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Feeling guilty for disciplining them?

My Dh and I are both in our late twenties with 3 kids of our own and we recently acquired 2 more teens when we got legal custody of his brother and sister last month. It was due to the fact that their mom went to prison for drug charges. We just couldn't let family go to foster care, so we took them in. They are 13 and 14 and out of control. Sneaking out, swearing, calling us names, and just this week stealing from us. I finally through much begging convinced Dh that we need to get a grip on the situation and he FINALLY agreed. But now to that point I feel guilty for laying rules down and being harsh on them. I just don't even think its my place to do so, but not sure. I just can't handle it. Should I just let dh handle all of that, and am I wrong for feeling guilty? I mean when kids have gone through such a tough and horrible home situation, should we just let them be at this point for fear of making matters worse?

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Asked by Anonymous at 11:52 AM on Dec. 22, 2008 in General Parenting

Answers (20)
  • I can totally see where you would feel guilty because they have been through so much. But I also think that it is your home, and they are around your kids. They have to live by your rules. And as tough as it is to handle now, and as guilty as you may feel, you really are helping them become better people. I wish you the best of luck.

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:56 AM on Dec. 22, 2008

  • A mother's guilt never ends...however, you aren't doing them any favors by not dealing with the situation. It is in their best interest for you to lay down the laws and enforce them. They will be better off with you than with anyone else...if you don't get a handle on this situation then this situation might not work out. Also - their lives have been hard and it is probably mostly because they have grown up with a lack of consistency, rules and boundaries. The only way they are going to feel safe and secure is if you setup rules and boundaries and enforce them.

    Good Luck to you and bless your heart for taking them in!

    Answer by ANGIE409 at 11:57 AM on Dec. 22, 2008

  • Don't feel guilty. I admire both of you for stepping in and taking care of them. It's horrible that they have to go through that but they also need rules and boundaries set. Continue to work together.


    Answer by Christine0813 at 11:57 AM on Dec. 22, 2008

  • Let them be at this point and they'll be soon joining their mother in jail.

    You need to get a grip on them and get some discipline going....maybe with the help of a psychologist. You both need to be able to discipline.

    I'm not sure why you feel guilty? Is it because they're your BIL and SIL or because they've "had such a tough and horrible home situation"? Neither one is really a reason to allow them to behave that way in YOUR home....and letting them be is doing them a great disservice.

    Answer by TiccledBlue at 11:58 AM on Dec. 22, 2008

  • It doesn't matter what they have went threw. They still need some sort of structure and discipline in their lives. They need rules to go by and your the mom and dad right now. Don't feel guilty. They will feed on it, teens know how to work parents..  GL


    Answer by louise2 at 11:58 AM on Dec. 22, 2008

  • I firmly believe that children want discipline. That makes them feel like you care what happens to them. This new life is probably scary to them, and they are testing how far they can go. Set limits and boundaries, and most of all, have patience. Good luck to you. You are doing a wonderful thing.

    Answer by lynnem1211 at 12:03 PM on Dec. 22, 2008

  • Totally understand the guily thing. These kids are old enough to understand rules and conquences. Sit all of them down and explain house rules, chores, etc... That way they can't say "we didn't know", feel that your being too hard on them, and that you and hubby are on the same page.

    Good luck

    Answer by dle4125 at 12:12 PM on Dec. 22, 2008

  • At 13 and 14 they are not far from being out in a "real world" that's not going to care what kind of home life they've had. I guarantee that your discipline will be move loving and less painful than what they're likely to get if they go out there thinking they can do whatever they want.

    Answer by cedailey at 12:34 PM on Dec. 22, 2008

  • You shouldn't feel guilty, you are their guardian so you both need to enforce the rules. From the way they are acting their mother sounds like a total loser and your going to have your hands full for a while.

    Answer by sammiesmom2000 at 12:40 PM on Dec. 22, 2008

  • Your guilt will be your own demise. Now that they are in your care, you are the parent. You have to take on any responsibility that a natural parent should do. Being that they are already out of control, then you obviously have your work cut out for you. I would first start by getting them into counseling. What they went through is horrible and no child should have to be abandoned, but its the realilty. Then I would start by laying out the rules and consequences. Taking away ipods, cell phones, outings, computer time, ect is where you should start. YOu cannot feel sorry for them to the point that you let them continue in this behavior. Look at it as you are training them for life and one day, when they are grown and have some self can thank your determination. Try joining the moms of teenage daughters group.

    Answer by momofsaee at 1:58 PM on Dec. 22, 2008

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