Episode 23

Boarding Your Child's Ousted Friends

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I have never understood why perfectly sane people who allow their teenager's ousted friends to move in with their families are surprised when the outcome is a disaster. Surely, there is a success story out there somewhere, but I have yet to see it in my courtroom. Did this living arrangement work for you or someone you knew or did it cause even more trouble? Anything to share? 

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  1. UPDATE: What You Wish You Didn’t Have

    by Joshuah So my friend just moved back into his mother’s place, having spent Christmas with us. He was upset that his mother had said she missed having him around for Christmas, so convinced was he up to that point that she’d enjoy Christmas more without him. In fairness to him, she ejected him from the house for the entire month, intending to include Christmas. Actually, there were already signs that she was having cold feet. I took him back there about a week before to help him remove some of his belongings, and he was displeased to see she had hung his stocking on the fireplace. (Everyone in their family had a stocking with their name sewn into it.) Now he’s upset to realize that I was right. Despite all of his medical issues, which up until his recent brain surgery had been the primary basis for wishing his family would never speak to him again, his mother is better off WITH him in the picture than she is without. As of two days ago, he still doesn’t like it, but he’s come to accept it.
  2. Be Careful What You Wish You Didn’t Have!

    by Joshuah Right now, a very close, and longtime friend of mine is being kicked out of his mother’s home and forced to move in with his father. Now what actually led to his mother kicking him out is another story for another day, and money is only the surface of it. But she explicitly told him she did not want to spend Christmas with him—that’s really the kind of hostility I’d expect from his father, whose relationship with him is hostile to begin with. (In her case, I say the term “hostile” for lack of a less one-sided way to put it.) Thankfully, due to nearby construction, there’s a police officer parked in dad’s neighborhood 24-7 for now. Meanwhile, my mother has offered to let him stay here if all else fails, on the grounds that he just got his old job back today (with a pay raise), got me the same job with a similar rate, and we had recently lived like clockwork as college roommates. (Ma and I think his impulsive behavior is due to a chronic lack of love and insufficient emotional support.)
  3. took in bipolar friend

    by Dan My wife and I took in a younger bipolar friend I had acquired when substitute teaching. He had started hanging around me, I helped him with academic work, he lived nearby. At 20, he was thrown out of his parents' house. He is bipolar, so when he is "up" he is quite brilliant, and when he is "down" he's exasperating. We let him move into our guest bedroom, and spent a few grand getting him evaluated so he could get assistance, which got him on meds. We eventually got him enrolled in WMU and, against my better judgment, my wife cosigned on a studio apartment by the campus. And, it didn't backfire. He paid the rents and got through college and is now living on his own in Colorado. We were out a few grand, but we never deceived ourselves into thinking we would be paid back for anything we spent. I went into it with low expectations, and it worked out better than I expected.
  4. Bring in the experts

    by Susan After two less than ideal experiences with runaways, I made a hard and fast rule: if someone wants to stay because of abuse at home, they must first report the abuse to the proper authorities and get a full physical, mental, and medical examination the results of which the doctor(s) will share with me. I'm willing to help someone in trouble by taking them to the police, a lawyer, a shelter, a hospital, or some other appropriate place where professional help is available. I am not willing to welcome trouble into my home. As one person put it, "It's one thing to welcome in a friend whose home has burned to the ground. It's another thing to welcome in the arsonist."
  5. Ousted friend became like family

    by Anon When I was in high school, the stepmother of my close friend decided that she wanted a sewing room so she kicked my friend out of her father's home. She had also asked his other children to leave as well. Since her mother lived far away from our school and after school jobs, she stayed with me most of the time. It worked out fine - she was quiet, and drove me to school and work and she still gets along with my family. We spend holidays together and we are still the closest of friends. I think the success of this story is because we're talking about a good kid who was just "in the way" of a selfish stepmom, not a bad kid who'd been kicked out for bad behavior. We were and are both quiet nerds.
  6. A Home In Need

    by Patrice Some years ago my son Josh had a friend, Josh F. who's mother was very troubled. The woman had no business having children! She had left her abusive husband and moved into a shelter. Josh F. was miserable. He and my son were both about 14. Josh F. would tell my son that he had to go to bed at 8:00. Lights out! And up at 6:00 am. I felt very sorry for Josh F. that I asked him to ask his Mom if he could stay with us until she got back on her feet. She said yes. I called the shelter to make sure it was okay, and it was. Josh stayed for six months and we had no trouble at all. He was always very courteous and helpful. I heard he is now a career serviceman and doing well! No regrets, here!
  7. A great kid grows up well....

