To young to raise a teen, help!!

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Hollie, Aug 15, 2016.

  1. Hollie

    Hollie New Member

    Can anyone pass along any advice on raising children who are not your own. My youngest brother who is 14 moved in with me 3 months ago. I am not even close to being ready for having my own children, how do I take care of a teenager???

    I'm mentally not copeing, I'm soft and generous, and he's a typical teenager, can I do this can I do that, can u take me there..

    It's taking a toll on my everyday life. I think I've given up 98% of my life suddenly and I don't want it to feel like his an inconvenience, coz his not his a human being and his my brother.

    I need any advice please!!!!
     
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    How old are you and why is your brother with you?
     
  3. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Hi and welcome, Hollie!

    It sounds like your brother is a 'typical' teen that is respectful, polite, and helpful. This is good news!

    The problems that you have referred to seems to revolve around his activities, friends, and his social life.

    Are his friends good kids, as well?

    I think you need to decide how much/how often you are reasonably able to provide chaeffeur services to friends houses, and what activities you can reasonably take him to and how often he needs to be home doing homework, etc. Then, sit down with him and tell him what you are able to do and what is unreasonable. It is possible that he will be able to get rides from friends parents for some things. Assuming I have read your situation right, try reaching out to the parents of his friends. Most people are willing to help out, especially in a special situation,such as yours.

    If you can explain your situation further, we could probably help out more.

    Apple
     
  4. Hollie

    Hollie New Member

    Wow I'm new to this and I didn't think anyone would reply.
    So thank u all so much.


    Sooo I'm 25yro, only girl with 2 older brothers and my younger (Zane).
    We all left home at 14-15yro..
    Mum has a good heart, but growing older and smoking weed has fried her. So she has become mentally unstable. Unfortunantly Zane has court the worse end of mums behaviour, and Zane ran away from home at age 13. He was being sent to bed with pop corn or cereal every night, he wasn't aloud to go anywhere, so he'd play his Xbox but then mum would yell at him for always being on it. She gave him anxiety, his was sad, he didn't wanna talk, he'd hide in his room all the time.

    Mum has not msgd, where r u?, r u ok?, Zane r u safe, not a missed call. She's tried nothing. We've had Mother's Day, and Zanes 14th birthday and not a single form of contact.

    Zane is a bit on the spoilt side.
    We all have something to do with that coz his our baby bro..
    He is a very good child, not once did he ever crack a tantrum in the supermarket when he was younger, he always had manners, his a gentlemen to the ladies, his a sweet heart and I so love him dearly.

    I've only just recovered from my own trauma with mum, 1 of my older bros is still living in his car coz he didn't no how to find his way from 14yro. and never got the right help to guide him for life.
    And I was couch surfing for years, had to find friends to teach me to drive for my lisence, buses bak and forth from state to state, just for plAces to sleep.
    I ended up self harming. I was so far gone in depression.
    So I've been with my partner 5 years Nd 3 of them I had finally found myself, and stable and happy. And I never felt more alive in my own skin.
    Now I feel like my mom has just dumpt this life on me. I'm back in my depression, but there is no way I could let Zane go through the things we did. He has his fathers home, but he doesn't really know him because of mum.


    Zane cries when I tell him no, and he can't get what he wants, his doing the why this why that . His taking his fine ass time getting up out of bed for Skool. I've tried taking away his electronics, his skate boarding time etc. he has his cry and winge and then hates on me all day. But apparently I give him way to many opportunities before he's punished.
    But I already feel like an arshole, y do I have to make him hate me more. I'm still dealing with me. (This is where I get emotional) and can't deal with all the y this, y that, stuff mum, and think he's just a kid, he needs u.
     
  5. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Hollie,

    It sounds like you have a lot on your plate right now. I don't blame you for being overwhelmed!

    I think you all need counseling, right away. Your community should have free or very low cost services. I would make an appointment for yourself and your brother, both separately and together.

    Separately, for each of you to process your feelings about your mom, your depression, and your feelings about being thrust into this situation. Your brother néeds to learn to learn coping skills and proper behaviors.

    Together, so you both can learn to navigate this sister/brother--guardian\child relationship. If you continue to have him long-term, you need some parenting skills to get you through these next few years.

    Do you have any formal paperwork that lets you make decisions for your brother?

