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christine215's avatar

How can I help this child?

Asked by christine215 (3173points) September 30th, 2013

She’s 14 and her mother is “going through” something. She’s my daughter’s best friend and my daughter witnessed her mother tell her she wished she had an abortion and never had her in her life.
The mom kicked out her husband (15 year old girl’s step dad) because he’s not working, however he had an accident at work a year ago, with three back surgeries and metal rods, is on disability and still not cleared to go back to work.

The mother told this child that she wants to “get rid” of her and ship her off to her grandparents house.
The mother had this child when she was quite young and we think that she’s resentful and is going through something of a ‘second adolescence’

The mother back-pedaled a bit this weekend and apologized to my daughter for saying what she did in front of her, but still hasn’t addressed this or apologized to her own daughter.

She’s a good kid. This young girl has been like a part of our family already, and I want to help her, but I don’t know how to approach this situation.

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27 Answers

DWW25921's avatar

Do you have a guest room? You need to figure out exactly what your limits are before you dive in. Make them clear before you offer your hand in help. I’ve not done that a few times in the past and it turned out to be a big mistake!

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’ve taken in friends of my son’s who, for whatever reason, couldn’t live at home. However, I never once met any of their parents or even talked to them. They never called. They didn’t give a crap.

Can you take her in?

christine215's avatar

we do have a spare room, it’s empty right now, we’ve only got an inflatable bed for it at the moment. she stayed with us last night and the two just stayed in my daughter’s room. but it’s only a full sized bed and I want her (if she does stay) to be comfortable and we need a bed in the spare room anyway… so this week we’re bed shopping
rules would be the same as for my own daughter, they always have been for guests including this young lady
I’m worried about the mental condition the mother is in and legalities that may be associated with this type of situation
I just want what’s best for this kid

jca's avatar

I would say if you are considering taking her in, first look at your own budget and think about whether or not you can afford it. You can also look into getting Article 6 custody (temporary custody) and then perhaps the local Social Services dept can give you money through “welfare.” If not, then child support but I doubt the mother will be willing to pay for that.

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KNOWITALL's avatar

Let her come live with you. Sounds like her mom’s a little crazy right now.

My mom said that to me once during a deep depression and even apologies don’t take it away.

christine215's avatar

@Dutchess_III Yes, we can take her in. My husband and I had a long discussion about this and we can afford to have her live with us as well as all of the other expenses that go along with having a teen-aged daughter. (with the exception of paying for her college)

keobooks's avatar

For people who have taken a child in this situation: What did you do if the kid got sick or missed school and needed a parent’s signature? Are there any legal considerations you had to be mindful of?

I have known kids when I was growing up who lived with friends. But as an adult, I think of these things.

jca's avatar

@keobooks: That’s where Article 6 custody can help.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@keobooks In my state, you can have a child for 6 months with no paperwork being done.

jca's avatar

@KNOWITALL: I don’t think it’s a matter of “having” the child. It’s a matter of if the child needs medical attention and they want “parent or guardian” to sign and give permission.

christine215's avatar

@jca that’s just one of the things that are swirling around my brain. The other is “how do I get this kid out of the house with as little back-lash as possible?”
What do I say to her mother?

creative1's avatar

If you have the space and ready for another child offer her mother to do a legal guardianship of her daughter. This would provide the little girl a stable enviroment in which to grow up in, I would if you do this as well get a counselor for the girl because she will probably need a good ear to talk to and get all this off her chest without the feeling of being judged

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, man. Will the mom get her back up? The worst parents are the same ones who say they don’t want the kid on the one hand, and “You can’t take MY kid!” on the other.

glacial's avatar

I wondered that, too, @Dutchess_III. @christine215, how did her mother handle the sleepover? Does she care or notice if her daughter goes missing for a night, or did you arrange it with her beforehand?

KNOWITALL's avatar

@jca In my case, it was a voluntary move, by the child’s father’s agreement, into my home.

