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How would you handle this situation?

My fiance and I are 32, and each have a 13 year old child, (my daughter, his son), and together we have a 10 month old son. In December of 2007, we took in my cousin, who is 14 now, and he is legally our foster child. Well, being that the teens are becoming more of their own individual selves, they each excel orlack in various areas leading to different consequenses based on the situation. Today, he (my cousin) told his case worker that we treat him differently and unfairly and that he's afraid to talk to me because he feels he will just get into trouble anyway, but I'm not a hard@$$ like that, really. (NOTE: his mom abandoned him over 2 years ago and he doesn't know who his real dad is. Mom let him take care of himself while she worked the streets and clubs) My man and I do everything for these kids! We own our home, 2 vehicles, pay for Jiu-Jitsu, Football, etc. all have yo do chores, get grounded and such...cont below.

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Asked by jdrae13 at 9:19 PM on Jul. 6, 2009 in Adoption

Level 6 (131 Credits)
Answers (15)
  • We really try to treat all our kids as fairly as possible, but each of them are in a situation that is not the "norm". Only the baby has both parents together. I just don't know how to make things MORE fair so that noone feels singled out. Any suggestions?

    Answer by jdrae13 at 9:21 PM on Jul. 6, 2009

  • One thing my girls had to learn was that fair does not mean the same, it means everyone gets what they need and are given the same opportunities. Maybe you are trying too hard to make things "fair" and he's understanding that this is something he can use as leverage to get what he wants. You sound resentful that he is not grateful and maybe that's making you irritable with him hence the "I'll just get in trouble anyway" comment.

    Answer by Luuckymommy at 9:32 PM on Jul. 6, 2009

  • I also meant to add that it's unfair for you to expect gratitude from him. Respect yes but most teenagers are not grateful for things their parents do for them. This boy no doubt feels resentful that his mother bailed on him and he doesn't know his father. He wishes things were different and that's what he's trying to say by whining about fair treatment and such. (if you have truly assessed the situation and don't think you're treating him unfairly)

    Answer by Luuckymommy at 9:37 PM on Jul. 6, 2009

  • I'm still caught in the "moment" right now. All this only came about in the last hour or so. I DO feel like he should be a little more appreciative of what we DO do, for him. In any other foster home, he wouldn't be guaranteed a family that would put him in these other activities, or be so strongly supportive of him in school so that he will go to college, not to mention, be the first to graduate in his immediate family. We really want him to succeed, maybe more so, because he IS a blood relative. He is at football practice now, while I am home having my cooling off period, but I am truly hurt that he would feel I am mistreating him by treating him unfairly. Believe me, I don't carry my frustrations out in the open in front of the kids. I just don't know if I should have a family meeting about what would be considered fair, or just a one on one with him...I'm just not sure.

    Answer by jdrae13 at 9:41 PM on Jul. 6, 2009

  • Re Luuckymommy's comments: Your comments make a lot of sense. Thank you. At least now, I have a little different perspective of things. That helps.

    Answer by jdrae13 at 9:43 PM on Jul. 6, 2009

  • Granted that he IS a teenager, I do still feel that he should be a little more appreciative of what we do for him. I know that Luuckymommy feels otherwise, and I respect that, but he has been in numerous situations, all of which are bad, and never before has he had someone give to him like we have. We expect thank you's and such. And these extra activities are all earned, not a given. Education is a must, no excuses. If the behavior and attitude are poor, that privilages get taken away, regardless of whether or not you are our son, daughter, or cousin! All of them need to know the difference between necessities, and privilages. That's just how we feel.

    Answer by jdrae13 at 9:49 PM on Jul. 6, 2009

  • He's testing you. He's pushing the boundaries to see how much you're willing to give and how much you're not. He's been abandoned before, and how else can be prove that you won't abandon him now?

    Be consistent, loving, and tough. Apply the rules equally, and be generous with affection. Have expectations but don't expect anything in return-- it's not their job to show you appreciation. That comes later. It's their job to express individuality and find out what they can and cannot do.

    Being a parent is often a thankless job, and anyone who had kids to have them give you anything-- love included-- is delusional! He cannot possibly realize how bad things could be-- it's pretty bad already. So expecting respect or appreciation is going to disappointing.

    Eventually things will get better. In the mean time, bear with it-- you, as the adult, is in the best position to implement change.


    Answer by Busimommi at 9:53 PM on Jul. 6, 2009

  • You don't see how he could say such things and yet there are two very ironic points you bring up. When you talk about everything you have done for him, it is all in materialistic offerings and anything emotionally you mention about how you feel about him is how you expect him to be appreciative of all those material things you have provided for him.

    Perhaps if you actually concentrated on giving him the emotional assurance you love him for exactly who he is instead of expecting material things to justify this, he might not have the same feelings.

    And he deserves to be loved and well taken care of and should never be expected to be "grateful" because someone is willing to take care of him.

    Just with your answers here, I can see where he would have such feelings. And sadly your answer is to be angry at him for feeling such a way instead of trying to do whatever you can to help him past such feelings.

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:32 AM on Jul. 7, 2009

  • In response to ANON: I mention the material things because usually those are what is important to teens. ALL OF MY TEENS, him included, often want to know WHAT they are going to get out of a situation, before they decide if its worth doing. That's normal. We DO give the emotional as well. I make a point EVERYDAY, to tell all the kids how grateful I am to have them in my life and how much I love them. And every night as they head to bed, I hug them and tell them I love them again. We can laugh and play and joke around all day long, but when it comes time to be serious and get work done, or to quit fighting with one another, all the sudden, attitudes start flying, or pouting starts happening, or whispers of "youre stupid" can be heard, and 9 times out of 10, it's from him. He DOES deserve to get taken care of well and be loved. Hell, he's been through so much more than even many adults we know would care to go through

    Answer by jdrae13 at 2:14 AM on Jul. 7, 2009

  • cont....and we try to do everything we possibly can. And it's not just us...our parents, too. And much more of the extended family. We even opened hearts and doors to his sister,(16), who ran away because her freedom was what she was used to. She couldnt hang with the rules. I've reached out to as much family, for advice and help, as I can, and everyone seems to feel we are doing okay with how we are handling things. I'm just not satisfied that this is ALL we can do. I cant find the mom anywhere. She works the streets and moves alot, and sister follows in her footsteps. She moves from boy to boy, city to city. I'm worried that my cousin will decide he doesn't want to be here on the "chance" that the grass is greener on the other side, just to find out that it's not, at which point it would be too late. He has a future in sight. He has dreams that we are trying to help him achieve. I just wish he could understand...

    Answer by jdrae13 at 2:22 AM on Jul. 7, 2009

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