22 raising 13 yr old sis... I need advice!

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My husband and I have been raising my sister for over 3 years now. We also have a 17 month old son and I am currently 37 weeks pregnant with another boy. Of course it was difficult at first but I figured it was hard for her to view me as an authority figure. Well years later it only seems to be getting harder. My sister's name is Haley and we used to be close but now I can't talk to her without it becoming an arguement. She complains about EVERYTHING! Her only chores are to empty the dishwasher and take out the trash but she acts like I treat her like a slave! My husband has definetly been understanding and gone way beyond what a normal brother-in-law would tolerate but he has a hard time controlling his temper with her now that she has started this phase or whatever you wanna call it so he mostly avoids her at all costs. The hardest thing is that we are taking care of her not because her parents have passed away but because my mother went to prison and never wanted to get her back after she got out 3 years ago! My mom lives nearby and Haley visits her on weekends. I feel like I'm being used. My mother has always taken advantage of me and I had been in foster care along with Haley for a 4 year period during my early teens because of her poor choices. Basically I need help making the best of this I love her but I don't know how to relate to her and neither does my husband. She seems to hate living with us and my mom isn't grateful at all about anything we have done for her or Haley. I feel like I'm doing this all for nothing. I know part of it is just that 13 is a difficult age but if I only knew someone in a similar situation to look to for support it would be a lot easier. I try taking an interest in her music which I do listen to we are only 9 yrs apart but she starts arguing with me like I'm not allowed to like what she likes. At the same time she gets pissed if I dont like her music. The same goes for clothes, her friends, tv shows, pretty much anything you can think of. HELP! How do I make the family work together and get along now that she is a teenager who seems to dislike anything to do with me? Sorry about the ramble I am stressed out :( My husband and I are also not as financially comfortable as we would like but it was never a problem before. Now that she is older she is always asking for things I can't give her and then saying how its not fair cuz all her friends blah blah blah... you get the idea. I would love to buy her a laptop and a brand new car when she turns 16 but I am 22 and just starting my own family I have to say its a lie about babies being so expensive... little ones are way cheaper to raise compared to teenage girls and they don't whine as much either! Basically she has everything she needs and nice clothes and my kids are well taken care of but we do it on a budget which I am proud of but Haley manages to make me feel like dirt because even my best isnt enough. I feel sad I want to be the best mom sister and wife I can be. I need support and I can't look to my husband for it cuz he is in the same boat and neither of us know where to go from here.

UPDATE: Haley is now living with her father. She moved in with him when the new baby was about 3 months old. She is happy with her father and my husband and I aren't so stressed. Everyone benefited and its been great! Only down side is she lives in another state but we talk on facebook and she will be visiting during breaks from school.


Adrienne - posted on 05/27/2011




Oh Hun! First let me say that you are doing a wonderful thing. And it is not easy raising your sibling just as you are starting your own family. It sounds like there is a mixture of things going on here. 1) Normal teenage hormone issues - These will pass (eventually). Set clear boundaries and consequences and stick with them. 2) Abandonment issues - This is best handled by a professional. Get her into a good, reputable counselor. It would be a good idea for you and your husband as well to get the much needed support and coping skills. 3) Jealousy - Her/Your mother has abandoned her. Now you're having children of your own and where is her place? It's not much different than when you have a second child, the older can get jealous and act out. Try and make some special "girl" time with her.

It's going to be a rough road. Get a support network in place. Take a deep breath. You'll make it.

Danielle - posted on 05/16/2011




I want to tell you that I think you and your husband are doing a great thing. Even if nobody else is showing appreciation right now, you know, God knows, and I'm sure she will appreciate you when she gets older. I have four kids with the oldest being 12. They ALL throw fits, they all complain, and they all push the limits to see how far we will let things go....it's normal. I know it's probably harder since your not her mother, but she will appreciate your love, effort, support, and even discipline when she grows up. It's going to be hard to set rules and limits and still try to be her friend, because that's hard to do with any child. Make sure she know that even though you have certain expectaions of her, that you will always be there for her. Try to make her feel special by have "special time" with her. All teenagers act like they don't want "parent" around, but they really do. She's probably dealing with some pretty hard feelings of her own, including abandonment from her parents. I don't know what your views are about God, but I have to tell you that having a strong faith and trust in God has helped me through many trials. Turning to God for guidence and strength is the best thing you can do. It also helps raising kids "in the lord". In a crazy world we have today, it's so easy to get caught up in it all, especially for kids. Try to take a little time for yourself and time for you and your sister at least once a week. The most important thing you can do is never give up. It may not be fare, but you are the person in her life she counts on....that is really important. Giving her what she wants (material things) isn't what matters, but giving her unconditional love (like a parent is supposed to give) is the most important thing you could give her. Good luck...I wish you the best.

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