sadere's picture
sadere

Help! 14 yr old neice move in with DH and I

Hi,

A little background.... DH (38) and I (32) have no children. My bnl and snl asked us to let dn move in with us, snl is very ill, and is in and out of the hospitial. She will be traveling out of country quite a bit for alterntive treatments. Also, they bnl/snl have a very disfuntctional relationship. They want 14 yr old to have a more stable "homelife". We are thrilled to be able to help in any way, and since they live in another state they have pretty much given us full authority in every matter.

We've been the "cool" aunt and uncle up until now. But now that she has moved in with us, how do we transition from fun filled weekends to real day to day life?

In patricular...
Rules? she is a great kid, and we don't think we'll have any major issues, but still, there should be rules... what are your's?

curfew? again, great kid, very involed in church actvities, but what time is reasonable to expect her home?

allowance? How much? etc... we'd love to start her on an allowance (she's never gotten one) to help teach her about money managment/ budgeting... How much per week/month and what should she have to purchase for herself?

chores? what should she be responsible for? and should her allowance be based on chores, or should the chores be considered "family duties?" and the allowance completly sep?

We fell like we've jumped into the deep end of a pool, only to relize hey, we don't know how to swim! Any advice would be great!



mayamay's picture
mayamay

Have a formal family meeting every week. Since you are jumping in the deep end with someone who is already 14, you need to nurture a relationship that will work for all of you. I'd have the first family meeting and brainstorm some rules. Acknowledge during the meeting that things will change as you figure out what works and what doesn't.

Something for YOU to keep in mind. She is just 14. She needs adult resources, people she can count on to face down the world for her. She doesn't need friends/peers. She needs someone who is tougher and wiser than her to be on her side.

Some negotiable suggestions for starting points:

Rules: anything that helps you communicate
Schoolwork has to be turned in complete and on time to keep privileges.

Curfew.
9 on schoolnights, 10:30 on weekends. You have to KNOW where she is, not necessarily approve of it, but know where she is and who she is with ALL THE TIME. This is really just courtesy. If there were an emergency, you need to be able to find her. If she doesn't have a cell phone, some of her friends will have one. Someone on here said she grounds her children a full day for every minute that she doesn't know where they are. I decided to try it. My kids' friends are diligent about letting me know if their plans change, because I've grounded them for a week for being just a few minutes late.

Chores
She should keep her own room tidy and learn to do her own laundry if she hasn't already. She should help with every meal she eats--just 5 minutes before and after the meal. Have it as part of the meal routine; she doesn't get called when the food is on the table, she gets called for meals in time to help. She should be learning to plan and prepare complete meals, too. These are family duties.

She should pitch in for an hour or two once a week: vacuuming, mopping, bathroom fixtures, kitchen appliances, yard work.

Money
She should get paid $5 for that hour of chores. I know some people think an allowance should be independent of work, but I am a capitalist. If she needs extra money for something, she works another hour. Full hours.

An alternative is to pay her $20 or $30 a week, but then she has to pay for school lunch, personal hygiene items, clothing, all entertainment. I haven't tried this, but I heard someone with a big family who did it. Those kids REALLY learned to budget.

Traditions
Have a fun night together at least twice a month with games or dancing or something that gets you all laughing.
Compose something for her Mom and Dad every week. Letter, Skype, anything in between.
Try to get out for a hike or picnic often, too.