Worn out Guardian of teenage boy - need help/support

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Tiffany Davis, May 21, 2018.

  1. ButterflyGuardian

    ButterflyGuardian New Member

    Sorry if this is long! I just need some outside views. I am a 23 (I will be 24 next month) year old female and my fiancé (32) and I are raising his two nephews ages 16 and 13. Now the 16 year old is doing great, but the 13 year old has made me feel helpless and that I’m running out of ways to cope and handle him.

    Back Story, my fiancé lived in another state and the boys had hopped between living with their mom (who is currently in prison again) and their father (who constantly was homeless, getting kicked out of places, etc) so most of the time they ended up staying at friends houses. When my fiancé moved to the state we live in now, we bought a house and one weekend while taking the boys camping they asked if they could move in with us. I didn’t know the boys much at this point. We talked to their father and he agreed until he got his own place (he said October). This was September of 2016, the boys were 11 and 14 just shy of 12 and 15. Both boys lived with us until January of 2017 when we ended up kicking the youngest out (he was 12 at this time). We kicked him out because his father was telling him not to listen to us, he was skipping school and not coming home (we nearly called the cops multiple times), he slammed doors, disrespected our house, would scream at me, etc. It was to the point where we told him to knock it off or he needed to leave and he chose to leave.

    Fast forward to October of 2017, the oldest had still been living with us and the youngest came around again and started spending the night. He spent his birthday with us, we took him out to dinner, etc. The first week of November their father dropped the youngest off for a few days needing help with a place for him. We allowed him to come back. He’s been living with us again since November 2017. Their father slowly started to disappear resulting in us filing for Guardianship in January of 2018. After being harassed multiple times by their father, we were granted emergency guardianship and we not have guardianship until August 2018 or until our next court order (which is June 5th for full guardianship until they are 18).

    The youngest one is still heavily wrapped around his father’s finger. After continually being lied to, put on the streets, in cars, at friends houses by his father he still will drop anything and everything whenever his dad calls (like once a week if that –his dad upped and moved to another state). The youngest says he will never trust us again because we kicked him out. I caught both the boys up on all their appointments – they hadn’t seen a dentist or eye doctor for at least 3 years. I got them both in counseling which the youngest would not utilize, and the youngest has been diagnosed with ADHD and OOD. He started a LOW dosage of medication for ADHD.

    My breaking point has been the pure disrespect, arguing, lying, not listening to us, trying to pick fights, etc. I have taken about 1,000 self tests and researched into a million different things to help teach him how to be respectful but whenever we talk to him or give him a punishment he “doesn’t care” and “nothing bothers him”. We will ask him to go do something like start his laundry, he will say in a minute. An hour later he hasn’t started it so we ask him again, “please go start your laundry”. He will raise his voice, start yelling, calling us liars saying he said he’ll do it tomorrow and won’t go do it. His Grandma one time said something like “yeah your uncle used to wears vans as a kid” and he would call his grandma a liar saying no he never did. He starts fights with his brother ALL THE TIME. He plays a big macho card like nothing bothers him when I know it does. He thinks we always gang up on him because he will argue something not true, like I’ll say something about dinner for tonight is tacos and an hour later he will say something like spaghetti is for dinner tonight right and I will say nope its tacos and he will raise his voice and say that’s not what you said early , and his uncle (my fiancé) will say something like yea she said tacos, and he will argue and yell and say we are teaming up on him and choosing sides. Something as small as reminding him to put dirty socks in the hamper will trigger him, and an consequences we make don’t do anything at all. He argues every single day with one or more of us adults and never stops. He will never just understand when he is wrong and most of the time I just walk away and let him believe what he wants to believe because I’m helpless when it comes to trying to have a conversation with him. His father has taught him it’s okay to talk to us like he does (he is disrespectful to even teachers).

    It is such a hard line because he is not our kid and we haven’t had a chance to raise him, he has ADHD, and we don’t want to all the time be down on him and teaching him lessons but at the same time if I talked to my parents or elders they way he does I would probably be in a hole in the ground at this point. I’m at the verge of tears pretty much every day with him and I’m not sure what to do or where to go next. We love him and we want to see him be positive and succeed and make a happy life but I don’t know how to do that if he is constantly pushing us away and going against us over even the simplest of things.

    Any advice, comments, suggestions or support would be amazing .

    Thank you for taking the time to read this.

  2. BloodiedButUnbowed

    BloodiedButUnbowed Active Member

    Hi there and welcome.

    You have a big heart and it is wonderful that you want to help these children.

    If this were me, I would work within the court system to have the youngest placed outside the home in a therapeutic setting. It sounds like he has severe emotional problems and that his biological father is a big part of the problem. It might be that his ONLY problem is that he was so severely traumatized as a younger child. This is NOT to minimize his issues. Many times severely abused children turn into the worst type of offenders as adults - murderers, rapists, that kind of thing.

