I think you need to chat to your family, just like you would if you were considering welcoming foster children in. Allow any feelings - negative or positive - about the situation. Decide as a family together about whether Tom is a guest (and therefore subject to boundaries you would put on a close friend) or a family member. I suspect the issue is the lack of clarity and knowing the whole family is on the same page, not Tom himself.


Agreed. Her children, most likely see him as the "adopted" brother. They might not find any problem in the current situation, however it is op's choice.


Commenting to boost this. This is exactly the right answer. There is a chance your kids already feel that Tom is a brother, and have zero or few concerns about "keeping" him


This this this! Also OP, you are a great person. Tom will be better for it and so will your boys. You’re teaching them the golden rule. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Tom might be 15 now but one day he will be a grown man with his own family and will never forget what you did for him. From a successful 31 year old who used to be a 15 year old Tom. ♥️


It’s tough. My son had 2 friends in high school that essentially “lived” with us. I chose to accept them into the family. I consider them my 2 “other sons”. They’re now in their mid 20s. Both still call me regularly when they need advice about jobs and life. They don’t really have any other adult men they can talk to. I value having them in my life. They’ve both moved out of town, but always stop by when they come home. It may not work for you, but it’s been very rewarding for me. I love those kids.


As this guy says it's tough but this lad has drawn a shit hand in life. although it's not your responsibility you will find that long term the gratitude thrown your way will be worth it. He for sure appreciates what you do for him and the more mature he gets will show it. Also friends and family will take note as it's a wonderful thing your doing. In a few years he will be 18, independent and most likely wanting his own space.


This is how we grew up. My brother’s best friend had parents that just didn’t care. Aaron was at our house 90% of the time. My parents sat him down and said he had to contribute to family chores and that his grades needed to stay up, but that here he was considered family and he’d always have a roof over his head, a full belly and a family that loves him. To this day I still consider that man my eldest brother. OP, if you can afford it, why not just include him as one of your own? It sounds like this kid desperately needs it and is a positive influence. Instead of seeing him as an outsider, just set some ground rules and tell him he is loved. That’s all he wants.




As someone who regularly lived at my friend’s house in high school—thank you. I understand where OP is coming from, but it was so nice to be wanted and welcomed somewhere. It was truly a life changing gift. Thank you.


I can second this! I don't know what I would've done without my 'other' family. They knew how difficult my home life was and truly accepted me in. I'm in my 20s now and still regularly see them. Been trying to think of a way to show them how much I appreciated their kindness, but I'm coming up short! You can't put a price on years of caring for someone else's child.


This was so heart warming ❤️


This is so kind of you. I’m sure you hear it, but thank you for being an exceptional human being.


What a kind post. Mentorship for young men especially those without benevolent fathers is so important.


This is exactly! And this is why the kids are going to shit. So many bad parents and no role models. Growing up in our house had same the escape. 30 years later those kids stop by my parents house every Thanksgiving with there family's. Family has nothing to do with blood it's the relationships you build. So it's sad when you say you can't do family thing's togethe.. I wish you luck on the difficult descion.


I did the same. One came in 7th grade, and then another right before high school. They were semi adopted and we're with me till graduation, and one thru college. They became mine. It's a long story but they had none, and nowhere to go. How can you say no? I made it work because they needed my help. And yes, it benefitted me and my son so much!!!


A child can never have too many trustworthy adults who love them in their life. Period.


I hope this is what I’m fostering with my son and his mates.


you made a good decision and you have no idea how much does it mean to them.


I was Tom with my best friend brothers. I needed them and the love and good company there. We used to get upset I wasn't allowed to go on the big family vacation every year but they always welcomed me otherwise.


Came here to say something similar. When my parents were going through their divorce I started spending almost every day at a family friends house until the dad made up some bs about being afraid of retaliation from my mom, which was something my dad planted in his ear when he realized how often I was gone. I really fucking needed them at that time and when I couldn't go over anymore I became suicidal because suddenly I was stuck back in the place I was trying to escape. I was grounded for any reason my dad felt like grounding me, so seeing my own friends was out of the question. I hate to say it like this, OP, but suck it up. You have another kid now and he fucking needs you. You're already treating him like part of the family, just keep that energy going. Fake it till ya make it baby.


As a parent of teenagers (and older), I can assure you that your kids aren’t missing duvet time or family time. The best thing as a parent is to have teenagers who want to hang at your house - you have that. If you change this situation, you’ll have less time with your kids, not more, because they won’t be hanging out at your house anymore. If it is becoming financially difficult to feed him, then that’s what you sit down and have a discussion about. “Kids, we’re feeding three teenage boys here and it’s getting expensive. Can we adjust our meal expectations a bit? What kind of snacks will you eat that are less expensive? Maybe we’ll substitute eggs for meat a couple times a week...” Neither of your kids will even consider, “Maybe we should have Tom over less.” What you don’t do is toss this kid out. He does chores, his grades are skyrocketing - you’re all he has. And your own kids will certainly remember what you took away from this friend who had such a miserable, abusive, alcoholic parent and home life. Please reconsider how you view this young man - he’s not detracting from your family time, he’s enhancing it.


I would also be worried that if OP rejects Tom to go back to his house where there is alcohol and unpredictable adults, the kids will all be vulnerable to the ‘rebellion’ or ‘glamour’ of a bro of a step dad looking less strict. It starts with one bonding step like letting them watch a R movie or play away on the console and kids can see that as friendship when they feel abandoned and they can get heads turned to try beer, hang out partying etc because being good got them ‘punished’ so why not be bad? Tom is clearly really important to the two brothers here so I suspect their loyalty would lie with him like teens do! Teens are learning how to pull away from the nest to fly free in a few years so they naturally phase away from parents as the main focus of influence toward friends. It’s both brilliant and awful for parents because teens are teens and not always making good choices and parents feel rejected by their kids. It risks that the boys would take Tom’s side and OP actually blows up the trust with them and puts all three kids back at risk. I think your idea about starting to talk to the kids about the finances is great. I was Tom as a kid and hyper aware of money and fear of costing anyone money so stayed away from friends’ houses to prevent that ‘you are a stray cat I resent paying to feed’ feel that was such a fear of being held over my head. I would actually have found someone saying ‘ok we all have to chip in and then it’s fair’ such a relief. Tom is probably aware he ‘costs’ while the two more secure boys don’t realise because OP doesn’t talk to them like that. So it’s a really good lesson with three really socially conscious kind boys to help them navigate the next steps of ‘deserving’ and ‘promising’. They need to learn to budget anyway and bringing all three in on ‘hey, so here’s how the groceries work’ type stuff when they are already quite astute is a great life skill. An inclusive not singling anyone out way is a brilliant way to teach but also you might find the older two naturally start thinking ‘oh a part time job would be cool!’ A lot of teens enjoy part time jobs less for cash but for hanging out, meeting people and getting paid especially when they see the ‘perks’ like maybe working at a store they love and getting staff discount or meeting others their age to expand their dating pool. Getting a part time job at 16 was for me one of the best experiences as a neglected kid with a crappy home life. It helped my confidence because I had money and thus was less clingy but also I met other kids like me and some older teens and young adults who mentored me at an age appropriate way to deal with stuff that starts cropping up. My boss was about 22 and seemed so grown up to me so when he would insist on helping me study as we cleaned up by going through my homework I listened because it was more relatable than a mom age person. I learned so much by their mistakes and advice and also managed to save up money to pay for my education. And Tom needs help navigating that elephant in the room. He isn’t on OP’s taxes and his college is going to go on his mom’s income and OP can’t pay for it so starting to address that and setting the boundary with the brothers that as a family they can help but there are limits is much better than ‘push Tom away now to avoid the big question later’. OP is complaining that Tom means she can’t bond with her family but really she seems to be saying indirectly ‘Tom brings up loads of the hard parenting stuff and I only want to do the fun duvet hang out stuff either way.’ He’s the catalyst but so much of what she raises is stuff she should be parenting her kids on anyway. The fact she seems to differ to her husband and the switch in language part way through is giving rise to the idea that Tom is a bit of a canary in the coalmine here and there’s some other family dynamics to unpick. EDIT: this was a really long winded way to say ‘the best way to not feel obligated to someone in need is teach them independence.’ Shooing a stray cat away is never as effective as helping rehome it.