    by Wendie My son went to school with a little boy whose mother left him when he was a baby. I always enjoyed having him around so the day he turned 18 he called because his father had put all his things outside. We took him in and helped him get his life together. He joined the military and came home to marry his girlfriend. They had a baby and she left them and now he is raising his daughter alone. He turned out to be a great man and I am glad we were able to help him.
  8. Boarding Friends

    by Rachael I think this turned out okay for me. My mother is a narcissist and when I was in my teenage years, she considered I was of no use to her anymore and she put my things out on the deck. That was it, she was done. Puppy got old. I went to live with my best friend, and we are still best friends today. I'm very close to her family and call her mother Mom. For me, she saved my life.
  9. live and learn...as they say

    by Candiss My children were teenagers and had friend whom I knew well and always very respectful and nice to have around. Then the day of reckoning came and instead of sticking to my own rules, I broke them when this young man came over one day bag and baggage crying that he had a fight with his mother and needed some space, and my place was it. I called his mother who I knew and let her know her son was by my house and I would let him stay in order to give them some space. Well while I was giving them space, I was pulling my hair. He soon wanted to take complete control and shine in my eyes, while snitching on my kids to me. The metaphor, "the blacker I paint you, the whitier I look".is true. It didnt take me long to send him packing right back to his mother. The bottom line is, there should be no involvement in other people's children. I should have followed my own moral compass. We have responsibilities to parent our own children. Teaching them virtues and morals along the way.
  10. The Rare Success

    by Richard At age 18, about a week before going to college, I was kicked out of my house due to an argument with family. My best friend's family took me in for that week, and offered to let me stay with them in the future if the need ever arose. Today, I realize my mistakes, and understand why it was important for my family to have that time of separation: tensions were high, and there were a lot of difficulties. Different personalities added to the mix, making resolution even more difficult to achieve. Fortunately, though, my friend's family realized that I was not unreasonable, and their generosity helped me make it through a tough time. In reality, I do not believe that I deserved to be kicked out for the reason I was. This is probably a rare story, but I think that the important lesson is that it really depends on what the circumstances are.
  11. Homeless child

    by Dianne This is about our daughter's first high school sweetheart. His home life was less than perfect. Our daughter asked if her boyfriend could sleep on the sofa because his family had kicked him out. I was outraged, someone tossed their child into the streets. We didn't approve of our daughter's boyfriend living in our home. so I called the local office of the social services to get advice. They advised if the family tossed him into the street, there is a bigger picture we aren't seeing. The adviser said firmly "NEVER LET HIM MOVE IN, YOU'LL NEVER GET HIM OUT"! Against our better judgement we talked to our daughter and refused. The boy owned his own car, so he slept in that parked at our curb. Slowly he ventured off never to return...dumping our daughter and scamming other girls in his path. Last we heard he moved in with another girl. Fathered 2 sons, stayed jobless and got involved with drugs.I want to HUG that Social worker for her advice!
  12. Too soft?

    by Kathy My 20 year-old son's girlfriend (19) just started living with us. She is from a broken home, and is constantly being put down by her mother. No matter how flat you make a pancake, there are always two sides to it, but right now all we have is her side. I can't see a 19 year old girl out on the streets, but at this stage of my life (57) I am looking forward to kids moving OUT...not more moving in. Out of five children, ages 19-26, four are still living at home. My son's girlfriend is a sweet girl, but this should be time for my husband and me. Money is tight as it is, and now we are supporting her. My son's boss is trying to get her a job. I hope he is able to so they can get a place of their own. Bottom line: I just can't turn my back on someone in need, but this is not the first time we've had my children's friends here. We seem to be the "half-way house," Am I wrong to want my home to just my husband and me after 26 years of raising our family? Are we just being too soft?
  13. Old school

    by Alder I come from an old-school, disciplined African background and though I am 33 still apply the rules. It is risky taking in stray friends as they can have negative influences on one's kids .Why have they been chucked out by their families? Remember you will never get the truth unless you speak to the parents as well. Never let your children make decisions or control you.
  14. Ousted friends.

    by Jane Too many times it seems like our kids hold us hostage about helping out their friends who have gotten themselves in a pickle and can't go home. Never dreaming it would ever come to this my daughter and her child welcomed a friend in their home because that person had no where else to go. Seemingly! Going to the streets was not an unfamiliar option for this kid but having my grandchild say if that was the only other choice he would accompany his friend to the streets. Not wanting to have to decide how it was going to end nor wanting to challenge the outcome, the friend was "invited" to stay for a few days. That was 3 years ago and surprisingly enough the whole thing has turned out quite favorably for everyone. The 2 kids have since moved on with their own lives and are doing okay and my daughter is grateful for her decision not to ignore the chance to make a difference in a young life.
  15. Strays

    by Toni While I never have been asked by any of my children to bring in an ousted friend, I have had my husband do it many times. His mother would always allow the "strays" of the neighborhood stay in her apartment with them when he was little. Now he does the same thing with "friends", some of which he barely knows. Giving them room and board and worst of all sharing my kitchen and bathrooms. This has happened intermittently throughout our 20+ years relationship, but the interference does not last long as I make my disappointment PERFECTLY clear! :) Thank you so much for your great work, Judy!! It is so very important.
  16. My Linda

