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Took on care of my 15 year old neice for 6 months and now I don’t think I can do it anymore

Took on care of my 15 year old neice for 6 months and now I don’t think I can do it anymore

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Exhausted594

Took on care of my 15 year old neice for 6 months and now I don’t think I can do it anymore

I just feel really lost right now and k don’t know what to do.

I’m 27 and had agreed to take on my 15 year old neice because she was having troubles at home and not getting along with her step mum and she asked to stay with me. I said she would have to agree to follow my rules if we were to do this. For 6 months I have been taking on the extra admin of a whole other person , balancing a full time job , her health appointments, physio appointments, psychology appointments and having to pick her up from sports trainings two nights a week (40 minute round trip) and drive an hour each way for matches on the weekend. I suddenly felt like I had no life, was dealing with her behaviour / attitude issues she’s had after putting up with a verbally abusive and manipulative mother and I really started to feel like I’m just drowning and beyond my depth. The Father and grandparents didn’t really want to know any time I rang to talk just for emotional support - they’d say ‘ just send her back to her father’ and the dad would just get angry when I asked for child support because it wasn’t fair that I’m taking on the duties of raisingn this kid as well as financially when I am essentially a non parent carer. On top of all this I have my own issues with anxiety that I’ve been trying to manage and it’s just been a really rough six months to say the least. The other day I told her she couldn’t go somewhere because she’d been home unwell and she can’t expect to go out after the school day is over especially with cold and flu symptoms. She totally defied me and told me she was going anyway. That was just the straw that broke the camels back for me and I said if she walks out the door she’s breaking my rules and I will be sending her back to her father and step mother that night. That’s what I did. I am now feeling so sad and upset because on one hand I feel that I had taken on so much and wasn’t getting any support from my extended family and her parents or much appreciation from her and that i gave her 10 or more chances to not disobey or deal with those consequences. On the other hand I can’t help but feel like this child has had so many people let her down and not look after her and now I’m just going to be one of those people who abandoned her. Even if she were to apologise I just don’t think I can keep taking on this responsibility but I am so worried that I have really done more harm then good by taking her in only to give up in the end. I want to tell her that I love her very much but even though I can’t abide by her behaviour and that I’m just not coping with all and my mental health has really taken a turn for the worse. I don’t think she really wants to hear from me at the moment though.
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Sophia-RO

Re: Took on care of my 15 year old neice for 6 months and now I don’t think I can do it anymore

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Hello @Exhausted594 , I’m sorry to hear that you are feeling lost and unsure about what to do. It sounds like you are in a really challenging situation and that you have taken a lot of responsibility for your niece and her needs. That must be a lot to handle. You sound like a really caring and thoughtful person, and I am sorry to hear that this situation has been leaving you feeling worried and sad.

 

It also sucks to hear that you reached out for support from your nieces family but that they did not offer much help or support. You mentioned that you have taken on the financial responsibility of caring for your niece on top of yourself and that this has been hard at times. There is a service called Carer Gateway that provides emotional, practical, and financial support for carers which you might find to be helpful. They have a lot of resources on their website and a helpline that you can call to get some support.

 

I can understand why you set up these boundaries with your niece and why you had told her to go back to her father and step-mother when she violated these boundaries. Sometimes upholding boundaries and the consequences of breaking these boundaries can be a really difficult task. If you ever wanted to talk to someone a bit more about how you might be able to manage this situation, or about how you are feeling,  Parentline offers free and confidential counselling for parents and carers. Hopefully you find these services to be helpful Smiley Happy.

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