Not only will Tom be vulnerable but her own biological kids will become vulnerable as well. Tom almost surely start picking up negative habits from these men that are in his house, whether it be smoking, drinking, etc. Or even acting out because he's being ignored combined with the lack of supervision. Then he goes and hangs out with OP's kids and potentially introduces them to these negative behaviors. Now instead of a loving closer family she is envisioning, she has two boys that are acting out even more. I very much want my house to be the hangout house once my kids are teenagers, and I have some say and how they are spending their free time and can encourage them gradewise, and help guide them in their actions. It has got to be so hard to welcome another child into your home and her heart, but I certainly hope that the OP can do that in this case for Tom, and to show her boys that love knows no bounda.


Yup. Or her sons are going to just start spending time at Tom’s house themselves. They are close like brothers — if he’s suddenly not around they’ll spend time with him wherever he is


100% came here to say this. I suspect OP is probably the only one in the family who feels this way and might not like the results of kicking Tom out.


Yes, yes, yes. I was "that kid" and I get emotional even thinking about those times. I desperately needed a healthy family dynamic. My buddy's parents provided that for me. If they toss this kid out, it will be devastating for him.


I have been that kid, please look after him, his life is hell and you are the only one looking out for him, he will treasure you for the rest of his life because he know you arnt his but what you are doing for him is the ultimate kindness


Ditto. A friend’s parent let me move in in high school and it literally saved my life. I was not in a good place at home or in my head.


I had a friend in high school that had significant family issues for a couple years before he gave up on keeping up with school and decided to couch hop his senior year/ sleep outside behind his job if he couldn't find a place. When I told my parents they sat the family down and we all had a discussion about him potentially coming to live with us and my parents made it very clear that it was a four yes/ one no situation and anyone could veto the whole idea because it would be a permanent decision, if he came to stay he would be there until he chose to leave. Once we all agreed we invited him over, laid out the general ground rules (same as my brother and I had like school isn't optional, curfew, etc.) and he agreed to stay. My mom got him into therapy and re-enrolled in school and he was able to take accelerated classes in order to make up past credits and graduated on time. He stayed with us about 8 months to save money and when he decided it wasn't working he could afford his own apartment near a community college/his job and my parents helped him still with emotional support, groceries, whatever he needed. He got married about 6 years ago and he prepared a speech specifically thanking my parents. He said how absolutely horrible that time in his life between essentially losing his mom (she had health issues and slowly deteriorated to the point where she couldn't even care for herself), his dad not wanting him, and his two older siblings being busy with their own lives (both were in college in other states) so he tried to keep his problems from them. He says we saved his life and maybe we did.


That’s so f** heartwarming! I’m working hard to be financial stable in the future so if my child’s friends need me like that, I’ll be there for them. The world is so much better with people like your family!


Same. My brother is incredibly successful because his first girlfriend parents took him in and cared for him when he was 14/15. I had a bumpier road and had to live in youth refuges. My heart absolutely breaks for this kid. I think a family chat is the best way forward as it may be upsetting for their own kids to have to think about sending him back home. I'm sure they know more about what he is trying to avoid. Could result in her own kids being resentful about the decision. A tricky situation for sure. Another household member is a bit responsibility.


Other than finances what exactly is your issue welcoming this boy into your home and your family? Your sons are teenaged boys. They're not exactly going to cuddle with you under a duvet while you watch movies. They're gonna be in other other side of a living room doing their thing. All you need to do is add another duvet to the room. Your family time is what you have right now. You're lucky your kids want to spend time at home playing soccer and board games. Most teens don't. Take advantage of this time together and make the most of it instead of being salty there's another person at the house. If you send him home it's just as likely your sons will go over to his house in solidarity so he won't be alone. Then you get zero " family time" and plenty of resentment if you tell them they cant go over there.


I think this is a really important response. I don't think OP realises that relative to most teenagers she's got the ultimate kid situation. 15 year olds that want to spend time with you - wow! I'd enjoy what you have and oh my gosh it sounds amazing what you're doing for this guy. Think of his life chances. I teach a lot of disadvantaged children and the 'grades skyrocketing' is something I can't achieve for them or inspire in them a lot of the time. Think about it as voluntary work or investing in the future of this kid, his career, your area. He sounds like the kind of guy who is going to give back too.


And if you stop him from coming over your sons will absolutely resent their parents and it will break the bond they have. You have an option to step up for a teenager who doesn't have anyone else, or to alienate your two sons. It isn't a fair situation to be in, but that is the decision. Do you want your sons to see you act compassionately or be selfish?


Honestly OP, listen to this


Truly, I totally agree with this. You have a rare opportunity here - in a really natural way, you can give support to a teenager who really needs it. You write you’re uncomfortable sometimes because he isn’t family. Have you considered that you’re the only real family he’s got? You write that his behavior is exemplary. Time to let go of your inhibitions and welcome him into your heart.


“Other than finances” like do you understand money is a very real and very important part of life? You’re asking someone to pay for an extra child that they very well may not be able to afford. They had two kids instead of three for a reason. It’s so selfish how everyone in this thread is projecting and making this woman out to be so horrible when she has been as kind as she can be. I’m sorry for Tom and his situation but if you all want someone to guilt trip why don’t you start with his own mother?


I don't feel anyone is making the op out as a bad woman infact I think everyone here Is amazed at her generosity. If the finances are a problem there are things already mentioned in the post to help. Buying cheaper foods / older kids getting part time jobs. But what I think most of the people are trying to say is not dismissing her feelings and to take him in anyway but instead have a talk with her family about the pros and cons of the situation and come to a disision together. That way there is less chance of her children getting upset if the desision is that he cannot become her child too


I was that kid. Being that kid is so hard. He already really vulnerable to rejection because of his circumstances. I’d try to brainstorm a solution without saying anything to him. If you keep him around, you will exponentially improve his life and your sons will have a life long friend.


And an adopted son that revere you for life, growing up to be a decent and caring man that looks out for the vulnerable. OP needs to see the bigger picture beyond this.


You've created a family so open and accepting that when Tom originally started staying over, your kids probably said, "it'll be fine, my folks are cool" then carried on without a second thought. If you do think about decreasing Tom's time at your home, be prepared for how it will affect your kids. Their idea of what your family is may change. Everyone likes Tom, you say he's a pleasure to have around. I think your family expanded without anyone realising. What a lovely safe space for you all.


I grew up in a very poor and abusive household. I basically moves into my friends house when I was about 12. That family pretty much saved my life. I know its hard and sometimes awkward having him around so much but you are making a huge difference in his life. He is so lucky to have such amazing people to help him.


When you decided to have a second child, that was not deciding to neglect your firstborn child - you're not neglecting your firstborn just because you also have a younger kid to look after. Likewise, you aren't neglecting your two biological children just because a third has been semi-adopted into the family.


She said they struggle with the financial impact as well, so likely part of the neglect worries.


The way they phrased it makes it seem to me that it's less of a struggle and more of a small thought, had at the end of the text. I don't believe it's a big concern, otherwise they likely would have phrased it differently, and would have mentioned it earlier.


It doesn’t matter how they phrased it, what matters is they phrased it, so it is a concern for them. Seems like some people find it so easy to tell others to be charitable or generous, but how often do you forego buying something you want and instead donate that money to someone else in need? Is it every day? Every week? How many people in this thread even do it monthly? Reality is you come on here to guilt OP into adopting a child she does not want to adopt from the comfort of your computer chairs/beds, and then directly alt-tab to YouTube where you’ll skip the ad asking for a $1 donation for hungry kids


So far, most of the responses I've read are from people who were that kid or from families like mine who looked after a kid. The responses are thoughtful and come from experience.


