Social Question

lianajames's avatar

How can my boyfriend and I convince his father to let his younger sister move in with us?

Asked by lianajames (29 points ) December 11th, 2011

Alright, well my boyfriend Joey is 25 (I’m 23) and he’s absolutely amazing. We’ve been together for almost 3 years now (We live together as well) and I love him more than anything. Well, Joey has a younger sister, Kim, who’s seventeen. She’s a nice girl, and I know her pretty well, because Joey thought it would be a good idea for me to spend some time with her because they lost their mother about two years ago, and their father is hardly around (sort of an absentee father, Joey really resents him for it; he can’t stand his father. Joey says he got so much verbal and emotional abuse from his father, and Kim has been having the same problem. Recently, he’s started drinking a lot, too, which really concerns Joey because his sister is living in that house. Kim says he comes home at 3 am all the time and he’s usually drunk and gives her a hard time). So I’ve sort of taken her under my wing and she calls me for advice, and sometimes we’ll go out to eat or go shopping, etc. Well a while ago, she told me at lunch that she’s pregnant. I tried to help her out, and I was there when she told Joey. He was extremely angry at first; he was furious with her, but he’s calmed down and he let her know that he’ll be there for her the whole time, and I know she was really relieved, since Joey is pretty much the most important person in her life. He’s an amazing brother to her.

Well, Thursday night, Kim told their father that she’s pregnant. He had a fit, and told her to get out of his house. She called Joey at 1 am and he went and picked her up, and had a very… Strongly worded discussion with his father. Kim has been staying with us since then, and she’s really worried about where she’s going to go. Yesterday, Joey and I discussed it and decided that she could live with us. We’re both fine with this, and Joey wants to do anything he can to help her. However, Joey went to talk to his father about Kim moving in with us, yesterday, and his father had a fit, telling Joey to stop putting himself in the middle and trying to make his father “look like the bad guy.” Now Joey doesn’t know what to do because his father is threatening legal action, and he’s drinking heavily. I know Joey is very worried about Kim, as am I. What should we do? Joey is extremely stressed out; what can I do to help him?

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27 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Kim is with you guys now. Her father would have to come get her physically, which he is unlikely to do.

She can start the process for becoming an emancipated adult (consult an attorney) citing her father’s drinking and emotional abuse and her pregnancy.

bongo's avatar

How long before she is 18?

Luiveton's avatar

Try calmly talking with the guy. I’d love to hear the story from his perspective as well to be honest. It’d help us understand how each of you think like and be able to solve it.

lianajames's avatar

@bongo She doesn’t turn 18 until mid-April.

bkcunningham's avatar

Is she still in high school? Are you both financially able to support her and a new baby? Is your place big enough for her and a baby? It feels like the mother is coming out in me wanting to give you advise, so forgive me if I’m overstepping my bounds with your question. It honestly sounds like you are setting up a potentially bad situation for everyone involved.

lianajames's avatar

@bkcunningham No, it’s alright. We have plenty of room for her, and we’re alright, financially. It wouldn’t be a problem. She is still in high school, but we live close to her school, and Joey would drive her and pick her up every day.

bongo's avatar

Then its not that long before shes 18 and can legally leave home anyway right? I would expect that there wouldn’t be any real point in trying to emancipate her from her dad. It would just cause more problems and probably take longer than the 4 months before shes 18 anyway.
Maybe get everyone to sit down in a room together, sober, and talk things out. Explain to Joey’s dad that at this moment in Kim’s life she needs to be independent but in a stable home at the same time, but be honest. Their father sounds pretty messed up but from what you say he does seem to care dearly about them so would feel that you are taking his daughter away, understandably.
Make sure he knows that you will all visit him regularly and he is welcome over yours (then you guys can also keep a closer eye on his drinking) and have him over at least once a week to dinner, and you guys go over there. Its not going to be easy but by the sound of it you and Joey are very strong and caring people.

bkcunningham's avatar

Is she a senior this year? If she is, that means, barring any complications in her pregnancy, she will be able to graduate before the baby is born. That is a positive. @lianajames, since the family lost their mother and wife such a short while ago, there’s a good chance everyone is still grieving and trying to find their way without her. The teeaged pregnancy, the moving in with a girlfriend, the father’s drinking. These things happening so soon after the death of a loved one can be behaviors set off by the loss. Was her death sudden? Did it seem to you that everyone has had a chance to grieve and comfort each other?

CaptainHarley's avatar

I’m with @bkcunningham on this one. I have sympathy for the father too. His entire life seems to have come apart at the seams. If all of you just try to have a bit of compassion for each other and wait until April, things will probably turn out all right. The potential downside here is that the father will commit suicide ( all the signs are there ) and further devastate the family. Everyone should make a great effort to simply be kind.

jerv's avatar

It’s tricky since there are three parties to consider here.

