Guardianship / Respect Issues Kinda Long but I NEED ADVISE!!!

Updated on August 11, 2010
K.S. asks from Aurora, IL
19 answers

OKay Ladies, this may be a little long. But I need to vent and receive any kind of advice any of you moms can give me. I am 28 yrs. old, married with three children 7 and under. A year ago we took in our now 15yr old nephew. He was in a bad area and school district so we let him come live with us. Of course after careful consideration about it with his mother. He even save $300 from his SS checks to make it happen. That spoke for itself. The conditions were that he would help with babysitting and doing dishes everyday. Also, that his $100/mo. SS checks would no longer be for him to just blow on whatever. They would go towards school programs / sports & household, to possibly soften the financial blow of having a teenager to take care of. I seriously doubt that he appreciates the opportunity he was given and also what we've sacrificed as a family to add him as a new member to it. I try to keep in mind that he's definitely probably a typical teenage boy. However, I believe that in his case he should definitely take things more seriously and be more respectful in consideration for others. No thanks to my husband, the $100/mo. is sitting in my nephews bank account. Its up to $600 and I know he has some kind of cash. For a few months the money was solely in my control. It was spent on odds and ends, mostly groceries and anything he needed. Until my nephew complained so much that it was his money and he should do what he pleases. My husband definitely defended my nephew. I finally decided that he were to have his own bank account and that he was not to ask us for $ for anything because he had it himself. That didn't stick either because my husband keeps paying for my nephews stuff. So now my nephew wants to attend football. AWESOME! I'm happy about that : ) However, I told him he would have to pay for it because he has the money for it. He decides thats not fair. That he wants to save his money for a car when he gets his license. I told him if thats seriously what he wants to do that I will open him up a Cover-dell account that he can contribute 1/2 the SS check to a month so at least his money will grow some before he gets it. I asked him if he though it was fair that our family puts $ out for him all the time and we do not stick with the original plan of the SS check being spent accordingly. He said yes since he babysits a few hrs a week and does the dishes. I felt that was selfish. Since he's moved in we have bought him a new laptop/bed / pillow top mattress/pay for his phone bill when he is supposed to, He's been on so many vacations already. I just told him that if he doesn't like living here and our rules than he can go back to his moms. I don't want to do that but I don't know how else to express how serious this is.

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

Thank you for all your responses. I do believe I pushed some buttons on this one. And I read my message over again and realized how arrogant I sounded. I DO NOT WANT HIM TO GO BACK TO THE HORDING OF A HOUSE HE CAME FROM. And its like pulling teeth to just get the $100/mo from his mother. The Laptop/bed/etc. is NOT something I expect him to PAYBACK. The laptop was all my husband with out discussing it with me. And I thought he spent too much. But he's another story. And I do not discuss grown personall problems with any of my four kids. I just felt that he should have more appreciation for what we do for him. He barely had anything when he came to live with us. I would deffanitely expect my children to pay for their own phone bills. (at a certain age) I had to. It taught me the responsibilities of paying bills. Just to let everyone know, He is my fourth child. When anyone asks me how many kids I have my answer is four. I say I love you to him and he says it back. He is my son. I would DIE for him no different from my own. I am just so confused on the teenager responsibilities. I tried for two years prior to have him stay with us. I am so proud of him for who he is today. And we were in a bad spot when he came to live with us. But it was a better situation than he was in and we wanted him to be happy and have a chance at a good life. And now following or financial plan to make it better. Unfortunately, my husband will do whatever he wants with "HIS" $$. So im trying to take a roll in letting my nephew know how serious $$ is. This is why I am reaching out to all of you mothers who have teenage kids or have taken over guardian ship. Thank you ladies for all of your advice. LOVE YOU ALL! Im just lost and need guidance. So dont ever think im hateful to him. And he knows he'sl part of the family.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

You are a financial adviser so I would think you have some things you can teach this boy.
What I don't understand is why this boys mother is not contributing financially to the support of her son? Yes--he's been with you--looks like for 3 years now--and what? That's the end of her obligation? Does she seriously think that $100/mo is even going to come close to offsetting the cost of a teenage boy? Just because he's not under her roof that her financial responsibility has ended?
Personally I think the $100/mo should be saved for college.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Redding on

