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My daughters friend wants to live with us(41 Posts)
Looking for some advice, my daughters best friend turns 16 in Dec & wants to leave home & live with us. She is very unhappy at home with a mentally ill Mum & Dad who is just trying to keep it together. Social services where involved as where the school but the case has been closed. She is reluctant to make anymore noise about her situation (it’s not got any better) as she said her life at home was unbearable when they were being investigated & now just wants to leave home. I’ve done some searches on the rights of a 16yr old, looks like they can move out. I’m not sure what I’ll be facing when this happens, anyone got experience of this? We just want her to feel safe & be happy & are happy to support her anyway we can.
I know someone who did this, had her son's 16yo friend move in. He was still living there 6 yrs later, became her 4th child, I suppose. Was a super nice guy I worked with (we also worked with his mom).
You can see how it goes? Try to lay out ground rules for everyone up front. Everyone already in the home needs to be ok about it, too.
You're very kind aren't you? Bless you.
If you allow her to move in you need to sit down with her and VERY clearly lay down the rules of your home and what will be expected of her, and that there will be no comprise. If she can't/won't live by your rules, she will have to leave. It would be a massive mistake to allow her to disrupt the rest of your family. That simply can't happen.
You have the potential here to make a huge difference to someone at a very vulnerable and important age.
This is a marvellous thing if you can pull it off. I hope it works out for all of you.
What does her dad say? Does she have any other siblings?
Just be wary. I did this year's ago and the young person turned out to have a host of undesirable qualities I would never have guessed till they were in my home 7 days a week. It ended pretty badly. I was trying g to be kind but was maybe naive.
My advice, if you do it, is agree to a trial period and have a plan B for where she could go if it doesn't work. Friendships are also sometimes not forever.
Think what you do if your daughter becomes unhappy with the arrangement.
It's a very kind thing to do But I do caution you to plan ahead and envisage worst case scenario first. Just IME.
@GreenMum37 I've been there at a similar age. DDs best friend moved in with us as life with her mother was very difficult. It started off ok but she had little respect and was lazy. Also my daughter shared a room with her and it had a detrimental effect on her. After 8 moths we were going through a difficult family time and this was adding to the stress. She went back to her mums and things were better-the space had done them both good.
If you have the space to have her own room and lay down family rules I'd say go for it. I don't regret doing it despite the aggro it caused as it helped her at the time she needed it.
Good luck xx
It's admirable but do go into it with your eyes open.
With the issues she has already had to face in her young life she is very likely to come with issues of her own, which she may be able to keep well hidden as an occasional visitor.
You want help her now, rather than see her homeless/in an unhappy home. How much harder will it be to tell her she needs to move out if it doesn't work out and she has nowhere to go?
That said, if you are able to make it work you will have done a very important thing indeed
Does it have to be all or nothing? Can you offer her a place to be as respite from her home situation?
What are her plans for education or work? She’s still her parents legal responsibility until she’s 18, but that doesn’t mean she has to live there.
I agree with pp’s, you need everyone in the family to be realistic about what’s possible.
I think it’s great that she might get some peace in what sounds like a challenging situation.
Goodness, OP, I was about to post about a parallel situation with my DD's friend, except she's only 15. It's not quite the same, but essentially, she'd like to move in with our family as she doesn't have a good relationship with her parents (who went through a horrible divorce) and she feels unloved and borderline neglected.
But, I know that DD's friend has some behavioural issues that she conceals when she's here and I couldn't trust her to live here unless I 100% knew she wouldn't lie, steal, do drugs, etc.
I think the suggestion of respite and providing a safe haven while your DD's friend works things out with her family would be the best approach. Regular sleepovers, coming over for dinner, knowing she can call you in a crisis, all those will make her feel safe and know that she has people around her who care.
Can you contact social services and look into options for supported living once she reaches 16? That way she has a safe roof over her head, some independence and you can still support her in other ways.
It might sound selfish, but I'm not sure I would do it. It's amazingly kind of you to even consider it, but it could easily turn into a nightmare (obviously I haven't met the girl, so I wouldn't know). I think there might be other ways to help (social services?)
