Moms with Teens

Need some outside perspective...
November 29, 2012 at 2:31 PM

So I'm going to try to make this as short as possible but no promises. My 17 year old sister lives with us. She came along much later in life than me and my siblings. We were a blended family and my parents never intended to have more children. There were 5 of us and they felt that was plenty. But when I was 19(I was the baby before my sister came along) my mom(really my step mom but she raised me and is who I view as my mother) found out she was pregnant. They treated Katie more like a granddaughter than a child in my opinion. She pretty much did what she wanted to. My dad got sick when Katie was 6. He battled colon cancer for 2.5 years before he  died in 2004. It was a long hard 2.5 years on all of us. Katie took it really  hard when dad died and before we even had a chance to grieve my mom told me she found a lump in her breast while dad was so bad but didn't get it checked out because she was afraid. It turned out she had an aggressive form of breast cancer that had already spread to her brain, her lungs, and her bones. She was diagnosed in October and died in January 2006 less than 18 months after my dad died. Katie was 11 by this time. I was a single mom at the time and didn't feel I was in a place to take on another child. My sister(my only full sibling) and her husband had a new baby and a toddler and had just lost everything in a house fire and also felt they just weren't in a place to take on an extra child. My 2 step sisters also for various reasons felt they couldn't handle her at that time and my step brother was in the army and about to be deployed again. So she was sent to North Carolina to live with our grandparents. Looking back I feel bad that we all did what we did but I know I was just barley getting by and didn't have the means to care for another child.

All of that took a huge huge toll on Katie and she started the rebel. My grandparents caught her smoking and doing drugs when she was 13 and then a few weeks later she was kicked out of her school. She was kicked out of several more schools and in trouble constantly until she was 15 when the bottom fell out. She got in a fight with a girl over some drugs and beat her so bad she ended up in ICU. My sister was charged with assault with a deadly weapon, as well as drug charges, and resisting arrest. She was originally sentenced to stay in juvenile detention center until she turned 18. But we were contacted in March this year after 18 months of being there and told she was doing very well, had been diagnosed as bi-polar and was being treated, and a motion had been granted for her to be released a year early in May on her 17th birthday on good behavior. But she had to be released into the care of someone she is related to who is 21 years old or older and she would be on probation. I am married now with 5 more kids(1 older step son and we have 4 young children together). After much discussion we decided she could come live with us and at the end of May she did. We laid down some rules for her including a curfew of 9 on weekdays and 10 on weekends, no boyfriends, we have to meet and approve of anyone she wants to spend time with,  she can't leave town(couldn't because of her probation anyway), she can't do any drugs, drink or smoke, and has to stay on her bi-polar medicine and continue seeing a therapist.

She has done very very well but now she is wanting us to give her more freedom. I'm not ready to do that yet and at first neither was my husband but the last week or so he has started to back off on that a little bit .I told her we would reevaluate the rules in February but my husband thinks it's been 6 months and we should ease up a little. I'm not sure what to do. I know she has changed. She is just a different person all together but if she screws up it's on my head, not just with the courts but with my siblings! So thoughts and opinions? Sorry this was so long, it's just a long complicated story! If you read all of that thank you lol!


  • jane337
    by jane337
    November 29, 2012 at 3:24 PM

    I say wait until she is 18.  It isn't much longer and if you ease up and she screws up, it is on your shoulders.  I say it's better to be safe than sorry.  Life is hard and it is just going to get harder for her as an adult.  I believe in strict parenting.  She has a history, so it can't hurt to wait awhile longer.  

  • Barabell
    November 29, 2012 at 4:24 PM

    What rules does she want eased up?

  • krisiehb
    November 29, 2012 at 4:40 PM

    If she has broke no rules in 6 months I say start giving her a little more freedom.  It shows you appreciate how hard she ha worked on changing and that you trust her.  ou cant keep worrying about her messing up cause she will pick up on it and you want to show her you trust her.  

  • boys2men2soon
    November 29, 2012 at 5:10 PM

    Quoting Barabell:

    What rules does she want eased up?

    This is my question, too. 

  • jjchick75
    November 29, 2012 at 7:30 PM

    The curfew is the main one she wants to be changed. My husband and I are going to sit down and talk about it and go from there.

    Quoting Barabell:

    What rules does she want eased up?

  • Barabell
    November 29, 2012 at 7:55 PM

    If all the other rules are the same (no boyfriend and meeting & approving friends she hangs out with) and she's proven to be responsible for 6 months, it seems like a reasonable request. 

    Quoting jjchick75:

    The curfew is the main one she wants to be changed. My husband and I are going to sit down and talk about it and go from there.

    Quoting Barabell:

    What rules does she want eased up?

  • annie2244
    November 29, 2012 at 9:43 PM

    I think she's earned some relaxing of the rules. She's almost 18 and she's not allowed to date and has this early curfew? I understand your caution, and I applaud that you've taken her in and weren't under any obligation to, but what is the level of your committment to her? She has to live like a nun, no demerits or she has to fear ejection? I think this kid deserves more from her family. She's your sister. She's had a ridiculously hard upbringing, with some understandable emotional problems resulting from the disruptions. So - I think she needs tough love with firm commitment from all her sibs. We've got your back. We won't support bad behavior, but we will be here for life, to help you succeed. We'll give you housing whenever you can be a reasonably pleasant and responsible resident. We'll help you with tuition whenever you can be a successful student. We'll help you out of financial binds whenever you need a leg up. We're your family. You're one of us. For life. We're so glad you are here. Congratulations on your success your first 6 months. Let's renegotiate the rules, and continue to do so together as things proceed.

  • fantasticfour
    November 30, 2012 at 12:33 AM

    What freedoms is she wanting? A boyfriend?  Later cerfew?  Something else? 

  • fantasticfour
    November 30, 2012 at 12:34 AM

    Sorry just read that it was the cerfew.  Talk to her, find out where she wants to go hang out so late at night.  Is it to a movie or something?  I don't see why letting the cerfew slide another hour on the weekends would hurt.  Sounds like she's doing great.

  • suesues
    by suesues
    November 30, 2012 at 7:20 AM

    I would try extending curfew by 1 hr see what happens tell her its a test to strick never works either they rebel

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