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February 28, 2001
4:21 pm
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Lannie
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September 30, 2010
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I'm really confused about a situation I'm in. I'm the sister to seven siblings, all living at home, 6 younger than me. My dad pays childsupport but lives in a different state. My mother is really disabled and so me and my sister work to take care of the other kids. But I'm worried about the kids. They are doing well in school, they are really sweet and wonderfully talented, but I'm afraid that we can't do enough for them. When I try and address the issue with my sister or my mom, I get turned into the bad girl and they gang up on me/tell me that if I want out I should just leave. That's not it though, I don't resent my position, besides the fact that my mother feels threatened by it, and I'd do a lot more if she'd let me, but I'm afraid that the kids aren't getting enough. They don't have enough clothes, they eat a diet consisting of cheese or peanut butter and honey sandwiches. I think their healthiest meal comes from the school cafeteria at lunch. And some of them become my mother and sister's scapegoat. My sister's older than me and she really runs the show, and does as good a job as one could expect, but I'm not sure it's enough. I don't feel like they get enough personal one on one nourishment and personal contact and people in my family have a tendency to be depressed. I'm on anti depressants and anti-anxiety attack medicine, and I think a my mother and sister would benefit too but they are unwilling to consider themselves as possibly having a problem like that. My siblings talk to me more than they talk to them, and they tell me of their dreams and how they feel displaced or unpopular in school because their pants are too short, and I really feel bad. Besides this, my sister doesn't like to clean and I do when I can but it's really discouraging because my mother doesn't seem to see a point to it. There's a lot of mold growing in various unattainable places and the kitchen is constantly a pig stye. But I'm going to college too and there's only so much I can do with a full load. If I did something, it would mean getting CPS involved and having the kids split up and sent to relatives that have often volunteered to take them. Part of me thinks they'd be better off and their material needs would be met, but part of me thinks that I might really injur one of them because they were taken away from everything they were used to and put into a functioning environment. I just don't know anymore.

February 28, 2001
8:50 pm
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janes
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Stop worrying. Do what you can and leave it at that. As a teacher I see many kids who have their healthiest meal at school. When you go home take fruit or treats that are healthy you know they don't often get. On birthdays make sure they get a new outfit from you. be sure their shoes fit.

As long as they are clean, reasonably well fed and content they are fine.

Life is much more than material needs.

Take them (one at a time) to class with you and talk about college.

With six of them hand me downs are not unreasonable.

I grew up really poor and never every thing the other kids had either....in the long run if you can be a good role model, emotionally nurturing to them etc. they are better off than being split up etc.

Do what you can ... don't be codependent about this --thinking they need "more". More is not alwaya better.

If there is abuse it's a different story. but if they are just poor... that's okay. remind them of how sweet you think they are and how good it is they get good grades.

Take them for outings...zoo's, plays on campus, etc. That kind of stuff is really better than being "popular" in school.

You need to look long term and not just at how they feel today. Kids always want More. that's normal.

drop the guilt trip and just be a great sister!!

Sounds like they have one!!!!

Good luck.

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