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Old 04-07-2020, 01:01 PM
 
2 posts, read 1,041 times
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This is going to be a long one. I’m 26, my husband is 30. We recently took in my younger cousin who is 13 from a bad situation at home. Nothing legal, the mother agreed and is cooperating. Before we took her in with us, we would pick her up almost every weekend and she would sleep over with us for the last 7 years or so. We are very close and she knows us well. However, for the past month or so, I have completely lost control. My husband and I do not have any experience raising a teenager so I’m looking for advice. She has been lying constantly about completing school work from home to me and her mother. She has been very disrespectful and refusing to listen or see me or husband as parental figures. Her aunt, also my cousin, lives down the street and has been helping me, she took her in for a week and it was the same deal. I have tried taking away phone and games, that didn’t work and she actually tried to runaway. I have called her mother numerous times to talk to her and she has, but that does not help either. This is a kid who has been through a lot within her life and I’m trying to be understanding. I’ve tried giving her her space and letting her come to me, that does not work and she gets no work done. I’ve tried being right on her, also gets no work done and causes a huge fight between everyone. I’ve asked both her mother and aunt for help as they are older than me and have raised teenagers before hand. They both keep telling me that there is nothing I can do. It’s just a “teenager” thing. So I’m supposed to just let her do what she wants? Fail school? Stay up until 4am? I was told to “choose my battles” at that point. I personally feel the other adults in her life are being extremely lax with her behavior and not addressing it. Or they are addressing it, but there are no consequences. If I try to be the parent, it doesn’t work, I’ve tried it to take many different approaches with this and I feel like no one is willing to help me at this point. I feel as though these outbursts and disrespect are more than just a teenager being a teenager. It’s been going on for weeks. I’m about ready to just send her back home or beg her aunt to take her in at this point. Any advice would be helpful.
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Old 04-07-2020, 02:09 PM
 
61,436 posts, read 86,743,309 times
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Try the Parenting forum.
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Old 04-07-2020, 02:42 PM
 
Location: Where my bills arrive
9,622 posts, read 10,507,620 times
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Agree with the above but as any parent knows, set the rules, stick to the rules, you are the adult in this relationship not their friend. Kids need boundaries which they will test and push against, you will be told "so and so can" or "everyone is" my answer was always "you don't live with them" or "go live with them". You have no legal authority with regard to the teen or I would say talk with the school counselor for inside on the behavior.

The moms view of "its a teenage thing" is the crux of the problem, there are no boundaries or rules and this is the result. Put a foot on her neck (so to speak) and establish order if your not comfortable with that approach then consider during her over to your communities juvenile authorities for a week or two. We had friends with an out of control teen, 2 weeks in a facility with kids that truly have been abused and came from bad situations and their daughter came home apologizing. With family counseling she came home and this was put behind them, good luck with the path you choose.
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Old 04-07-2020, 02:54 PM
 
1,140 posts, read 1,170,951 times
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If you’re in NY state then I recommend reaching out to the school for help. They should have counselors available who can offer advice and guidance.

However there are a few problems here that you’d want to explore first-
Such as what will the school be required to do about her living situation once they’re aware of it? And they might not be able to talk to you as you’re not her legal guardian. But they might be able to tell you where to go for help.

From your description she sounds like she’s beyond anything that can helped through consequences and/or reinforcement. She needs professional al help. As the pre IOU’s poster said- sometimes that can mean a juvenile detention center. It’s not ideal, but neither is her becoming a runaway.

I’m sorry you’re going through this. She’s fortunate to have someone in her life who cares.
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Old 04-07-2020, 06:51 PM
 
78 posts, read 27,773 times
Reputation: 334
Family counseling.

This kid was basically given away by her mother (or at least that's how she's experiencing it, though your interpretation may be different). In my area, a month ago also coincides with when people were starting to get really stressed about COVID, with isolation and a massive change in routine beginning just after that. Add in what sounds like a prior/lifelong trauma history - as well as just being 13 - and it's no surprise that she's struggling.

Please reach out to the school counselors (probably the fastest route) while pursuing telehealth appointments with a community-based counselor. They're likely closed for in-person visits but, depending on state regulations and professional ethical guidelines*, may be able to do intake and initiate services remotely.