I don’t think that you are going to get dad out of the bottle regardless though, so while I agree with @CaptainHarley that you need to have some sympathy and compassion for the guy, I don’t think that you should have so much that it affects the well-being of the little sister.

The best thing all around at this point probably is emancipation, but keep an eye on pops. He probably isn’t a bad guy when he is sober, but that doesn’t mean that he isn’t a bad guy. And given how hard it is to deal with alcoholism… well, sometimes the best you can hope for is damage control. Keep sis safe and then worry about dad.

lianajames's avatar

@jerv I’d love to say that he’s a good person, otherwise, but Joey says that growing up, his father never drank, and he was still verbally and emotionally abusive to him and Kim.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@lianajames

I am deeply suspicious of “emotional and verbal abuse.” Too many times I have seen it carried to extremes, so that saying anything to a child about cleaning his or her room somehow translates to “verbal and emotional abuse.” In most of these cases, I call bull-s**t.”

I’m not saying that there is no such thing as abuse that is not physical, but I do tend to set the bar considerably higher than a lot of people I see ranting about it.

lianajames's avatar

@CaptainHarley I see your point, but it definitely wasn’t like that with their family. Joey tells me that he grew up hearing his father call him terrible things, telling him that he was good for nothing and worthless and irritating. Kim told us that when she admitted to him that she’s pregnant, he started calling her a slut and screaming at her. So it’s definitely not B.S. in this case, but I know exactly what you mean; some people claim that anything is verbal or emotional abuse.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

You all need to find a good Karaoke Bar and have fun together as a family. Everything will work out for the best if you just spend some quality time together, acknowledging each other, appreciating one another.

It doesn’t start with a discussion. It starts with one person sending out invites to others.

JLeslie's avatar

I too would be curious about the father’s point of view. She is almost 18 I would not bother to do anything official. It sounds like she was basically staying with you guys and then your SO went over to inform his dad his sister would not be coming back home. That is not a discussion.

His dad was pissed she got pregnant, well so was your SO by your own description, but you allowed him to calm down, but don’t seem to want to give their father a chance. No one should have been “angry” about the pregnancy anyway. Worried, dissappointed, stressed, but angry? I mean the deed is done, I am sure she knows it wasn’t a good idea.

If her life is not in danger I think she should go back home try to talk to her dad, maybe with a counselor present, and try to have better communication with him. Go in with the intention of making things better, not getting her way or winning an argument, show him some respect as her father. If he is truly an alcoholic it might be very difficult, but if he feels like he counts and vice versa they might be able to have a better relationship.

So let’s say she does live with you, is the baby going to live with you too? Are you going to help support it? If that sounds like a cool idea, wait for the reality check when that is actually happening.

Judi's avatar

Where’s the baby daddy in all this?

lianajames's avatar

@JLeslie We would absolutely help her with the baby. I know it wouldn’t be easy; I’m not delusional or thinking it’ll be easy. Trust me, I lost my stepmother to cancer at age 17 and when my father got sick, I took full custody of my 4 year old sister at age 18, and I’ve been raising her on my own until Joey and I moved in together (he helps me, now, with taking care of her). I know it wouldn’t be easy, so don’t think I’m taking this lightly or not thinking realistically…

JLeslie's avatar

@lianajames Well, that’s good that you have a grasp of how difficult it can be. I do think taking care of your sister while still livin in your father’s home is different than having a teen mom in your house though, but hopefully it would work out well.

lianajames's avatar

@JLeslie, Oh no, I wasn’t living in his home. My younger sister moved into my mother’s house with me for six months, and then I was living on my own taking care of her by myself until we moved in with Joey.

JLeslie's avatar

@lianajames Oh, I see. Still an infant is much different, and dealing with a teenager is much different.

YARNLADY's avatar

If she is a pregnant teen, she can apply for emancipation and live where ever she wants.

perspicacious's avatar

Child needs to stay with the parent.

jerv's avatar

@perspicacious Define “child”, and isn’t a parent one who ensures the well-being of a child as opposed to someone who merely has some legal and/or biological relationship?

lianajames's avatar

@perspicacious And what if this “child” is being abused by her father? He comes home at 3 or 4 am most every night, drunk. You think that just because he is her father, that she is better off in the house than with two grown adults, one of which is her own brother, who are more than willing to help her and support her and her child? Please do explain; really, I would love to hear this explanation.

jerv's avatar

@lianajames There are those that believe that all families are nice, happy things full of love, happiness, and joy; think The Brady Bunch or Leave it to Beaver. Just a guess though…

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