The school had my name as the emergency contact, and if a problem arose, the father would be the responsible party as far as Medicaid. He got the child support and food stamps for having her, too.

The guardianship papers I had prepared by an attorney were never signed by either parent.

christine215's avatar

@creative1 Good thinking for counseling. Being made to feel disposable is a terrible thing, made worse when you are only 14. (I just realized the typo that I stated 15 at one point in my question)

@Dutchess_III That is exactly what I am afraid of!
@glacial She was okay with the sleep over, I am hoping that is a good sign. We did arrange it ahead of time with permission from her mother.

glacial's avatar

@christine215 Well, good on you for stepping up for this kid – and the same goes for others here who have had similar stories. This is the kind of stuff that gives me hope for the human race, you know?

Sunny2's avatar

Try a weekend with her mom’s permission. Then, perhaps longer, to give the mother a chance to see if she really wants to get rid of the girl. What you are offering is a blessing that could backfire if the mother’s mental state is unstable. Keep it low-keyed.

jca's avatar

I would arrange to either go to the mom’s for coffee or vice versa, and get to know her, and then have a nice, gentle, low key discussion with her about how you can help by taking the daughter for a few months to give her a break and you want nothing in return. See how she feels about it. No pressure, give her time to mull it over.

JLeslie's avatar

I wouldn’t be so fast to assume the mother is horrible. A teen girl generally hates her mom, acts up, and pushes their mother to the brink. The mom certainly does not sound like the mother of the year, sounds like she has made some bad choices, but also sounds like she is trying to not be a doormat. My dad threatened to send me to boarding school, but not because he wanted to get rid of me. More than anything in his life he wanted a close family. We can’t completely rely on a teen and their interpretation of what was said. A friend of mine had to tell a judge the other day that she will not let her daughter come visit her anymore, she desperately wants a close relationship with her, but the girl is conspiring with the father (exhusband of my friend) to get the courts to give her ex 100% custody. Now the teen can say, “my mom doesn’t even want to see me,” when it is the farthest things from the truth.

Having said all that, if the girl really needs to move out, and you are willing to take her in, and her mom agrees, then you can give it a try. I think a better possibility is if the girl and her mom could get into some counseling and try to get along better. It could be a great learning experience for both of them. Talk to the mom, listen to her side of things if she is willing to talk about it.

I just don’t think we know enough to really know what is right to do. But, I think it is very nice you want to help her.

@keobooks When my sister went to live with my aunt, my parents had to sign over guardianship, but she moved a few states away. If the kid will be staying in the same school and the mother lives nearby, I doubt that sort of paperwork would be necessary.

YARNLADY's avatar

I took in my teen age grandkids when their mother went through a similar situation. After she was in a better position, they chose to stay with me. Perhaps going to her grandparents wouldn’t be such a bad thing.

snowberry's avatar

Make sure you have a signed note from her mom stating that you have her knowledge and permission to take the girl long term (if you can get it notarized, that would be best). As mentioned before, it’s also good to have temporary guardianship in place before the girl spends more than a night. Because Mom is unstable I wonder how far you’re going to get.

Hope it works out for you!

drhat77's avatar

what does the kid want? has she articulated anything? has she asked to live with you? has she said she wants to run away? Maybe the kid would NEVER want to leave her mom.
If you talk to the kid, be open-ended, instead of leading. Don’t ask “Do you want to stay with us?”. Ask “Do you want to talk about what’s going on with your mom?”

josie's avatar

Invite her to dinner. A lot.

sujenk7422's avatar

Legal guardianship authorization is necessary for any health care, admission at school, vaccinations, and just about everything else related to a child. An adult discussion needs to occur between the girl’s mom and yourself about the future of the girl. If the mom gets nasty, let it go. If you see or hear about more verbal or physical abuse to the girl, go straight to juvenile court with a complaint, or even to the Job and Family Services – Child Protective Services and report the abuse. Offer foster care to the child. But you’re doing the right thing by becoming involved in a kid’s life! Kudos!

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