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big problems with DP's nephew...

(18 Posts)
Clovissa Thu 29-Oct-09 16:18:30

I really hope someone can give us some advice.

I've posted before about DP's nephew who we are hoping to take into our care from next year. Both his parents (DP's sister) died when he was a baby and he and has sister (now 19) been brought up by granny (DP's mum). He's now 12, granny is exhausted, he's running rings round her, she can't do discipline by her own admission, he's getting into low level trouble at school, not doing much work etc.

We are concerned that he could go off the rails a bit as he hits puberty (there's a lot of family history of this happening).

Anyway, granny thinks its a good idea because she knows she will have no control over him. She also says he always seems embarrassed that she's so old when his friends come round, she can't take him out to do things, is exhausted by 8pm etc.

So, we've got him up for a couple of days for half term and we just talked to him about it. He is devastated and says he doesn't want to move out of the town where he is and leave his friends (we live quite a distance away but not so far to prohibit visiting). We've tried to stress the positives but he just thinks we're making him do it. All he said was 'do I have to?' and then sat in silence looking like he was going to cry. He's with DP now.

He's a lovely, bright funny boy. He has a brilliant relationship wtih DP (almost grew up with him as a father figure, picking him up from school etc.). I get on really well with him and generally we have fun together as a family.

We have a 7 week DS.

Where do we go from here? DP has told him that really he has to, because granny is getting too old to look after him and as a teenager he'll need more active adults around him. (we haven't mentioned the bad behaviour of course, to avoid seeming like a punishment).

I don't know what to say to him sad

fluffles Thu 29-Oct-09 16:23:49

will he have to change schools? is there any way he can avoid this?

i reckon it'll be the changing schools thing that's the problem - no 12yr old with friends at school will want to be the 'new boy' at a new school.

that's not to say it's not the best thing for him, just that he'll never agree that it is until he's settled in and found a new group of friends which could take some time.

it's not going to be easy. but it does sound like it'll be worth it in the long run.

Clovissa Thu 29-Oct-09 16:30:43

Yes, he'll have to change schools. He's just started a new school, so he'll be looking to change for next year. He also has friends living nearby who he knocks around with in the evenings. That's one of the problems.

We HAVE to do this. But I can't bear him looking so sad when he's already been through so much and granny is really like his mother. DP is tougher than me, he says just give him time to get used to it. He really needs a father (granny separated, grandpa bloody useless anyway).

Thanks Fluffles, I know we're doing the right thing. I'm very new to parenting and this seems very hard.

Uriel Thu 29-Oct-09 16:41:08

Can he get the bus every day to his usual school while still living with you? At least that'll give him some continuity. And if he's with you in the evenings, he won't be knocking around with his old mates.

Clovissa Thu 29-Oct-09 16:45:59

Unfortunately his school is in Oxford and we're in Brighton so it'll be a complete change. We've said he can go back for visits of course.

DP has just taken him out for a bike ride. I wonder if the secret lies in DP really making him feel like he can be a father to him. When he's been with us, he cries for days because he misses DP, but is a bit shy because he knows he's not really his dad...

He makes friends very easily. These friends are new anyway, he only started at the school this year.

Clovissa Thu 29-Oct-09 16:48:21

I think he'll have a difficult adolescence - he hasn't yet dealt with the death of his parents which is the elephant in the room. He's lovely and sunny now, but granny has given him his heart's desire for the past 12 years and we will be a lot stricter. He's smart enough to work that out.

Clovissa Thu 29-Oct-09 16:49:56

I suppose what I meant to ask for advice on is this: should you force a child to do something like this? Would it be better if we gave him the choice and then tried to sell the idea to him? But should a child have to decide where he lives? It seems like a decision for adults to make.

Uriel Thu 29-Oct-09 17:13:56

Sounds like it'll be a good thing for him in the long run to move in with you.
And how lovely of you both to offer him a home smile.

