Taking care of my neighbor's neice--a nice long rant!

@creematee (2810)
United States
March 28, 2007 8:47am CST
OK, this is a long story and a rant. I just need to get this off my chest, because right now, I'm so angry I could cry! Last summer, our neighbor offered to take care of her 13 year old niece. She is from a broken home, in England. No one was watching her, so she got away with doing a lot of things that a 13 year old shouldn't even be considering doing!! Anyway, since my neighbors both work nights, they asked that I could watch her 2 or 3 nights a week so she wouldn't be home all alone. Well, that lasted about a week, and she came over everynight! Now, I don't mind, but I would like a little privacy with my own family. Now, since they work nights, they don't get home until 10:30 at the eariest. I have children that go to bed at 8:00! They think that it is OK to call whenever for me to send the niece home. (they expect that I'm still up with her, BTW!) I have talked to them about these phone calls. I can't have my kids woken up in the middle of the night. They also have had issues with her getting to school on time. Since I drive my children to school, I offered to drive Ann also. It isn't that much out of my way. But, that too, became a challenge, because it was MY children that were going over to wake her up, and make sure she was ready to go. I told her at the beginning of the new semester that she was going to be responsible and get herself up, and over to our house by the time I'm ready to take the kids to school. She has done pretty good about it, but once in a while, WE still have to make sure she's ready. Ann has been having other problems as well. She's not doing her homework, turning her assignments in late, and ignoring any help that the school has given her to help her pass the school year. Again, the neighbor just ASSUMED I would we willing to give my life away, and told her that she EXPECTED her to be at my house everyday after school. I am the one responsible for making sure she has her homework done. I'm also the one responsible for picking her up from her afterschool tutor, getting her to her church youth group, and getting her from detention if she in fact, has it. OK, all this stuff, I've done, am doing, and take care of. I don't ask for any payment, thanks or anything in return. What really makes me upset, is when I know that she's to be at my house at a certain time, and my neighbor picks her up from school (her day off) and doesn't bother to tell me about it. I'm told not to call her work after a certain time, so she doesn't get in trouble with her boss. HOW in God's Name was I to know where she was?????? I was so upset, I just cried for an hour!!!!!!!! This morning, There is no Ann. She is not here to be taken to school. I sent one of my children over to make sure she's up, and no one answers the door. We left without her. I am not driving her to school, because she can't get her butt out of bed. I am also not her parent/guardian to make sure she gets out of bed!!! I am about ready to tell my neighbor where to stick it, and be done with the whole situation. DH and I have talked about moving, just to get away from their needy nature. I don't want to do that, because I really love my house!! I know I've been a doormat in this whole situation. I just say "anytime" and "sure." It's gotten so bad that they don't even ask anymore, they just expect it. I can't take it anymore. I told my hubby that 3 things could happen here... 1) Ann will be sent back to England (which will be an awful thing for her) 2) Ann will not be allowed at my house anymore, not because of Ann, but because the lack of consideration from her guardians, or 3) I sue for custody of the child (most likely to win) since I do all the parenting for her anyway! sorry that this rant is so long. It's none of anyone's business but my own, but I just wanted a litle sympathy. :)
6 people like this
10 responses
• Canada
29 Mar 07
Wow! Just Wow! I applaud you. You've done an awful lot for a child who is no relation to you whatsoever and quite frankly, she sounds like she just needs some stability. I feel for her though. She's been shunted from one place to the next and has had no proper care for a long time. Would you really sue for custody of her? If you did that would be wonderful. Finally she would maybe settle down and start to try and make something of herself. I think you really need to have a serious talk with her guardians first though. maybe like a last ditch effort to come to some agreement. otherwise, it may be time for more drastic action. I wish you all the very best in sorting this out.
@creematee (2810)
• United States
29 Mar 07
Thank you rugrat, for your kind words. :) I don't know if we would go so far as asking for custody. The thought has crossed my mind more than a thousand times, though. I agree that what Ann needs more than anything is stability. When she first came, it was to be 2 or 3 nights a week at our house. Well, she was getting some many rules, that it was hard for her to concentrate on what she was doing, and she was naughty for everyone. Since she has been coming here, 100%, it's been a whole new world--at least here anyway. I am going to have a heart to heart with the A&U about the situation. I can't expect Ann to respect me, if they don't. Their carefree attitude just makes me angry!! Thank you for your post!!