    by Peggy When we were about ten years old, my best friend, Linda, moved in down the street. We were inseparable. We climbed trees, danced to 45 rpm records, and did all the things pre-teens did in the 50's. One problem in Linda's life was that her mother was mentally ill. She was divorced from Linda and her brother's father, had remarried, and had a second daughter. Linda and her brother resembled their father closely, and I believe that it may have been a factor in ill treatment of Linda by her mother. As the years passed, Linda's mother became angrier at Linda for no apparent reason. She screamed at her and forbade her from doing many "kid" things that her brother and half sister enjoyed. Finally, things came to a head. Linda's mother kicked her out of the house. My mother and father scooped her up and took her in. Linda was 14 years old, and the sweetest girl we had known. My family loved her dearly and she was already part of us. Her father finally took her in. We missed her.
  17. Boundary Setting

    by Joanne My son's best friend was ousted out of his house for not mowing the lawn! He had grown up with my son since age 2 and he is a decent guy. His parents on the other hand were split up and he had been living with his dad and his dad's new girlfriend, who decided it was either her or him. So they used the excuse of non-lawn care to boot him out. Jobless, penniless, and fresh out of high school with a diploma in hand, I decided I would let him crash on my couch downstairs.Then I arranged with another friend of mine to take him to the soup kitchen to demonstrate where he would be eating, and next to the local working center to see a counselor. Within a week this young man had a full-time job, his own apartment and is now about to become a daddy with his girlfriend who is the light of his life. So at age 22, I am happy to say that he was so grateful to me, and it was all about love and detachment and setting of boundaries and instilling the fear of the reality of homelessness! Yes, Judy!
  18. Extra kids...

    by Suzie My mother was always picking up strays - we always had a kid in the house she didn't give birth to. I have three sisters and two brothers and couldn't begin to tell you how many strays lived with us through the years. It never went bad as far as I know, but there were a couple I'd have preferred weren't in the house all the time. I think maybe if my parents weren't as strict as they were, if they weren't around as much as they were - then yes, it might not have turned out ok. Anyone who came in to our house to stay was treated exactly the way we were, was expected to follow the rules, if they didn't, they were out.
  19. Not ousted but she was mine for a summer

    by Mm My friend's daughter, living in another state, didn't graduate HS because of one course. She was attending an elite private girls school. In order to get her diploma, she had to take the class in a comparable school which was why she was sent to me. My criteria was my rules, my expectations, and remember - my house. She was a catered little princess, and I was, and still am single. Within the first week she found out how serious I was and also understanding as long as she followed my rules. However, I then said no communication with me and her parents because they were friends and wanted to keep them. It worked. I asked her to please be accountable and do not tell me what she expected at my home. Outcome-she successfully fulfilled the requirements( I had called the school) realized she met her match, and all worked out well. The mom and I are still friends 30 years later and her daughter admits it was the best experience.
  20. drastic times call for drastic measures

    by Sandra C I let my daughter's girlfriend and boyfriend (they had a 4 year old at the time) stay with us for a few months until they got a place. They had been kicked out of the previous home they were staying. I could not get them out even by calling the police; they had told the police they were renting my place. I ended up having my utilites cut off and stopped stocking the fridge in order to get them out . My daughter had since moved out of state and I was stuck with these losers. Drastic times call for drastic measures!
  21. Make believe it's basketball and Toss Them Out!

    by Espinaca I've been a landlady of a large apartment building for nearly 35 years. During this time, I have had tenants who moved in teenagers who just could not find happiness at home and just had to leave and just planned to stay a short while and just get ahead. As with the other writer, the teens were mostly lazy. I only heard one side of the story, and it was their story. All parents were no good, and they were happy to corroborate any suggestions of horror that they endured while at their original home. Getting tattos, drinking, taking up smoking, I've seen it all. Don't take in your children's friends, period! Why buy a problem, you'll only regret it. Thanks for listening.
  22. Don't Try This At Home

    by Joyce I went through this experience years back when I walked in on my stepdaughter hiding one of her friends in the closet! Her parents and she were not "getting along". The only solution to this problem is don't even try it! I sent the girl home after one day. My stepdaughter started playing me and her father like a fine violin over the 1 day she did stay in our home! I called her parents and told them where she was, after the girl refused to do it herself, then I asked the parents to come and get her! Case closed, except for the long talk I gave my stepdaughter about not rescuing her friends from their parents! Don't make your home a rescue station for kids who think they want to get away from their parents! Send the kids home and let their parents work things out! If the kid looks like they are being physically abused, then call the authorities and report it!
  23. Success Story

    by Linda After I graduated high school, I was planning to move out on my own. I came from a dysfunctional family and I just wanted a fresh start. I had been saving my money and preparing to move out when I got kicked out of my house. My friend and I had already signed a lease for an apartment and were planing to move in two weeks. My friend's parents let me stay with them until we moved into our apartment. I really appreciated their help and all worked out as planned. There were a few keys to success: I had a job and we agreed on how long I would stay. I would never do this for someone who is addicted or someone who is abusive. Of course there are a lot of people out there who aren't responsible and who take advantage of people and that's why this is generally not a good idea.
  24. One night...