Any chance of having him to stay at yours at the weekends before he moves to Brighton? Get him in a Saturday morning football club or something so he could make some new friends.

fluffles Thu 29-Oct-09 22:55:58

think of it this way - if you were his parents and you chose to move from oxford to brighton because you thought it was best for the family as a whole he'd just have to get over it wouldn't he?

cory Fri 30-Oct-09 08:32:07

fuffles makes a good point

in effect, you are his parents, insofar as you are the closest to viable longterm parents he's got

I think it will help if you make it clear that you understand how difficult this is for him and show him that you want to help him to overcome it

but at the same time, at 12 he is still a child, he needs adults to make decisions for him

Clovissa Fri 30-Oct-09 08:37:44

Thanks Fluffles, that's very true.

Uriel, good idea about a club. I wish he could come up on the coach on his own but I think he has to be 13. Perhaps we could do a local summer club next year before he starts school, so he knows some people.

We feel bad that he has to change schools one year in to a new school, but last year we were in no position to take him.

Actually he cheered up massively yesterday and we had a lovely evening of board games and playing with the baby. I think presenting it as a fair accompli although tough at first kind of takes the anguish out of the situation.

Thanks very much for your replies. I'm a bit daunted at going from 0 to 2 children in the space of a year..

throckenholt Fri 30-Oct-09 08:41:00

It is for the adults to make that choice. As you say gran can't manage any more - you are there and are willing - which is much better than most kids get in this sort of situation sadly.

Any change is unsettling for a child - but he will get used to it. Any chance of moving him sooner rather than later ? Why wait until the next school year ?

By the way - treat him like a grown up - talk to him about how gran is exhausted and now she is getting older she can't keep up with a young lively boy. She has looked after him since he was a baby - now it is time for her to have a rest. And time for him to move on to the next stage of his life.

And lots of bike rides with DP - make sure there is lots of low key fun - not lots of special treats.

kreecherlivesupstairs Fri 30-Oct-09 08:52:19

That is good advice from throckenholt. I don't know how difficult it would be to move him now, it is just prolonging his 'agony' the waiting for next year.
He seems a sensible chap and you would do him a massive favour talking to him like a grown up.
You are good people.

Clovissa Fri 30-Oct-09 08:54:06

Throckenholt, I like the 'next stage of your life' thing - should inspire him.

I also agree we should treat him like an adult when we talk about this. I want him to see we've intervened in the situation, as I'd hate him to think this has come from granny, who would look after him forever, of course.

He's very switched on, so I imagine he's grasped the fact that with us there will be bedtimes, homework and no misbehaving at school and realises it won't be the easy ride he has now.

Clovissa Fri 30-Oct-09 08:58:44

Would it be possible to get him into a state school now?

Would his whole life story/losing both parents/granny can't cope make it easier for us to get him into the school of our choice?

I'm just getting to grips with the school application forms. Perhaps I'll put a post on the education board.

Thanks again,

throckenholt Fri 30-Oct-09 12:58:31

yes - you can change schools at any stage - not just at year ends. Have a look round the schools in your area, talk to the heads to find out if they have any space. Arrange a time for him to visit it - let him be proactive in deciding which school he likes best. And then take it from there in deciding how soon he moves.

good luck.

throckenholt Fri 30-Oct-09 13:00:07

by the way - I think it would help to explain the background - he is likely to need help to deal with it as he goes through teenage years anyway - so if the school has the heads up to start it can only help.

And their reaction and how proactive they seem will be a good guide as to which school to go for.

Clovissa Fri 30-Oct-09 19:31:28

Thanks for all your advice. I've posted a lot about this situation and the circumstances of his parents' deaths - there are, as you say Throckenholt, a lot of issues bubbling under and puberty is likely to see them come out.

Happily his stay ended well - he does really like being with us and he as absolutely besotted with DS. I think the idea of being a big brother appeals to him a lot.

DP, Granny and I have agreed this is going to happen, so it's a case of doing things in the kindest, most positive way.

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