Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Teen troubles with my niece. HELP!!!

Posted by on Jan. 6, 2015 at 5:09 PM
  • 17 Replies

i posted this in a different forum, so i apologize if you've already read it and that  this may be a lengthy post, but i need serious help...

just to give you a background on my story, i am 34 and have no children of my own. my now 13 (almost 14) year old niece lives with me and my fiancee. i have permanent guardianship of her. she has bounced around her entire life from addict mother, grandmother and myself (aunt). i have had her off and on since she was 5 and now its permanent. 

with that being said, you can imagine the family drama that surrounds this unique situation... my niece has generally been a good kid considering the amount of instability she's experienced, great grades, does her chores etc. but she is mouthy as heck! she's used to throwing tantrums in order to get her way and in the past, she's been able to get away with it, but never when at my house. there are consequences for r crappy behavior in my home. but lately, she doesn't seem to be phased by punishments (taking her phone, tablet away, being given extra chores, no sleepovers etc). she's always gotten straight A's, but now her math is slipping. she joined cheer leading and is becoming more grown up. i get that, and the behavioral changes that come along with it. she's getting more bold, being more sneaky, lying more and being more rude. despite the HOURS AND HOURS of conversations we have had with literally her almost daily, she doesn't seem to be learning squat!! she seems like she understands, does well for a day or 2, then back doing the exact thing we've had crazy long convos about.

so recently, she's become more and more into boys, and we've had LOTS of sex talks with her to ensure that she's treating herself respectfully, being aware of predators online and off, birth control, condoms, pressure to have sex, knowing when you're ready, babies, teen motherhood, STDs, the dangers of sending racy photos etc. we've covered it all, it seems. we always try being as open as possible on these taboo topics. so, the other night, SHE WAS BUSTED SEXTING!!! needless to say, she's already been warned of the dangers, reputation at school etc. she got all electronics taken away and months ago was banned from using KIK (an online chatting app), but has downloaded it approximately 5 times since then, then again when she was caught texting inappropriately. not only did she break the rules about this chatting app, but she was engaging in highly inappropriate conversations with this boy who is also 13. she got cheer leading taken away because this boy is on the basketball team and now i don't trust them on the bus to away games etc. my fiancee is taking it way more hard than i am. in fact, that's where most of this problem lies. 1) i don't know what to do to address this problem and make it so it doesn't happen again. 2) my fiancee is flipping the heck out and wants to take VERY drastic measures, including involving the school and the boy's parents. he is so mad that he has suggested she move out because he feels that whatever tactics we've been using are clearly not working, because she keeps doing them and isn't learning anything. he thinks she has serious mental issues and that she might suffer from narcissistic personality disorder due to her mother's serious mental issues. i, however feel that a lot of this is normal teenage behaviors. granted it's hell, and i wish she'd learn more from her mistakes because i want her to grow up to be an independent, healthy adult and not like her mother... i'm torn with how to handle this situation and how to get my fiancee on the same page as me. i understand his point, "she's in my home, she's not my child, i pay half the bills, i refuse to have someone living in my home who takes advantage of me and only cares about herself". please help... our family is in chaos almost daily and my fiancee and i have never fought so much in our entire relationship. i don't want to lose either one of them, but my fiancee is at the end of his rope with her...

also, just to throw this in there, my niece and fiancee had always had a great relationship and have bonded quite a bit. they used to be such good buddies and now it seems like they hate eachother! help

by on Jan. 6, 2015 at 5:09 PM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-10):
Mrshodge99
by on Jan. 6, 2015 at 5:37 PM
1 mom liked this

