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Question for foster parents of teens - long

Great part: I have an 18yo foster girl who has been with us for a year. She's funny and fits our family dynamic well. She'll be in state custody till she's 19 and knows it's perfectly fine to stay with us as long as she wants.

Crappy part: She's all about herself when it comes down to the bones of the matter. She's recently reverting back to the "old" self she was when she came a year ago. She has been in counseling and was doing amazing, she was positive, loving, etc. BUT now she's got a "piss on y'all attitude" again. Sunday night I took away her phone and her car.

Good part: She says she feels loved, safe, and refers to us as her parents. She doesn't call us mom and dad but that doesn't make any difference to us. She and I are particularly close and she has told me things like she thinks of me as her mom, etc. I have spoiled her but she's always had to obey for lack of a better word the rules of the house, chores, curfew, etc.

Crappy part: It surprised the hell out of me when she never told me Happy Mothers day. She even told our daughter I was probably mad when I went to bed because she didn't tell me. That would hurt anyone who is as close as she and I are. (have been?) We're also crossing our first, "we don't want you dating him" bridge with this bf. There's no guess work in the bf thing that blow up is the typical teenage blow up for any child. If you make the point that "she is 18 you can't control that or shouldn't" I beg to differ. She's still a student, he's 16, she's still in state custody, and she lives in our house. Those are all the reasons we need to parent her unlike an adult. She wouldn't know how to be an adult if she tried right now.

My question: I feel like I've been getting played a little more than I thought was true. I need to "re-set" boundaries and not be so much of her friend and/or "mom of convenience". I need to let her know I love her, am not rejecting her, but I'm not going to spoil her and be as privy to her whims. It boils down to what do I say when the fire settles down over this bf and things start getting back to "normal". The norm isn't going to be the same norm and I'm going to guess she's ask me, "What's wrong or you're not acting the same, etc". You're right I'm not going to but I need to explain it in a way she will understand.

Note: She has family that she has contac with but they couldn't be bigger losers. With counseling she was to the point their lies and crap wasn't getting to her like it used to. She was doing great. Thanks! Sorry it was so long!

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 2:10 PM on May. 11, 2011 in General Parenting

Answers (1)
  • I don't know how you could have made it shorter. As a social worker, I would keep reassuring her that she is not going to get "thrown out" I think this is where the behavior is coming from. She may be testing boundaries, sure, but maybe she thinks deep down that she will "get you before you get her" by pulling away from you. Abandoment is one of the hardest things to overcome, and it pops up all over the place. As for the mother thing, just keep opening that door for her, that you know she has a mother, but you are her mother too. I was really glad to read your post. I want to have foster kids and this made me feel like it can be done. Of course, it will be difficult, anything worth doing is, but the love you feel for her is evident. Maybe you can go to counseling together? I know it will work out, she will grow up and see how wonderful you were to her.

    Answer by dwmom2008 at 5:29 PM on May. 11, 2011

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