Just because you don’t do charitable things every day/week/month doesn’t mean that others aren’t. The western world has this obsession with money that puts it over humanity and the well-being of your community. It sounds like you might need to work that out of yourself before making judgments or giving advice


In my country, there's a saying: If there's a place for four at the table, there's a place for five. She isn't adopting a 6 month old baby that needs tens of thousands of dollars over the next 18 years. She's potentially asking a 15 year old (who wouldn't be her problem in 3 years) to take an extra seat at the table. How much more money is another place setting for the next 3 years? Money doesn't seem high on her list of priorities, at least in the original post. What you're doing is shaming posters here for "not doing anything" directly. You're not making a suggestion or offering advice, just shaming. It seems like some of the commenters here already /have/ done charitable work, by taking in a child from a bad situation. If you want to tell OP what to tell the kid when she asks him to go back to his mom's, that would probably help more.


Be very, very glad your country does not have American/western individualist ideology then. I immigrated from a collectivist country to the US and I cant fucking stand these snobby ass people man. Legit acting like literally saving a 15 year old’s life and future isn’t even worth considering, then shaming the very people who have been in this SAME situation. It’s really hard to have hope for humanity here.


I agree with you, and that first bit made me smile because, funny enough, my country was destroyed /by/ America for having collectivist ideas! Socialist bingo would determine I'm from Former Jugoslavia! Random commie suggestion of the day: Watch or read "Weight of Chains"! You'll sort of regret it, but on the plus side, you'll be crying, too! 😉 Sending you love from Canada, man. It's just a little more home-flavoured here, but people are still as individualist as fuck. Edited for: reducing hopelessness


Thanks for the recommendation, my country was colonized with the support of the U.S. and we’re currently being genocided under an apartheid regime, whereas before they came in my grandparents were able to raise a dozen children on a $20,000 a year salary by just growing their own food on their small plot of land. Glad I got out of there but sad that I just moved to a diet/lite version of it here in the US. Tyvm again for the recommendation, I’ll definitely check it out


Unless it'd be a major blow, I still wouldn't call it neglect. If they got fired and had to take a less well-paying job, they wouldn't be neglectful parents. They'd just get by with less.


Except that this is still someone else's child and they have never made the direct decision to adopt him in. OP and their partner did make the conscious decision to have two kids, so they were expecting to divide their time for both. However, the presence of this third child has just been accepted since he's spent more and more of his time at his friends house. It's a shitty situation for this kid and he deserves so much better, however OP is not obligated to 'adopt' this third child in. I can definitely understand her wanting to spend quality time with her own kids some weekend's since having an extra guest around all the time can be a strain. Edit: I want to add that I think OP should continue being a mentor for this kid and helping him grow and mature if they have the means to. But Im only trying to state that having some weekend's limited to just family is understandable. It's a difficult situation.


But do teenage boys REALLY want to spend quality time with their mother? Hanging out with your friends all weekend is pretty normal from what I remember. And to me, it sounds like they’re all still getting quality time together, there’s just one more person involved. And I don’t know the idea of purposefully telling this kid “i know your life is hard at home, but you can’t be here” is cruel, especially seeing the kid is finally seeing success in school because of how they’re helping. It’s obvious they’re literally the only ones who care about this kid anymore. My heart literally aches for this kid because he was me, and I needed someone like this so desperately in my life. And I guarantee if “family quality time” happened without Tom, her son would just be texting him the whole time anyway.


Teenage boys don’t want to do a lot of things, but she is still their mother and sets the rules until they move out. Everyone in this thread is acting like it’s cheap to take on another person- it is not. OP chose to have two kids, not three. She is entitled to see that through, she is entitled to save money, she is entitled to feel comfortable in her home.


Yeah, she’s the mom - she’s entitled to ban her kids from seeing friends all together if she wants. This thread is talking about what the morally responsible thing to do would be, and suggesting the possible bad outcomes if she just does what she’s “entitled to do”.


then she needs to prepare for the fact that her kids won’t like that, and that the kid will be worse off. so is that better? morals, people.


In a fantasy world where money doesn’t matter sure. But she’s already thinning out their resources for a child that isn’t theirs. It is unfair to everyone involved. To her, to this kid when he starts to notice her resentment. Also, even if money is not an issue, she is saying she wants less time. She is allowed to do that. Her kids will get mad? What’s new, they’re teenagers being told no.


It sounds like you really like having him around- so I'd look deep inside and figure out if you *really* believe you're neglecting your family by having an extra person... or you're jealous that your kids are both spending their time with someone who isn't you? Just a thought :) otherwise sounds like you're doing something really great for this kid and I think a lot.kf us knew Tom's growing up


Sounds spot on. My mom acts the same as OP contemplates to do - needless to say, I see my mom less now/ not at all, and the people that weren't "part of the family" much more. :) I couldn't align with the belief that only those you birth are family. Shoving someone away when they're in need is a horrible thing to do on top of it. I had to choose between "family time" and hanging out with the people that were family to me. That ought to make anyone resentful.


If you ask Tom not to come over they will still hang out all the time. It just won't be at your house. It will be Tom's or the park or some other friends you don't know. You are lucky the boys want to hang out around you as it is. Hopefully you realise that trying to make family time into your version of it is likely the thing that will end it. And in a few short years your son may move out with his mate to help support him and you will be wondering why he doesn't want to be at home. His world that he is creating is becoming more important to him every day. You have to try not to hold on and control it so much other wise he will push you out of it.


I have an extra boy (6 year old) like that. He celebrates all our birthdays, is at all our celebrations, pretty much lives at our house, sleepovers, he even comes with us on family vacations. He’s almost my third child. I have accepted him into my family. My son and him are bros. His family situation is heart breaking and I would hate to send him back unless he’s called for. I suggest you open your heart to him. It’s a little harder with a 15 year old, but if you accept it, you might find it very satisfying.


Talk to your husband about options. If you both are willing, maybe talk to the boy’s mom about moving him in? I would start treating him as part of the family if you can. Why can’t you have duvet day with all 3 kids? Why can’t you behave the same way? I think you’re putting unnecessary restrictions on yourselves. If your kids are unhappy or neglected, then of course you need to prioritize them. But it doesn’t sound like they are.


It’s very likely that he’s never had a “duvet day” before and the thought of him having one…gosh. Who’s cutting onions? I was him at one point. My best friend’s parents knew that I was going through shit, she was going through shit, my mom didn’t create a great environment, and accepted me into their home. It meant the world of difference to me. The first time they included me in something family specific, I wanted to weep. I had never really had that before. My mom was very similar to this kid’s mom. The acceptance and safety he must feel in their home is life changing. You can see it in his grades. He does chores to try to say thank you without outright saying it.


Why would this be your conclusion to OP saying she wants the opposite- less Tom time? To move him in?? She’s saying how it’s expensive and wants more time with just her family in *their* home. Please stop forcing this kid on her, the resentment will come out and the situation will be bad for everyone.


Sometimes life throws curveballs at you and you have to adapt. If you really can't afford it that's one thing, but I don't think your sons or the friend will do well with you asking him to stay away. Trying to have time without him is saying he's not part of the family. I get that he's not part of it for you, but he's family to your sons. If you make him stay away, your sons will likely be very upset with you. I don't think you'll then get the good quality family time you're looking for. Maybe instead help the kid find a part time job, to start saving for college and so he can learn to support himself and will be busy every so often.


Could you instead try to embrace this? He has three years left until he graduates, and one year until he can legally drive. Perhaps instead of finding a way to get him out of your house, you encourage him to look for a job and save money for a car, and he will keep himself out of your house by his own free will. You can help give him skills that will last a lifetime, decrease his reliance on you as well as his parents, and keep the relationships with your kids strong as well. Your kids are old enough to know that he doesn't have a great home life, and there's the chance that they'll know what him being turned away from your house will mean. They're likely not going to see the issues you've brought up here, so unless they independently have issues with him being around all the time, your plan to bring your family closer might backfire.