@nelltx (277)
• United States
28 Mar 07
Sounds to me like you are a good person who was willing to help out in a rough situation & got taken advantage of. The Aunt & Uncle of this girl are not equipped to take care of a teenage girl. If I were you I would sit down with your neighbor & have a real heart to heart talk about what you can/can't do, what is expected of the girl & what is expected of them. Let them know that the situation is getting entirely out of control and that if they cannot come to a reasonable schedule that also includes notifying you when they pick up the child that you will be unable to continue helping them. It is your duty to your family & your children that they come first. It is commendable that you are willing to step in and take care of this girl when it seems as if no one else will, but you will be no good to anyone if the neighbors situation affcts you so badly that it interferes with your home life. If it has gotten to the point that you are considering moving to get out of it, I feel it may have gone to far already. If you and your neighbors paln on staying where you are, you need to nip this in the bud, or you will have strained relations for the rest of the time you live next door. Good luck to you & God Bless.
@creematee (2810)
• United States
29 Mar 07
That's exactly what I intend to do. I just hope the neighbor listens. She's one to forget then ask forgiveness. She actually tried to buy forgiveness with a gift card to Pizza Hut!! Nope, I'm not one to get bought off. I am going to have a heart to heart, have a contract written up, and make her sign it! If any rules are broken it will be the end of it! Thank you for your post!! :)
@mansha (6301)
• India
28 Mar 07
hey if you are planning to move can you move next to my house. that way I can pick up a full time job and I will pay you too,lol. just joking , sorry but my god, what a lady you are, hats off to you anyone would die for you to become your neighbiour. come on learn to say no to things.my mother gave mea very sound advice never say yes to a thing I can not continue doing all my life. many times her advice has saved me from getting in to troubles lie this. Its okay to be nice but you are super nice. I was wondering through out while reading this, when would you jsut go and take your car and push off with your kids instead of waking her up. I am glad you fiunally did so towards the end. keep up to it and let them handle that girl and tell them you are busy and wouldn'tbe helping them any more, for your own sake please do so.
1 person likes this
@creematee (2810)
• United States
29 Mar 07
That is very good advice!!! I'm going to adopt it, since I tend to say OK to a lot of things. I feel that the neighbor is wanting me to become the bad parent in all this situation, and her the good fun one. NOPE, not gonna happen. Ann does respect me and our rules when she's here. It's the neighbor that is going to get my wrath. :) Thank you for your post!!
@Kaeli72 (1230)
• United States
28 Mar 07
Here's your sympathy...Poor baby. Now, for an eyeopener. You said that Ann is from a broken home. More than likely the reasons she's being so lazy is she doesn't respect you on the level that she should. Granted, she's not your relative, but she should be respectful. If getting her rear out of bed is an issue, set an alarm clock in her room and have it go off 30 minutes earlier. If after all the talks, loving and attention she still is like this, time to kick her out. Sometimes it takes a tragic event to happen for someone to shape up. It could be that she's taking advantage of you or she doesn't know how she's affecting you. 10:30 pm isn't that late nor is it in the middle of the night. My children don't go to sleep until 10 sometimes 11 on a school night and they still are able to get and get good grades in school. That's been our experience. Now, tell that relative of hers that you'll watch her, but things will have to be worked out or no come over. Put your foot down...for not only your sake, but for your children. When you're upset, they are as well. Kids pick up on things like that.
1 person likes this
@creematee (2810)
• United States
29 Mar 07
Ann isn't the problem. Well, for me, she isn't. She KNOWS my rules, and does abide by them when she's here. The problem is the aunt doesn't think that those same rules should apply at her house. (e.g. homework before fun) Since I told Ann that we weren't going to wake her up anymore, she has been doing very well, and hasn't missed a day. I am really proud of those strides that she has taken to respect at least that rule. I will be talking with the aunt, soon, (I need to let my anger subside for a bit, so I don't just blow up on her!) and laying out the rules. I agree that my family should come first. Thank you for your post!! :)
@naty1941 (2336)
• United States
28 Mar 07
How come you have allowed this situation to develop? It is awful and the only thing you can do is tell your neighbor that from now on she is responsable for Ann and that you no longer will take care of the child. Good luck and don't let your neighbor take advantage of you anymore.
1 person likes this
@creematee (2810)
• United States
29 Mar 07
I know--things just snowball. I'm such a doormat. I have decided to speak (again) with my neighbor and lay down some ground rules. There are only 8 weeks left in the school year, so hopefully things will get better soon. Thank you for your post!!
