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Should we take this boy in?

(124 Posts)
CoolStoryBro Sat 04-May-13 15:21:20

Hi. My 16 year old's son's friend is having a really tough time. Both of his parents have died and he's been staying with a relative. Naturally, the poor kid is pretty messed up and it hasn't been a smooth transition. It's all culminated in his relative saying he has to leave.

Ds has asked if he stay with us "for a while". I was just wondering if anyone had any experience of this. Did it work? I have 3 other younger children, so I am worried about the impact on them too.

Obviously my heart says reach out to this boy and we have plenty of room and can offer him some stability while he sorts himself out, but my head is saying, "Eeek!"

Any advice gratefully received.

MrsMeg Sat 11-May-13 09:06:27

We are doing it too - our daughters boyfriend has been thrown out of the family home by his stepdad.

He's a lovely boy, very bright, very polite and caring, motivated.

It's tricky because he and DD are young (17 and 16) but he has no other family and we said yes in a heartbeat.

AcrylicPlexiglass Sat 11-May-13 10:13:19

I would be much more wary in that situation, MrsMeg, tbh, unless it was very temporary. What will you do if your daughter breaks up with him?

MrsMeg Sat 11-May-13 10:58:43

You are right Acrylic - our situation is somewhat different to the OP's with the added complication of a relationship behind the scenes.

I'm not exaggerating when I say that he would have been sleeping rough if we had not taken him in, so that made the initial decision somewhat easier to make.

We are all keeping a very open mind however and our first priority is our daughter

mamateur Sat 11-May-13 18:00:41

coolstory we brought DH's nephew to live with us when he was 12. He had been brought up by his grandmother (my MIL) until he got too much. She too was broken by the death of her daughter. It has worked out well for us but we are looking at a longer haul than you. If he is 16 then it is maybe just two years.

We had space, no financial worries and no SS involvement, so I can't discuss those considerations but if I had my time again (we are now 3 years down the line) I would make the rules very clear at the outset. You are not his mother and cannot replace her. I would offer to be a kind, supportive understanding person in his life who will work to help him towards his goals. In return you ask him to respect your rules.

CoolStoryBro Sun 12-May-13 01:52:39

MrsMeg and Mamateur consider me your new buddies!! Happy to take advice from both of you!

So, he has moved in. It was actually really fun. DS and DSF (that's the easiest way of me describing him!!!) set up his PS3 and tv and also covered one of the walls with posters. We had managed to wangle that the younger 3 had either playdates or parties to go to this evening, so we went out for Mexican, just the 4 of us (DH, DS, DSF and I). That was a good move as that's when we brought up curfews.

They are now in the family room with some of their friends. There is a lot of guitar playing going on and, seeing as his bedroom is off the family room, I've decided to go out and celebrate Mother's Day tomorrow by buying a new tv in my bedroom! It's my gift to me!!

Thanks again.

mamateur Sun 12-May-13 12:39:42

Well done Coolstory. Your situation is very positive, because he is old enough to understand and also to appreciate what you're doing.

I would also source some counselling for him as soon as possible. Not sure if that has been mentioned upthread.

Monty27 Tue 14-May-13 00:04:27

smile That is all, and how lovely.


CoolStoryBro Tue 29-Oct-13 01:52:56

Ok, would be interested in anyone else' views.

Firstly, for the most part, this has been going FANTASTICALLY! He's a great kid and we love having him around.

HOWEVER, the boys have recently taken their PSAT's (like Mock A Levels, but not quite. Difficult to explain if you don't know the US system). We don't have their grades back in but neither of them studied as much as they really should have done.

We want to enroll them both on an extra curricular SAT course (on Saturday mornings) as it only seems fair that if we're paying for one, we're paying for both. This is a completely normal course that kids take. Our guest has said he's not going to go. We can't really force him to, although we really think he could benefit from it.

Soooo, now, DS has said, "If he's not going, I'm not going!" We have dug our heels in somewhat and told him he is, but it's now causing a bit of a fight. Pre-friend arriving, it would have been non-negotiable go the SAT class because we're paying for your driving lessons. We're still trying that way but this is blurring the rules somewhat.