I know it can't be easy having your nephew on top of having your own children. I applaud you for helping him out.
That said, your nephew is 15 years old. He gets $100 a month. You think that money should go to household expenses or he should never ask you for anything. He babysits and does dishes in exchange for him living there and you getting the money to spend on what he needs.
I get that part. Sounds simple.
But, I'm not so sure your husband is in the wrong by putting that money into an account for him. He's been there a year, he's got $800 saved up, it doesn't sound like he's been able to blow all of his money.
If nothing else, that's a sure sign he's not living with someone who can't make it without his $100 per month.
If it's being put away for him to get a car or whatever when he turns 18 so he can go out on his own, that's not such a bad plan.
At 15, a child shouldn't have to feel like he has to pay for where he lives, just my opinion. He can get a job and get emancipated and take his $800 and fend for himself.
I've literally known kids with such horrible home lives that they've done that.

My own daughter never got child support from her dad unless they caught up with him and took it out of his taxes or got a wage assignment. Then he would quit working. I always put that money away for her. I didn't make her feel guilty for eating or needing shoes if we didn't get it and I didn't take all of it when I did get it. I put it away for things she needed. But it was never like, "I'm using YOUR money to pay for this" or "You have to pay me back out of YOUR money."
My friend got SS death benefits for her kids when their dad died.
She didn't ever say, "You will give me this money to pay for groceries or a bed". She basically pretended they didn't have any money unless there was an emergency. She put that money away for them to get into college and help them when they were older. Her new husband had no problem with that and they had two other kids.
You're obviously not in it for the money because we all know $100 doesn't even go very far, but your nephew is part of the family or he's a tenant who has to pay his way at 15. If you need the money to make ends meet, it's going to have to be explained like child support. The money goes to the household.

It's a tough situation, and I hope you get some good responses.
I just hope you don't punish your nephew when he's already had a hard time. As a kid, I might feel like you were telling me that if you couldn't have the SS money, then I might as well go home back to where it wasn't good in the first place.

Would you really want a kid thinking how his life goes or where he lives is all based on $100 per month?
It's not even a thousand dollars a month. How should he feel about that?
Talk to your husband. If the money is a deal breaker, then work it out with the adults and then give the kid the news. But don't threaten him with it.
What's he supposed to do?

I don't mean to sound harsh or offensive but this is a critical time for a teenager and if everything is about how much money he's worth, he could be tempted to show everybody in not very healthy ways.

I hope you get some good responses.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Okay, I understand you all need financial assistance for taking him in. I understand teaching a teenager to be financially responsible. However, all the stuff you are complaining about is his mother's responsibility. Not his. She's getting off scott free. What a deal. Take my kid and his little social security check and I'm off the hook for feeding him, housing him, paying for sports etc. What a deal. I have a 16 year old I can send over and I'll gladly pay you 100 month to keep him. LOL. You need to be irritated with the mother, not the teenage boy. And I think he's right he does the dishes for the whole family? Everyday? And babysits occassionally? That's awesome. He didn't ask you to buy him a lap top and mattress - you chose to do that. You can't hold that over his head. I'd probably ask him to pay part of his phone bill if he goes over the minutes etc. But you are really barking up the wrong tree - you need to go back to his momma and tell her she needs to pay toward the support of her minor child. If you are needing extra groceries and food I would suggest Angel Food Ministries. It's awesome and REALLY HELPS with the monthly food budget.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

It doesn't sound like you and your husband are in agreement on this topic. Your husband has the prerogative to cover his expenses like he is one of the other children; you have the prerogative that some of his disability income should be earmarked for his living expenses. Until you and your husband are in agreement about the terms of his living expenses, then I don't think you should address the situation with your nephew.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Colorado Springs on

