26 answers

Advice on How to Deal with an Ungrateful Relative.

Hi everyone,
I need some advice on how to deal with an ungrateful relative. Four months ago my cousins children were removed from her home because she was neglecting them due to drug use. She has a total of nine kids and I went to parenting classes and foster licensing class to get her children out of foster care I successfully finished all classes and on June 1, 2008 her five boys were placed in my care. It has been a real struggle but we are managing. These kids are so ruined by her drug use and they all have some type of developmental problem. They had absolutely no home training they didn't know how to bath themselves or anything its been really ruff. Their ages are 9, 8, 6, 5, & 3 can you imagine what I go through in a day? I have a 7 year old and 1 year old of my own. I have heard from other family members mean things she is saying about me and it angers me because my life has completely turned upside down since her children have come to live with me. I work full time and I'm also a single parent. My cousin is talking badly about me to family members that had no interest in helping get the kids from foster care and they are entertaining her conversations. I spoke to the children Social Worker about her behavoir and was thinking of just giving the children back to the system but when I sat with the kids and talked about them returning into foster care they begged me not to send them back, and asked me what did they do wrong? They have grown so much since they have been with me, they are doing really well in school and I also have them in counceling. They've been through a lot! How do I go on? I have opted to have their mom not visit my home anymore and requested that her visits take place at the Child and Family Service Center. I regret stepping up to help, but I did not want them to suffer for her behavoir and problems please give me any advice, and or words of encouragement I need it.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks soooo much for all of the support! I was literally in tears when I received all of the compliments, I know I’m doing a great job but it really feels good to hear it from so many people who understand what I do. I read every last response and all was exactly what I needed to hear. I have decided that the 3 year old is too much for me, he doesn’t speak, isn’t potty trained (have been training for months), and can’t dress himself its like I have two 1yr olds. It is not his fault but I just can’t give him what he needs, and the mess I get from his mom only complicates things because I go thru a lot particularly with caring for him I continuously stress myself. So I heard you clearly Nancy S. T.T and Pam G. I spoke to the Social Worker and asked if I bring him in could I get him on weekends, she doesn’t see that being a problem. Now that’s the plan, he really needs therapeutic care. I forgot to mention initially that all the kids are involved in sports at their school & recreation. I use to get calls from the school everyday about the older 4 boys behavior but now that’s minimal maybe once a week. At any rate it’s getting better.

I will feel everyone in on the 3 yr olds progress and let you know what happens with all my boys. Thank you Be J for the invite I am going to take you up on your offer. I live in NW Washington DC but wouldn’t mind traveling for a good church. Thank you thank you thank you my to Mamasource family I have been reading your messages over and over all day at work hope the boss doesn’t get word(smile).

Respectfully,

J.

P.S Pam G. thanks for the chore ideal I’m going to start with them on Saturday

Featured Answers

I know it must be hard to not be getting the support you deserve, but just know that you are doing the right thing! Is there anyone who can be a support system for you? Any friends or family members who are dependable and understanding? It would be nice if there was someone you could lean on. It is great and worthy work you are doing. You can make a world of difference in the lives of those children. Be proud and hang tough!

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You are doing a great thing! Don't let their ungrateful mother make you regret your decision. You stepped up when no one else did and you are to be commended. Foster care can be very hard for children, they don't always receive the best care as people's motivation for doing it isn't always right. I think you are doing a great thing and doing the right thing isn't always easy, in fact most times it is the hardest thing to do. Just know that those kids are better b/c of you and will probably one day thank you for all that you did. I would tell the other family memebers not to tell you what she is saying, it upsets you, and doesn't help the situation. if they can't respect that I wouldn't talk to them either. Good luck and God bless.

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J.,

First of all, I am praying that God grant you peace and continue to bless you and all of your children. Remember, even though they are your cousins, right now legally they are your children. Every decision you make for them, you make as their mother. You would surely do what is best to keep your biological children safe from persons who may cause them any type of mental, physical or psychological harm and you are definately doing the same for your cousins. Keep your chin up, their mother may or may not come around, but you know that you have done the best you can for those boys and they will ever B. grateful even though their mother will not. People will always find something to complain about, especially those who don't have Christ in their hearts. My mother used to tell me when I complaind that I was being teased in high school, 'when people talk about you, no matter how bad, see some positive in it that because they notice you are doing something they either failed at or don't feel confident in doing.' Of couse as a teenager this was hard to see, but as an adult I thank God when this happens because it is through Him I'm able to do what I'm doing and whatever it is I'm doing is in His plan!
I will continue to pray for you and the children, that God keeps a hedge of protection around you all and make you strong with the attacks of the enemy.
God Bless & keep praying!
B.
p.s. if you are in the Largo, Bowie, Mitchellville, Upper Marlboro area I would love to meet you and pray with you. Feel free to send me a message. I am a member of Kettering Baptist Church in Upper Marlboro if in the area visit us!

