Sending sib to stay with friends?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by seriously, Oct 9, 2011.

  1. seriously

    seriously New Member

    I have some fairly strong views about this but decided I'd ask for experience/input from the board about this subject.

    difficult child 2 has continued to be very difficult but isn't actually hurting anyone or breaking things that are expensive. Everything is about power struggles, threats, retaliation that stops just short of things that can get him charged and returned to juvie. Most nights and often during the weekend are disrupted and there's a lot of shouting, conflict and he's doing things like taking the computer cords while you're on the computer when he doesn't get his way.

    Our newest strategy, which actually seems to be working but it's too early to tell, is that we simply get up and leave the house when he starts. It is really ticking us off to have to do this but we're not getting anything done at home anyway except having him escalate so the wrap-around person said she thought it was worth trying when we told her about it. So far we've done this about 4 times in the past week and when we come home a couple hours later he has been calm and much more cooperative.

    The problem with all of this, particularly leaving the house, is that she is struggling to get her own schoolwork done. And of course she's really angry. the last week she and difficult child 2 have gotten into brief physical confrontations - in large part because she is having a hard time not getting physical when he's harassing her verbally. This doesn't happen a lot but when it does it's ugly.They haven't actually hurt each other but the second one ended up with our refrigerator door busted.

    She has started demanding that we find somewhere else for her to live. She has managed to get all B's this quarter but I agree that it is despite what's going on and she would probably be pulling A's if our home was calmer and she could predict when she had computer access. Instead she is staying at school many days until 5 pm if one of her teacher's is on campus so she can work on the computers there. Which means she's at school from 7:45 am to 3:35 for class and then for another 90 minutes for "homework".

    I am sure she is spending a certain amount of time socializing at school rather than doing school work. But I am sympathetic about that since, once she gets home, being able to talk to friends is unpredictable and inviting friends over here has pretty much stopped. Her brother is willing to blow up regardless of who is here.

    Finding someone for her to stay with, even temporarily, is a challenge. The only family she could go to would be one set of grandparents who live in a town 2 hours drive away or my youngest sister who lives in another state.

    My father in law is now on dialysis full time. We don't know anything about what school might be available to her, etc. and our kids have not been really viewed as grandchildren in the same way as their other grandchildren and our kids know it.

    Their aunt has a small house and is working 3 jobs and homeschooling their 11 year old daughter. She and her husband are devout Christians who don't approve of our family (we are a lesbian couple) but aren't openly hostile.

    The only friends we have that we know well enough to ask live pretty close to us but their teenage daughter goes to a different high school and we would need to go pick her up and take her to/from school. daughter is not asking to stay there because she doesn't get along with the dad. He can be a bit of a bully and doesn't see any reason not to say unkind things in the name of teasing. It's not horrible but it's not perfect either.

    difficult child 2's behavior has caused us to get very isolated and, because she doesn't invite people over, her pool of close friends has shrunk when otherwise it would be huge - she's a serious social butterfly and everyone seems to like her.

    What have you done in this same situation or what would you do in our place?


    1. gets her out of the house to reduce chances of violence
    2. may allow her to be more focused on meeting her very demanding academic demands
    3. helps her feel safe
    4. provides concrete evidence to her that we are willing to stand up for her and protect her
    5. some reduced conflict at home


    1. difficult child 2 gets what he wants - to drive his sister out and get our undivided attention
    2. if this isn't triangulation/manipulation I don't know a horse from a whole in the ground
    3. her school life gets disrupted if we send her to gparents
    4. she has to stay in a somewhat hostile environment if she stays at the friend's house or with family members who don't approve of her family of origin
    5. when she comes back home we will be faced with this demand every time something happens that she doesn't like
    6. she is the one who is being sent away when she is not, for the most part, the "problem".

  2. keista

    keista New Member

    This is a tough one. Does SHE have any ideas of where she wants to go live? Are any of her friends parents willing to take her in? Do you own or rent? Is it possible to set up her room so it's more of an apartment than a room? Or maybe some other room in the house? That way she would be physically secluded from the drama.

    Since she is the one asking to go, I wouldn't really count #6 as a con. I assume she knows that if you could place difficult child 2 somewhere you would, but are not getting that assistance, so the only other solution is for her to leave since she'd be more accepted by family or friends. And #5, though a valid concern, I can't blame her, and again, I'm assuming it goes beyond something she "doesn't like".

    Can her request be used as 'ammo' for any requests you've made for difficult child 2's out of home placement?

  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    My biggest concern here is if she wants to go. If she is willing and wants to go somewhere else and knows that you are not sending here away because she isnt wanted or because she is the problem, then I think she will do fine. Now if you could make her an apartment where you live that would be great but I dont think that is something you can do given what I have read. I think it would almost have to be a bunker in order that her brother not get to her. Wish I lived closer because I would take her.

    If you can find someone in her school that will take her that would probably be the best thing but if not, then maybe grandparents would be the next best thing. I dont think staying with her brother is the best thing to be honest.
  4. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Can you "split" the difference? Keep her home during the week and have her visit others on weekends???
  5. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    Do you have any friends (not daughter's friend) that would be willing to have her stay? Even if for the just the weekends?