    Is there any possibility that living with his dad would work out? If dad is a responsible person, maybe that could be an option.

    Don't give in to things because you feel bad for your brother. He still needs to be held accountable for his behavior, and taught proper behavior. You will do him no favors by letting him get away with stuff that he shouldn't, because he has had a difficult life. Remember, he needs to learn to live in society and abide by the rules that we all follow, so that he will be successful in life as an adult. This is the greatest gift you can give him.

    Keep posting and asking questions.

    More people will come along with ideas.

    Apple
     
  6. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Hi Hollie,

    You sound like a very strong and remarkable young woman. You managed to turn your life around after coming out of such dysfunction.

    I know it hurts you when your brother cries because he is not getting his way but giving into him will not help him.

    I would suggest that he and you both get some counseling to learn skills on how to navigate through this new level of your relationship.

    Also know that it's okay and even healthy for you to set clear rules and boundaries. Sit down and think about what your expectations are for your brother. Getting up and getting ready for school on time, let him know that this is not up for negotiation and is he fails there is a clear consequence. You have to come up with a consequence that is fair. The key is that you have to sit down with your brother and explain all of this. That way you both know what is expected and what the consequence is.

    Hang in there!! It is a very admirable thing you are doing by helping your bother.
     
  7. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi Hollie. Welcome. Wow, what a life story you already have at such a young age. You've been through so much already. I applaud your choice to help your baby brother out, it is a noble thing to do.

    Raising a teenager can be tough, I can tell you from experience. I raised my younger sister from the time she was 11 ( I was 25 at the time too) until she left for college. I did get her in therapy and I suggest, as others have, that you find a therapist too, for all of you to figure out how to do this. It's a huge change in your life and it's going to take time. When you change the relationship from sister to the person who makes the rules, it is a big shift and it takes time for everyone to learn the new rules.

    I agree about boundaries, both of you are in the middle of a huge change and everyone needs to be clear about what is expected of them and what they need to do. A counselor can guide you through this.

    Since your brother is a minor, you may be eligible for assistance from the state you live in. I also raised my granddaughter and I went to court for guardianship and while researching what to do, I found out about many different financial supports through the state, you may want to look into that if that becomes an issue for you.

    You've done a wonderful thing in helping out your brother, and I can tell you from experience that it's a challenging path but it sounds like you're up for it. Your brother likely has his own abandonment issues and hurts from the childhood you all had, so getting counseling for you and your brother will help you to form a new relationship and work through some of the things that you're going through and that he's going through too.

    I had a similar kind of childhood as you describe, only my parents had mental illness problems......the end result is probably the same. I raised my sister, my daughter and my granddaughter, so I'm a sort of weird expert in taking on other people's kids (!), and I know how hard it can be on YOU. All the responses you've had seem like normal, healthy responses to such a big change in your life. Your life is disrupted and you don't know how to proceed. That's hard. You're reaching out for help and that's great. The good news is that you can learn how to do it. You can get support to help guide you. You and your brother can ultimately form a tight knit family unit where you both know what is expected of you.......and you can help each other heal from your childhoods.....

    I'm glad you found us and glad you're here. Keep posting, it helps. Sending you a big hug......hang in there.....
     
  8. Hollie

    Hollie New Member

    I can not thank everyone enough! I'm blown away by the support! I truely am. Thank you all of you!

    I myself am booked in for counselling but Zane refuses to go at all. I've had to ask the Skool counsillor to approach him from time to time to check in on him but Zane doesn't tell me much that's immportant. He tells me more bout the funny things that happend in his day.

    Just before Zane came (it's not his fault) but I was for the first time, studying, working and doing my gym stuff in the happiest way I've ever been, and it's like my mother new some how and it's like,, bam ruin hollies life again, if I'm not happy, she can't be.

    So I spoke to Zanes dad today and I asked if the start of next year he could take Zane into his care. And he has no problem at all with it, he has been an enormous help for me and Zane too. But the problem is Zane just wants to spend allll of his time skateboarding everyday after Skool, and on the weekends, so to Zane he's got no time for his father.
    I forced him to go sleep at his dad's for 1 night 2 weeks ago coz I couldn't cope and he hated me for 2days. And I didn't no how I was ment to respond to that either!
     
