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  #1  
Old May 5, '12, 12:23 pm
Viki63 Viki63 is offline
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Default How to treat a teen guest

Just looking for some thoughts:
I have a 15 year old girl at home (doing very well in school), & an 18 year old son who lives at his friend's house, couldn't follow our rules so he left.
Meanwhile, son's girlfriend who is now 17 was thrown out of her house by her mother, to protect her from an abusive older (adult) brother who rules the roost. We've allowed her to stay with us for the last several weeks, and helped her get into school and counseling.
She resents us because she feels like she "has" to stay with us, doesn't speak unless spoken to, spends every weekend with her mother (when brother is away) & only spends weeknights with us as a place to stay for safety. Her mother may have some developmental delay issues, not quite sure why she can't step up and take care of her child but this girl has really fallen through the cracks, had been out of school for several years & allowed to run wild.
She also spends some nights with girlfriends, but won't tell us their names or addresses, says it's ok with her mother. Our house rule is we have to know where & with who she spends the night, or I call the police. I spoke to her mother the last time & she said not to call the police, she believed she was with a girlfriend..But I told the girl that the next time she's AWOL I will report her as a runaway.
I am concerned for her safety if I ask her to leave, but worried for the example for my daughter if she stays. She is working with a group advocating for homeless kids, who plan to help her get back with her family in a few months, but I'm not allowed to talk with her counselor due to the HIPPA laws. (The girl won't give her permission.)
Some of my friends say push her out, but she says her mother won't allow her to come home since the brother was abusive, & she has nowhere else to go but sleep in the parks.
My husband is very generous and willing to go with whatever I decide.The girl is really not a problem as she never speaks, just sits at the computer on Facebook for hours. Though it is uncomfortable to have this silent presence in the house who looks like she's angry, but she is rarely here.
(This situation reminds me of the movie Precious, if you've seen it you know the teenager was very rude & dysfunctional, because she was treated like dirt so she knew no better. I know this girl won't change overnight, but am hoping that some of our example of courtesy will stick with her, and at least we've gotten her into school & some counseling.)
I am thinking of telling her that unless she allows me to talk with her counselor/advocate, she will have to move out. I haven't yet because possibly this is one area where she feels like she has some control.
I want to be Christ-like for this girl, but it's hard to set a good example when I rarely speak with her, and it's usually to try to set limits. (This is the same "Buddhist teen" I posted about earlier)
I'd appreciate an objective eye on the situation.
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  #2  
Old May 5, '12, 4:13 pm
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constantconvert constantconvert is offline
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Default Re: How to treat a teen guest

I wouldn't worry too much about where she is, although I would make her call to check in, and I would ask to speak to her friend's mom (which you may not be able to do if she's lying to you and with a boy or something, but I would try). My first priority would be to make sure that she is physically safe, and other than that I wouldn't try to make her tow the line too much (as you say she's not getting into trouble).

I would really try to build a relationship with her as much as you can. The girl has obviously had a very rough life so far, and I think you should do whatever is in your power to try to lighten her load. Do you know anything about her? Other than facebook, does she have hobbies or interests? Does she like movies, music, knitting, video games? Find out and do it with her. I would try to make her interests an opening to a deeper relationship. Even if the areas of interest aren't to your taste, make a sacrifice and spend time with her. What's her favorite food? Make her favorite dinner once in a while. I would do my best to be a friend to her. You may not get very far, but you will have tried to show the love of Jesus to her.
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  #3  
Old May 5, '12, 4:17 pm
Catholic1954 Catholic1954 is online now
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Default Re: How to treat a teen guest