    Not to say this is your youngest child's destiny, but if he has been damaged from a young age, it is very unlikely, sadly, that any amount of therapy will help. He may not know how to interact with others in a healthy, normal way, and he may be unable to care about others at all.

    This isn't his fault, but children like him can cause tremendous harm. They need to be in a secure environment for their own and others' safety.

    I would make sure your CPS caseworker and all other contacts in the child welfare system are aware of every little thing this child has done as well as the ways you have tried to help him - therapy and so forth.

    Does he have an IEP from school?
    Last edited: May 21, 2018
  3. ButterflyGuardian

    ButterflyGuardian New Member

    Yes, we have temporary legal guardianship, and soon to be full legal guardianship as neither parents are around or able to care for the children. So everything is handled legally - that was the only way I was able to get him to a doctor for an ADHD diagnosis and to get him started on medicine! His parents refused to acknowledge that anything was "wrong" with him and that he needed help - they just shoved it aside until he ended up with us. :(
  4. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    The weekend is quiet I am sure others will come along wirhbasvise for you. I do not live in the US and I do not know what resources are available to you. Get as much support as you can. What a wonderful thing you are doing for these boys. ODD and ADHD are a tough combination.
  5. BloodiedButUnbowed

    BloodiedButUnbowed Active Member

    Hi again Butterfly,

    Thanks for the clarification on your custody situation.

    It's so hard to say what might be going on with the younger boy. What does seem clear is that he cannot or will not follow the simplest rules of your household. And now you and husband have a decision to make. Will you allow him to carry on doing as he pleases? Or will you insist that the rules of your home be respected?

    I understand he doesn't care, won't do as you ask/say, etc. In that case, it may be time for the court to find him a group home, therapeutic foster home or perhaps residential treatment center where he can be monitored and controlled 24/7.

    Are you and husband on the same page? Not to sound heartless, but are you 1000% sure you are willing to proceed with permanently adopting both of these children, particularly since they are both teenagers and soon to be legal adults anyway?

    If you legally adopt the younger child you and husband may be financially or even criminally liable for his behavior. This is really something to consider with eyes wide open. We have a very wise member who recently retired from the board, who was burned VERY badly by a troubled adopted son. Molestation of much younger children in the household and intentional murder of pets were involved in that situation.

    Not all children can be fixed or saved. Some are too ill or too disturbed to live safely in a family. For these children, there are options a court can consider that are in his best interest as mentioned above, such as group homes.

    The fact that you are very close in age to him may be a factor in his disrespect. He may view you more as a peer. Then again maybe not. Obviously he is emotionally very attached to his wayward father and his allegiance is to him. And I can almost guarantee you that this will ALWAYS be the case, especially if father is working behind your back to turn him against you and ignore your wishes.

    If you choose to proceed and make his adoption permanent, then the same behavior will probably continue. From what you say, therapy has not helped and he seems determined not to comply with your expectations. From where I sit, it is time for this child to be placed somewhere else by the courts.

    If this was my situation I would contact my CPS caseworker, lay all the facts out, and ask for assistance finding him a new placement. As his guardians you may need to pay child support to the state for his upkeep.
  6. Crayola13

    Crayola13 Active Member

    This is going to be a rocky start to a new marriage. When are you and your fiance planning to marry? Have the two of you been to premarital counseling to discuss possible ways of handling all the challenges that may arise in taking care of the boys?
  7. Mumunderfire

    Mumunderfire New Member

    Hi butterfly guardian I just wanted to say how lucky those boys are to have a lovely intelligent person in their lives when everyone else has failed them. oh dear you're in for a ride though -Adhd is a very tough gig. ignoring every tiny request is standard stuff as is making the same mistakes, breaking the same rules over and over and over regardless of any sanctions- it's absolutely text book. You have to be realistic and try to come to terms with the fact that you won't have the same results for your parenting efforts as others with easy kids and that maybe your own parents had, but that's not to say you aren't winning. There are lots of books on adhd parenting have you looked at any of these? And don't think it won't improve with time. It usually does as adhd is exacerbated by adolescence. Love and setting good example go a long way in the long term but aren't a quick fix. Best of luck it's a great thing you are doing xx
  8. Triedntrue

    Triedntrue Active Member

    This is a very difficult situation and you have my admiration for walking into it knowing what is going on. I think that very strict boundaries need to be layed out and i would not make any permanent moves to adoption until they show compliance. I keep hearing what you have done but not what your fiance has done. Is he supportive and is he doing his share. I also think you need to make sure you personally are covered legally if things go wrong. This kind of thing can put a lot of stress on relationships even if you are the bio parents and you are not even married yet. I don't mean to sound so pessimistic but you need to take care of your needs as well. Are you going to have the support YOU need for the next however many years. If the boys don't accept medical and psychological help and adhere to some basic house rules and if your fiance is not doing his part, i would not make anything permanent. Prayers are with you.
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  9. ButterflyGuardian

