We're getting a teenager...yikes!

  1. Okay, ya'll this is the story. As of this morning, my 14 year-old niece will be coming to stay with my family for an indefinite period of time. Our household currently consists of me, my DH, & our 5 year-old daughter. She's coming to us from an abusive situation. We know about getting counselling for her, etc. However, what does one DO with a teenager? I see my other niece & nephews frequently, but have never needed to step into the role of caretaker. She & my daughter will be sharing a room (heaven help both of them!). I'm looking into insurance issues, schools, etc., but am feeling a bit like a deer in the headlights!

    Your thoughts & prayers will be appreciated! Thanks!

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    About eltrip

    Joined: Aug '01; Posts: 2,346; Likes: 75
    RN, BSN...I help others for a living
    Specialty: 17 year(s) of experience in Clinical Risk Management


  3. by   l.rae
    Joy, l highly reccomend some books on the subject by Dr. James Dobson....two that come to mind are....How to Love Your Teenager and Love Must Be Tough....you definatly need preparation for this..especially since she is comming from an abusive situation....Most likely you will have a rocky path in front of you....l have raised 2 kids...they are pretty good kids.. and it still raises the hair on the back of my neck to think of some of the difficult times....I'm not being negative, just honest....some people look at infants and see a cute baby...l see a future teenager..LOL.....anyway..good luck, I'll say a prayer for you.............LR
  4. by   Brownms46
    Your will need power of attorney for health care, and the school. Powers of attorney can be very specific...especially since this is a family matter, and if there are no agencies involved. Also you can have guardianship papers done by going through Surrogate court, or whatever is the law where you are concernding this. Guardianship can also be specific as to how long. Teenagers usually like to be involved in activites, and depends on what your pocket book can handle. Teenagers become bored easily...don't give them the chance to find something to do on their own! Keep them busy....as it tend to keep them out of trouble. I know this can be diffucult as it is now summer, and most programs are going to be filled...but the Y is always a good place to start. I have had a niece come stay with me also d/t abusive situation...so if I can help...just pm me....

    Don't forget to get shot, medical, and dental records. Check out a caring PCP, as this will be important is helping you get assistance for her also... Good Luck, and God Bless you and your DH for having open, caring hearts...

    P. S. There are many programs sometimes offered by communities colleges for kids too...and relatively inexpensive..
    Last edit by Brownms46 on Jun 13, '02
  5. by   Brownms46
    Just thought of something else when I re-read your post. Teenagers like privacy...so you may want to make some sort of partition in the room...and set bountries from day one with your daughter...so there will be less confict. Or maybe an area in the house, attic or basement...where the teen can be alone when need be. They can be moody, as I'm sure you remember...so they need some space at times..Most love to slam doors or run off in a huff....

    Take care..
    Last edit by Brownms46 on Jun 13, '02
  6. by   eltrip
    Originally posted by Brownms46
    Just thought of something else when I re-read your post. Teenagers like privacy...so you may want to make some sort of partition in the room...and set bountries from day one with your daughter...so there will be less confict. Or maybe an area in the house, attic or basement...where the teen can be alone when need be. They can be moody, as I'm sure you remember...so they need some space at times..Most love to slam doors or run off in a huff....

    Take care..
    Thanks! I've been thinking on that one today...how to give them both space & provide my niece with privacy...arranging furniture in a 12 x 12 room...time to donate some toys!

    My DH & I are planning a 3-way call tonight with my sister (niece's mom) & my brother & his wife (they're taking in our nephews) to try to set some ground rules with my sister & discuss the issues of medical care, etc. We'll see what happens.

  7. by   Brownms46
    You're welcome..

    I pray you will all have an open, and effective communication... God Bless..
  8. by   live4today
    Dear Joy

    Joy, o joy, o joy! Prayers? You'll need lots of 'em! My heart is already lifting you in prayer. What a remarkable mission you have ahead of you, especially because she is coming from an abusive situation. Not only is she dealing with the traumas of abuse, she is FOURTEEN YEARS OLD! Yikes is right! The hormones - the hormones - the hormones!!! That doth give me memories of me own three daughters when they were teenagers that age. Junior high age is a very tough time in a person's life. I'm fifty, and I still remember my junior high days as if they occurred this morning. NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET IS RIGHT!

