and has very poor money management skills. My parents pay for her school clothes and supplies and a lot of her sporting equipment/fees. If she comes, I don't plan on having my parents continue, so I will work with them on planning expenses--if need be. (I know this sounds backwards, but they easily spend $1,000/year on her currently.) This will free my sister up to try to get her life in order (again), and save money to fly down to see her daughter.
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Old 06-03-2009, 09:13 AM
 
Location: In My Own Little World. . .
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Wow. I admire your compassion and helpfulness, but you REALLY need to think about this. This child is going to be absolutely, competely, no-doubt-about-it, miserable. And when teens are miserable, EVERYONE in the family is miserable.

I have to agree somewhat with your mom that cutting her competely off from her friends is not a good idea, especially if her friends are so far away that she can't "sneak out" to see them. You need to be prepared for some serious depression. Many times in the movies troubled kids are taken in by families and after some problems, everyone is smiling at the end. That's the movies. This is real life. You have to be prepared to have major disruptions in your and your familly's life.

Even though it sounds as though I am discouraging you from doing this, I am not. I think it's a very noble idea, but you need to really, really think this through. Good luck with whatever you decide.

Added: I speak a bit from experience on this. About a year and a half ago, we moved 1500 miles from where my 19 year old son and 17 year old daughter were born and raised. My daughter is doing fine, but my son still hates it here and really misses his friends. It's been tough -- both on him and us.
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Old 06-03-2009, 09:51 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colleeng47 View Post
....I have to agree somewhat with your mom that cutting her competely off from her friends is not a good idea, especially if her friends are so far away that she can't "sneak out" to see them. You need to be prepared for some serious depression...
I hear what you are saying, but I have big issues with her staying in contact because her "friends" are so much of the problem. My niece has always had the cards stacked against her, as well as a developing attitude, but it wasn't until they moved and she started hanging out with these new friends that things have started to go down hill fast.

I was thinking about allowing her to keep contact via the computer, but nix the personal cell phone. My thinking is that the phone is real time and harder to track its usuage, while the computer sometimes has a buffer time in conversations, but it would be in a common room, so we could moniter how often she is on it. She is going to be upset and I'm afraid her friends will feed into that, making her more difficult.

Any thoughts?
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Old 06-03-2009, 10:23 AM
 
Location: In My Own Little World. . .
3,238 posts, read 7,818,553 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyme4878 View Post
I hear what you are saying, but I have big issues with her staying in contact because her "friends" are so much of the problem. My niece has always had the cards stacked against her, as well as a developing attitude, but it wasn't until they moved and she started hanging out with these new friends that things have started to go down hill fast.

I was thinking about allowing her to keep contact via the computer, but nix the personal cell phone. My thinking is that the phone is real time and harder to track its usuage, while the computer sometimes has a buffer time in conversations, but it would be in a common room, so we could moniter how often she is on it. She is going to be upset and I'm afraid her friends will feed into that, making her more difficult.

Any thoughts?
Monitoring her time with old friends is a good idea. If she relies too heavily on them, she'll refrain from making new ones (my son is doing this now). If she's like most teens, her time on her cell phone is in texting insread of just talking. That would be similar to communicating via computer. If it seems to be getting out of hand, you could start restricting her. But I think starting off with too many restrictions may not be a good idea. You obviously have to have a talk with her if and when you decide to do this. Set down expectations, and let her know that the privileges you are granting her can be revoked if you feel she is abusing any of them.

You might also try doing a "contract" with her where you outline your expectations for her and what she can expect from you. Then you might try granting weekly special favors for living up to her part of the contract (extra time on the computer, a shopping trip, later curfew, etc.)

She may do very well in the stable environment you will provide her. But it will take time, tears and battles before you see any result. Teens are a special breed of people, LOL.
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