    Concerning the manipulation you could say to difficult child you don't get X until sister wants to stay in the same house as you. I don't know what your daughter would do with this as she is older than my kids. Right now difficult child 1 is on an extremely high level of supervision until easy child 1 is comfortable with him and I feel the dynamics of the relationship has changed. It provides incentive for him to work on his relationship with his sister.
  6. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    I kind of like keista's idea. Is there a room in the house (finished basement perhaps) where she could have space with her own computer for school work, tv, furniture, etc where the door can be locked and it is HERS? That way, she can have her own space to do what she wants, study or have friends over, that is HERS and can be barricaded against difficult child. Just a thought.
  7. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I don't feel comfortable offering an opinion because there are so many things I don't know. As you may recall I have raised eight teenagers. Each one had specific behaviors or reactions that the others did not display. Two, at different times, found our home stressful and wanted to move to friends homes etc. None of them were ever in danger at home but just "not comfortable" for awhile. I did not opt to let them separate from the family unit and I don't regret it.

    From experience I might add that even easy child's can exaggerate a problem (for example homework..which can be done after school or at the public library) as a way to avoid communication about another problem altogether. One easy child son of mine did that because he was embarrassed that I had remarried and was no longer celibate. It's possible at her age that someone has commented on her nontraditional family...hard to know what teens hear from others or begin to feel as they blossom.

    I doubt my post is helpful to you but thought I'd share. Disrupting her social network or trying to establish a new pseudo family after a move sounds more potentially negative than known home limitations. Good luck. DDD
  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Goodness, I can't imagine that she wouldn't want to spend weekends at a friend's house! You could make it seem like fun.
    Who would be upset with-her and not like her family of origin? They would be off my list in a heartbeat.
    Our easy child lived with-friends for 6 mo's. for this same reason. It was her idea, backed up by the therapist.
    Best of luck!
  9. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Sorry you are in such a difficult situation. Our difficult children do make it hard on our pcs. Wish I could lend some good advice but I really don't know what I would do. Sending gentle hugs your way.
  10. keista

    keista New Member

    This would include having a cable line and modem direct to her room so internet would not be disrupted since that seems to be a sizable issue.
  11. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Since I just have one child (my stepsons are much older and didn't live with us for very long), I don't know that my experience would be helpful. Miss KT wanted to move out to get away from the screaming fuss that she herself instigated in most cases (you know the drill), and she spent 9 months with my mother. Her schooling wasn't interrupted, though, because my mom lives nearby.

    At her age, I would take her out somewhere quiet and ask her what she wants to do. Offer her the possibilities that you and wife have come up with, and see what she says. in my opinion, it's difficult child that needs to be removed, not her. She deserves a normal life with her parents.
  12. MuM_of_OCD_kiddo

    MuM_of_OCD_kiddo New Member

    If you are renting, perhaps you might want to consider moving into a different home that allows for more seperation of them, possibly something with a mother-in-law suite, or a garage apartment or so. At 15 I would not be willing to give her too much freedom otherwise. This is a difficult age, hormones, first "boy"friend-ships peer pressure and the every present lure of self medicating - alcohol, drugs, and sex. She still needs parental supervision and guidance. Lots of it. Unless you can work something out with a trusted family member or real good adult friend, I would continue to try to find other solutions.
  13. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    I have a very strong feeling that difficult child 2 should not go live with anyone else. My gut tells me that this if she moved away her whole life could de-rail. Every option you mentioned is not a valid option. Her grandparents are way too far away, she would have to change schools. And a friend with a dad as a bully is almost worse than a difficult child.

    I like the idea of compromising with her, setting her up a safe house of some kind within your own house. I don't know where you live , but even a door with a padlock to help her feel safe is better than her moving. As for staying at school so long, I dont think that is bad- many small children are in daycare from 7-7, which is horrible, but as a teen it is do-able.

    Good luck and hugs
  14. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    My biggest reason for saying she should be able to find her own space, being some sort of mother in law space at Seriously's home there or in with a family or friend, is that this is her difficult child twin doing this to her and he has done this forever. There has got to be some long term psychological damage going on to her by now and the fact that they are fighting is just going to cause things to blow up into something that no one wants to happen. If her brother can goad her into being the one who ends up in trouble, which is what he wants, he will win big time. No one can let that happen. She has to be spared that. She must be kept safe.

    If they can build one of those Katrina Cottages in the back yard...go for it. But all utilities would have to be worked so brother couldnt shut them off.
  15. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I completely agree that she needs her own space, but do NOT agree that she should be sent away. in my opinion if anyone is sent away it needs to be difficult child who is causing problems. The emotional component of being "one her own" with another family is huge. I just do not believe it is the best thing for her. Even though she may want to live elsewhere, she will still feel you rejected her for her brother. Learning to navigate a new family in the middle of a school year is a huge amt of stress. Adding a new school system and you have a recipe for a total disaster.

    Verbal violence is still violence. I think that you and daughter need to go to the DV center to get some help and perspective. I would put difficult child in one of their men's groups as a condition for something he feels is essential - like internet or anything with a screen. If daughter leaves, his abuse gets positive reinforcement and you really do NOT want that.