I see you started off with "we" meaning you and your husband but it quickly goes to "I" comments. What has your husband done? It seems to me this is more an issue you have than a "we" problem. How does your husband feel, like truly feel?


How exactly are you neglecting your own children and blood family? By your own account Tom and your kids get on like a house on fire, he’s helping around the house, and he’s doing well academically. Your kids see him as family and you should do the same. I know there’s an added financial burden you have to take on, but if it’s doable, then do it. The alternative is to literally condemn a child to a really shitty life. Don’t think your own kids will be blind to that as they get older.


It doesn't sound like this is an issue for your kids. So, why take away their friend who they have welcomed as part of the family? Telling the friend they can't come around as much so you can focus on your own kids will likely put a strain on their friendship as well. If your kids told you they have an issue with their friend being around so much then, do something about it. Otherwise, it sounds like you're the only one with the issue. This kid needs a stable family life and they seem to have found it with you.


Her kids don’t pay the bills though.


My heart breaks for Tom that in the family he has found in you and yours, you no longer want. Obviously you’re not obligated but wow, as a parent myself, I can’t imagine leaving him to go back to a neglectful household.


All for duvet nights & movies. Like. I promise you no teenage boy is gonna want to do that whether their friends are over or not Imagine sending a child back into an abusive home just for that. I’d lose so much respect for my mother.


Be there for the child…. Open your heart please… You and your family are the only thing keeping him from a downward spiral…. It may be hard right now but you are being a good human … while teaching your children invaluable lesson of opening their lives to welcome a child in need… Your children will be very hurt if you shut your home to him now…


If your kids are okay with it I'm not sure why you think they are being neglected. It seems that the only person feeling neglect is you since your kids are hanging out with each other and Tom. Face it, you are feeling left out, but at this age your kids are going to be drifting away from you with or without Tom being around. It's the natural order of things. Tom needs you and your family. It would show your sons how to be kind and charitable if you continue to welcome him into your home.


I think you could include him in these family times - you kinda sound like you are his family now.


At 15, the older boys are on the cusp of independence anyways, what's a few more months? At 16, they be able to drive and get jobs and you may find that Tom naturally spends less time at your house because of that.


Over the years, I became a second (and for two sisters, an only) mom to three girls and a teenage boy. It was easy to fall in love with these kids, and my heart felt fuller for it! They are all grown and gone, but they keep in touch and I know they were the better for those times. Try and see all his good points, and please, please try to open your heart to him. You can literally change the trajectory of his life. Plus teaching your sons compassion and kindness. I had a terrible childhood, and one of my friend’s mom made a huge difference for me, and I learned how family SHOULD be. I was so fortunate to have her!


It sounds like your kids are enjoying having him around. I’d take him in and support him if I were you. He clearly needs it and sounds like he’s thriving with your family.


Your two sons have adopted their friend in need, you are doing a great job of raising them. I understand having reasons to not want him around but there is no way your sons feel neglected becuase of their adopted brother.


Growing up, my little brother had a friend whose home life wasn't very healthy. They were freshman in high school when I learned about the terrifying aspects of his home life. Very heavy stuff. He was often over, and stayed over frequently. We were fortunate enough that this extra kid wasn't a big strain on our resources. It was nbd for me as a teenager & honestly; the fact my parents just went with being a community resource for this kid is some of the most impressive & respectable behavior modeling I've seen in adults in my life growing up. I understand now, that they took on a huge amount of liability & responsibility in being that landing place for my brother's friend, but in comparison to the friends I know that had to deal with "the system" I'd say this was a the best case scenario for someone in a bad spot. I hope you're able to find a healthy balance for your family while leaving your home available to this kid in need.


>she is usually drunk and asleep by the time he gets in Oh, god, please don't kick this kid out or sit him down and tell him he's not as welcome anymore. I know he's not yours and you want just-family time, but if you tell him he's not welcome as much the rejection is going to kill him. Right now your normal family life is the one intervention that's actually letting him know there are good places to be in the world. Shit.


You are making a difference and I am guessing he views you like family. You are his family. You will be in his mind for the rest of his life. Ask him to help out more. Ask him to look out for your kids. I am guessing your kids are so close with him that if you don’t provide this safe space for him they will look to spend their time differently. They are better partying and having fun at home than making trouble elsewhere. You are doing an amazing thing. I was that kid, minus many of the family complexities Tom you say is facing. These people have made such a big impact on my life. I still treat them like family 15 years later. Your kids won’t forget.


Talk to your children separately. As a child, I’ve seen many cousins and mildly related children move into my family home. And it made a difference, but not in the way you’d expect. I looked up to my parents for “helping out” our relatives, and I thought this was a good thing to do, of course. However, I always felt like a guest in my home. I couldn’t feel and be as free around my house, around my parents. I felt guilty for wanting and receiving my parents affection, because there was always this other child who “needed more”. The outcome is that on the one hand, all the cousins that lived with us are doing really well, and are very grateful to my parents. As for me, I feel I missed out on important bonding time, which I’m having to build now as an adult, without the “external interference”. Conclusion. Morally, you’ll get a lot of points for adopting, fostering or helping this child. Your children too will grow up believing this is a good thing to do. But if you don’t give them the chance to address their feelings, they might grow up with all kinds of associated guilts and ambiguous feelings about their relationship with you.


That poor kid. Jesus. Throw a kid back to the cold world and his disinterested parents. That'will teach him adults really aren't to be trusted and it will teach your kids that people can be thrown away easily when they are inconvenient. This will backfire and I think you will regret it Your family could really help this kid.


Trust me, your kids don't want duvet days, they want you to help their friend.


I’ve literally never met a teen boy who has ever wanted this lmaooo


She's lucky her kids want to be at home at all! If she pushes their friend out, they'll spend time away, too - and probably in places muchn less safe. Like Tom's house.


I'm sorry. He is your son now too. I wanted to go into a whole thing but I will leave it there.


What a fucking weird comment? He’s not her son. My heart breaks for this kid and I hope he can find someone to take him in that WANTS to take him in, but he is ultimately not her responsibility. “He’s your son now too” lmao.


He’s not but it’s a hole that’s been dug. If you pull the carpet out from under him, that’ll destroy the dude. Ultimately, you’re right. He isn’t her son. But he’s been treated as much, and seeing the other comments from others in this position, you’d see how important everything that’s been done has been.


> hope he can find someone to take him in that WANTS to take him in, That’s not a thing. OP already described how that’s *not* happening.


My feeling is, if you go the route of removing Tom from your familly, that you will destroy more than you will gain. Now you teach your kids an important lesson of being open hearted and sharing if the situation allows it. What are your showing them if you initiate a break with Tom? You seem to have resenting feeling. That is ok. Speak with your familly about Tom and your fears that you neglect your own kids. Let them make the decision with you, decide as a familly. Choose your words wisely, and this can become another great life lesson for your kids. You are in a very fortunate position. Like others allready said: your kids and Tom chose being with you. They like being in your presence. Other teenage kids chose being away of their mother as often as possible. Again, you are very fortunate. Not every parent is in the position to do what you are doing now. It shows that you have done so many things right in the past. Please keep us posted on how this situation resolves..


Are you sure? Can you wait until the kid is 16? At 16 he can get a job and have a safe place to be at times.