This girl is not your guest. Your house, your rules. It sounds like she is in need of (and probably wants, in spite of her attitude) an adult in her life who is willing to set boundaries and sees to it that she respects them. I think if she was really so unhappy in your house, she would have been long gone by now and into the foster care system. There may be a good reason that she does not want you to speak with her counselor; I'm sure there are many things in her life that she is embarrased about and ashamed of and is not ready to reaveal them to anyone else. If she is well behaved and your daughter continues to do well, I would let her stay on with the clear understanding that you are in charge of the household and she MUST comply (like everyone else) with the rules. She will be 18 soon enough and on her own anyway.
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  #4  
Old May 5, '12, 4:26 pm
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anp1215 anp1215 is offline
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Default Re: How to treat a teen guest

I just wanted to point out that it's not really your house or sleeping on the streets. This girl is a minor, and if she truly had nowhere to go, she could be placed in foster care. I'm not saying this is the preferable option (it's probably not) but you should know that she doesn't have to end up sleeping on the streets if she has to leave your house for some reason.
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  #5  
Old May 5, '12, 6:25 pm
heart4home heart4home is offline
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Default Re: How to treat a teen guest

I certainly think you are being very charitable towards this girl, but I also wonder if you are sending some mixed messages to your 15 year old daughter. I mean on one hand you are showing her that helping others is a Christian thing to do, yet at the same time your own son has moved out (been told to leave ??) because of not being willing to follow your rules. This girl obviously isn't following the rules, but she gets to stay? I think at this point. I would have to set down some clear rules and if she's not willing to follow them, then perhaps she can go stay with one of the girlfriends that she often spends the night with. I would worry that if you continue to let her live as she pleases in a year or so your daughter is going to want the same thing

Can you speak to the mother about this? Would she be entitled to the information from the counsellor that you are not entitled to? Can the counsellor at least give you some guidance as to what you should do, even without telling anything confidential?

Do you believe the mother would really end up allowing her minor daughter to live on the street while her adult abusive son gets to stay at home? Why doesn't she just call the police on her son? I mean she says its for her daughters safety, but how safe would it be for her to be living on the street? Have you tried calling Catholic Social Services? I wonder if they could give you some guidance. Very sad situation. God bless you for trying to do the right thing.
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  #6  
Old May 5, '12, 7:04 pm
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SurlyMermaid SurlyMermaid is offline
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Default Re: How to treat a teen guest

I was a very surly, rude, raised-in-a-barn type myself. At 17 my 18 year-old boyfriend's parents took me in after my mother beat the hell out of me. (Boyfriend lived in the dorm at college at the time.) I didn't talk much. I knew the family saw me as a heathen miscreant not good enough for their son.

Even though I was selfish and defensive, and did nothing to help out, I learned SO MUCH just from being around those two wonderful Christians. I didn't realize it at the time. It was hard to trust and I sure didn't want to open my heart to them, especially after both of my dads leaving and my mother throwing me away like an old beer can. (She made me take all of the photos of myself when I left, even my baby book.) I accepted some offers to attend church with the couple and heckled the pastor.

Let me say, thank you, Viki. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for what you're doing; it's more than you know. Someday this gal will realize it.

I don't have advice, just some love and hugs. God bless you and your family.
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  #7  
Old May 5, '12, 7:17 pm
Non sum dignus Non sum dignus is offline
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Default Re: How to treat a teen guest

As a legal point, her mother isn't free to simply refuse to take her minor child into her home. You may choose to take on the burden (and possible liability) that goes with housing someone else's child, but her mother is obligated to make arrangements legal. Having a kid in your house over which you have no legal authority is always kinda dicey. It gets more risky since she's female. If she's not completely stable, she could make any sort of accusation, putting your husband on defense and causing all sorts of trouble. Be cautious.
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  #8  
Old May 5, '12, 11:14 pm
Viki63 Viki63 is offline
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Default Re: How to treat a teen guest