  9. Hollie

    Hollie New Member

    And that's wen I feel like an arshole because he's upset and I made him do something
     
  10. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hollie, talk to your counselor about your feelings. You are not a bad person just because you set boundaries for a child under your care.

    I had to learn how to parent because, like you, I was not parented in a healthy way, so how would I know how to do it? How would you know how to do it? And, teenagers often do the "I hate you" thing, it's their job to balk at all rules and it's your job to make the rules and not listen to the "hate" comments. If he knows he can get his way by saying that and making you feel bad about yourself, he's going to do that! Not because he doesn't love you, because all his hormones are amping up in his life and he needs to assert himself, it's a natural thing for teenagers to do. Don't take it personally, it isn't about you, it's about providing him with a safe structure where he knows the rules......kids feel much safer when they have rules. I had to learn that too.

    And, real life isn't skate boarding all the time, he needs to study, do chores, listen to you. He is likely going to really balk about seeing his Dad, but getting him used to seeing his Dad will be helpful in the long run. Perhaps setting up a schedule where he sees his Dad every other weekend, or something like that until you all figure out the next step. Your counselor can help you out with that too.

    I't's hard for those of us who weren't parented correctly to know how to set boundaries. I had to learn how to do that too. You might want to read a book called Codependent no more by Melodie Beattie, it helped me.

    Keep posting Hollie. We're here for you.
     
  11. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Hollie, you have taken on a big task and are doing a great job with few guidelines to help you. You are likely going to need to develop a thicker skin because he is NOT going to like having rules, but he also NEEDS them. I strongly encourage reading Parenting Your Teen with Love and Logic. It is a book that really helped my husband and I get on the same page and really helped him step up to parenting. While my husband and I have been married since before our son was born, my husband really didn't do a whole lot of parenting. I did the parenting, set the rules, and if I wasn't home my husband let the kids mostly run wild. Rules were for when mom was home or if mom would throw a fit if she saw a rule wasn't followed while she was gone (like the kids using almost a pound of butter to spread all over the table to see how much it would take to cover that size of an area with butter - a 'science' experiment encouraged by their grandfather who is a science teacher but didn't fully understand that they meant to spread butter all over the table. My husband was on the computer in the other room while the kids did this, arrrrgggghhhhh!). But by the time my son was a teen, I couldn't keep doing all the parenting. My husband HAD to jump in at the deep end and do more actual parenting and less babysitting type parenting. Our son had some real problems by then and my body was just worn out from dealing with his problems, my health problems, and our other 2 children and their problems mostly with-o any help. I just couldn't do it any longer. So a lot got turned over to him and that book was a HUGE help at getting him to see the why's and the practical how's of parenting. I highly recommend it and many libraries will have it. Your brother's school counselor or school library may even be able to loan a copy to you.

    Don't let him get away with whining and hating on you. Those are manipulative and beneath him. Call him on them and tell him that he has to accept your rules because he is a minor child living in your home. If you feel bad over setting rules, do what you can to hide that from him.

    Please talk to your counselor to see if adding medication to your therapy would be a good idea. Sometimes when a big stressor is added to your life it takes a toll on you. Adding a medication like an antidepressant can help. it doesn't mean you need it forever. many people only need them for a few months and then they adjust to the new demands and can function well without them. I am one of them. I have taken them for short periods (a couple of months) when things got to be too much and counseling just wasn't enough. I was able to learn my personal 'tells' for depression and if they start up, I go for medications instead. For me the big sign that I need help is wanting a cigarette. I only ever want to smoke when I am depressed. I have found that I just stop smoking when I fix the depression, and now instead of smoking I just realize I need a little extra help and I ask for it. This is just a suggestion, of course.

    Pushing your brother to get to know his father is a great thing. Kids need both parents, and esp if he hasn't known his father, and his father is a good man, it is important that he have his father in his life. he may hate on you now for insisting on this, but when he grows up he will thank you. I know - my son used to swear he would hate me forever for insisting he do things, but now my son is your age. We are close, and he has told me several times that he truly appreciates all the ways we fought for him even when that meant fighting him to get him to do what he really needed to do. He sees his friends with kids or friends who are messed up because their parents didn't act like parents and he appreciates how hard it was for us to fight for what was best for him.