Wow. You've got a lot on your hands! And I just want to let you know you're an outstanding person for taking care of your niece. It sounds, unfortunately, like you're going through what is now "normal" teenage behavior. In this new technological age it's hard as hell to monitor them like our parents did us! And your fiancée is acting like any dad would do. He may not be her dad but he's as close as she's going to get & he's doing all the things he'd do if she were his biological child. My suggestion is counseling. She's been through a lot in her young life & she may deny it or not realize it but it DOES take a toll on her mentally. It sounds to me like she is suffering from seriously low self esteem. A lot of times girls will act out sexually in order to get the attention & "love" they don't feel like they're getting at home. I know you love her & you seem to have been doing everything in the world to prove this to her but you can talk until you're blue in the face, she's not going to listen. She hears you, but it's not registering because she's been bouncing around her whole life, her mother chose drugs over her, etc. I think she would benefit exponentially from counseling, one-on-one & group, where she can talk to other kids her age & feel like she's being heard. My son was hospitalized twice for depression & anorexia. My SON. Boys don't "typically" suffer from eating disorders but life being what it is these days you can never assume. Peer pressure is a bitch. Excuse my French... Maybe you can introduce her to some teen moms her age who can SHOW her what it's like to be a mom so young. I was a mom at 17 & it's no picnic. But they don't realize the consequences of their actions. And we live in a digital age where sexting is practically the norm & it's scary! Once it's out there its there FOREVER! That's just my two cents. Hope it's helpful. Best wishes!

ame4c
by Bronze Member on Jan. 6, 2015 at 7:50 PM
1 mom liked this
Counciling is needed here for her as PP suggested but I also think you guys should go as a family too. You need to show her that you are not going to give up on her and pass her off to yet another person. She needs you guys more than anything now and she needs you to not give up and kick her out. She's pushing the limits to see if you will dump her too.

You all need to go so you can learn to communicate as a family. This will only straighten your upcoming marriage and will help you learn to deal with her behavior in a more productive way.
iwashere
by on Jan. 6, 2015 at 8:27 PM
1 mom liked this

I'm a former foster parent and the thing most of these girls lack is permanance and self-esteem. She may be testing ("will you keep me if I...") kind of thing. I'd say this was definately part of her issues since she pushing the envelope further and further and not responding the punishments. In foster care, there is always a honeymoon phase where all punishments are instantly responded to and everyone is so happy. And then BOOM! Overnight, nothing works. In addition, she may be trying to solve her insucurity issues via sexual behavior. After all, what gets you more attention? Naked boobs? Or good grades?

You all definately need counseling. Not just because it will help her and not just because you need to show her you are in this for the long haul. You also need to get tools of your own to deal with her behavior, because this is probably just the tip of the iceberg.

One thing you might consider is a formal agreement between you, your fiancee and her. A formal agreement, signed by everyone - even if it's just the two of you and her - saying that this is a permanent family and it will last forever. Then have the agreement notarized so it is official and frame that sucker and put it on your wall. Knowing that no matter what, somebody, somewhere has her back and loves her unconditionally will go a long way to helping out. The only "get" with this is that you have to mean it. If at some point you think she may go back to her biological mother do not do this.

jinxmom
by Bronze Member on Jan. 7, 2015 at 8:40 AM
1 mom liked this

I agree with the others.  Counseling and have her evaluated for neuro and mental illness.  You said her mom has mental issues, likely she does too.  Also, she is 13 Yikes! hormones are all over the place. hth (HUGS)

Aunt_Mom
by on Jan. 7, 2015 at 11:23 AM

thank you. yes, counseling is definitely on the agenda. last time she went (for over a year) nothing was accomplished because she never opened up. even if i would bring up specific topics for her counselor to try covering. the report back to me was always "she seems to be doing great!". my niece (understandably) lives in a fantasy land where "everything is awesome and perfect!!" when really she just wishes everything was... she lies about her home life, having siblings, living with both parents, even outrageous things like telling her friends she won a surfing contest when we went to florida last summer to visit her great grandma... my fiancee was great about that and told her that instead of lying to people about these fantasies, to write an awesome story. and she did! she wrote an amazing story about winning a surfing contest set in the future with robots etc. it was great! but all of these things are so temporary and i wonder if any of our talks/advice will ever stick.. she seems to "forget" a day or 2 after an incident... thank you for your help. i appreciate any feedback!