    You and your husband will need lots of tender loving care to see this child through her tough times. It's good that she'll be in counseling. You and your husband should be involved as much as possible in that situation since she will be a big part of your family now. My heart goes out to you, and if I can offer any worlds of encouragement, or motherly advice, or be a mentor to you during this time, please don't hesitate to send me a "private message" here.

    My husband and I had his troubled teenaged son with us for a year, and that was the roughest year I'd ever lived through in a long while since my kids are grown. After he returned to his mother, I thanked God for... well, you can only imagine. Peace - eternal peace reigned in our home again, but it certainly hasn't stopped us from being VERY concerned about his welfare. He's a very troubled child indeed and will turn eighteen next year.

    Many many ((((WARM FUZZIES)))) are being sent your way. I'm sure you can count on our support here, and that is a good thing because I have a feeling you will NEED it! What brave souls you and your husband are! :kiss BTW: Does the 14 yr. old have to share your daughter's bedroom, or is there a way you can separate them? That's quite an age difference for sharing bedrooms. AND...remember to not shun the five year old in the midst of the fourteen year old's problems, counseling, etc. or she'll start to give you attitude, too. She may need lots of attention and reassurance from you and her daddy initially to feel secure with where she stands in the family. Let her know she still is special and comes first with you and hubby. Best of everything to you!
    Last edit by live4today on Jun 13, '02
  9. by   Jenny P
    We had a friend of my dtr's live with us for 7-8 months because of psych problems when they were 17. We had no legal rights but she still considers me her "other" Mom.

    My advice is respect and consistency-- on both sides! You and your husband will have to be totally consistent with her on love, acceptance, discipline, rules, chores, etc. And respect for her, each other, and your daughter will be necessary to help her understand that you care and she is safe. But also make sure that she knows you expect her to respect you also--your property and privacy and person.

    Good luck. It isn't easy but you can make a difference for her.
  10. by   Mkue
    I have 3 male teenagers and rules are very important. I also think it's important for teenagers to socialize with their peers.

    Dr. James Dobson is wonderful as a previous poster mentioned, he gives very good advice and direction.

    Good Luck, I know you will be great !

  11. by   nightingale
    Activities she is interested in come to mind. If teens are not doing something positive they will find something else to keep them entertained. There will be a "honeymoon" period for you both; take advantage of that time to set ground rules and make plans together of expectations, goals, and responsiblities.

    We are here for ya!

  12. by   MollyJ
    Dealing with a traumatized child that is a teenager is no small challenge. The 2 books i would recommend are these:

    Positive Discipline for Teens: Empowering your Teens and Yourself through Kind and Firm Parenting by Jane Nelsen and Lynn Lott

    ANYTHING by Barbara Coloroso

    Coloroso is likely found in your community library and she did most of her work with troubled teens, so she is great. She's a fun read and she is pretty practical.

    Nelsen and Lott's approach is more systemic and research based, I believe.

    If you can, in your community, get a training called "parenting for the Drug Free Years" (a reall turn off of a title) consider attending it. A central idea from this training is family meetings, which I would do weekly. This allows open discussion of problems and allows you to shape the rules that are going to govern her together however you get the last say on rules.

    When our twenty something came to stay with us due to a major depression and addiction problems, we used lots of contracts to express our expectations and what we would do.

    If her abusive past has involved sexual abuse, your husband needs to be especially circumspect in his dealings with her. Unfortunate that your 5 year old has to share a space with her just because this age mix isn't ideal to begin with and your daughter could end up seeing and hearing things you might not wish for her at that age.

    Don't forget to make sure your teen has duties (balanced by recreation) around the house, so that she doesn't grow to think she is a house guest. Coloroso talks specifically about how chores help kids know they are really important to the family and it gives them practice at owning, organizing and completing tasks.

    Best of luck and keep us posted.
  13. by   bagladyrn
    Over the years I took in and raised 4 teenage boys as well as my own son - believe me, there will be days when you wonder what ever possessed you! At the same time, the rewards are great, when you see them grow and mature - 4 of my 5 boys are now self supporting adults and one is helping keep the one with psych problems functioning in the community (and no, none are related). Keep a sense of humor - teens will do the d**ndest things, and remember the styles you thought were great - strange hair color/cuts will grow out and most piercings will grow shut. Concrete, consistent rules help (but expect the limits to be tested to the max - that's normal, healthy response in new situations) Most of all - love the teen and let them know it - I often told them - "Of course I love you - Why else would I be crazy enough to be doing this?"
  14. by   betts