You have brought him into your home. Do you consider him to be like a family member? Would you put these same requirements on your own children? I think that if he is helping with the household duties (dishes, watching your children), like any other family member would, then you should treat him like a family member. I could see that if I were in his shoes, I would feel like a second class citizen in your home. Are you truly financially strapped where you cannot afford to raise him like a son? If not, then treat him like you would your own child. If you cannot afford things like football or whatever, let him know that it isn't in the budget. That's real life. I think it is SUPER that he is saving money. What a wonderful, responsible thing!! We love it that our children save for their futures! We want them to be able to purchase whatever they need when the time comes to set up a household, without using credit to do it. We want them to be able to pay cash. What a gift to them! So, they save most of what they make, live in our house rent-free, but contribute in many, many other ways, like household chores, caring for siblings when necessary, etc. It's what a family does. Does he have living parents who could contribute to his expenses? If not, even more so, you should do all you can to help this young man. It sounds like he is responsible and a good kid. Don't let money drive a wedge between you. It's JUST money. Wood, hay, and stubble. He is much more important. But again, if you can't afford extra activities, then don't do them. It's that easy. Follow your husband's lead in this. If you don't think you can make ends meet, ask him to take over the finances so that he could get a better picture of how things are. Usually the one who doesn't do the finances in a family has no clue how things really are. Don't be greedy though.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Teenagers like to push the boundaries and try to work the situation towards what works best for them. It sounds like until you and your husband are on the same page about HOW you want to parent your nephew conflict will arise and you will only be able to give empty threats. My suggestion would be that you sit down and have a family meeting with your husband to determine the rules of your house in regards to him. Once that is decided the two of you sit him down and go through the rules so that he sees that you are both on the same page and he can't play you against each other.

One suggestion also is to not use threats such as "he can't live here" . That only serves to make him think it is temporary and that won't make him want to work towards a good relationship long term. Perhaps instead you parent him like you would your biological child ren which is set rules and have consequences. That way you don't threaten him and you don't feel the need to give him things and then feel resentful about it. (trips, bed, phone bill etc) Resentment is not good for your family or for him.

I have found that when kids have boundaries (like you are trying to set) and parents can stick to them (with the support of your husband) the respect will come. You are going down the right track you just need some support and a few tweaks in exection!

Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

You all had an agreement in the beginning and then you allowed your nephew to guilt you into changing. Maybe you need to sit him down and show him what he is costing you all to allow him to stay there with you. Add up the cost of the thing you have done and compare them to what you would have paid for babysitting. Doing the dishes is something that you and your husband could have done for free. Bottom line is that he is your nephew not your child. You did not say that his mother was giving you any money to help with the bills he creates. Let's not forget the electricity and the internet to run the laptop that you got him, and the cell phone. I would cut off the cell phone. Teenagers are expensive especially growing boys. Your husband needs to stop working against you and work with you. You have to be a united front or nothing will work. Talk to your husband and let him know that you have to be on the same page your nephew not your child could cause problems in your marriage. Teenagers need a reality check sometimes. In the real world he will have to pay rent, internet, phone, lights, gas, and do his dishes.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Now personally I believe that if you take in a child, no matter for what reason, you treat them as you would your own kids.
I do think he should pay from his money for activities that you do not do with the entire family and expensive extracurriculars and maybe clothes, especially if they want brand names. But groceries? REALLY? If you cannot afford to feed another mouth, his mother should give you money - she should be saving a whole bunch, since she does not have to feed him any longer.
He or his mother should pay for a laptop, mattress and pay the phone bill UNLESS any of this was given as a present. Why would you do this in the first place if it bugs you so much? A new laptop? And then you complain about it costing you a bunch to feed him?

I think that if you want this to work out, the first thing to need to do is decide what your expectations are. It sounds a lot like this is a moving target!
Talk to your husband first, look at your budget and what the two of you agree on for him and his mother to contribute.
Then all 4 of you should meet and lay out your expectations. How much money are you spending, how much money do they need to contribute, how much can they contribute and how. What are expenses that can be cut (phone bill? for a 15 year old?)?
This is a great opportunity for you to teach him about budgeting and money management, but if you are fighting the windmills within your own house and sending conflicting messages, you are bound for frustration.
Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My son got social security through my exhusband. Rather against my wishes I did spend it on football, etc. because according to the rules you are not supposed to save it. I could have used it towards his college. However, we bought a car for him to use and things that went to his everyday highschool life. I was a little angry because I couldn't save it for very important things (like college). And then his father was mad at me because we were told it had to go to his living expenses. So football is included in that. And he can use it eventually towards a car. In the meantime he is living at your house so... Tell husband to stop spending your money on him, the social security money is for his present living-the social security department sent along a brochure which said that he cannot have x amount of dollars in the bank, but if he is working he can and use it for his expenditures (like football for instance and a vehicle to go to work, school and etc. ). If you have an issue about it contact Social Security or acquire their booklet. Good luck. I commend you for taking him on. That is a tough age to acquire a young person into your home.