    Don't take your brother disliking you for insisting he do more than just play all day as a personal thing. It is actually developmentally normal for a teen to dislike a parent. Something about learning to be an individual and to grow into adulthood makes it important for a teen to pull away from parental figures. Parenting teens is probably the hardest part of parenting, and I am sorry that you are having to jump into parenthood this way.
     
  12. Hollie

    Hollie New Member

    Thank you for sharing your story with me, I got a bit of a giggle out of it really. Lol. But I can imagine how u were feeling!

    I can't stop repeating in my comments how greatful I am for everyone's support. My day started soooo bad, and just from the support from the unknown world, is just amazing and has really given me an appreciation for the people out in the world, because u just don't know what people are going through unless u ask.

    I am on antidepressants, thanj you. I've been on them since I was 22. I probably should have been put on them when I was 17, but better late than never.
    I've just been lowerd bak down to 20 from 40mg, which I do believe has helped. I was very out of this world and lazy and boring and I think it made me unhappy. Which I am now feeling better now than what I was before when I was on the higher dosage.
    I'm looking so forward to my counselling session to get everything off my shoulders.
    I will post on the day after my session.

    So I grew some thicker skin tonight and told Zane, light off at 9.30 and machines all off at 10 to go to sleep.

    (Mum used to let him up until 12am, so I'm still working on narrowing times down)

    Ohh he wasn't happy but I sucked it up, and after 5 mins of him going but why", and yup, watever", etc. he sucked it up and did it...
    Will he eventually just follow the rules and quite arguing about the same stuff every single day.??


    I am most defnintly going to be looking for these books to read, if they help someone else I don't c why they can't help me. And I'm all for any help at the moment.

    My partner of 5 years has been an amazing support. He's got natural parenting skills. He grew up in a big family. He has been stepping up and taking over wen he sees I just can't cope and I'm gunna break. But he doesn't get involved unless he has to, to respect that Zanes my brother, there my rules. Couldn't do it at all if it wasn't for him. He gave me a home wen we first met 5 years ago, put me on the right path, and now his doing the exact same for my brother. Could never ask for a better soul to have in my life !
     
  13. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    Can you and your partner and your brother sit down and negotiate a contract of behavior and communal living? He will be an adult soon and needs to learn how to live on his own.

    Maybe you can phrase it as being a "roommate" agreement and not a parent/child agreement. That you need his help to form a good environment in the house. And how this will help him navigate having his own place or dealing with future roommates.

    One thing that we try to do is to get the cell phone or electronics out of their room by 10 on school nights, then we let them keep it on weekend nights. I think it is a good habit to get into. That your friends do not need to contact you 24/7.

    Can you apply for benefits since you are caring for a minor? Does the biodad pay child support? Does it go to your mom? Does he have insurance for medical care? There are some legal issues you should get answers to.

    I admire all that you are doing. Teens aren't easy. KSM
     
  14. Hollie

    Hollie New Member

    Yes they were the first things I got onto the second he came into my care. Coz in the end my mum was using child support money for drugs not Zanes wellbeing.
    I get a tiny amount from Centrelink. His dad pays child support which I use for Zane and I use my part time work and Centrelink for bills and food etc. Zane actually suffers from scoliosis aswell so I most defnintly do have medical insurance for him for future problems or surgerys.
    I do like the idea of taking his fone and things like that away at certain times. It's gunna be difficult to start off with.. Times I am most defnintly not looking forward too.
     
  15. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    We tried to motivate our teens with keeping their phones longer, if their grades were kept up and they were going to school. But they seemed to "not feel up to school" and grades would suffer. So phones had to be handed over, they couldn't seem to turn them off and go to sleep or work on homework. If kids are doing well, and managing their time and school work, then I wouldn't have stepped in.., KSM
     
  16. A dad

    A dad Active Member

    My youngest for example went every day to school but never studied and did homework he did graduated not with great grades but average that where his grades from first grade until highschool. I tried to convince him to do better by taking things away from him if he did not get better grades and I did but even with nothing he still did not get better grades.
    He even said to his mother I will do things that hurt myself more as long as they hurt you also.
    By the way when I said I took things and punished him if he did not improve his grades I meant his mother did this I just agreed with her decisions I did not really cared that much about his grades to my shame.
    My oldest was and still is very ambitious and work hard to get good grades and now works at at his career with little help from us he was a really easy child.
     
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