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I first wanted to say that you have a wonderful spirit and many blessing are coming to you for your actions. I do not know many people that would take in five children when they already have three of there own. Girl you are something wonderful to have a heart like you do.

Now, I want you to remember the reason that you took the kids in. You stated that you took the kids in because you did not want them to suffer as a result of the negligent mother. It was never about the mother of the kids. I believe she is talking about you because she has to find a way to lift herself up because of the imbarrassment and guilt she faces for her children not being in her care. Its like she found away to turn the attention off of her and on to you. She is not the first person to do it and will not be the last.

So back to the children, If you decide to return the children let it be strickly because of your lack of ability to function with so many children. Lets not make her a factor at all and beside what type of people would listen to someone with the likes of her(no offense) and not listen to someone with a heart of gold. In my opinion, thoses listening are just as irrelevant. So sweety base your judgement off of your abilitiy and not off of her. Be honest with yourself. Can you really take care of all those children and still be in good spirits. If so continue to do so. I personally believe they were placed in your life for a reason. Be in touch with your calling. In the long run those boys are going to love and thank you unconditionally. Just remember there will be trials an tribulations. However, no means allow yourself to suffer as a result of a family members drug addiction.

Hope that helps my prayers are with you.

1 mom found this helpful

Yes, the best way to deal with an ungrateful relative is to cut them off.
And their cohorts. A drug user is in no position to feel gratitude or anything but selfish behavior. That is the unfortunate thing for the drug user and their family.

You are far too busy to worry about anyone who is not worried about you. It sounds easier than done i am sure but I did it. You can too. You can choose who influences those children. She may be jealous that you could do it and she couldn't. but whatever the reason is, it doesn't matter.

You stepped in where she failed them. You deserve accolades, but don't expect them. The only thanks you will get is those children turning out well.

Each one should have responsibilities and chores to help with the household. They can do lots of chores that are age appropriate that will help you.

You are making a difference to those boys. I am not sure how you are doing it but wow- good things will come to you.

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I will first echo what others are saying--you are a Godsend to these kids. I am a foster parent in Virginia, so I have some advice from that perspective. First, if you are not getting support from your family for this amazing thing you have done, then get Social Services to support you. If you need a break, then have them arrange for respite care. We have had kids for weekends or a week and it gives their regular caregivers enough breathing room to continue the great work. I am sorry that your family is not supporting your courageous act of love, so find the support you need and deserve somewhere else. I recommend support groups for foster parents. It has helped my husband and I tremendously. Our first foster daughter is now our adopted daughter and the support groups helped us through the process.

Also, in dealing with your cousin, perhaps you could insist that the county have her in counseling as a requirement for her to visit with her kids. It sounds like she is in the initial stage of denial and maybe some more strict requirements for her may move her into taking responsibility for her actions and cleaning up her act.

Again, you have taken on a huge responsibility and deserve whatever support you need. Think about how your decisions will impact your family and make the decisions that will be best for you. God bless you.

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J., you are truly awesome and admirable. I totally understand your regret in taking this on in the short term...but long term, you will be glad you did, it will not be easy, nothing with rewards so great ever is. We ar strong women and can handle anything we decide to handle. Prepare yourself.

Ignore the relatives, ignore the mother. Put people around you who are positive and supportive. Don't waste your time defending yourself, they won't listen anyway. Do what you have to to preserve yourself, your family and your nephews. Let all those children know (including yours) that you will always be there as their rock to care for and love them. It will be hard at times, after all they are human too and will no doubt go through periods of resentment toward you for a whole multitude of things...ignore it and love them. Don't be afraid to REACH OUT FOR HELP from your chosen support group...whether it be moms on this blog, family who are there for you or your church. Set boundries with everyone, the children, your family and the mother, NOW.

I am here for you as well as all the other good women who have responded to your blog to listen.

God Bless you!
L.