Thank you for all of your replies. It is a complicated situation.
The mother doesn't really speak English. She is allowed to speak to the counselor but I am not. The mother will speak to me, we are on okay terms, but we don't communicate at all well due to the language barrier.
I realize that legally she can't kick her child out, but have not wanted to involve the foster care system, partly because I know the girl would just run from any foster home.
Appreciate your comments, SurlyMermaid, and hope we are making a difference, but am not sure because she barely communicates with us, we don't eat meals together, she refuses to attend church.
She will not be on her own at 18, she will still be attending school. She may need a sheltered workshop eventually to earn a living.
heart4home, you are right, this makes no sense. But seems like this is the best idea her mother could come up with, since the brother earns the living & she is dependent on him.
I think my plan is to inform her that she can stay another 6 weeks, until the end of school, then return to her mother. Hopefully the advocate can help her work it out with her family. I can't allow her to use our home as a "base of operations" all summer, in and out as she pleases.
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  #9  
Old May 6, '12, 2:06 pm
TheRealJuliane TheRealJuliane is offline
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Default Re: How to treat a teen guest

Quote:
Originally Posted by Viki63 View Post
Thank you for all of your replies. It is a complicated situation.
The mother doesn't really speak English. She is allowed to speak to the counselor but I am not. The mother will speak to me, we are on okay terms, but we don't communicate at all well due to the language barrier.
I realize that legally she can't kick her child out, but have not wanted to involve the foster care system, partly because I know the girl would just run from any foster home.
Appreciate your comments, SurlyMermaid, and hope we are making a difference, but am not sure because she barely communicates with us, we don't eat meals together, she refuses to attend church.
She will not be on her own at 18, she will still be attending school. She may need a sheltered workshop eventually to earn a living.
heart4home, you are right, this makes no sense. But seems like this is the best idea her mother could come up with, since the brother earns the living & she is dependent on him.
I think my plan is to inform her that she can stay another 6 weeks, until the end of school, then return to her mother. Hopefully the advocate can help her work it out with her family. I can't allow her to use our home as a "base of operations" all summer, in and out as she pleases.
Gosh, it really sounds as if Social Services needs to be in on this entire situation. You aren't Social Services and it sounds as if that family needs way more help than you can provide. Sometimes getting an agency involved will propel the parties to take better care of themselves or find other arrangements. This girl probably needs psychological help, it sounds like she's the equivalent of an abused dog, afraid, not trusting, hardly caring and being scared to trust. Call local government agencies.
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  #10  
Old May 6, '12, 6:02 pm
Viki63 Viki63 is offline
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Default Re: How to treat a teen guest

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRealJuliane View Post
Gosh, it really sounds as if Social Services needs to be in on this entire situation. You aren't Social Services and it sounds as if that family needs way more help than you can provide. Sometimes getting an agency involved will propel the parties to take better care of themselves or find other arrangements. This girl probably needs psychological help, it sounds like she's the equivalent of an abused dog, afraid, not trusting, hardly caring and being scared to trust. Call local government agencies.
Good points. I realized I'm not social services early on . . . I did get her into Catholic Community Services counseling. Called CPS once before all this started, but there was no response.
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  #11  
Old May 6, '12, 6:07 pm
TheRealJuliane TheRealJuliane is offline
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Default Re: How to treat a teen guest

Quote:
Originally Posted by Viki63 View Post
Good points. I realized I'm not social services early on . . . I did get her into Catholic Community Services counseling. Called CPS once before all this started, but there was no response.
Well, it might be that they are so overwhelmed with needs that they cannot respond. I know the social services agencies are really overburdened these days. The family needs more, though. Not just the girl, but the whole family. I would follow up with CPS.
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Old May 7, '12, 6:05 am
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SurlyMermaid SurlyMermaid is offline
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Default Re: How to treat a teen guest

CPS was called on us all the time. They never did anything. My mother also sweet-talked them, etc. If you're a manipulative con artist, it's easy to do.

