FAMILY: Sister causing problems
Article #: 256198
My 18 year old sister moved in with us (myself, my husband and our two young children) back in January, as her friend kicked her out, and there was no room at our mum's house for her to move back in. We've never asked much of her, as we only want to help her get back on her feet. She dropped out of college last year and went on benefits til she finds a job. Before she moved in, she babysat our children while we were at work, for which we paid her. Now she lives with us, she sits around all day, surfing the internet, and doesn't bother taking our eldest to nursery. As a result, my husband has had to leave his job, meaning money is extremely tight now. She eats all the food when we're not around, has doubled our heating bill, and doesn't bother to help around the house. We have spoken to her about her behavior, but she runs to our mum, telling her that we make her do everything around the house, and that it's still not good enough for us. Which in turn, means we have our entire family giving us grief over how we are treating her. We have persevered with her, let her do what she wants, and even let her boyfriend sleep over whenever she wants, just so we've got some peace. She is getting worse by the day, and no matter what we try nothing helps. She is causing tension between myself and my husband, our children have become completely out of control since she's been with us, and now I'm suffering with depression over it all. I now work six days a week to bring in a little extra money, so now I'm exhausted mentally AND physically, I miss spending time with my husband and children, but we need the extra money. And now I can't even turn to family for help and advice because of her lies. I'm not a bad person, and I don't ask much. But I really need some advice. I'm at my wits and with her, but don't have the heart to throw her out. It was my conscience which brought her here, and my conscience preventing me from making her leave.
You are definitely NOT a bad person. In fact, you are exceptionally caring and patient. But I am going to tell you what I think you already know. Things are not going to improve as long as you tolerate your sister's behavior. She is taking advantage of your kindness and sees no need to repay you or accept any responsibility.
Your first responsibility is to your husband and children and she is making home life unpleasant for all of you. You and your husband must give her a date to leave with no options for staying on improved behavior. When the time comes, pack up her things, set them out, and change the locks. Tell her this is what you are going to do.
Has it occurred to you that the rest of the family is shaming you into tolerating her so they don't have to provide for her? Since you say they are already upset with you, I don't see how the situation will be worse when you make her leave.
It is my opinion that you need to accept the fact that you are not helping her to become a responsible person. And I think your conscience should bother you more about what this situation is doing to your family than worry over her. Making her be responsible for herself and act in an adult fashion will be better for her in the long run than continuing to let her "sponge" off your family and upset you, your husband and your children.
These are my thoughts according to what you have shared. Please consider them and then act in the way that is best for your family. And let me hear back from you as to how you decided to deal with the situation. We Elders care.