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answers from Chicago on

I haven't read any of the responses below but I think you have misplaced your anger here! What about the mother!!! I believe she should be footing his bills (ie phone, groceries, football, new bed, laptop, etc...)!!! If he came to live with you because she could not afford to care for him then you should have been prepared to have added expenses. Although, did he really need a new laptop or a new bed (didn't he already own a bed??). He is 15 and probably dealing with some issues internally if he has lost his father and his mother can't care for him. If he is helping out with babysitting, dishes and hopefully keeping his things picked up I would say he is doing very for a teenager. Obviously, I don't know the whole situation and how he came to be at your house but try to LOVE him and give him the same respect and opportunities you would want your own children to have if they were to end up in this situation. As far as the social security check goes...I think you should be saving every penny of that for the day he turns 18 and you'd like him to move out. He won't have the means otherwise! Best Wishes...



answers from Chicago on

Geez K.,

I think you are being selfish to expect a child to support himself. The money he is getting should go towards college only and nothing else. Guardianship means taking in a child and treating him like your own children. You are clearly not treating him as part of your own family.



answers from Chicago on

I think that his $100 a month check is his money. I don't think he should be giving it to you for the necessities. I think you should be stressing to him about the importance of saving this money. I think if he is doing real jobs for you...babysitting etc, he should be given an allowance as well. That is the money he should be using for his "fun stuff" going out with friends, buying a new video game etc. However, even that money, 50% should go into a savings account. Since he is under 18, you or your husband should also be on the savings account to assure that he doesn't just take money out.



answers from Tulsa on

His parents should be paying you support, his money isn't much and I think if his parents were being responsible then you would't be having to pay out of pocket for these things.

One of my grandkids has a wonderful dad that never misses a child support payment (she has only seen him 3-5 times in her whole life though), now when his employer was holding it out of his paycheck the boss continuously forgot to send it in or just didn't get around to it. The dad quit that job and he is back in charge of sending it and it comes like clockwork again. The other grandchild's father rarely works and if we get any money from him we count it as a bonus. My daughter has never paid a cent.

We are on disability and pay out of pocket to gymnastics, BMX, dance, clothes, shoes, bling, soccer, soft ball, T-Ball, and all the other things that go with having kids. The kids child support is part of that money and they do not go without anything they need, well, except the housekeeper they "need" to hire to clean their rooms...LOL.

You call him your fourth child, do you make your own children pay for their own sports and other things they need or want? Then it would be expected he would receive the same rules. I admire you for trying to teach him the value of the dollar but if your husband is going against you on this then it's useless. We try to write out goals and post them in an obvious place so everyone can see them all the time and then if their is a disagreement about a goal I point to the poster and say "What does the poster say?" Everyone has to agree on the goals, rules, chores, responsibilities, etc...or it won't work. If 1 person won't be on the same page and work towards the goal it probably won't be achieved.



answers from Chicago on

I can understand your frustration, but I think it may be directed at the wrong person. His mother or father should financially provide for him. I have guardianship of a 4 year old little boy (in my eyes he is my son as I have been raising him since he was 1). His biological mother has not contributed anything to his clothes, no money, no shoes, no nothing. He has special needs and cystic fibrosis which have required tons of therapy, nutritional supplements, and various other medical needs that all come out of my pocket. I struggle as a single mom of 3 children to pay all the bills. I can completely understand the financial burden it can present to a family.

