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Should I let my sister live with me?(22 Posts)
My sister is 13 and has a very mild form of autism and anxiety which she takes medication for. She's currently spending the week at our grandparents because my mom is at breaking point with her..
She hardly ever goes to school or if she does she's late every morning, she has no friends and can only make friendships on social media which is worrying with the age she is at.. she fights with my mum and will leave bruises on her, she manipulates my mum and will not allow her to have a relationship, she will do anything to make the guy run away! My mom rarely leaves the house she is a full time carer for my sister and gave up her job which she loved. My mum has no social life whatsoever she isn't allowed to go out at night etc and my sister even sometimes won't let her come and see me.
I have a 1 year old son and live with my partner and have had my sister stay a couple of times and my sister always says she loves it - my household is a lot calmer and less chaotic as at my mums. My mum is amazing and I love her to bits but she's a completely different person nowadays, she's mentally and physically drained from arguing with my sister every day, it's all her life is about and it makes me so upset.
Every one possible has done everything they can, my mum has had counselling etc but my sister won't agree to any therapy at all, she's under camhs but again nothing seems to be helping if anything the situation is getting worse..
Me and other family members have tried talking to my mum about ways she can help herself but she is a natural hot head and will not listen to anyone. She is stuck in a rut and although I don't agree with how my sister has been treating her, I do believe there's an underlying issue that needs solving. Also it's got to the point where I can no longer leave my son with my mum as my sister kicks off and will shout around my boy so my mum is yet again suffering as she can't see her grandson as much as she would like (she adores him and is the best grandparent ever!)
There's a lot more to it obviously, but my question is should I allow my sister to come and live with me and I take care of her even if just for a few months to give my mum a break? She's talking about wanting my sister to go into care etc because she cannot cope anymore and I'm seriously worried for both of them. I feel like this is the only other option otherwise she will have to go into care...
Could you try a weekend or a week? I've got two kids with autism and it's very draining and hard work tho mine are younger. Would she accept ground rules about therapy and school if she came to live with you? I think what you're thinking is lovely but it would be hard work. Are school involved? How does your partner (if you have one) feel? A change of environment might be good for her but it might be a big undertaking. What a lovely sister and daughter you are though.
If she goes into care, my guess is that it would be some kind of residential home rather than foster care, given her age and needs. (I may well not be right though). That would mean more than one adult on hand to cope with your sister and potentially a less emotionally charged situation. However once she is 'in' the care system you can't just change your mind if you don't think it is working for her.
Could you have your sister over more regularly as a form of respite care for your Mum? e.g. weekends?
Either way I would involve SS with decisions and see what support they can give you / your (wider) family.
The adoption and fostering boards (both under 'Becoming a parent') may be able to better advise with this potential 'kinship care' situation.
It could be just what she needs, but there is also the possibility that after a while she'll start acting out with you too and this will have an effect on your DS.
I would have her but make it very clear from the start that it is a trial and that the minute she starts acting out you will not have her anymore. Have set rules laid out that she must adhere to and clear and appropriate sanctions for when she doesn't.
I would also make social services aware of the living situation and the agreement so that they can help if things do turn sour.
How does your DP feel about the plan? It sounds like you and your sister get on okay and the calm atmosphere at your home has been helpful to her in the past, but its very different having someone for a couple of days vs. having them there full-time. If you do decide to have her to stay I would do it on a trial basis and contingent on her engaging with treatments that you can see are helpful. It's possible that once she's ensconced in your home and you become the surrogate 'mum' figure in her life that the conflict she has with your DM will then transfer to you.
Remember too that while it's a kind thing you're thinking of doing, your personal priorities are your DP and DS. Put them first when deciding if this plan is really best. Their safety (in the case of your DS), and your relationship/family with your DP must come first, or you risk damaging your own little family.
Thanks for all your messages! I had my sister for a whole week only a couple of months ago to give my mum some respite - she used my sons bedroom and DS stayed in our room for the week (not convenient but it was ok) but she eventually had to go home and things carried on getting worse between them both to the point she's now at my grandparents for another week however my grandad is not very well so she cannot stay there. When she was at mine for a week it was definitely a lot of hard work, I work 30 hours, had to take her to school in the morning and use lunch breaks to pick her up and take her back to mine... I had to remember her medication, feed her etc at the same time as looking after a 1 year old. But I also enjoyed having her over, I could tell she did well from the break as well and would speak to my mum on the phone and they actually got on!
I've spoke to my partner about it and he's extremely supportive of me and my family, it is a massive decision as well mainly because we'd have to move and get a bigger home (ours is only 2 bedrooms). I'm a family person and will always put them first, I'd hate to see my sister go into care and even worse my mum have a mental break down which is how I see this going
What would your plan B be if it all goes wrong?
I suppose she'd go back to my mum or to social services.. if it goes wrong after this at least we tried everything we possibly could. I just want my family to be happy again, it's causing everyone a lot of stress from worrying about them both
My advice would be no. Have her to stay for a week from time to time but you need to put your family first and that means your DS. You cannot save everyone. Whatever happens you will always be there for your sister, but she is your sister not your daughter.