I mean if it’s simply financial strain, could you (as a family, everyone would need to be on board for this to work) look in to getting certified to foster him, or something similar? There has got to be a way to continue saving his life with the financial assistance to sustain it? I’d suggest talking to a family lawyer, or someone else with more expertise than your average Redditors, esp as pertains to your specific local resources/options? Also, maybe the three of them could start an age-appropriate money-making project together to offset the additional cost of a 3rd kid on vacation/birthday celebration/holiday gifts/whatever? Loads of added value there, around problem solving, self-sufficiency, altruism, work ethic, teamwork, entrepreneurship, etc! If the financial aspect is merely an inconvenience, or an easy out to avoid other, deeper resentment (totally ok, no judgment), then I might suggest a two-piece approach: a marriage/family therapist who can help you work out your true feelings, whatever they may be, and honest conversations, starting with your husband/partner. I would absolutely *not* bring the kids in on these talks just yet. They sound like wonderful boys who care very deeply for their friend and you should feel very proud of them both, and yourself for raising such compassionate and inclusive young men. Please don’t teach them that compassion is contingent on convenience. *Do* teach them about healthy boundaries and that giving from an empty cup serves no one, but only if/when/after you and the other adult in this equation have clarified that you are not able or willing to continue supporting their friend in this way. Have alternatives in place and ready to discuss as a family, as well, so your boys can be part of the solution(s) and don’t feel powerless/scared for their friend/resentful of you. Is there another close friend whose family could have him a weekend or two a month so you get your desired bio-kid time? Personally, I’d just make it unofficially official and welcome this sweet kid as proper family/a 3rd son. Remove that “ack guest in my house must put on my public face” barrier from my own head/heart and start wearing my pj’s all day on Sunday/pestering all 3 about chores with equal annoyance/not hiding my awkward laugh or whatever other “family only” personality quirks-flaws-self conscious…nesses(!?)/cuddle pile during movie night with just one extra puppy… Whatever you do/wherever you end up, will you please keep us posted?? PS I’d def chip in what I can to your kids’ education fund or whatever, if it meant that you could stress a little less about the $!?!?


“Please don’t teach them that compassion is contingent on convenience.” 🙏 This is a very good motto to have in the ol’ back pocket. Very thoughtful and well said.


Theres no way the mom will give up the kid, she will get government assistance based on him living with her.


if his home life is anything close to what you described, I can’t imagine he would be the type of kid to care if you had a duvet day. it also sounds like he is probably incredibly mature. maybe just talk to him how he is always welcome at your house, but you’d appreciate some family time? or just be honest and tell the kids you love having him around, but the extra body in the house can get chaotic and like every human, parents need a break and quiet time. this could open the door to negotiating “quiet time” in their rooms (all kids) to have some kind of break for you where you and your husband can be a couple and have your house back. its hard though because he obviously sees you as family and this may make him feel ostracized and withdrawn. other option is to just embrace him as family. have duvet days, parent your kids how you want around him. he is clearly very comfortable with you and craves that family dynamic. i think you can let your guard down and feel comfortable in your own home with him around - you said he’s lovely to have.


My best friend had a similar situation and basically lived with us from 15-17 years old. She’s still my best friend now at 30. Me and my family love her


Why don't you try accepting him as family so that he can be a part of your family time? It certainly sounds like he thinks of you as family. =(


What you need to think about is if your kids are going to be happy about you kicking there best friend out. Tom will remember you not wanting him there and will feel he no longer fits in with your family. It really hurts you even considering it.


Tbh I’d feel more sympathetic to your desire for more private family time if it had only been a couple weeks, even a few months of having him there more regularly. But half a year? You do not offer an abandoned, neglected, parentified, traumatized teen a loving and secure home, and a real, first-ever FAMILY experience, for six months… and then shatter it by reminding them they’re just a guest whose presence is desired only about half of the time, at maximum. What kind of parent are you? What the hell? Why would you allow your kids to regulate to a new familial dynamic for MONTHS if you did not have the intention of keeping it? Do you not consider the impact on your own impressionable, hopeful, emotionally developing children? You’ve supported this situation for half a year. You had the responsibility to set boundaries within your home *long* before this child had taken up doing his own chores, contributing to what he thought was also his household. If you did not want to adopt an isolated teen *you shouldn’t have unofficially adopted an isolated teen for half a calendar year*. I can’t believe you didn’t realize the influence of your choices, upon all three children. It is heartbreaking to think that the boy’s perceived inclusion into this family is not reciprocated… even though, for six months, you very much confirmed that perspective.


How about a little empathy as a starting point ZestyAppeal?


Why should anyone have more empathy for OP than this kid she'd like to red traumatize with rejection?


Become his legal guardian. Then he’ll be family. Sounds like he already is to your kids anyway. You’re this kid’s lifeline.


OP, this thread must be excruciating for you. So many people have provided compelling testimonies of the good people like you have had in their lives. This is like a visit from a potential future Tom pleading with you to keep him close, that your family and your home are what will keep him on the right track. More importantly, that he is receiving unconditional love from you and your family. Those posts that take a sharper tone are Tom hurt after you make that love conditional. And, that’s your practical question: how do you tell Tom that your family is available to him, but on a restricted basis and therefore on condition (and the condition in your mind is the preservation and appreciation of your natural family in its intact form, a perfectly normal and healthy impulse after investing so much time and love into your two boys. Before I go on, I deeply admire your efforts for Tom. If this thread has broadened your view on your situation, then you are now presented with a choice and an implementation challenge. The choice is simply: Tom, your welcome here has limits. You have lots of evidence that this will be very hard for Tom, but a general acknowledgment that you are free to make this choice. If you are open to revisiting this choice and “reframe” your conception of your family, is there not a more joyful opportunity in life then to love more? The most compelling posts in my mind are those who are envious of the relationship you have with your sons and their desire for wholesome fun with Tom around. They are co-equals in creating this beautiful dynamic and it has included their incidental adoption of their friend Tom. To recapture those intimate moments with your kids, perhaps one on one time? Small adventures? If all this is for naught and you’ve made up your mind, you may wish to consult a professional for advice on how to delicately reduce the time Tom spends with your family. Good luck, good courage!


I think OP may be struggling with having a 3rd child and the additional work that creates. OP doesnt mention her husband so is it a case that she is picking up all the slack and this is where she has landed - she associates duvet days with no stress..tom = stress (however unintentional). OP probably needs some time to herself that she is simply not getting.


This is where you teach your kids (by example) about grace and about what being a great human being is…. You basically adopt the boy - the rewards of that example will be the payoff. You will raise great kids because you lead by example - and they’ll live you all the more for it. We make out tribe stronger by taking people in… Tom will be eternally part of your tribe ic you do this right.


Imagine being this kid and already knowing your family wants you to go away; and then finding out the nice family you’ll never have *also* wants you to go-away.


Your teenage boys definitely don't wanna snuggle in a duvet with you. Why can't you guys watch movies as a family and include Tom??


See if you can help get him a workers permit and a part time job. That would give him work experience and a place to be other than home and you can get more family time


Maybe just maybe, you are saving a life. Maybe in this instance, what you want isn't the most important factor. Help him find a part time job. Encourage your kids and him to do extracurricular activities. You may not realize it but your are making family memories. You enjoy having him around and he obviously appreciates it. I'd say find creative solutions.


I was that kid growing up.. I worked and was able to get away from home a lot but I was also friends with people whose patents took care of me and fed me and allowed me to sleep over or would bring me home late enough that I could sneak in while everyone was sleeping My best advice to you is to help him get a job. Coach him, help him with applying or put him in contact with a community organization or youth program that can help with that sort of thing. Working will allow him to acquire skills and confidence and help him make money cause it sounds like he needs to start saving for school since his parents don't care. Working will also get him out of your house a bit more. This kid needs a mentor to drive home that you are not a shitty person because you were born into shitty circumstances, to shitty parents.


I think you need to be honest with yourself here. You say you feel like you’re neglecting your kids, but that’s not how it seems - seems like they love having him over. Reading between the lines, you don’t view him as family and don’t want him there all the time as though he is your family. If you’re not honest with yourself about that, it’s going to come across as bullshit no matter how you try sell it. He’s 15 and wildly neglected, which means he’s used to adults saying that hurt his feelings. Just talk to him about it.