Any ideas?!!

laraeo Tue 29-Oct-13 02:25:05

Howdy, Coolstory.

So are they both juniors in high school? This is going to come out all wrong, but does the friend plan on going to college? If not, I could understand not wanting to do the extra SAT prep. Does he already have his license (so no chance of similar driver's ed bribery)? Is there some other sort of reward you could use for going to the class? Or is there an similar on-line course he/they could take instead? Or work through a study guide at home - I did that to brush up on my math for the GRE many moons ago. (Much to my surprise, I found I actually liked doing the mathsmile.)

I hated the SATs and took them exactly once. I've done do many standardized tests since then (need to for teaching license every time we move to a new state) and they drive me batty. I imagine it's even worse for students now with all the different tests they're required to take. I know I hate having to do "practice" questions and teach kids how to take multiple choice tests during class time. He could be all tested out.

Maybe you could just wait for the PSAT results and then go from there.

Not much help. But I do think it's awesome you've taken him in.

CoolStoryBro Tue 29-Oct-13 02:37:01

Hi Lareo! Yes, they're both Juniors. Our guest (I hate calling him that but it makes it easier in this case) took the PSATs too. We are not involved with his driving licence as his Aunt offered to do the driving lessons with him. Which is nice that she stepped up.

It's good to hear that ballsing up the SATs is not the end of the world. We are British and have no experience of US education. It kind of freaks me out!!!

deXavia Tue 29-Oct-13 03:42:49

I don't want to out my Sister so I'll keep it vague-ish.. but she did this with her DS's friend at a similar age. In the UK so we're talking just after GCSE and into A levels. The background is less relevant but just wanted to position it as a similar lifestage.

Similar happened re exams - for both they offered to pay for tutors and extra classes. Friend said no but like you they considered it non negotiable for their DS. In the end they just sat them down and were really clear - it was non negotiable for the DS, for the Friend they knew they couldn't make him but for these reasons they thought it was important and they told him very clearly if he had been their son it would have been non negotiable.

They believed that at 16/17 the boys were old enough for honesty and it set a tone - which was that in general it was the same rules for both boys, but occasionally big things would come up and they would have to be dealt with. But they were dealt with in the open and by talking.

In the end the boys went off on different career paths - one University, one the Forces - so my Sister supported them both differently depending on what was needed. We're a good few years on now but the Friend is still very much part of the wider family.

Good luck and I agree its awesome that you could help him out.

Roshbegosh Tue 29-Oct-13 04:57:29

I wonder if it should be non-negotiable for both of them. You should be in charge and they are not going to make the best decisions at this age. I would go back and lay down the law here. It is true that you can't make either of them do anything but you are the adult and they need to go with your rules. It doesn't seem right to care enough to make it non-negotiable for your son but not care enough about the friend when you are in loco parentis.

DoubleLifeIsALifeOfSorts Tue 29-Oct-13 05:16:42

I'm so glad it's working out in the main. Well done for doing something truly life changing for this child.

I would take the same approach mentioned above... Take your son aside and tell him it's a non negotiable. Also make it clear that although you care for his friend a great deal, he is still your son and you are putting your foot down about this for his future. Absolutely non negotiatable, and he's not comparable for him to pull the 'but you aren't making hiiiimmm do it'.

Also I do wonder whether you can apply more pressure to the other boy and get him to think about doing it too?

laraeo Tue 29-Oct-13 12:43:52

In all honesty, I didn't mess up the SATs too much - got me into what I'd consider a 1b-type school - not Harvard but respected. I had friends who kept on retaking them and only ever wound up with a 10 point increase.

Having said that, the newish writing portion would be something I'd think you could improve with more practice and feedback (the writing part wasn't around when I took them but I teach high school and know the kids really stress out about that part especially).

Have you talked to him about his grades and plans for after high school? I doubt he'll have very good job prospects without some sort of additional vocational school or at least a junior college. Has he considered enlisting in the military? Not only would it give him some stability, it would enhance future job prospects (gotta find a different word for that) and could help pay for college or a vocational school down the road.

