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cant we all just get along!!??

This is my delemma...I am fostering my 14 year old male cousin. I have a 13 year old daughter and a 13 year old step son as well as a 10 month old son in our home. My cousin has been living with us for nearly 2 years now and still on a regular basis, he and my daughter argue constantly. He constantly throws dirty looks, talks under his breath, and doesnt like to share unless he gets something out of it, like money. We have lectured and talked and grounded and I am just exhausted as to what we should try next. Got any ideas?

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Asked by jdrae13 at 5:36 PM on Jun. 23, 2009 in Adoption

Level 6 (131 Credits)
Answers (9)
  • I don't see what the big deal is if he's just giving her dirty looks and talks under his breath, at least he's not getting physical and screaming. Maybe talk to your daughter about how hard and difficult is must be for him to not live with his parents and help her become more patient with him and not take what he says seriously.

    Answer by staceynoel at 5:49 PM on Jun. 23, 2009

  • Has your cousin attended any counseling regarding the reasons he lives with you and not Bio parents? Kids often have deep anger and even abandonment issues. They may not even know that is what it is, but the acting out may be a symptom. I hope this helps.

    Answer by GrnEyedGrandma at 6:06 PM on Jun. 23, 2009

  • I wouldn't tolerate that in my house. I've always told my kids that our home should be a safe place and they aren't allowed to hurt each other and should at least be cordial. However it sounds like you've exhausted your ideas. I agree with the above poster, although he might feel singled out as the bad guy so maybe family therapy would be a good idea.

    Answer by onethentwins at 9:49 PM on Jun. 23, 2009

  • Teenage is a hard age to begin with when you are with your own parents. I don't doubt you love your cousin, but it's different because you aren't his mom. No way around that fact. We as foster/kinship parents believe sometimes that we can treat them as our own and they will act like our own, but that isn't the case. We wonder why they aren't grateful that we have saved them from a bad situation. However, he didn't ask for whatever circumstances brought him to your house. If he isn't in some kind of counseling, I would get it for him. Sometimes it helps a person to be able to have a neutral 3rd party to say, Hey, this really is a crappy deal that I've gotten. Then he can work thru it w/o hurting your feelings or betraying his parents. (Not sure how involved they are.) Plus, add to that raging hormones, trying to grow into a man, perhaps w/o a good example of what that should look like. Maybe a Big Brother program could help.

    Answer by doodlebopfan at 10:59 PM on Jun. 23, 2009

  • (con't from last night-sorry so late) I would think that your cousin DOES appreciate you taking him in, however, that didn't come without him facing a LOT of losses. In our training as foster parents, we are taught to put ourselves in their shoes. They have changed (at least some) houses, parents are gone, loss of extended family on one/both sides, schools, at times siblings are separated, neighbors, schools, teachers, people they liked at the store near their home, pets, so many things. We look at what they have gained as a PLUS, and we still have to help them thru the MINUSES. Whatever he's dealing with is no reflection of your care for him at all. It's just better if they have their own person (counselor at school or therapist) whom they can trust with their feelings and deepest secrets. He may be trying to handle things his own way, not knowing healthy ways to express anger, etc. We've had 3 y/o's in therapy. It works.HTH!

    Answer by doodlebopfan at 11:09 AM on Jun. 24, 2009

  • If worse comes to worse, (and I mean worse) you could consider applying him to the Cal Farley's Boys Ranch.

    It's a good program.  It's free to you and they receive applications from all over the US.  Whatever you do, never never never, abandon him. Be there for him emotionally always!


    Answer by Anonymous at 1:55 PM on Jun. 24, 2009

  • I agree with the therapy and the Boys Ranch, but only if necessary.

    Do you ever spend quality, one-on-one time with him (and all of your children)? Like taking them out to a restaurant for a dessert, to go play putt-putt golf, bowling, or whatever. I strongly believe that one-on-one time, free from sibling rivalry and tension, can help boost the overall relationship with your child, or in this case, cousin.

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:57 PM on Jun. 24, 2009

  • This does NOT sound fun for you... but it sounds pretty normal for 13 year olds. Especially if he's had parent issues. He'll probably get better as he gets older.

    Answer by guitarlove at 12:06 AM on Jun. 26, 2009

  • As a former houseparent at Cal Farleys - it's a great program - but I'd only consider it if you've tried everything else first.

    Really, Boys Ranch IS great - but please, don't give him more rejection as a first option.

    I think I'm more like onethentwins - an attitude of hostility makes home an unsafe and unhealthy place - we don't allow it here. It causes constant stress and tension for everyone. Not to mention, fostering unhealthy relationships, etc. Something else we do a lot of here is talk about why things are happening, etc - and not giving a child from a rough background an excuse or crutch to continue unhealthy or unacceptable behaviors.

    Kinship fostering is so much more difficult, IMHO, than traditional fostering. For the children and for the other parties involved. (Yes, we've done both).

    Good luck!! :)

    Answer by AAAMama at 12:59 PM on Jun. 27, 2009

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