Juliane's likening of her to "an abused dog" sounds accurate to me. I know that's exactly how I felt.
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  #13  
Old May 7, '12, 11:26 am
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Irishmom2 Irishmom2 is offline
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Default Re: How to treat a teen guest

Quote:
Originally Posted by Viki63 View Post
Just looking for some thoughts:
I have a 15 year old girl at home (doing very well in school), & an 18 year old son who lives at his friend's house, couldn't follow our rules so he left.
Meanwhile, son's girlfriend who is now 17 was thrown out of her house by her mother, to protect her from an abusive older (adult) brother who rules the roost.
.
So, now you have his girlfriend living with you? That is what I find very odd about the whole situation.

I agree with whoever said that her mom can't just throw out a minor, but she was able to because your son (who wouldn't follow your rules) now brought you his girlfriend--who won't follow your rules.

I also agree that living in the park is not her only option and if you allow her to walk all over you for the next six weeks, what have you succeeded in teaching her, at least about you? That she can use people without showing them any respect. She will soon be of legal age for her mom to throw her out with no consequences. Then what? She needs to be told that people that provide for her are to be treated with respect. Especially since you are doing this out of the goodness of your heart, and not because you have to.

You are very kind and charitable, but I fear this is not going to end in six weeks.
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  #14  
Old May 8, '12, 12:05 am
Viki63 Viki63 is offline
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Default Re: How to treat a teen guest

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Originally Posted by Irishmom2 View Post
So, now you have his girlfriend living with you? That is what I find very odd about the whole situation.

I agree with whoever said that her mom can't just throw out a minor, but she was able to because your son (who wouldn't follow your rules) now brought you his girlfriend--who won't follow your rules.

I also agree that living in the park is not her only option and if you allow her to walk all over you for the next six weeks, what have you succeeded in teaching her, at least about you? That she can use people without showing them any respect. She will soon be of legal age for her mom to throw her out with no consequences. Then what? She needs to be told that people that provide for her are to be treated with respect. Especially since you are doing this out of the goodness of your heart, and not because you have to.

You are very kind and charitable, but I fear this is not going to end in six weeks.
It will end in 6 weeks because I will provide her with boxes to pack her things in, and help her if necessary, and transport her and her property to her mom's house, unless the counselor has made another plan.
She is not overtly rude, just mostly uncommunicative. If anyone is using me, I think it is the mother, but that seems to be out of ignorance.
Letting her walk all over me . .. I see your point. But really, all we are doing is allowing her to stay in a guest room, and sharing food with her. Her mother has given her money for essentials.
I do appreciate your comments. Just am not sure how to put them into action. Any limit-setting I do is interpreted as meanness. She has said things like, "I know you all hate me." So I am glad she is in counseling; I believe she needs a lot of help.
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Old May 8, '12, 4:55 am
heart4home heart4home is offline
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Default Re: How to treat a teen guest

Quote:
Originally Posted by Viki63 View Post
Thank you for all of your replies. It is a complicated situation.
The mother doesn't really speak English. She is allowed to speak to the counselor but I am not. The mother will speak to me, we are on okay terms, but we don't communicate at all well due to the language barrier.
I realize that legally she can't kick her child out, but have not wanted to involve the foster care system, partly because I know the girl would just run from any foster home.
Appreciate your comments, SurlyMermaid, and hope we are making a difference, but am not sure because she barely communicates with us, we don't eat meals together, she refuses to attend church.
She will not be on her own at 18, she will still be attending school. She may need a sheltered workshop eventually to earn a living.
heart4home, you are right, this makes no sense. But seems like this is the best idea her mother could come up with, since the brother earns the living & she is dependent on him.
I think my plan is to inform her that she can stay another 6 weeks, until the end of school, then return to her mother. Hopefully the advocate can help her work it out with her family. I can't allow her to use our home as a "base of operations" all summer, in and out as she pleases.
Actually that little bit of information, really clarifies things a bit more. What a sad situation for the whole family. I'll say a prayer for all of you. I do agree with the previous poster that cautioned you because with troubled teens, in the day and age that we sadly live in, you do take a gamble by keeping her in your home and put yourself at risk for legal activity if anything should go wrong.
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