    If there was a family that daughter was totally comfortable with IN her school district, I might consider it at least for weekends. If there was physical danger it wouldn't be an option - difficult child would be out of the house. Period. Just because he isn't doing things that would send him to juvie does NOT mean he is following house rules or should be living at home. Working through things from my childhood I finally came to the conclusion that while the things that were done were bad, the threats and manipulation were FAR worse and did much much more damage. in my opinion emotional/verbal abuse is worse than physical.

    You need to get that through to difficult child and let him know that juvie isn't the only option you have. You can keep your parental rights and he can go to therapeutic foster care. I would choose that before I let him drive my easy child out of HER home. Frankly, that is what he is doing and it is WRONG. It isn't easy to get it through to him, but maybe you should see what social services says about putting HIM in therapeutic foster care. He is doing a LOT of damages to her and even though you know part of it is because of his mental health, part is CHOICE.

    If he is stopping just short of what would get him put in juvie, but escalating enough for it to become physical, such as damaging the refrigerator door, then it is going to escalate past that soon. Som eof our boys just need that wakeup call of parents choosing to send them somewhere, which is TOTALLY different than the courts sending them to juvie for things they have done. Your difficult child figures that unless he gets charges then there is basically nothing you can do - you have to keep him and you can't stop him. In some ways he is right, but you DO have choices.

    If you can set up the house so that easy child can have a separate place that is hers and he is locked out, go for it. I think that is an AWESOME idea.

    it really sounds like the friends and relatives are NOT an option, not one that wouldn't derail her progress and stability anyway.

    You will get a LOT of help and support from the domestic violence center. therapy, other types of help, group therapy, etc.... While they may not have a group for teens who are abusers, they will have men's groups and indiv therapy for males who are abusers. THAT is what your difficult child is right now. He is using violence and aggression to drive his sister away and get what he wants. Make whatever is important to him contingent on going to whatever therapy at the DV group that you and the therapists there think is appropriate.

    I can see talking to easy child's friends' parents and seeing if she could stay with one or another on the weekends, but it is just crazy for her to lose her home because her brother cannot behave.

    I do understand if you feel differently and I would NOT condemn you for making a different choice than I recommend.
  16. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Well, you've gotten one of every variety of response here! I hope we haven't made it worse. You'll just have to think it through. Sigh.
    I'm leaning toward the sep room/garage/shed whatever with-modem and phone.
  17. seriously

    seriously New Member

    Thanks everyone.

    It is not an option to create a mother in law space for daughter. She does have her own room and we installed a deadbolt lock on it long ago. So she does have a "safe" place to retreat to but it's not perfect by any means. And she says she feels like there are times when she spends all her time locked in her room. This is an exaggeration but some days it is true.

    We live in California and don't have a basement or an attic that could be converted and don't have the $$ to even pay for the very expensive building permit to build a mother in law-type space out in the yard so those are not options.

    I was curious to see what others had to say but the strong feelings I referred to in my original post have been echoed by some of you.

    I also feel that it is not right for daughter to be forced to leave in order to get away from this situation. It would be better if difficult child 2 left but that does't appear to be an option unless he gets physically violent. That's based on the response of Child Protective Services last month. We didn't push them about it because we were being told by our wrap-around team that we needed to do things differently at home and it would "get better".

    The strategy of leaving the house to him is definitely reducing the intensity of the incidents.

    The frig door got broken because he and sister were struggling right there with the door open. She actually was the one that started the physical violence by pushing him but I think it was one of those things where both of them were tinder waiting for a flame and it took almost nothing to light the fire. But he was needling her and picking a fight for several minutes before hand.

    For the various reasons you guys have given I have been unwilling/reluctant to send her away. If there were a more suitable place, we might think about it as a temporary measure but there isn't one and I am very unhappy with the emotional dynamics of all the options. I know she thinks it would be better but I suspect very strongly that it would not.

    Weeknights are actually the hardest time because when he gets really agitated it completely destroys the evening for anyone to do anything else. Weekends are often filled with her social activities and it's not unusual for her to spend one or both nights at friend's homes. She would probably be doing this even if we were a "normal" family so it's not as emotionally-loaded as it would be to deliberately send her away each weekend.

    I'll have to talk this over with wife and see what she thinks about our pushing CPS to place him elsewhere since that seems to be our only option for getting him out of the house.
  18. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I'm assuming there is no way difficult child could have an evening activity away from home...but if he adapts to his environment then a school night bowling group ?? or something might ease the tension at home and may defuse him a bit. DDD
  19. seriously

    seriously New Member

    No evening activities - he refuses to leave the house once he's home. And that assumes he has gone to school for part of the day.

    We have been able to get him to go once in a while to a Monday evening group being run by the wrap around program. He likes it once he's there but he seems to forget that and won't listen when you try to coach him to remember how it felt the last time he went. When he goes it's because one of the wrap around team picks him up and takes him. And now they have moved the group meeting closer to their offices so it is almost an hour away in commute traffic.

    That's it. No school clubs, no outside activities of any kind and no, zero, friends for difficult child 2.

    It's sad and frustrating.