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Advise on Living situation


I am looking for advise on my living situation with my wife and little brother. 2 years ago my wife and i let my 15 yo brother moving in with us in our 1 bedroom apartment. this was because our mother was having some legal and financial issues. and lost her house. (father is out of the picture). the conditions of him staying with us were that he attend school, pass his classes(not asking for A's just to pass), keep his room(the dinning room) clean. and vacuum once a week...   this situation was only suppose to be temporary while our mom got back on her feet. but that never happened, mom went to prison for 2 years for some white color thing, and little brother got stuck with us.

now to the problem. 3 months in we realized that this wasn't going to work out. the entire summer he did nothing but sit in front his computer. then when school started his grades went straight to failing(well the classes that actually required work). his room has never been clean, and he has vacuumed maybe 10 times out of the 100 weeks. he ditches school when he can (there has been 19 days of school this trimester and he has missed 5). We've taken away all his stuff piece by piece, first computer, then play station/TV then ipad and phone.and when ever we are out for the day he will go in our room and take it back for the day. which forced us to buy locks for the bedroom door.  In the past we used to give him rides to and from school everyday(2 blocks away). and now we don't do that for him and he hates us for it. in a way i kinda feel bad for him, i mean he was raised by a single mom that spoiled him like crazy. now shes out of the picture for awhile. and hes stuck the way he is, no structure, no discipline, no drive .

End result is that he is a very lazy kid with no drive that feels highly entitled and does nothing but take and take. me being the brother i can put up with it, im his brother, its kinda expected. however my wife has had enough, she's talking about moving out and/or staying at friends houses here and there just to avoid him. she insists that it feels like he's takes away her home and personal space.

He's 17, we are not his parents, we are not his guardians, his mother is in prison and father is unknown. we have tried all surrounding family and no one will take him.  We tried to open a case with social services and they said they wouldn't do anything because "the mother set up a home for him" 

So what our my options? any advise?  should i just kick him out to live on the street? i would send him too boot camp but we aren't exactly rolling in money living in our 1 bedroom apt.

Re: Advise on Living situation

  • Wow, that's tough.  How much longer until he graduates?  I'm guessing not this June, but next June?  That's still a long time.

    Could you turn him over to foster care or is that the social services you were referring to?  I know a lot of cities have laws where you can leave any child at places like a hospital or police station.  Although it's usually infants/very young children that are most typically left, anyone under the age of 18 will be taken (I think).

    I realize those are drastic ideas and its sad because I'm sure he's a troubled person.  But the situation is already pretty dire if your wife is ready to move out.

    Have you had a heart to heart with him?  Point out how you were there for him when he needed someone, but now you need his help.  Let him know the stress his behavior is putting on the marriage and you need him to step up.  He needs to do what he promised.  Go to school and pass.  Help around the house.  Encourage him to get a part-time job.

    Have you checked if there are any social programs to help you monetarily for taking care of him?

  • It may be tough since he is so much older, but have you considered signing him up for the Big Brother/Big Sister program? If he had a "big brother" who wasn't in his family, lots of times a strong, emotionally grounded, good, "father-figure" in a program like this can help a kid.

    What are his friendships at school like?

  • I like the suggestion of getting him a big brother. It could be someone besides family that he can talk to. With him being 17 it's probably time for him to start thinking about college. I think it's time to sit him down and find out what his plans are for after graduation. Does he want to go to college, get a full time job or maybe join the military. Advise of what can happen to him with school if he keeps skipping and doesn't improve his grades. Things like he could have to repeat his current grade, and having bad grades could keep him from getting into colleges that he may want to apply to. My theory is after a child graduates high school, they don't have to go to college, but then they need to get a full time job or something to support themselves. And let him know that you aren't paying for him to go to college if that's the route he wants to take and the better grades he has, the better chances he has at scholarships.

    For the rest of it, time to put down rules in writing and the consequences of doing them. Make him start doing his own laundry. If you want to give him the money to do it, that's your decision. Or you can make him get a part time job to pay for doing his own laundry. Also change your internet password so he can't access when he is being punished, even if he sneaks in & gets his computer back.
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