Quoting Mrshodge99:

Wow. You've got a lot on your hands! And I just want to let you know you're an outstanding person for taking care of your niece. It sounds, unfortunately, like you're going through what is now "normal" teenage behavior. In this new technological age it's hard as hell to monitor them like our parents did us! And your fiancée is acting like any dad would do. He may not be her dad but he's as close as she's going to get & he's doing all the things he'd do if she were his biological child. My suggestion is counseling. She's been through a lot in her young life & she may deny it or not realize it but it DOES take a toll on her mentally. It sounds to me like she is suffering from seriously low self esteem. A lot of times girls will act out sexually in order to get the attention & "love" they don't feel like they're getting at home. I know you love her & you seem to have been doing everything in the world to prove this to her but you can talk until you're blue in the face, she's not going to listen. She hears you, but it's not registering because she's been bouncing around her whole life, her mother chose drugs over her, etc. I think she would benefit exponentially from counseling, one-on-one & group, where she can talk to other kids her age & feel like she's being heard. My son was hospitalized twice for depression & anorexia. My SON. Boys don't "typically" suffer from eating disorders but life being what it is these days you can never assume. Peer pressure is a bitch. Excuse my French... Maybe you can introduce her to some teen moms her age who can SHOW her what it's like to be a mom so young. I was a mom at 17 & it's no picnic. But they don't realize the consequences of their actions. And we live in a digital age where sexting is practically the norm & it's scary! Once it's out there its there FOREVER! That's just my two cents. Hope it's helpful. Best wishes!


Aunt_Mom
by on Jan. 7, 2015 at 11:27 AM

i completely agree. i think she'd definitely testing her boundaries to see if we're paying attention. i think she's craving structure. but its so hard to get my fiancee to feel the same way.... he thinks she just doesn't care, and never will. and because she doesn't care, she'll never make an effort to change. we're on totally different pages about what to do and i don't know how to get him to see what i see. granted, he's only known her for about a year and a half, and before she came to live with us, it was just him and i. its an adjustment for him and in his opinion, after almost 2 years, she should have changed by now... so yes. family counseling is a fantastic idea. thank you so much.

Quoting ame4c: Counciling is needed here for her as PP suggested but I also think you guys should go as a family too. You need to show her that you are not going to give up on her and pass her off to yet another person. She needs you guys more than anything now and she needs you to not give up and kick her out. She's pushing the limits to see if you will dump her too. You all need to go so you can learn to communicate as a family. This will only straighten your upcoming marriage and will help you learn to deal with her behavior in a more productive way.


booscomputer
by Bronze Member on Jan. 7, 2015 at 11:37 AM
1 mom liked this

First -- you all need counseling -- individual and family to work on your problems.  Second, after the first time my kid got caught sexting, no more electronics period.  She would not have access to a computer that was not monitored and she's have a phone that only had the ability to call me, my fiance and the police.  If my child threw a fit to get something, not only would she not get it, but I'd take away something that she already has.  This poor child has had a rough life and you're going to have to tough love her through her teen years -- it will not be easy but you have to do what you say ALWAYS.  BTW -- find a teenager who doesn't have "narcissitic personality disorder" and I'll show you a child who is lying.  It is simply in their make up to be narcissitic -- it's how you deal with it that matters.  Dumping her isn't the answer but major physical labor may be -- kids hate to work and she'd be digging my garden for summer, composting, digging post holes -- whatever you need done and she goes nowhere until the job is done except school and/or job.

Aunt_Mom
by on Jan. 7, 2015 at 2:04 PM

that is an amazing idea to make an agreement and frame it! i think by seeing that on the wall, she'll know that no matter what, i will not abandon her. the guardianship i have expires when she's 18, and this judge has been dealing with our family for almost 9 years now. he's seen the back and fourth, sober mom, relapsed mom, mom giving custody to not 1, but 2 other people over and over and he is OVER it. according to my niece's lawyer, my sister can always protest guardianship, but with my sister's history, he 99.9% will not grant it to her again. yes, there's always a possibility that she could end up somewhere else, but its so unlikely. in fact, he suggested that my next step be adoption. i have proven to be the most stable home/environment for my niece since she was 5 and this judge is really over it. last court date he told my sister he hasn't seen any improvements for the last 7 years and that he didn't even want to hear her side :/ so i like that advice! but wish me luck getting my fiancee on board though lol. he's scared to take on such a permanent commitment...