*In some cases, care has to be established face-to-face first before beginning telehealth. I don't believe that's always true, and many such regulations have been relaxed under emergency orders.
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Old 04-07-2020, 06:56 PM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
48,404 posts, read 46,693,254 times
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Is she staying with you all the time, or still just on weekends? If it's full time, then y'all need a legal setup. The girl knows you aren't her parents, and she probably doesn't care what anyone says because she also knows her mom doesn't want her and can't handle her.

She needs the help of pros, but you can't really do anything because you aren't her guardian. Tell the mom she's coming back home until they take the proper steps to make things official.
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Old 04-07-2020, 09:24 PM
 
Location: North Dakota
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If she runs away call the cops. Is there a youth home she can go to? Sounds like she needs some major consequences yesterday.
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Old 04-08-2020, 06:43 AM
 
13,234 posts, read 10,785,482 times
Reputation: 10398
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbbyK285 View Post
This is going to be a long one. I’m 26, my husband is 30. We recently took in my younger cousin who is 13 from a bad situation at home. Nothing legal, the mother agreed and is cooperating. Before we took her in with us, we would pick her up almost every weekend and she would sleep over with us for the last 7 years or so. We are very close and she knows us well. However, for the past month or so, I have completely lost control. My husband and I do not have any experience raising a teenager so I’m looking for advice. She has been lying constantly about completing school work from home to me and her mother. She has been very disrespectful and refusing to listen or see me or husband as parental figures. Her aunt, also my cousin, lives down the street and has been helping me, she took her in for a week and it was the same deal. I have tried taking away phone and games, that didn’t work and she actually tried to runaway. I have called her mother numerous times to talk to her and she has, but that does not help either. This is a kid who has been through a lot within her life and I’m trying to be understanding. I’ve tried giving her her space and letting her come to me, that does not work and she gets no work done. I’ve tried being right on her, also gets no work done and causes a huge fight between everyone. I’ve asked both her mother and aunt for help as they are older than me and have raised teenagers before hand. They both keep telling me that there is nothing I can do. It’s just a “teenager” thing. So I’m supposed to just let her do what she wants? Fail school? Stay up until 4am? I was told to “choose my battles” at that point. I personally feel the other adults in her life are being extremely lax with her behavior and not addressing it. Or they are addressing it, but there are no consequences. If I try to be the parent, it doesn’t work, I’ve tried it to take many different approaches with this and I feel like no one is willing to help me at this point. I feel as though these outbursts and disrespect are more than just a teenager being a teenager. It’s been going on for weeks. I’m about ready to just send her back home or beg her aunt to take her in at this point. Any advice would be helpful.
Punishment will never be a good substitute for actually trying to understand her situation.

Unfortunately, a lot of people don't realize that "cracking down" without trying to address the underlying issues is just going to ruin your relationship with her and cause her to lie and conceal everything even more.

The vast majority of young people by age 13 have already figured out how to hide things if they really want to and are determined.

Try diplomacy instead, and ask her to help solve your mutual issues. A mutual problem requires a mutual solution.
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Old 04-08-2020, 08:43 AM
 
Location: Harrisburg, PA
556 posts, read 354,945 times
Reputation: 514
You are in charge of your house. Buckle down hard and tell her the rules. Be firm and serious. Take her phone and all devices at bedtime. You need to be tough. Explain why you have expectations and rules. Why these requirements are important and good for her. I hope it works out. Your husband must be on the same page as a unified front. As a last resort, tell her to change the behavior or else she will be sent back where she came from (she isn't your child so she isn't your legal responsibility).
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Old 04-08-2020, 10:08 AM
 
237 posts, read 51,747 times
Reputation: 561
You're very kind to take on a troubled teen.

Until now your role was a "fun" relative.

Now you are trying to play parent.

Not going to work, never was. She doesn't see you as her parent because you're not. Not biologically, not legally.

Don't equate caring for her (you do) with trying to change her behavior.

Stop with the punishment, taking away phones, etc etc. That won't work and is actually inappropriate anyway.

Tell her flat-out, if she is to live there she will obey the rules of the house.

Make a list of the rules, print it, give her a copy, read it to her and tell her she has a week to comply. If she is unwilling then it's back to her mother/aunt.

And go about your business. She either will or she won't.

13 going on 30 is too old to impose discipline like with a younger child.

Good luck, I wish you both well.
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