Also you absolutely CAN just act however you would with your kids when he’s around. Idk, like it sounds to me like you maybe just don’t want him around because you want it to just be your family unit who is family. Which is… fine… but you need to be honest with yourself. I had a single and very poor mum who worked all the time so I had another family who took me on holidays and weekends, or nights when mum worked. I am forever grateful for that and it changed my life. But it worked because they really just treated me like any other kid in their home. I did chores, if “the kids” were in trouble it included me, etc.


He needs you. You guys are kind enough to let him stay and include in all your family plans for these six months, sacrificing your family time. I know it takes a big heart to do this. Thank you for that. He's 15. He'll be a Man in few years if you continue to give him support like now, he'll be a good man. Moreover your children are happy too.


Do you have a space in basement this poor kid could just make his own? You seem to see this boy as just a hungry mouth instead of the extra pair of hands he is. I was Tom in high school. My friends family took me in as one of their own and I did every chore I even thought needed doing. The mother nicknamed me the "good son" to my friend's annoyance. (I mean it was true). I happened to graduate from the same college the same day as their youngest daughter (chaotic upbringing set me back a few years, who could have seen this coming?) And they brought me along to the graduation dinner that should have been solely for their daughter. Even had a card with a check for me. of course they were at my wedding. You have an opportunity to be that for Tom and I highly suggest you accept. Three or so years are going to blink by but you have a chance to really do good that will carry a kid through and give him the courage to face a lifetime. "Just one spark of decency against a starless night. One glow of hope and dignity, a child can follow the light." RUSH - from Everyday Glory


She is saying she wants more time at home with just her family, why would she move him in?


Ask your sons how they feel about everything, it might surprise you. I understand that this is new, and your frustrations at the lack of support when you reach out on behalf of this kiddo are definitely justified. Too many things can fall through the cracks and really hurt a kiddo long term. That being said though, it seems like your sons may have already adopted him into your clan. That's wonderful if they believe they can share love and belonging, they just might not understand the extra resource demands. It would be worth sitting down family meeting style and discussing both feelings and practical logistics. We took in my brother's best friend growing up, and I never felt it took anything from me even with four kids and a single mom. He was nicer to me than my brothers, so I loved having him there! He took some time to find stability with us and focus on school, but then took on a job that gave him more independence than any one thing we could do for him. He grew up to be a kind and wonderful man, with four kids that he would move heaven and earth for. I feel for this little man who has ended up in your life. I want to hug him so badly, Lord knows he probably needs it.


What about planning "family" gatherings once a month only so you can see your sons ? I'm sure he will understand your need.


It sounds like your kids love having Tom around, which makes sense as they are all best friends. > We cant ever just have a duvet day with the kids and movies. Would this actually be for your kids or for you? I'm skeptical your kids really want to spend the day rolling around in bed with you watching family movies anymore. They're teenagers. > I feel like I am neglecting my kids and family because I am splitting myself It sounds like you are tired of Tom being around and want to tell him this, but you know how that's going to work out. So are trying to turn a decision you've basically already made into "what's best for your kids." If you kick Tom out and send him back to his drunk mother and broken home, your 15yo is more than old enough to understand what that means and why you did it. You'll go from three kids in your house that love and respect you to maybe one.


My mom was not nearly this bad, but she was a neglectful, chronic smoker and alcoholic and I hated being at home too. I also practically lived at my best friend's house and her mom was a second mom. She saved me in a lot of ways and I'm so thankful for her. This boy loves being a bonus child so I would do all the things you think you "can't" do. Wear PJs all day and loaf on the couch, who cares? He'll join right in. Also, check in with both kiddos consistently to ensure their needs are being met. That way you can assure yourself that they're okay. But if you enjoy this kid and have it in your heart to help him, please continue to do so. I hope to do this for my daughter's friends someday.


Aw man I thought you had negative things to say but this kid just has a second family that actually shows him love. Seems like he’s not a trouble maker or anything negative. I would make the decision to include him in these family things vs exclude him. It can’t be THAT big of a difference? 15 year olds can entertain themselves, not like he’s going to be hugging you on the couch or anything. I feel bad for him. You might be the only reason he hasn’t dropped out of school or turn to drugs. Please don’t push him away. Soon he will be 18 and working and will find his own way in life.


Are you *really* neglecting your own boys though? It sounds like they are happy, that they consider the other boy to be like family. If it's for you, you should just do it. If it's for them, you should ask them *how they feel about it* - the boys may be more upset at losing their extra brother or not helping him. If you can afford it, and it's really not hurting your family too much, why not help this boy for a little while longer. He can get loans & go to college in just three year, you know how time flies & you will have ultimately done a great deed that will have minimized his trauma & changed his life forever.


this is how we got one of my brothers ❤️ don’t feel like you have to act differently around him. If you can accommodate it, reframe him as family. I promise he will be thrilled.


All I’m saying is Tom is going to be crushed if you tell him he can’t come around anymore. Also, your kids most likely will resent you, so tread very carefully. Not sure this can be easy without feeling some type of fallout. Perhaps, you might need to take some type for self care. All boys are older, if they’re used to this homework routine perhaps you pass it off to them and ask them to all work together to knock out homework. All kids are older, you don’t need to sit there and hold their hand through homework. Take some time for yourself and your husband. You will need to get used to having Tom around, youre his lifeline right now, and he will NEVER forget your love and generosity.


Please take him in, your his only “stable” in his life right now.


Why would you push him out like that if it seems he’s not truly a bother? Do you know what kind of trouble he could get himself into by not having a safe place to be?


Go yell at his real mom?


I don’t know the right answer here, it’s difficult and you are not obligated to do anything. All I will say is please please please be careful. As someone that grew up in a similar situation to Tom, with a best mate and his family that sounds a lot like your son and your family, I credit being accepted into their stable household as one of the factors that helped me grow into a mostly happy adult with a blueprint for healthy relationships. Admittedly I wasn’t at his quite as much as Tom is at yours but I think if I had been asked to not come around as much etc. then I would have felt it as a huge rejection in a world that I already felt rejected in, and I don’t know what kind of place that would have led me to - particularly at an age where knocking around of the streets is synonymous with drugs. To put it into perspective now I’m grown, when there is good news in my life, my mate and his family are the ones I want to share that with. They have joked in the past that you choose your family and that means the world to me, and I would do anything for them. Incidentally, I have a much better relationship with my own family these days too, but I wonder if that is because I’ve learnt how to be the ‘Adult’ in the situation and form it into something positive given what I have learnt experiencing what it ‘should’ be like elsewhere. Food for thought but please know that your decision is important as it will affect Tom in a big way, and what you have done for Tom thus far is wonderful.


If you do that, I am afraid your kids will go hang out at the boys place with alcohol and random men around. Teenagers don't do a lot of duvet family time, they hang out with their friends. My parents are kind of strict so we never hang out at home. I could not come home for weeks. If no one let me stay at their place, I just walked around in the city. When a friend joined so I am not alone, and their parents didn't allow to invite anyone we also went to chill in parks. And since there were no parents and nothing better to do, we drank and smoked because we wanted to feel cool. I guess you're lucky they hang out at your home and not somewhere random. And all the attention and love you give will most likely stop them from wanting to disappoint you. But if it gets hard financially, ou should talk to them about that rather than "times hard, ban the stranger." And your kids and the other boy will all feel bad and humiliated. There is no way to do it to avoid hurt feelings. But if you include him in the problem, maybe they'll consider the issue as real.grown ups because you will consult with them on an adult issue.


I was a Tom once. But my friend's father asked that I stop coming by so much. Coming from a home where emotional abuse was an hourly occurence, school lunches were forgotten, money was always tight and the chores always fell on me, my grades continued to slip and I did a lot of dumb crap as a teen. My teenage years are some of the most alone I've ever felt. It's ok that you don't want to take in a stray, but it sounds like Tom has found a place he feels safe with your family. And it sounds like its been positive for your kids too. Maybe the positives outweigh the negative? All I can say is do not leave it to the kids to discuss with him, as it will break their friendship. Do discuss this with your spouse and see what they say.