Quoting iwashere:

I'm a former foster parent and the thing most of these girls lack is permanance and self-esteem. She may be testing ("will you keep me if I...") kind of thing. I'd say this was definately part of her issues since she pushing the envelope further and further and not responding the punishments. In foster care, there is always a honeymoon phase where all punishments are instantly responded to and everyone is so happy. And then BOOM! Overnight, nothing works. In addition, she may be trying to solve her insucurity issues via sexual behavior. After all, what gets you more attention? Naked boobs? Or good grades?

You all definately need counseling. Not just because it will help her and not just because you need to show her you are in this for the long haul. You also need to get tools of your own to deal with her behavior, because this is probably just the tip of the iceberg.

One thing you might consider is a formal agreement between you, your fiancee and her. A formal agreement, signed by everyone - even if it's just the two of you and her - saying that this is a permanent family and it will last forever. Then have the agreement notarized so it is official and frame that sucker and put it on your wall. Knowing that no matter what, somebody, somewhere has her back and loves her unconditionally will go a long way to helping out. The only "get" with this is that you have to mean it. If at some point you think she may go back to her biological mother do not do this.


Aunt_Mom
by on Jan. 7, 2015 at 2:07 PM

yes, i think its come to a psych evaluation too... which scares the crap out of me because i don't know if i'm prepared for the answer!! and i'm totally against medication in children (unless 100% necessary, like cancer or severe handicap). it's going to be a long road... thank you.

Quoting jinxmom:

I agree with the others.  Counseling and have her evaluated for neuro and mental illness.  You said her mom has mental issues, likely she does too.  Also, she is 13 Yikes! hormones are all over the place. hth (HUGS)


Aunt_Mom
by on Jan. 7, 2015 at 2:17 PM

i like the way you think! usually when she gets in trouble, she has extra chores (even if they're pointless) just to show her what hard work is and that she can be proud of herself after the fact. my fiancee had her out chopping wood a few months ago and she cried and cried, putting on a nice little show with those tears. but every time she wanted to give up, he told her to keep chopping. chop your way through the anger! and eventually, she had herself a nice pile of firewood! she couldn't have been more proud of what she'd achieved. and we even had a celebratory bonfire that night and let her pick which pieces of her pile she wanted to use. she was very happy. but again, this only works temporarily! is it going to be like this forever?!? how do you moms do it?!! patience and love?? thank you for the support. i feel much better knowing i'm not the only one struggling with these lil jerks lol.

oh.. and yeah. the cell phone is gone. she now has a beautiful, state of the art flip phone! no texting, no smart screen, no texts! its the oldest cheapest phone i've ever seen. she said she was embarassed to use it and i said, GOOD! 

Quoting booscomputer:

First -- you all need counseling -- individual and family to work on your problems.  Second, after the first time my kid got caught sexting, no more electronics period.  She would not have access to a computer that was not monitored and she's have a phone that only had the ability to call me, my fiance and the police.  If my child threw a fit to get something, not only would she not get it, but I'd take away something that she already has.  This poor child has had a rough life and you're going to have to tough love her through her teen years -- it will not be easy but you have to do what you say ALWAYS.  BTW -- find a teenager who doesn't have "narcissitic personality disorder" and I'll show you a child who is lying.  It is simply in their make up to be narcissitic -- it's how you deal with it that matters.  Dumping her isn't the answer but major physical labor may be -- kids hate to work and she'd be digging my garden for summer, composting, digging post holes -- whatever you need done and she goes nowhere until the job is done except school and/or job.


Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)