You sound like a lovely person in a difficult situation but as someone else said residential care could be a good thing.
Please be aware, a common aspect of autism is being 'well behaved' or conforming in an 'outside' situation (i.e. Staying at yours) as you are aware of the social expectation and then lashing out or being difficult or uncommunicative etc in your own 'safe' space (your Mum's) as this is the only place you feel able to relax, be yourself and not mask. This means more extreme reactions usually, as we feel comfortable to react naturally in the 'home' situation. I am autistic and definitely put my parents through that as a teenager, so please consider that the better behaviour in your home may not last if this becomes her safe space. I think maybe you providing regular respite is a good plan.
Also it's got to the point where I can no longer leave my son with my mum as my sister kicks off and will shout around my boy
She could very well do that at your house when she moves in with you. I would offer regular respite but I wouldn't have her move in with me.
I'd stick with regular respite and see if it improves.
Also if she came to you your mum would lose her carers allowance if she gets that and need to look for work which may not materialise too quick.
Don't take her on full time.
Yeah I understand what everyone's saying, but it has now got to the point that my mom can't have her living with her, so it's either with me or SS will take her. She is my little sister and I love them both dearly and I know deep down it would break my mom even more if she got taken to someone who isn't family. As with the respite now and again, i don't want to keep messing up DS routine which is what happens when she comes over then leaves again.. he is moved out of his room and it's just not fair, hence why I'm thinking long term and to provide her with her own bedroom. If there was another option other than care I would do it, but the relationship between herself and my mum has just completely broke down and it's going to take more than a few weeks to fix it. I also believe I can handle my sisters behaviour a lot better than my mom, I'm naturally a calm person and don't let things get to me easily whereas my mum is the complete opposite and gets wound up at the slightest thing and can be in a mood for weeks at a time.. my mums behaviour certainly isn't helping my sister control her anxieties etc - I've seen my sister at her worst and I know exactly what she can be like and I also know how to calm the situations which is another reason I'm thinking it may be best for her to be with me for a little while.
My mom will certainly lose her carers allowance and she will have to find a job and move home, but if I'm honest it's what she needs. She is stuck at home every day, she's depressed and just wants a normal social life, she'd love to go back to work. And if I had my sister, she would HAVE to do something because she wouldn't be getting any income otherwise - so although it will be tough on my mum it will do her good.
You cannot save your Mum and your sister and be the best mum for your DS. You need help from the professionals. Don't try to do this on your own.
I have to be honest I agree even though I understand why you are keen to do it. I have three sons and two have aspergers. Add a healthy dose of hormones and they can be really hard work and I mean that kindly. My eldest ended up sectioned and medicated and I am starting to go through similar with my youngest.
Be supportive. Do not put your son through this though. My middle son has nightmares after my eldest attacked me with a knife. I know it's extreme but she is violent already. And to some extent your mum is manipulating you too. Why would she want her much loved grandchild to live with that horrendous situation.
She could work. Maybe that is the answer. And respite. She needs to lay it out with social services and come up with a better plan. There are also residential schools. Please message me if I can help. I get it i do but it's a mistake if you take full time care.
It maybe that residential school or a foster carer with special experience could provide the structure and one to one your sister needs.
And she could come to you weekends or weeks.
From what you say your sister may benefit more from professional support structured day .
You should not take on more than you can.
Look at it from your sisters needs. You have your ds to consider. A week here Nd tgere and weekends consistently over the years maybe be better than risking it all go wrong.
Get everyone around a table school ss camhs .... ask ss to set up a family group conference and decide. Under certain provision s child is in foster care but parents retain all rights. Or look at specialist residential schools.
You could also ask about and look into getting special guardianship for you so you have some role as well. If mum agrees. And you want that ?
If you take your sister and then it turns out it's too much, you'll be reinforcing her belief that no one can manage her. Much better to set up a regular respite care system where you have her every weekend or one week a month. Then, if after six months or so it was still working, you could increase the time. You'r mum might manage better if she knew she was going to have every weekend free or some other regular break rather than people just taking your sister when it got to breaking point. You might still have to move house though, to make sure you have a bedroom. Regular, shared care might be more realistic than you having her completely. You do sound lovely.
Thank you all so much for your help. I think I do agree with you all and maybe I'm taking on more than I can handle.. I think for the time being regular respite will be the way and will have a sit down with Mum and SS etc to discuss options that will help all of us. Seriously thank you all though, I feel a lot calmer about the situation now!
Do as your mum if she will let you gent involve with any TAC meeting ir family group conference. Let services teachers ss know you are part of the process to help your sister. Look up your local borough how they organise tac meetings. Don't get worried by child protection angle..it can be used to support kids with additional needs . You need a meeting where all involved sit together and agree a short term plan and goals with longer term ideals . Does your sister have an echp plan.?
The point is don't just step in without there being a proper sit down and planning about what you all trying to achieve. Something longer term has to be in pace to support your sister.
Your mum has to agree that you are to be involved.