I was "that kid" growing up. In my view, you don't have that conversation with a 15 year old kid who isn't yours. You are basically the only parents he has. He won't understand and it will just hurt him. That said, you NEED time with your own kids. If it were me, I would set aside days, as needed, to spend some time with just your kids/family and you let your 15 y.o. tell his friend that he just can't have friends over that day. No muss, no fuss, no bread pronouncements about Tom intruding into your family space. That's it. Maybe its 1 day or 2 days a week, just take what you need. When Tom is over, you otherwise make him feel super welcomed and re-affirm that he is an extended part of the family. Again, I was that kid and you have no idea how desperately I needed to see/be part of a normal family dynamic. It probably saved my life, to be honest. Please tread really carefully with this kid's heart.








They're bor OP's kid. I'm not gonna randomly see a kid as mine. Idk why op is seen as a demon for not wanting a child that is not theirs around


Because the kid got offered a home and a 6-month span of feeling like a part of the family. You don’t do that to someone as vulnerable as this kid is and just drop them.


He wasn't offered a home he decided to just come there and stay. Op didn't offer him to stay


OP treated the kid like one of her own. You don’t randomly tutor one of your kids friends to the point of skyrocketing grades or have them around for board games and 5 nights a week casually, do you? Call it the teacher in me, but it’s pretty obvious to set boundaries you feel reliable and comfortable with around kids that age just because of the sheer vulnerability they have. Unless you want to come out and admit that OP was incredibly naïve, for lack of nicer words, by letting all of this go without placing the boundaries that any responsible adult should’ve after one week, then it’s just being misguided. No family is wrong if they don’t want to adopt a kid, but my family was very firm with how often my friends were over. No problem with that.


Op was nice and caring for a child that they didn't notice was there and once they did they realised that after trying everything they possibly could that they needed to set boundaries which is what they're doing rn.


Too little too late to make your boundaries and have everything be alright. OP should’ve made those boundaries very clear before letting someone stay over every night and act like their unofficial mom. Again, she’s welcome to do what she wants, but there’s 100% going to be some pushback from her boys for this. To what severity remains to be seen. Her fault on that end.


Dude, I cannot believe how literally every comment is just throwing out that she should essentially adopt this kid like it's such an easy decision. It just kind of reaffirms to me that the majority of Reddit are teenagers or something. Like half the comments are saying that he is essentially her son and she needs to accept it LOL.


It's interesting because the entire post is basically positive: > My kids have taken this great kid from a broken home under their wing. I enjoy having him around, he helps around the house, the kids seem to love having him and he seems to have family for the first time in his life. > How do I make it stop? It would be absolutely brutal to push the kid away now, and I don't firmly understand why. It seems like the OP is struggling with other people being important in her kid's lives, and apparently channelling it through"neglect"


Having a stranger in your house DOES change the dynamic. You can't be comfortable or yourself and you can't be as close or as there for your own kids.


No, you're making a wild assumption by extrapolating from a one-off post. It sounds like a lady is being forced to take on the responsibilities of motherhood which isn't fair at all to her. And she doesn't want to hurt the child's feelings by requesting that he not come over every single waking hour. That is completely reasonable. It is unreasonable to expect her to take on all responsibilities of a third teenager.


She wasn’t forced to offer them a place for 6 months. If she knew all of this the more appropriate thing to do would’ve been to look into outlets to help Tom that don’t involve making him feel like part of the family for 6 months.


He's not suddenly not a part of their life because she wants to have him over a bit less. She's clearly in a tough spot.


I said something about how she shouldn’t have to take on the responsibilities and I’m getting downvoted lol as if just taking in a bunch of new responsibilities of a child that’s not even yours and has a mom is that easy, and not to mention the costs that come with it


Exactly lol, it's unreal. It's also not like she said the kid shouldn't be able to come over anymore. She just wants some time not parenting an extra child nearly 24/7.


I'm a 36 year old man with a 6 month old daughter. I would take this kid in in a heartbeat and when my daughter is older her friends will always have a safe place to be for as long as they need it. Because I was Tom.


And that's awesome of you. However, you wouldn't be a jerk if you couldn't or didn't want to.


As for as I am concerned, it's not even a question. My wife feels the same way and she grew up in a very intact, middle class family. But she gets it and that's one of the reasons I picked her.


So then take him. He'll be 16 in a year.






When another human has the ability to help/save someone thats what a good human does. This boy didnt ask for the shit life hes been handed, yet he seems like he wants to be a good kid, it doesnt sound like he asks for much, and he helps around tye house. If OP doesnt want to continue being the soft landing for this boy then the least she can do is help him find a more permanent soft landing. She has the opportunity to save a childs life .


Then why don’t you adopt him? OP clearly mentioned they struggle with the financial impact as well. Feeding/clothing/caring for 3 kids is not easy like you think it is.




Are you going to fund him? Probably not. Op isn't responsible for this. They have done enough


It's an interesting and unfortunate dilemma. Because quite obviously, a part of the family has accepted the kid as family. Another part has not. To be perfectly honest, as someone who was in a similar situation (albeit for a shorter amount of time), assuming I could afford it, I'd just accept them as another child, but they would have to accept similar ground rules, and I'd probably have to go the legalese route. If I couldn't afford the kid, what am I to do? I'm sure there are others as well-- am I to continue accepting such children into my family? It's just not feasible. Quite literally, the only option is for the kid to go into a such a situation where family/parental/child services are forced to take action.


I agree plus they want some alone family time


I also wonder about the other kids, do they ever get any alone time or privacy - for their sakes I hope they and the other kid have their own rooms.


I think that you should just do it. Just tell him directly that he’s not allowed to be there at these times because you need to care for your immediate family. You know the news will be heartbreaking to the kids. You know he has a terrible life. And you know that rejection will ultimately cause trauma, but hey. If you feel how you feel it can’t be helped. We’re only human, and you didn’t ask for a morality check, I assume as an adult you know right vs wrong. you asked how to do what you want to do. So just do it. Growing up as a “Tom” I had wished the adults in my life were straight up, instead of skirting around the issue.


I was Tom and parents did as you did, threw me back to the wolves. Please, please don't do that.


Unless it's financially motivated perhaps let sleeping dogs lie. I don't think there is a nice way of saying you can't live here to a child in that position. Perhaps you could call child welfare services and report his mother for neglect and then they can ship him off to a foster home. I honestly can't blame you for not wanting him there all the time. You want time with your family and that kid is an outside. However somethings are bigger than us and this might be one of them. Only you know for sure because you know everything, all we know is what you shared with us. We have no connection to the boy.


A foster home will undo everything he has improved in his life. Jesus


That’s tough. Why not sit down with the kid and tell hime that you’d love to make it a semi permanent arrangement that he live at yours. Like a custody thing. And work the days so that you get every second weekend to yourself. See it to him as being a permanent ongoing thing but that he needs to spend time at his other home too. Or just adopt him outright and love on him as your own. But. Know that you’re making more of a difference to this kid than you probably realise and this reprieve is life changing for him.


I was like Tom. I turned toward my aunt for mothering. She never fully accepted me or the situation. She wouldn't mother me when I needed it. Now I never talk to her.


Other than financial what’s the issue? You say yourself the kid is a gem, which let me tell you is rare from a household like that, I had an addict parent and was “adopted” into a family, they were drunks who let us run wild. It was just as bad of a situation as being at home, why do you feel this child shouldn’t be over everyday if you can help him? The money situation is 100% understandable, the rest of your post comes off as wanting to send a kid beck to abuse for no actual reason, how are your kids being neglected?


People will tell you to just "adopt" him and that would be the kind thing to do but.. the world is hard. Most people aren't that generous. He's learning early that the world don't owe him shit, and you don't owe him shit either. So do the kind thing, or do the average thing. Neither makes you bad, but If you are looking a way to get your way without harming him you just can't. That's okay sometimes.


You sound pretty mean. Let the kid hang around.