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YOU ARE A SAINT! IT IS THAT SIMPLE. I HAVE A SPOUSE AND A NICE HOME BUT I DOUBT I COULD HANDLE WHAT YOU HAVE!!
Beyond the obvious, however, is the fact that you have saved the lives of these children but it can not come at the cost of losing yours or that of your own two children. Forget your family members---their mother and all those other "talkers"--- who it is just possible engage in the same activities that led to the children being removed from their mother's care....Get social services to provide you with babysitting help and suggestions for things those 5 boys can do together and outside of your house with good men as role models. Church, YMCA, youth clubs, club scouts. Something active like basketball or outside like camping/hiking. Five boys together of these ages is almost unimagineable chaos! It is also important that you had that serious discussion about 'giving them back or to the foster system.' They can understand this concept and need to know your level of struggle and to hear how much you love them. They will feel empowered and want to help, but they will need your directions to make their efforts worthwhile. Except for the 3 yr old, they can and will help you in real ways. Make them a schedule of adult duties they could handle (their wash and putting clothing away, bedroom upkeep, meal prep and clean-up, assisting each other with homework. make a chart; schedule rewards of even a smiley face). My boys began doing their own wash at ages 5 & 6; they were precise about it back then and loved the 'job'. They are now 17 and 18 and have never known any other procedure.They were very proud of doing it when they were younger and it was a HUGE help to me. Offer rewards of your time for a boardgame, a pizza or ice cream--something very simple and not costly at the end of the week and praise them for being so special and able to help you like "big boys". It is a long road; you are an amazing person; I hope you can all make it together.

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Dear J.,

I just wanted to comment on your post, I think what your doing is admirable. Hang in there. I think no matter what happens your doing and will do great. If your relative is saying bad things she is probably resentful that your doing such a great job and she couldn't do it herself, at the point she is low, she wants you to be low and put you in a bad light as well, hopefully you don't fall into it. Those kids need you and if for whatever reason you can't go on with them all, let them know it wasn't there fault. They are going through tough times as well, but all of you together can make it. Take care and bless you all! :)

1 mom found this helpful

I know it must be hard to not be getting the support you deserve, but just know that you are doing the right thing! Is there anyone who can be a support system for you? Any friends or family members who are dependable and understanding? It would be nice if there was someone you could lean on. It is great and worthy work you are doing. You can make a world of difference in the lives of those children. Be proud and hang tough!

1 mom found this helpful

Bravo to you. What you are doing is an AMAZING AMAZING endeavor and you should be getting hugs and thank yous right now, not complaints. Just know in your heart that you are doing the right thing and it'll turn out well in the end. Maybe not tomorrow, or next year. But years from now, these boys will realize the sacrifice you made for them and be grateful.

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J., my God you are a FANTASTIC human being!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You have SAVED the lives of those 5 children, who unfortunately did not chose to be brought into this world only to have an irresponsible and selfish person as a mom. She is obviously a sick woman and you should just ignore what she or other people say. You are doing a GREAT thing! IF this world had more people like you, it would definitely be a better place. So don't ever forget that. Hang in there... from a stranger who is truly admiring of your beautiful nature :)

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WOW! Is all I can say for staters. Now, let's get to the issues. First, I want to say KUDO's to YOU for stepping up to the plate and keeping the "family together." That is and was VERY ADMIRABLE of you and God WILL bless you for that. Hey, your already BLESSED (smile)! Okay, now let me to respond about the "ungrateful relative" of yours. Girl, keep your head up REAL high and keep on doing what you are doing. The "mama" is just HURT, DISSAPPOINTED, EMBARASSED & JEALOUS (to name a few) and NEEDS MUCH PRAYER. You know she has issues so you cannot expect to much from her..correct? Also, that might not be a bad idea, to have her visit the kids at the Child and Family Service Center. That way you will have someone else there with you for whatever reason. And whatever you do....PLEASE DO NOT let the kids go back in the system. I'm glad you asked them what they wanted to do.

I know you do not know me nor do I know where you are writing from but I just wanted to offer to you that I would not mind helping you out with your children. Whether it be to take them to a movie, a park, Chuck E. Cheese, give you a break or whatever. Gosh, my hat goes off to you because I do not know how you do it. But by God's grace I know you will continue to hang in there. I have and 8 year old myself and he keeps me busy so I can't imagine having 6 boys and 1 girl. But I DO ENCOURAGE you to BE ENCOURAGED! You and your family will be alright!

Much love to you and your family...God Bless you all,

J. G.

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What you are doing is great. The kids does not need to be around a person like that and I would tell the family members thats not taking your side to take a hike. If they don't back you on what your doing then they are wrong. I have four kids and thats a hand full I could not imagine having 7 kids to take care of. good luck....

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I salute you for stepping up and taking those children. You will almost assuredly never, never hear any gratitude or gain any respect from your cousin. Accept that - and also the fact that the other family members will probably not rally on your side as you would like them to. You are doing a wonderful thing! Hang in there. We who love children appreciate your effort and stand by you!! The children will thank you in their own way as they grow to be healthy happy adults.