    ButterflyGuardian New Member

  10. ButterflyGuardian

    ButterflyGuardian New Member

    Hello! We are getting married in 45 days, July 13th of this year! We've been together for 5.5 years and have had the boys almost the past 2 years. We talk every single day about each and every step with the boys and handling them and we are 100% on the same page. We haven't been to premarital counseling but we're a very strong couple and can get through anything! Things have seemed to mellow down with the youngest too, this blow out opened up a family conversation and it seems to be doing better- praying that it stays that way and we can move upwards from here!
    Thank you for your reply, questions and advice :)
  11. ButterflyGuardian

    ButterflyGuardian New Member

    Thank you very much for the kind words! I have noticed that with his medication that some of the small things aren't a problem anymore AND for the first time he has no F's or D's which is huge because he's normally a straight D student. That has created a more positive attitude from him too which has been helpful. The blowout created a family conversation which I think helped address some issues and although we're still working on it I feel more positive going into this again and helping them grow. It's rough, and ADHD is no joke, but we'll get through it!!
    Thank you again!!!!
  12. ButterflyGuardian

    ButterflyGuardian New Member

    Hello! Thank you for your comments and advice! We aren't going for adoption but just legal guardianship. We can chose to terminate at any time (which we don't plan on doing)- or their parents can take us back to court (which neither cared this time around so I doubt they will). But the boys knowing that we have permanent guardianship helps them feel more secure. This was able to open up family conversation and the youngest expressed that he always feels like he gets "thrown away." He holds grudges and never lets his wall down which creates a lot of the problems and anger within him which causes these blowouts and issues. It'll still be a rough road but I think talking about it was a huge hurdle for him and us. He has been more positive as well since he is passing all his classes (first time since 3rd grade or so) and now that he has been on ADHD medication for longer period I've noticed little things around the house are being done more without us having to ask him multiple times which relieves a lot as well.
    I've always had the mother instinct so when it comes to doctors appointments, schools, etc I jumped right into that and took over to get the boys on the right track but my fiancé does his part when he can. Sometimes his schedule can be tough but he's home with the boys every morning, makes sure they get up (the youngest doesn't get up on his own) and makes sure he takes his medication and eats breakfast before leaving for the bus on time. We're 100% on the same page when it comes to how we are trying to parent them and we talk every day about our feelings and what we need to address and work on and if we are feeling frustrated!
    I'm praying that we can continue to look upwards and take more steps forward than back! And summer vacation starts soon which will be a huge relief for everyone to relax and not worry about school, homework, tests, etc!
    Thank you very much for your kind words and advice!
  13. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I'll be honest. I have done foster care, but was in my 40s. I feel you are VERY young and inexperienced for teens not that much younger than you are. And you are doing this on the cusp of a first marriage in which neither of you raised a child, let alone difficult teen, let alone two. My daughter is a very mature 21 and I can't even see her okay with this and she is a Corrections Officer.

    If you are committed to this then I hope you get professional help. This will be no picnic and could impact your new marriage. in my opinion you both need older, wiser mentors who have been parents already. 24 is extremely young for this sort of responsibility. What if you get pregnant??? Can you handle both of them plus the high needs of an infant? Will these boys accept an infant?

    In the end this is your decision. I hope it works out and will cross my fingers! And of course I hope it works well!

    Love and light!!
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    Last edited: May 29, 2018
  14. ButterflyGuardian

    ButterflyGuardian New Member

    Sorry for the late response!
    We have gotten help of a doctor, and the school resource officer and counselors are also getting very involved in our and his life and helping us out a lot and well as I've joined a group in my area that has been a big help in mentoring! I grew up very, very quickly - started college when I was 16 while helping my brother in law raise his 3 kids due to my sister's hiatus so I do have some background in raising children and most people guess that I'm about 30 due to my maturity - although teenagers was a huge step for us! Their Grandma, my fiancés mom, also lives with us now and she's been a HUGE help. Also the youngest now has no failing classes ( he has all C's and B's) and he's been helping out around the house way more often and has started becoming more respectful and helpful. They previously got me a mothers day gift (they hand painted items) and they asked to get their Uncle a fathers day gift as well - their idea - so we're working on that. I'm beyond hopeful and he seems to be opening up (even started giving me hugs lately!) and they both are on board with us having a baby (which is not for at least 2- 3 years) but they both ask when we are going to have babies LOL!
    Thank you for your comment and it's so nice to have other's who have my back and are honestly concerned about me and my well being has really showed me the love from this group!!!
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