That said, I don't think it is the responsibility of any child to financially provide for himself. Their parents or guardians should take care of their basic, clothes, shelter. I chose to bring my son into our family and in doing so chose to be responsible for him in every aspect. It stinks that his mother doesn't help me, but there is nothing I can do about it. I love him, so I take care of him. It's not his fault that his situation is what it is.

Since your nephew lives with you, I feel he should be treated the same way as if he were your child. Please don't threaten his security of living with you. It is not fair to hold that over a child. Even though the agreement was for him to give you his money, I don't think it is fair. Making him pay for extracurricular things may be fair if that is what you require or will require of your children. If not, he shouldn't have to either. It is important for him to feel like he belongs and for him to be treated as the other family members in the home. Reasonable chores and babysitting are fair. Everyone should pitch in. That's part of living in a family. But his money should be his. I think it great that he wants to save it. There are many teenagers, and adults for that matter, out there that don't save anything. I would definitely encourage his desire to save as it will help him immensely in his future.

If you are having a hard time financially why don't you make some kind of agreement with his mother to help offset the cost of feeding and clothing him. I think she should be responsible for her child. You are doing her a huge favor by raising him. She should at least contribute to his care. If she refuses to, then you need to decide whether or not you can continue to take care of him. If you choose to remain his guardian, then you need to be aware you are taking all responsibilities of his care.



answers from Chicago on

Honestly you may not like my answer, but here I go.. I can say I'm thankful for being where I'm at because of my grand parents stepping in when I was little, but all I have to say he is a child still.. You brought this. Child in because you know he needed more and I think your husband agree.. Yes is this child being a little selfish, but he is a tipical teenager.. Just remember yourself at that age.. Are you being selfish you are and acting immature.. I understand you have a family of your own, but remember why you tool this child and why.. Keep this child off the streets and give him that future that could have.. Maybe approach things differently to him instead of threatening him by telling him he can live back with his mom.. No wonder why you don't get along.. Just put yourself in his shoes and realize he is a child and you are trying to give him the best just like for your own children.. I know me and my husband try to now for our neices and nephews with a child.. Just think all this through again..



answers from Chicago on

I totally agree with you. He should go and live with his Moms. You and your husband are going out of your way to make sure he has a nice place to stay and share the opportunities of a good school district. He is old enough to show some appreciation, because you guys don't have to do that. You are even taking him on your family vacations and Im sure that is an additional expense.

You should talk to his moms and even maybe all of you guys together. This way his mom is clear about whats going on and maybe she can step in and give you some financial help. I think it is only right, I know you and your husband can find some other things to spend your extra money on.



answers from Chicago on

I think that if you take him in- he becomes part of your family, and you treat him the same way financially you treat your other children. Obviously if he is living with you- he has been through some hard stuff to get there- being a teenager is tough, and even tougher if you aren't with your own parents. Enourage him to learn to save his money- because presumably in a couple of years he will be on his own- and out of your home for good. I don't think he is being disrespectful so much as he is being a kid.



answers from Chicago on

I know of a financial group that provides budget workshops. Perhaps you
your husband and nephew could attend together. It's a great way to confirm some of your ideas and perhaps your nephew developing a different view on your attempts to act positively for his welfare. Independence is costly and until the teen learns this, appreciation for ideas on money subjects are
not readily accepted. Workshops are often held through non for profit
organizations, so it shouldn't be too costly. You can contact Mike Kelly of Oak Grove Solutions ###-###-#### to find out where you can find the various workshops in your area. Mike is easy to talk to and very experienced with family issues, he may have some suggestions for you handling this situation. Good luck, it worked for me.



answers from Chicago on

It sounds like your lucky to get anything at all from the mother and regardless-that money (the little amount that it is!) should be put towards his future. That is what I think anyway! I think you are being too hard on him. I didn't pay a single bill until after college. My mom even paid for car insurance! It seems like you might be putting too much resposibility on him. I understand he needs to start learning things and being responsible for things (he is doing dishes and babysitting) but he is only 15. Let him have some fun; sounds like he might not have had a great life so far and hopefully you can start to let him be a kid for once. The way I look at it is took him in for a reason. Not to get money from the help him. And I agree with other posters. Please treat him as you would any of your other children. good luck, I hope you find a solution!

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