@limosonia1 (1560)
• United States
28 Mar 07
I think you have been a great person to this child and this child needs you. You should so for custody and that way you have complete control over the situation. Then you can just treat her like one of your own and make sure that their are punishments when she doesn't do what she needs to do. If she is only getting part time parenting it will affect her in the long run. You seem to be the only one that really cares for this child. You don't seem to mind ann just the neighbors so go for it and make your life and hers easier. Then she will also know that somebody truly loves her and wants to raise her. Good luck
1 person likes this
@creematee (2810)
• United States
28 Mar 07
Thank you for your support, Limo. :) I really do appreciate it. The real problem with asking for custody is that her dad is in England, and still, legally has full custody of the child. I'm not sure how it all works, but DH and I have talked a lot about it.
@winky73 (1396)
• United States
28 Mar 07
You are just a awsome person....not many people would got to such lenghts to help another. It is not fair that her relatives take advantage of your good nature and willingnes to help.You really seem to be very fond of the girl and you have a very good influence on her....by trying to instill some maners and teaching her how to be responsible.....but all that is wasted if her family doesn't back you up on it. If it was me....I would write down all the rules that both her and her family have to follow....if they want you to continue looking after her.This way you can make it very clear that some tings are just not exceptable to you and since you are doing this out of your own free will....they should have some respect for your wishes. Have you ever thought of asking them about becoming her legal guardian?That just may give you a bit more control over the situation. Sometimes people just don't respond until you put your foot down and say I had enough. I understand that you want to help....but don't give up your life for them.Take care and I hope it all works out for you!!
@creematee (2810)
• United States
28 Mar 07
Thank you so much for your kind words and advice. :) My husband and I are going to sit and write out some rules that are going to have to be taken care of if this situation keeps going. I agree, I cannot sacrifice my family to take care of theirs. No, I haven't talked about taking guardianship of the girl. Her father, in England, hasn't relinquished his guardianship legally to my neighbors. I just feel that all my hard work would sink in better if she only had FULL time parents taking care of her. :)
@owlwings (38416)
• Cambridge, England
28 Mar 07
I wonder what Ann's feelings are about the situation. It would be very big-hearted of you to foster her, since she is no relation of yours. It seems to me that, since your neighbours work late, they are not very suited to caring for her as she needs.
1 person likes this
@creematee (2810)
• United States
28 Mar 07
If I didn't have my own children to care for, I'm sure Ann would be here in a heartbeat. She has told me on a number of occasions that she thinks of me as her mother, and wishes that she was my daughter. Although, she's always talking that she wants to go back to England. I think it's because she didn't have anyone giving her rules, she didn't have to be responsible, and she surely didn't have to go to school. (somehow she managed to miss almost a whole year of it!) thank you for listening. It means a lot to me. :)
@Stiletto (4597)
29 Mar 07
Although I sympathise you have to admit that you have allowed this situation to develop. I understand how that's happened because I used to be like you as well and just say "yes that's ok", "no problem" etc, because I didn't want to upset or offend others but I learned my lesson with that a long time ago. If I were you I would talk to your neighbours and lay down some ground rules. I know that will be difficult to do but it really needs to be done. Be assertive (but not aggressive) and make it clear that you are happy to help as much as possible but things can't continue in the same way. They may not like it but it has to be said and hopefully they will realise that a compromise needs to be reached or else they will have to make alternative arrangements. Remember that you are the one helping them - not the other way round. They need YOU. I mean if you read back over your post you've actually considered moving house!! That's just way too extreme. You can fix this situation but you have to get tough about it.
@creematee (2810)
• United States
1 Apr 07
Thank you for your advice! I have done just that. I very nicely asked my neighbors that other arrangments be found for Ann over the weekends. At least it's a start. I really don't mind the rest of the week, but I need to have some personal time with my family. I told her that the kids have been missing their personal mommytime. She understood, she tried to guilt me into changing my mind, but I stood my ground. We'll see if this actually works.
1 person likes this
@Stiletto (4597)
1 Apr 07
That's great - good for you! I'm sure things will improve now.
@babykay (2133)
• Ireland
29 Mar 07
can I just say, I think you are absolutely brilliant to have taken this girl on - because that is exactly what you have done. why not try and make the arrangement more formal? As in foster her on an official basis, with her aunt/uncle's consent of course. Why not speak to social services about this and explain why you feel Ann is not being taken care of properly with these people. I cannot begin to imagine what her life must have been like in England if the home where 2 people work nights was considered better! Perhaps if you had some legal recognition as carers of Ann, then you could copperfasten arrangements better. As it is, these people are expecting you to do pretty much everything and they could take back Ann at any time. I suspect that you and your family have become very fond of this girl and she probably of you also. At a guess, she has come on leaps and bounds since being a part of a proper family! Keep up the good work and the best of luck.