I had my daughters friend move in with us she was a lovely girl having a different home life, she was no trouble there was no repercussions - no offer of financial support from her parents tho, we made a different to her life when she needed it most
I did it when my son was that age. His friend "P" seemed really nice, he was having serious problems at home, parents wanted him out. My DS begged for us to take P , so we ended up doing it.
I'm afraid it ended really badly. P turned out to have many personality issues which clashed with our family , and caused multiple problems. He became like a "cuckoo in the nest", imposing himself into our little family and causing huge rifts between us . Our DD in particular, was really damaged by his manipulative and sneaky behaviours which undermined her self-confidence to a huge degree.
I ended up having to throw him out - at that stage he was 18 and making himself very comfortable at everyone else's expense. I'd got to the stage where I actually hated him, and I'd avoid going home sometimes if I knew he was there. The day I told him to leave , was the happiest day of my life.
If you want to do this, I'd say that you should try to find out from other people, what she is really like. Don't just take your DD's opinion - as a teen herself she'd think her friend can do no wrong. But there may be issues which arise later - too late if she is already living as a member of your family. Good luck.
We provided residential care for my eldest dd’s friend for 18 months until she finished school and went to university. Mum (actually adoptive mum) was an alcoholic with Borderline Personality Disorder, divorced from adoptive father (who didn’t want her in his new family set up) and remarried. Step dad was trying to hold family together but mum was in and out of rehab/ institutions and making frequent suicide attempts. We had been providing occasional respite for years while trying to support the family. Eventually the dd broke down on one of the occasions her mum was due to be released from a psychiatric hospital. Her mum called me from the hospital and asked if I would take her.
Initially the plan was she would stay with us until the end of the school year and then either return home or move cities to live with her dad for the last year of school. As mum and dad didn’t speak, I had to liaise separately with them both. Dad agreed to send me a nominal amount for groceries every month.
It soon became very clear that she couldn’t return home and dad didn’t want her. I was very concerned for her. She was having suicidal thoughts and we were working very hard to help her build a good therapy relationship and keep her safe. On top of this we were trying to facilitate an ongoing relationship with her own family. This wasn’t helped by her mum deciding to move a day’s drive away with no notice, and frequent recurrent drunken attacks both on social media and privately. In the end her therapist supported her through a period of no contact to concentrate on her own mental health. We also had to counsel her through university choices and applications, which was almost impossible as she was so low, but we wanted her to have options even if she ended up deferring.
At one point she was looking into emancipated minor status but she didn’t need it.
Anyhoo. She stayed with us for eighteen months and finished school. She did go straight to university, although she did end up changing course. This September she started her social work degree, and talked a lot in her application about the importance of access to stable trustworthy adults for vulnerable teenagers.
I’m happy we were able to help her, but don’t underestimate how hard it will be, and how much it will take away from your own children (I have three.) Also, don’t underestimate how much four teenagers can eat.
My partner was on board (in fact, he was the first person to sagely say at one point ‘she’s going to end up living here, isn’t she?) But it put a lot of pressure on our family unit all round.
I wish you the best.
I took in two of my daughter's friends - the first a boy who was thrown out of his mother's home when he "came out" as gay during his senior year. His father lived several hours away, and he wanted to remain in this area to complete classes and graduate. I got written permission from his father for him to stay, and he lived under the same rules as my daughter. After he graduated he went to his father's area to go to uni.
The second was my daughter's best friend who did not get along with her mother's boyfriend. I tried to encourage her to work things out until I met the boyfriend. She moved in with us for one school year and then left the state to live with her grandparents. I am still in touch with both of them. However, both mothers live locally and still do not speak to me. I can live with that.)
Um - I should also add that at one point we were warned by her mum’s therapist that mum was likely to be unpredictable and dangerous to both of us, and that if she turned up at the house we should call the police immediately (or take the kids and run if we knew she was on her way). That was particularly stressful during dd1 and her friend’s final exams.
You mention the dad is just about holding it together. What does he think about this, have you asked him? Offered any support there?
It does sound like you just want to be a heroine, 'hey look at me and how I took this girl in'
Thank you all for sharing ! It’s given me a lot to think about . I agree we need to set boundaries & I think the idea of a trial is a good suggestion & way of saying we’ll review this & let’s respect each other. We’ve talked about it a lot as a family & we are going to spend the next few months speaking with the girl to agree next steps. The best outcome would be to give the family some space & time to rebuild. She is in her last year of GCSEs & is making applications to sixth form so will be in full time education. Thanks again x
Yes we have offered support to the Dad & Mum. They have both declined
Do you have enough space - don't do this if the girls will have to share a room, it puts too much strain on the set-up if they fall out at a crucial time, just before A level exams or similar.