Could he be worried about the cost of everything? Not just the SAT revision per se, but the cost of going to college? There could also be a fear of leaving his comfort zone. A junior college might help ease the transition.

Does he have a decent guidance counselor at school? They can be hit or miss but might have some ideas.

I agree with deXavia and everyone else, the most important thing is to keep communication open and if your DS has to do the class, then he needs to be told that in no uncertain terms.

CaptainSweatPants Tue 29-Oct-13 12:52:17

Does he spend weekends with his grandma?
I don't think your ds can refuse if he's friend is away every weekend

whatsagoodusername Tue 29-Oct-13 13:12:51

I did a SAT prep class back in the late 90s!. I'm not sure it did me a huge amount of good, but I certainly had no regrets taking it. Maybe see how well they do at the PSAT?

I took the SATs twice, with only a slight improvement on the second score. But I knew quite a few people who took it many times and improved each time. I did have friends who did the PSAT, took the course, and had much improved SAT scores.

Encourage them to do the practice tests if they are absolutely refusing the course. If the maths and English sections are the same as when I did them, the practice tests and study guides should be enough if they use them. However, the writing bit is new to me, and I would think that the course would be very helpful in pointing them to the correct style to get the most points.

I'd be inclined to insist that your DS does the course and strongly encourage his friend to do the same. Maybe do the class in the morning, then an activity they would enjoy after, that you wouldn't usually do?

If the friend is worried about university costs and what he will do after high school, the best SAT scores possible will only benefit him (as I am sure you know!). Extra study, which you are funding, could lead him to a scholarship. Maybe go at it from that angle? Plus, iirc, the military much prefer the kids who are doing well in school and get good scores.

Or just pay for the course for them both and tell them they are going because you have. See if any of DS's friends are also doing the course and get several of them together on the same course to make it a little more fun?

CoolStoryBro Sat 08-Nov-14 00:37:14

Apologies for giving my zombie thread another life but I am so excited and wanted to share! Today, our bloody amazing and incredibly brave "Extra Son" got into his University of choice. We are so proud of him. He has come so far from the boy that came to live with us and was all ready to quit school altogether. So, please raise a glass of whatever and say cheers to a very special guy, who has brought something to our family that we didn't even realise we needed. Cheers!

TooMuchCantBreathe Sat 08-Nov-14 00:45:01

What fantastic news! Well done everyone cake

lunar1 Sat 08-Nov-14 00:45:26

That's amazing, well done to him and you. You have done a really amazing thing for this boy.

musicposy Sat 08-Nov-14 00:46:34

That's an amazing outcome and lovely to hear. I remember this thread well from when you were deliberating over what to do. Have some wine too because you've done a wonderful thing and quite possibly changed his whole future for the better.

BillieViper Sat 08-Nov-14 00:55:32

You deserve a bunch of flowers and pat on the back Coolstory
Had no idea this was a zombie thread and was thinking Take him in, take him in...and now I am at the end and he is going to uni.
BLOODY WELL DONE, TAKE A BOW. Am delighted for you all Xxx

CoolStoryBro Sat 08-Nov-14 00:55:54

Thanks! He really has done so well. It hasn't always been easy (far from it!) but this has really made it feel all worthwhile. He has a proper future. We still are waiting to hear from DS's choice of colleges so let's hope we get such good news with him, otherwise all Hell will break loose!! grin

ipswichwitch Sat 08-Nov-14 01:20:31

Fantastic! Well done him, and you for giving him the opportunity to make a future for himself, because without you he would probably be in a much worse place. wine all round I think smile

nothruroad Sat 08-Nov-14 02:13:23

What an amazing family you are. This boy will remember what you've done for him for the rest of his life. You should be very proud - not just of him but of yourselves too.

fuctifino Sat 08-Nov-14 02:27:20

If a zombie thread should ever be revived, your news is as good a reason as any!
So glad everything worked out for you all smile

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