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J.,

WOW! You go girl! I understand it's really rough right now, but please, please don't give up on those kids. I know it's easier said than done, but you said yourself that they've improved so much while in your care and away from their mother. As for the rest of the family, I wouldn't put any stock into what they say or feel. Small minds think alike...As the saying goes; misery loves company, and you've decided not to be part of their company and God will bless you for that. Like I said, I know it's not easy and it might not be for a while, but just think of those bright little faces and those smiles when they've accomplished something thanks to your help. As for the family members siding with the mother, I would try to ignore them as much as possible - they probably feel bad because they realize they should've stepped up and didn't...God bless you and you children for helping those kids out.

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Jen,
There are angels that are placed here for reasons unknown to us, and you my dear are the angel for those boys. You should know that what you have been chosen to do is to save the lives of those young children who did not ask to be here and were dealt a bad deck of cards. Whatever your other family members are saying, let them do just that TALK. Because obviously no one is stepping up to the plate to do what you did and that's the problem, they know they weren't capable to do what your doing so they have to do the negative thing and bad mouth you since they feel bad. Don't cause your self any harm over their immaturity. Just continue to be blessed and know that you would not be given any task that God didn't think you couldn't handle. I wish I knew of resources I could direct you to for support and encouragment but I'm sure there are programs/groups out there for moms in your situation. May God continue to watch over you and the kids and keep doing what your doing.

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Wow - good for you! As hard as this is you need to be above the gossip. What you have done is AMAZING and you should receive an award. Your kids, your cousins kids and everyone you come in contact with will never be the same - I am in awe that you have taken on five additional children, don't allow time for the negative. When family members call to tell you what your cousin is saying thank them for calling and then let them know that you don't have time for that discussion as you have 7 children to care for, and then hang up. Don't buy into the negative and good luck! See if you can get hooked up with a community center or Y for the older ones to participate in some programs and whenever possible steal some time for yourself. Good luck and don't quit!

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You are to be commended! And if no one else ever tells you, you are brave and strong. Parenting is a thankless job. And, it's one that also is full of trials and challenges that go beyond those the young people bring to the family. But, the end result is what you must keep in mind. Your heart was in the right place, and you did what no one else in your family had the guts to do. If they are improving and the children are still anchored to their biological family, that is a treasure that no money or words can ever express. You have no idea of what the future holds for those children. Yes, the present is extremely uncomfortable. It will be hard for a while to come. But, if you continue to teach each of them to carry their share so that you can continue bringing necessities into the family, you can all pull through. Teach all of your children that failure on their part will be a choice. All they have to do now is do their best and help so that you all can stay a family together. As for the biological mom, I believe you have chosen a wise course. If there is another place they can meet, fine. It holds her accountable, and still gives them access to her. If and when she recovers, they will have some connection to her. Right now, just remember she's not herself. If other families continue to spread the gossip, tell them, you know, that really makes doing this so much harder. I know she's ill right now, so we don't need to spend a whole lot of time rehashing her negative thinking. I need help, not hurtful words, right now. You see what's going on over here, so is there anything that you're willing to take on? You might choose other words, but you get the point, right? This is a family crisis, and everyone can either help, or if you're alone, take the help offered from the foster care system, but be encouraged. It has been done. It's not easy, it's not fun always, but in the end, you will understand it all. Peace and blessings to you.

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J. I think you are doing a wonderful thing by taking in your nephews. First and foremost you have to encourage yourself. Start with a daily affirmation and prayer. First thanking God for placing your nephews and the situation on your heart. And then for leading you to take the time to go through the process of adoption. One thing you have to keep in the front of your mind is that those boys need LOVE and believe it or not they are grateful that they are with you. You may not reap the benefits of it now, but later on you will. Things are never easy in the beginning, but as time goes on it gets better. As for you family think of it this way. None of them would take the boys and you did. People will always have something to say be it good or bad. The key is how are you going to deal with it. In some cases you may have to seperate yourself from your family for a while. Many of us don't want to do it, but sometimes our own family is toxic to us and our situations. The last thing you need in addition to the new additions to the family is drama. The less you keep out the better you are. If the mom wants to see her boys, set up a place to meet as opposed to your own house.
Also try to find a group whether at church, the YMCA or the local rec center where the boys can be mentored by a gentlman. They need to have a strong man in their life. I hope that you will continue in your journey young lady for God sees what you are doing and He is with you every step of the way. Continue to Love those boys, affirm them and teach them as best you can how to be a young man. They need to be affirmed that they are somebody despite the fact that their mom isn't able to take care of them.