Someone I know did this a couple of years younger - the resident parent actually died from complications of a chronic illness and the non resident parent was not around. It backfired on the best friend child of the accidental foster parents somewhat, as they were sharing a room and being together as siblings instead of friends was totally different - the very lovely child they took in was unfortunately a bit too lovely and the child of the foster parents felt overshadowed, was not as popular socially and over time became withdrawn and very unhappy and did a lot worse in her A levels than expected.
They built an extension so they could have separate bedrooms which helped eventually, and the teens concerned are adults now and get on very well, it was a good thing to do in the long run, but the shift from friends to siblings might be very hard on your own DD in ways you don't expect, even if the teen you take in does their absolute best to follow your rules and be an asset to the family!
Obviously there's also the risk of them going off the rails once they feel safe and testing your boundaries/ limits just as younger foster or adopted children, and indeed children in their birth homes, sometimes do!
Keep an eye on the impact on your own DD, she's not old enough to understand the varied ways this might go or might impact her, is my advice.
My mom did this twice as we were growing up! Once my Dsis BF (similar issues as your DDs friend) - she required a lot of support, time and guidance. My DM had to teach her the basics of self care. It was really hard on my mom as she tried to juggle work, all of us and the friend. It definitely took DMs time that she normally would have spent with my siblings (I was away at uni). She got into an abusive relationship and left- she married the guy, blocked us all. DM told her she was always welcome. 3 years later she turned up with a suitcase as she had left her abusive DH and needed somewhere to live- stayed for another 3 years whilst she went to uni. My DPs were about to downsize and retire but had to put that on hold. Now really close to the family remarried and lovely SP to his kids.
The second time its was another dsis bf - this time my DM agreed for her to stay for 2 months but work out issues with her DM at the same time. She ended up staying 6 months but went home of her own accord and had a better relationship with her DM. Again still close to our family.
It is a lovely thing to do BUT be very aware of the impact it can have on the family unit. And you may be the person they turn to as an adult which again has its own implications. I love my DM for how kind and welcoming she is but she says that she felt very guilty when the first friend stayed. Have clear rules and work out what will happen if it doesn't work out. I believe in both cases my DM made a difference to their lives.
I took in my DS2's quite recent GF because her DF had hit her. Apparently he used to hit her DM frequently but on this occasion the girl had tried to protect DM and got thumped.
She stayed with us for seven years. She and DS2 broke up in April. She tells me I've
There are lots of children in informal "foster" situations like this.
At 16, she can leave home but officially needs parental permission to do so. (In reality this is rarely enforced.)
If you can get an "official" placement endorsed by Social Services, you may be able to claim CB, but don't count on it. You won't be eligible to claim maintenance etc. So economically you'll need to consider if you can meet her needs in terms of food and clothing, school equipment, allowance etc.
In terms of housing, while initially they could share a room, seperate bedrooms would be best to avoid straining the friendship.
As this young girl clearly has suffered a lack of emotional support in her birth family, she may "imprint" on you as a mother figure and be very clingy, at least initially. It will be important to set expectations for this with your DD and maintain some ground rules about DD having time with you 1 on 1 so she doesn't feel pushed out.
You need to commit to spending time and energy supporting this girl to seek mental health support, initially probably through CAMHS. (I know CAMHS have a bad rep in some areas but my own experiences with them have been largely positive.) You need to be able to faciliate her to get to appointments, attend ocassional catch up sessions, agree contingency plans, arrange contact sessions with her birth parents if she wants them, give her support to reach her academic goals.
You'll also need your Dh/DP on the same page as you. They can't expect that things will just carry on the same but with a +1. They need to state what input they will have and how they plan to help this young person to fit into your existing family unit. For example, assuming they do a solo activity with your DD, will they be able to include DD's friend in this activity, or can they commit a similar amount of time to 1 on 1 activities with friend?
Good luck OP, please PM me if I can help further.
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