    by Avis I have had this happen twice. First of all, I tell the ousted teenager that I will be happy to help them with their problem. In both cases,(teenagers) I made it clear they can stay one night only so that they are safe. Then I give them a list of shelters, counseling agencies and church groups that can assist them with shelter and counseling. I also ask them for names and telephone numbers of relatives. After they compile it, I tell them to start calling the agencies and relatives. I tell them that I would be glad to drive them where they need to go once they find a place.In both cases, they went back home the next day.
  25. Guidelines Will Help!

    by Daci I never did this but I can understand why a parent would want to help a kid in need. I liked my kid's teenage friends and if one had needed to they could have bunked with us. I watch your show a lot, JJ and so I know how important it is to have CONTRACTS and to have them on paper. I think that is what should be done in a case like this before anyone moves their 'stuff' in. Talk about what the terms and conditions are and all parties, if possible, agree to it...and get it on paper! I know how hard it is for parents and kids to listen to each other but a non-parent could seem like a kind and sympathetic ear. But get the feelings out of it and get it agreed on and be rational! Please!

    by Crystal My daughter's high school friend had a very unhappy home life so when my mother died leaving her little residence on our property empty, we thought that "Amy" could move in for the summer and share rides while she and my daughter worked at a busy restaurant. I filled the residence with everything from food to bedding to make her transition easy. Amy moved in and managed to "miss" her job interview, expect to use my car to look for the job she never landed, eat meals with us, swim in the pool, move her brother in every weekend, and wave goodbye with my husband and I as our daughter went to her job. My irritation last two weeks until I told her "OUT". My daughter graduated college, is married, while Amy is a waitress with a shocking Facebook page.
  27. Aaron

    by Lynn My 18-year old son's 19-year old (male) friend named Aaron moved in with us after being ousted by his father, who is reportedly an abusive alcoholic. His mother left when he was two. He adhered to our household rules and did not give us grief. I paid $75 for him to test for the GED. He passed with flying colors, and he is now gainfully employed. He is no longer on the public dole and he takes pride in his work. He lived with us for about a year. I realize this is unusual to have such a good outcome. I still refer to him as my son.
  28. I tried to help

    by Robyn I think a lot of the time people want to see the good in others, so they take in these "ousted friends" of their children's. They can't imagine ousting their own child, so they don't think it can be that bad. I took in a 15 year old female friend of my oldest daughter, who was living in a trailer with no heat, no air, and no running water, and the girl often did not know where her mother was, who was a drug addict. She was grateful I took her in, cooked and cleaned as "repayment" although I did not ask for it but I was thankful for the help. I was indeed surprised that the girl's grandmother, who seemed to dislike the child, harassed me, threatened to sue me, and all kinds of things, even though she said she did NOT want the child living with her! I did my best for the girl, but eventually her father came for her and she willingly went with him. A few years later she came by to thank me for trying to help her, and she went in the right direction in her life because I cared.
  29. Happy Ending

    by Anne My step-son was a senior attending a Catholic High School. One of his friends asked us if he could live with us the last 3 months until he graduated as he had been "kicked out" by his mother. He stated he had no problem sleeping on the floor. He never gave us a minute's problem or worry and we never asked why he got kicked out of his home actually. He graduated, joined the Marines, became some type of, elite in his service. We only heard he had "secret" missions. After a couple of tours in the Marines he went on to college, graduated, then on to his Masters. He now has a PHD in Psychiatry, working at Univ of Austin (I believe) doing research. He was a great kid and now is a great man. We were happy to have helped him in his time of need.
  30. Children's Ousted Friends

    by Sarah My husband had a son from a previous marriage. His son had a close friend that was kicked out of his home by his stepfather. The boy was very nice and we didn't have any problem with him at all. However, the mother did finally kick the stepfather out because of his behaviour, having no right to kick the child out in the first place, drinking, cursing his wife and not helping to pay any of the bills at the home. It ended very well. The boy moved back home and the mother filed for divorce from her husband. Thank you for reading this, and I hope you don't have too many bad replies from your title.
  31. A Happy Ending

    by Doris I took in a young lady whose mother had removed her from school and kicked her out of the house. She was sleeping in parked cars. I had her emancipated and reinstated in her school. She graduated from High school and got a good job. She continues to keep in touch and is doing well.

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