Update on Youngest - I'm at a loss.

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by CrazyinVA, Dec 20, 2011.

  1. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    My youngest has been dating a new guy for 6 months or so. She has been spending weekends there, with both her kids, for the last 4-5 months. She has all but moved in, and the idea was to move in after Christmas. But now, things are getting dicey. My 4 year old grandson is developing behavior issues (again, he did this the last time his life became unstable, with her last boyfriend). This is affecting her relationship with the new boyfriend. She's questioning whether she should actually move in completely. She can't find a job. She has no skills whatsoever, so she's probably not going to make more than minimum wage. Minimum wage won't cover the cost of child care for 2 kids so she can work. The child care assistance programs in our area are closed, you can't get assistance. Two year waitlist. No housing (Section 8) assistance either, you can't even get on the waitlist for that any more. She gets a small amount of child support from my grandson's father, but nothing from my granddaughter's father; he's in prison. She applied for TANF and was turned down because of the child support from my grandson's father (a whopping $400 a month disqualifies for you for TANF, guess they think you can live on that?). The only assistance she has is Medicaid and food stamps (card), and she's been told that's all she can qualify for, period. She's asked time and time again.

    She lived with me the first 6 months of this year, and spun her wheels most of that time. She did finally get her GED, which was a great accomplishment. This new guy came along, and she did what she usually does, moved right on to let someone else take care of her. Honestly if he hadn't come along, I was close to finally giving her a firm deadline to have a job or get out, even though getting out would likely mean a homeless shelter for her and the kids. I had cut her a break the first few months she was with me, because she came out of a really, really bad situation with the last boyfriend, and was going through a lot of PTSD She's depressed, but won't get help. At this point, I'm tired of hearing it, though. She made all these stupid choices, and refused all advice to the contrary. She is full of excuses. I can't be her therapist, and I'm tired of looking up numbers and giving her ideas and suggestions, only to have her lose the numbers and never follow through on anything. I'm done.

    So, I'm at a loss. Part of me wants to tell her she's out of luck, they can't 'come back' to my house (even though they technically haven't fully moved out, they're just rarely there). Part of me wants to say ok, for the sake of my grandkids, and give her a deadline right up front. But I know that realistically, I can't see how she'll find a job that will cover child care, gas for her car, insurance, and rent anywhere. How do people do it?! I was a single mom but I had a good paying job, I'd had it for years before their dad and I split. It was a struggle, paycheck to paycheck, but we survived. I honestly don't know how she'll survive without living with someone who supports her at this point. Except, I can't keep being that person . When she and the kids were there full time, I hated going home. I hated living in my own house. I went out constantly just to avoid being there. If I was home, I stayed in my room a lot. I couldn't enjoy my grandchildren, they just added to the chaos. I dreaded being asked to babysit them. No way to live. Having them gone every weekend the past few months, and now gone completely the past several weeks, has been heaven. I finally feel 'sane' again.

    I've given so much advice here about writing up rules, setting boundaries, practicing tough love. It was 'easy' for me with my Oldest. I've gotten really good at it with her, and it's paid off. I find it really, really difficult with Youngest, though, because of my grandkids. I tell myself, if only she didn't have kids, I wouldn't put up with all this. But, I can't keep saying that. I have to not put up with it, period, kids or no kids. My therapist tells me, "You need to start putting up the same boundaries with Youngest, that you have with Oldest." She's right. But man, it's SO hard to think of my grandchildren suffering.

    Not sure what I'm going to do.. but wanted to put this out to those of you that might 'get it.' Of course, Youngest is also infamous for dragging on decisions like this for weeks. She'll call or text me one day, despondent, ready to walk out, the next, she's happy and making plans for the future with the guy. So I try not to panic, as nothing may change for weeks or months. But, I also want to be prepared with what I'll do if and when it falls apart.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2011
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    That's a tough position, Crazy. I've never been in those shoes- not yet anyway- but I can see your predicament. My guess is that the economy being so bad and help being unavailable is playing into this situatiion a lot more than than when you had to show tough love with your oldest. Personally, I think the economy is so bad now that families are forced to pull together almost like they had to during the depression- when some had to have 2 to 3 generations sharing a house just to be able to keep a roof over everyone's head. Having a difficult child that needs to learn to be responsible for him/herself complicates tthat quite a bit. It's not even feasible for you to say you'll let the kids live with you, but not her. I wish you luck in whichever decision you make.
  3. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Just sending caring thoughts and hugs your way. I've "kinda" been there done that and it is a terrible position to be in.
    I've got the grey hairs to prove it. DDD
  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Crazy...this is just a suggestion based on something I have been told here. I have been told that if a person is about to become homeless, especially with small children or if they are disabled, they are put to the top of the list for the subsidized housing. Now this is not section 8 but this is the projects. We have both here. I know the low income apartments are not the best but it may be the only thing she can get. I can only imagine what they will be like in your area. Shudder. They are not much better here to be honest. At one point we tried this with Cory and actually almost got him in but his record stopped it. I did have to say we were evicting him and he would have no where to live. In fact I went so far as to saying that he had been living with me and I was moving and he couldnt come with me...lol. You may want to think about going that far. She has been gone pretty much so far it would not be that far from the truth to say she has moved out and you wont take her back so she and her kids are homeless if that will get her in somewhere.

