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Teen troubles with my niece. HELP!!!

Posted by on Jan. 6, 2015 at 1:26 PM
  • 24 Replies

ok, so 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 1:26 PM
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Replies (1-10):
oliveoil423
by Bronze Member on Jan. 6, 2015 at 1:38 PM
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I would show her a video of boot camp. And tell her if she can start acting like a teenager and respecting you and your almost to be husband then threaten boot camp. I can't tell you many times my parents had done this.
Aunt_Mom
by on Jan. 6, 2015 at 2:03 PM

funny you should say so, because we have! it seems like nothing gets through to her, she doesn't care and that she forgets everything... we're in the stages of "i don't know why i did it" and "i forgot". which makes me want to rip my hair out considering the amount of time we've both spent talking to her.. but i will try actually showing her videos and pictures, rather than just describing and talking about boot camp. thank you for realizing that her lack of respect is really a problem.

anotherandree
by Inga on Jan. 6, 2015 at 2:12 PM

Therapy.  It sounds like there is ALOT of anger in there that is coming out.  She has manipulated people for so long that she probably doesn't know any different.

seaturtle1
by on Jan. 6, 2015 at 2:15 PM

Counseling is what she needs to deal with her past that probably haunts her.

Aunt_Mom
by on Jan. 6, 2015 at 3:43 PM

we have tried counseling. she was in therapy for about a year and a half. they would go to her school every other week and we'd visit in office every other week, so she was seeing someone once a week. she never opened up to her counselor. i would talk to the counselor and bring up any issues and at the end of the 2 weeks, her counselor would say she's doing great and everything seems to be good. part of my niece's problem is that she's stuck in a fantasy land of "everything is awesome and perfect!!" when it really isn't. even if i'd bring up very specific things to her counselor, i feel like nothing ever really got addressed except trying to get her to work on being accountable for are actions. but even that was never really worked on... i felt like she'd put on a show every visit and her therapist, i guess, never saw anything truly wrong. she stopped going back in october because my car broke, and i have no way of taking her anywhere now. my fiancee is done doing things for her (rides etc) because he feels that she just expects everyone to jump whenever she needs something, so he's over it... i'm in the process of getting my car fixed, and in which time, she'll go to a different therapist. but scheduling is also a problem because i work 2 jobs... so now that i'm pretty much on my own with taking care of her, it puts me in a crappy position, because in addition to the tens of thousands of dollars i've already spent on her (including missed work), i now have to take more time off work to get her back into counseling... i'm just not sure what they will do for her considering she never opens up to them....

Bmat
by Barb on Jan. 6, 2015 at 4:02 PM
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Bmat
by Barb on Jan. 6, 2015 at 4:07 PM

The teens are rough even with many children who have not had the sad experiences of your niece. Sneaking around. lying, - they are full of hormones and beating against what they consider parental (or guardian) oppression, when actually we are on their side.

Instead of imposing punishments, which no longer work after a while anyway, first ask her what penalty she things would be fair if a child of hers did whatever it was. Tell her over and over that you love her even when she does things that you worry about since they can be harmful to her  to her!  You can tell her that you are on her side and want her to be safe and find what she wants in life.

It is possible that considering her background that she may need counseling.

Aunt_Mom
by on Jan. 6, 2015 at 4:23 PM

i feel like i'm making an excuse for all of your ladies' advice, but i do tell her i love her all the time. i tell her that i'm worried about her safety, and that i just want to help her grow up to be the happiest, most sucessful, independent person she can be. i explain that i wouldn't have gone though years and years of fighting, court, and thousands of dollars if i didn't care what happend to her. that i've put my own life on hold so i can make sure she's safe and happy and that i always support any decision she wants to make (like going back to live with her mom or grandma). she should know by now that i'm totally on her side, and have actually sacrificed my own relationship with my mom and sister in order to ensure that she is in a safe enviornment. there's so much more to this crazy story, but the basics are that i'm about to lose my fiancee because of her crazy behavior, nothing seems to get through to her, she makes no effort to change or get better, and now she's sexting!! all the other stuff i can mostly deal with, but this whole sexting thing has caused more trouble in our home than ever before. and with all the lying and sneaking, i really have no way of knowing if this is her first time, or if she's going to do it again. before this happened, we researched dozens of teens who were victims to suicide because of bullying due to racy texting or sending pictures. i thought for sure she'd want no part in that whole stupid thing, but she still did it! i really thought she knew better after all of our talks :(

Bmat
by Barb on Jan. 6, 2015 at 4:33 PM

(If you'll quote the person you are responding to, they'll get a notification that you've replied to their reply. :)  )

((hugs))  I don't know what else to say, sadly.  You can see if the group in the link above can offer any help.  Maybe talk with her doctor? The doctor may be able to recommend a counselor?

Quoting Aunt_Mom:

i feel like i'm making an excuse for all of your ladies' advice, but i do tell her i love her all the time. i tell her that i'm worried about her safety, and that i just want to help her grow up to be the happiest, most sucessful, independent person she can be. i explain that i wouldn't have gone though years and years of fighting, court, and thousands of dollars if i didn't care what happend to her. that i've put my own life on hold so i can make sure she's safe and happy and that i always support any decision she wants to make (like going back to live with her mom or grandma). she should know by now that i'm totally on her side, and have actually sacrificed my own relationship with my mom and sister in order to ensure that she is in a safe enviornment. there's so much more to this crazy story, but the basics are that i'm about to lose my fiancee because of her crazy behavior, nothing seems to get through to her, she makes no effort to change or get better, and now she's sexting!! all the other stuff i can mostly deal with, but this whole sexting thing has caused more trouble in our home than ever before. and with all the lying and sneaking, i really have no way of knowing if this is her first time, or if she's going to do it again. before this happened, we researched dozens of teens who were victims to suicide because of bullying due to racy texting or sending pictures. i thought for sure she'd want no part in that whole stupid thing, but she still did it! i really thought she knew better after all of our talks :(


MusherMaggie
by Silver Member on Jan. 6, 2015 at 4:36 PM
Take the phone. None of my kids had one at that age. Responsibilities and chores at home. No dating or going out without chaperones. No cheerleading until her attitude, grades and behavior improve. Time for some tough love. I would also have a mental health evaluation done. Just because teenage behavior is normal doesn't mean it's acceptable. Whether she knows it or not, she's asking for boundaries and needs them to be enforced.

Look up some material on how children's and teenagers' brains develope. It's surprising what the brain can and cannot do at a particular age.
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