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Your cousin is a screwup. Of course she isn't grateful. That the kids are in the family and not with her is just pointing out that she is a screwup. She is badmouthing you to try to make herself look better, at which I highly doubt she will succeed. My mother was an alcoholic and she used to badmouth my dad to try to make herself look better. I assure you that people don't need a map to figure out that a Mom who loses her kids is messed up.

However, remember that you are doing this for the children, not for her. You should not return them just because she is a lousy parent (you knew that going in). If the point comes when you can no longer handle taking care of the children, then return them. However, their chance for their best life is with you.

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If at all possible I would suggest that you keep caring for the kids. As you know, it's not their fault that they were neglected, and if you were to send them back to the system then they may start to feel that way. I suspect that your family is entertaining your cousins selfish conversations out of fear. Maybe they feel threatened by her and do not know how else to be with her but to just listen and agree with everything she says. You are such a brave woman to have taken on these children and right now they need something stable and familiar in their lives...and that's YOU! Don't be afraid to ask for help because everyone around you knows that you're doing the right thing no matter what their mother says about it--and she knows it too.

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J.: You are doing a great thing and will really have your reward in heaven. Taking in FIVE kids in addition to your own is more than most people would do! I am afraid that you will never get thanks from the kids' mother so don't even bother to look there. You are wise to keep her out of your house. Let the professionals deal with her. In the meantime, the kids clearly appreciate what you are doing and are thriving in your care. That should be your sole focus -- just tune the rest out. Maybe even tell your relatives NOT to transmit the mother's nasty comments to you. If your relatives really want to help, they should take the kids for a day or for a treat or help with clothing and food bills. But whether or not anybody ever does pitch in, rest assured that you are doing a wonderful, wonderful, life-giving and changing deed. God bless you and keep you and good luck.

S.

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You have done a great thing here, why would you want to send the kids back...because their mother is being immature? My mother took my niece (my brothers daughter) from her mother when she was 3 years old (same reasons as why you have your nephews) and my niece is now 12 (my mother still has her) My nieces mother acts like she has never done anything wrong and when she calls to speak with my niece she plays all nice and tells her she will come see her and all the great things parents are supposed to do and say with their kidss...needless to say, she never comes through. These people are drug addicts, they are not in the frame of mind to care for their own bodies, children, etc. let alone care about the great thing you have done.
You have to do this because you want to, because you care about the kids. There are going to be some tough times, but if you are willing and able I believe you will get through them just fine. Remember these children are going to grow up to be adults and when they do, they will have you to thank for showing them how to love, care, respect, etc. themselves, others, and society.
I know it is tough, if you want to talk more about what my niece has gone through in the care of my mother, please feel free to e-mail me; it is not all positive, but I believe in the end she is going to be a great adult.

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Hi J.,

You are an angel to those kids! Thank God you stepped in to care for them. It sounds like you have given them a chance at a happier life -- and it sounds like they appreciate your hard work and sacrifice because they know how much better their life is with you than in the system. How wonderful is that! As for their mom, I suspect she must be feeling very insecure and very jealous that you are managing what she could not and maybe that you are now enjoying their love and attention. She is only thinking of herself - which is what got her into this predicament in the first place! Just ignore her sour grapes (even though it hurts). I don't imagine you did all this just for a word of thanks from her, so resign yourself to the fact that you can't change her, but that you can make an impact on her kids. Anyone else in you family who has eyes will see the generous thing you have done and not give her words any weight. Don't let her negativity stop you from saving those 5 precious boys! Follow your heart that led you to make room in your life for her kids. You can teach her children many things she cannot - like how to be grateful. Every night our family takes turns saying what we are grateful for - it helps us all keep perspective. You will have those boys' gratitude for years to come.

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Hello J.. It made my heart so happy to hear that you have taken on some wonderful kids and they want to be with you. Please know that even though the mother isn't giving you a big pat on the back YOU are making a huge difference in the kids life. And really that is all that matters. They will in time thank you for taking care of them. There is something to be said about the gift of love. What you are giving those kids will only come back to you twice as strong. You really don't need to hear from the mother a thank you - look at what you have gotten from the kids. God will and is always with you and something in your heart told you to help them. He always give you what you need. It will be you that they will thank and you that they will call home. Please don't give up on them you are all they have and you are stable and their home. I think you are doing a wonderful job and if you ever need someone to chat with please feel free to send me an email. Know that what you are doing is wonderful.

Please don't give up on the kids - they truley need you right now.

S.

1 mom found this helpful

Please don't have regrets for helping these poor boys, you are a caring person to take them in. They need family and a positive role model. As for your cousin, I wouldn't worry about what she says, your family knows the truth and she does too. Check with the social worker about support groups for people in your situation. It might be helpful to talk to others who have been there. God luck and best wishes.

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