Wedding Woes

Tell her to move out, but don't call CPS unless the kids are in grave danger.

Dear Prudence,

My older sister and her three kids (ages 4 to 9) got kicked out of her boyfriend’s house. They moved in with me in my two-bedroom apartment. Our mom died last year, and we are all the family we have left. I felt responsible. I work 10- to 12-hour days at least six days a week. It killed my last relationship—I come home and crash. The kids will not shut up, and my sister is shrill, expecting me to play dad and demanding I take on everything she won’t deal with. I have to call the super or pick up groceries or discipline her kids or do the laundry. I am not asking for rent; I am asking for a decently clean apartment and for her to take care of her own kids. She has a job. She gets “headaches,” so I will come home after a double shift to some screaming kids. My neighbors have complained me to twice. My sister and I fight when I get into her “business,” like whether she is demanding child support from her two exes or what she is saving from her job.

This has been going on for months—I am this close to letting the lease lapse, leaving, and calling CPS. I do love my nieces and nephews, but I am not their dad. I have a plate-load of issues to deal with on my own. How do I get through to my sister? I don’t want it to come to that.

—Not the Father

Re: Tell her to move out, but don't call CPS unless the kids are in grave danger.

  • This situation is untenable. You need to be clear with your sister the timetable for living together, and any expectations you have of her family living in your apartment. Don’t just let the lease lapse and move without telling her; that is just as immature as her behavior is.

    If you can’t come to an arrangement about living situations then tell her you will not renew the lease and she needs to start looking for a new place. 
  • What does she think she is calling CPS on? I mean loud kids and general misbehaving are pretty common (especially if they haven't been disciplined much growing up). 
  • levioosalevioosa Southern California member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I’m also not seeing the need to call CPS unless there’s something missing in the letter. LW needs to be clear with his sister that things either need to change, or that sister needs to look for a new place to live 

  • LW needs to have a firmer discussion with the sister but the bottom line is that this isn't an arrangement that's working.   You can love your nieces and nephews but this is not a situation that is helpful at all.

  • I was with the LW, until he talked about calling CPS when he moves out.  What?  Why?  Because he doesn't think his sister can take care of her kids without his help?

    He needs to have a CTJ talk with his sister.  That the situation is no longer tenable.  Nor has it been for a very long time.  Give her a firm deadline on when to move out.  Or, depending on how long his lease is, it might be easier for him to just not renew and move to a one-bedroom house/apartment.  "Easier" being the relative word.  Obviously, he needs to let his sister know he is doing that, so she has as much time as possible to make other arrangements.

    Because, here's the sad deal.  She has a very comfy living arrangement.  She couldn't care less how difficult she has made life for her brother.  She will put him off and lay on the guilt trip indefinitely.  Their relationship is doomed anyway because she won't leave until he makes her.

    And the uglier part that people never think of?  Depending on their jurisdiction, it might be really difficult to make her leave, legally.  And that's assuming he even has the guts to serve her the appropriate legal notices and then file in eviction court.  It's hard enough when it is a landlord-tenant case.  It's even murkier when there isn't that type of clear distinction.

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  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    A call to CPS isn't warranted. But a come-to-Jesus talk with your sister about your boundaries is, along with looking for your own place when your lease expires.
  • Time to hire a sitter and have an adult conversation...  LW isn't the baby daddy, nor should LW be expected to put a roof over her and the kids.  It'd be one thing if they lived in the same house with separate spaces that each gets their own personal space, but this sounds like an apartment and if I was those neighbors would have likely been talking to the landlord a long time ago.  It's time for the Sister to have the "Come to Jesus" she's an adult now and has to take responsibility for the discipline.  No parent wants to "be the bad guy" but it's necessary.

    As for the CPS call - WTF for?!?!?  Because she's overwhelmed and doesn't have the coping skills to cope herself let alone teach coping mechanisms to the kids that are doing what kids do.  

    Next - Even if it's $50/mo that Sister needs to be paying SOMETHING to LW as rent!!!  It's BS and enabling to not make her have some level of responsibility!
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