Alternative to the responses here that are telling you that you have to adopt him, there is definitely alternative options but that includes him going to a foster home or emancipating his mother (which I can’t say is relevant where you live) but you have to ask yourself if you’re willing to put this kid through that.


Honestly, why have you not called child services! You literally hit every criteria with your explanation of his house. Mom is drunk all the time, doesn't notice her kid is gone, strange men coming and going, and the kid is so busy taking care of the house and his mom when he isnt at school or at your house. If you really want this kid to get the help you have said he deserves and needs, you can make it happen! Call your local child services and file a report. Make sure to touch on the chronic drunkenness, note how much Tom is either taking care of his mom or house, how his mom isn't providing food or transportation to school, whatever TRUE observations you have seen. Make sure to NOT make anything up,or this will hinder the investigation. This is exactly the kind of environment where kids can be beat, molested and emotionally abused and slip through the cracks. My fiance works for CPS and this is a textbook story I hear all the time. One parent has an addiction, revolving door romantic interests, and terrible things happen!


OP i don t think you realise the positive impact you have in this kid s life . You provide him stability and attention but more important : normality. I don t think you realise how he might be thankful to you. Please do not let him down.His parents has failed him and you are probably the only real parent figure/ model that keep his sanity and mental health safe. Yes it might be inconvenient for you but does it worth to reject him ( because he will feel that way OP if you tell him to stop coming to your house , even less time).


Can you try reaching out to his grandparents, aunts or uncles? Or maybe even other parents at your school, if he's close to another student? You may find someone you can talk to, and negotiate getting him some care. This may be an unpopular opinion but this kid is fifteen - if you aren't ready/willing to take in a teenager (and any reason you have is valid - it may not be financially viable, you may feel uneasy about navigating family dynamics, you may just be happy with your family as it is and you may not be willing to change that) you shouldn't do it. No matter how bad this kid feels, his mom is still his primary caregiver. Even if he spends a few days there and you get some space, he's still getting some stable family time. There are a lot of comments urging you to accept this kid into your family, and I bet he's lovely, but adoption is a huge decision and if you don't feel equipped to provide him the same care that you give your kids, you're not helping him, or your family in the long run.


Hey man. I know this might sound crazy to you but please please please start treating this kid as if he was your son almost. You guys are probably the closest thing to a family he has and probably his only chance breaking the cycle his mom has started or is a part of.


I love that the general consensus here is move him in. I agree with it. I was that extra kid and those families that took me in saved my life.


You don't tell them. You sit down and have a family meeting and you talk as a family about the situation. Get your kid's perspective. How do they feel about it? What do you decide as a family is the best thing to do? Getting a bonus child means you're doing the parent thing right. You have an opportunity to drastically improve the chances for this kid. What boundaries need to be set?


I have a mum who takes others in and looks after other’s, at 40+ i joke i’m her third favorite daughter after her “adopting” two of my friends. One of which at 15 when her folks were going through a messy divorce lived with us for a few months. My father regularly talked with friends and our house was open. Today i have one of the best and most grown up relationship with my parents who get invited to things in their own right. I suspect it’s part of the reason my friend group from that time are still close friends. I would never have wanted the duvet days over my friends. Please think of the impact and relationship with your sons if you cut out their friends, i suspect your relationship won’t go forward as you hope for.


Hii, I understand a lot of people are saying you should open your home to the boy, but you really don’t need to, full time everyday, if you don’t want to. He’s not your kid, and people seem to not understand that it’s okay for a family to not want someone else’s kis coming in everyday and slowly “becoming family”. Talk to your son, and then talk to the friend, because you don’t have to bring in another child just because his alcoholic mom can’t look after him. Talk to your son first and then you guys can sit down and talk to him about how you four would like to spend family time and would like him to come by at different times/days. Speak to authorities if you can, and bring it up to the school again and see if anything changes. Good luck


Agreed. It's such a heartbreaking situation for this kid. But if OP and her husband never made the decision to have 3 kids in their life then Tom is not their responsibility. I think it's fair for them to talk to their kids and then Tom about having him come over every second weekend instead maybe or for only a couple days of the week. If these people have been educating him and feeding him and giving him a place to sleep then there is definitely a lot of their resources going into this third child too, and people seem to think it's easy to 'adopt' a kid out of nowhere. It requires a lot of mental strength to look after even one more person, especially when you never made the conscious decision to have a third child in the first place.






You have a chance to save this boy and give him a chance at succeeding in life..why would you not do that? Why would you push him into a horrible living situation when you have the ability to help him?


Is everyone willfully ignoring when OP said it’s financially burdensome? So she should sacrifice her savings and resources, her retirement potentially, for a child that is not here? I’m sorry but y’all just see women as automatic caretakers without their own wishes. It’s not her child. She did him and kindness and is not saying he can’t ever come over, just that she wants time with her family alone in her house that she pays for.


I’m sorry that you are being pressured into this responsibility. If you choose to set boundaries, do not feel guilty. Your family comes first, and it is important to prioritize that. I wish the best to you and this boy. I hope life grants you many blessings for opening your home the way you have.


I can't believe these responses. It's too bad that Tom has an unpleasant home life but it's really hard to have an extra person over all the time. I think you should speak to Tom and your kids separately. Decide what you want and talk to him about it. For example, you could make Sundays and Wednesdays family days. I would tell Tom to call in an emergency. You can also point Tom towards resources like the library and other safe places he can go that aren't your house. Perhaps help him find a part time job. I think you can support Tom without burning yourself out. And if you're gentle and kind it will help him to understand boundaries.


I would agree with you if she hadn’t allowed this child to basically live with their family, help with his homework, have his meals and hold a safe space in their house and her children’s lives for over SIX MONTHS. This is absolutely ludicrous. She will end up permanently damaging this child


You don't. You continue to offer this kid a safe and loving environment and basically treat him like another child of yours. That young man needs you. You like him. He helps and is no trouble!! Yep....he's pretty much your child now. Parent him as you parent your own boys. He will love you forever and every kid deserves a loving home.


How can you be so unselfish and still have these crappy thoughts at the same time? Tom seems like a great kid. Can’t you just embrace having a third child for the next three years so he has a stable home?? You’d be doing wonders for him. I guarantee your kids do not miss duvet day.


Sign the check then if you feel like this. You’re going to pay for it right?




I couldn’t agree more. Something about her tone really set me on edge and put a pit in my stomach. I can’t believe someone would really ask this question it’s horrible


I don't know if anyone else is going to say it, so I'll be really blunt. Do you see the gangs in the news? That's what usually happens to boys like Tom. Escaping from homes like his is how kids end up on the street. The fact he's latched on to your family for the stability you offer speaks volumes about his sense of personal responsibility. Despite poor social cues from his mom, he's only messed up by overstaying his welcome while he soaks up the love of normality at your house, instead of feeling uncomfortable and pulling your sons *away* from that to hang in the woods or on the streets with him. Tom is teaching himself what a normal family is like so that if he survives to have kids, he'll know how the deserve to be treated...because *you* showed him. I get it's frustrating to not have as much space and alone time. But I'd swear down, no one has ever made alone time for this boy so it hasn't occurred to him that families need space too. Could YOU make an hour of alone time for Tom each week where you ask what he needs to continue thriving and you tell him what you need. Tell him you need Sundays with just your home to yourself so that you still retain control over the home and schedule and your own sense of self. Ask during this time what kinda hobbies he has beyond your world, such as minerals or fantasy books or skateboarding etc, and ask him to task that family day you take, for him to GIVE BACK to himself. Maybe you guys can find a way. Tom seems to be trying, for sure.


I can't honestly believe you are asking this. Just suck it up and save a kids life ffs


Sorry, but as a child of considerable abuse and neglect, I read this post and all I can see is: *I have everything and this child has nothing. How can I get more of everything without feeling guilty about taking scraps away from this kid? What little he gets from my family is making a massive difference in his life — and will for decades for come — but it’s more important to me that I get what I want, even though as far as life goes, I’ve basically already won the lottery?*