    Other than that...I will say, Cory lives in a very low rent dumpy trailer where all utilities are paid right now. It takes up all but $233 of his check. He sends Keyana $50 a month. He does work some now and then when he can. They also get food stamps. If they cant find a place to live that has utilities paid, the rent cant be over 250/300 a month or they cant afford it because power will be at least 150 to 200 a month here. Now as far as daycare...that is a problem. I know that regular daycare is expensive but sometimes you can find a person who is keeping their own kids home and wants to earn a little spending money on the side so will keep a couple of kids for cheaper.
  5. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well, you have to be able to get on the list in order to be put at the top. But you can't sign up for Section 8 here, period. The list is closed. No word on when it will re-open. So that's a good suggestion, but unfortunately not an option. The homeless shelter system here is centralized.. you have to go through an intake center and be assessed, then they place you where there is a spot, if there is a spot. The intake center is only open M-F, daytime. If I refuse to take her in, or take her in and then throw her out, that's where she'd have to go to find emergency housing.

    I've given her the same suggestions you did about home day care. She's done nothing to follow through, and of course I can't make her. I won't make the calls for her, I'm done with that. It's just all very frustrating.
  6. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    It's a whole different ballgame when there are children involved. It's one thing for our difficult child's to have to face their own consequences but those children didn't do anything to deserve this. I don't know how you handle that. I know for me I don't ever want to go back to the way things were when difficult child was living here. And yet I don't know how you turn your back on those kids.

  7. Elsieshaye

    Elsieshaye Member

    That's so hard. I'm sorry - I don't know what I'd do either, but you have my utmost sympathy and support. It's a dreadful position she put you in.
  8. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    I don't have any advice ... but want to say I feel your turmoil and I hope you reach a resolution that gives you peace of mind. {{{hugs}}}
  9. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Children always make it harder. I think I would always have to take the kids in even if I wouldnt take the adults. Thats what we have told Cory and Mandy. If they mess up and get themselves in a pickle and cant make it, we will take the baby even though we wont let them back.
  10. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    If it weren't just me, taking the kids in without her might be an option I'd consider. But I raised two difficult children all by myself already. There's no way I can take care of a 18 month old and a 4-1/2 year old all by myself, let alone raise them for any length of time, at my age. Heck I can barely deal with keeping them for a weekend by myself, I am lousy at it. I'm burned out when it comes to kids, period, and I've sacrificed enough in my life. The mere thought of taking them in .. talk about a PTSD reaction. I can't go through all that again. I've gone over it and over it in therapy. It's not their fault, and they're innocent victims and my heart breaks for them, but, I can't change the course that's been set for them. That's up to Youngest. I just need to make a plan, and boundaries I can live with.
  11. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I know exactly what you mean. When we found out difficult child was pregnant we made it clear to her that she was on her own, that we could not and would not babysit, feed, clothe, shelter, raise any children she irresponsibly brought into the world. Many may have thougth that was a callous cold hearted thing to say but it was true. We have been through too much in the 20 years raising her to start over again with children she was in no position to have in the first place.

  12. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I understand your position. I am sure if it was me alone I would probably have to say that too considering my health. However knowing my family, there is no way that any of the kids would be left out in the cold. Tony would love to have all the grands living with us...lol. The parents he could do without!
  13. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Crazy -
    I don't know how your system works, so this may just be something that works here, but...

    Here, the system is "grandparent-friendly".
    They know that it pays for the little ones to have extended family in their lives when their own nuclear family falls apart.
    While there's a few who can take over the kids, most can't, and the system recognizes this.
    So... if things fall apart and the kids have to go to foster? Here, they'd be hunting you down and asking for you to be "involved".
    This means - whatever vists you can spare time for, random "checking" with foster home (really helps on all fronts), showing up for the little school things (mothers' day tea is still special if granny comes)...

    You know your own limits, and that is wise.
    Hopefully, there will be ways for you to make a difference to these little ones, while someone else takes the load.