Teenagers and Babies

So...my husband and I are currently fostering to adopt a six week old. I have an almost 18 year old stepdaughter who is great with babies and is a great help. But sometimes I think that she thinks this is HER baby. I encourage her to help and I allow her to keep the baby in her room one night per week because I know how much she loves babies and wants to help. Tonight I heard her on the phone with someone saying “She is like MY baby and I’M the one who takes care of her.” How can I establish healthy boundaries with my teenager?
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My stepdaughter is in her early 20’s. When we brought my son home, she was always eager to help, but I never let him stay overnight in her room. That would be a line I would draw. I hate to think about it, but if something were to happen, you would have to be the responsible one. She sounds very mature, but she is still the child and you’re still the parent. My stepdaughter has never asked to do any overnight help, but she does do just about anything a babysitter would do- diapers, feeding, etc.

I let her pick out her outfits some days. She helps with bath time, and honestly that one night a week that she stays in her room is when I catch up on sleep. I want her to feel included but my blood started to boil when I heard her telling someone that she is the one who takes care of her!

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And also... I wanted to tell you that you and your little one are gorgeous!! I love that you are fostering to adopt.. I would love to foster ❤️

That’s nice she is being helpful... not all teenagers are like that... it would make me sooo mad if I heard her say that though I agree. Maybe she was just trying to be “cool” you know how teenagers are. Who knows she might be telling her friends that you need help or something (though it’s not true) but thinking she’s “so cool”. Try to talk to her and maybe just tell her “if you really think you always take care of her then maybe I’ll just do it all and not have her stay in your room too” let her know she isn’t “needed” but you appreciate the help.

Just wanted to say I admire you for giving that little gorgeous girl the best start of her life. People like you make my heart smile!!

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Thank you so much! Best case scenario is her parents get clean and we get to sow a seed in her and love on her for her first year. Worst case scenario they don’t and we have her for life. Either way, we love her forever!

You have to think about why her saying that triggered you. She is 18 and probably feels that she does A LOT whether or not she actually does. I would try not to take it personally and maybe chat to her and see if she feels she has the child too much? Maybe she feels she needs to help? Or maybe she was just chatting to someone and felt like making a big deal about her role for a point of conversation. The only way you will know is to sit down and chat to her 🤷🏻‍♀️

Before I say anything else I must say I am so happy you are doing this! My husband wasn’t born addicted but was adopted by his foster mom and it was the best thing that could have happened to him! She’s 18. Mature enough but immature at the same time. Have you talked to your husband about it? How does he feel? Why not have an open and honest coversation with her? I find that talking about things always works out for the best. Sometimes we overreact and sometimes there is something that needs to be corrected. In any case I believe communication is the key!

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I’m afraid to talk to my husband about it because she’s his “baby” and he gets defensive. I’m trying not to overreact but it’s still on my mind this morning. I don’t “need” her help but I allow her to help so that she doesn’t feel left out. But the fact that she said “I care for this child, Katie doesn’t even take care of her,” makes me want to not allow her to help. I definitely think that a conversation needs to be had.

This is lovely that you are doing this! It is good that she wants to help but like you say there need to be boundaries. I don't think I would let the baby stay in her room personally, I think that maybe blurs the lines a bit. Hope you manage to work things out x

I'm a crazy mommy. I Don't even like people getting close to my kids. I'm like MINE! i shouldn't be that way. I need to learn how to say things without coming off aggressive.

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Sometimes you have to put your foot down. So people know that you mean business.

I’m a crazy mommy too! I feel the same way. But I’m the opposite, and more passive. I think that’s why I get walked all over sometimes!

First I have to say what amazing step mother making her feel so included and making sure she's part of the family unit. I think she was probably just boasting though, talking herself up to somebody to look good. I doubt she thinks her 1 day a week is her raising a baby really. Scale it back a bit if you're uncomfortable, but also appreciate your baby has an extra grown up who loves them so much and is ready made that you didn't even need to raise fully! Bonus!

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I definitely appreciate the help but I think I need to do a better job of setting boundaries so that she doesn’t think that SHE is MOM!

Personally I feel like you & your partner have been in trusted with the care of this child. Between the both of you, you surely can look manage the seven nights a week. If your partner isn’t pulling his weight then perhaps you need to sit down and chat to him. As with the step daughter, I would play her at her own game. Say you overheard her talking to her friend the other night about how much responsibility she’s taking with the child & that she feels as if she’s doing it all, so you’re taking back full responsibility as she needs to focus on her life & not have such pressures at 18 years old. That way you’ve done it nicely & wont upset anyone. I wouldn’t trust my child to stay overnight in my stepdaughters room, then building a healthy bond around the house is important, but if the child starts to seek her for comfort rather than yourself then that would hurt you even more long term.

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