Dear Dr. Darcy:
My sister buys alcohol for her 15,16 and 19 year old daughters. She allows them to smoke pot in the home and has actually purchased it for them. Last week she found out her 15 year old had sex with a 21 year old house guest. (ex boyfriend’s son). She won’t call the police for statutory rape as he would have to register as a sex offender. All 3 girls are sexually active and on the pill, since the oldest got pregnant at 16. My sister seems to think sex is ok as long as they don’t get pregnant. the girls have sex in the house and my sister is aware of this. What should I do? I want to call the police myself. I’m so worried for my nieces’ well-being. Please help!
Your sister is going to have some very angry daughters to contend with when they become adults and clean up their acts. Today, while they are all teens, I’m sure the kids love having a friend who happens to be their biological mother. In addition to the recklessness of her above-referenced behaviors, I’m sure there are maternal duties that are not getting done ~ the combination of which will create a ton of resentment in these girls when they are old enough to realize what their mother is doing.
I have a question for you: Do you want to be in your sister’s life? Do you want to be in your nieces’ lives? If the answers are Yes and Yes, you need to keep your mouth shut. Doing otherwise will create a distraction from your sister’s wrongdoings (which they all desperately need because at some level they know that what she’s doing is wrong) and will result in her and/or the girls cutting you out of their lives. And I think you can have a far greater influence in their lives than the influence that calling the police will result in.
Let’s get some clarity on your sister’s wrongdoings and what reporting her will result in:
- She buys alcohol for her daughters, all of whom are teenagers. She will eventually get caught, and when that happens, depending on the state in which she lives, she very well may be charged with a felony. In the meantime, know that there isn’t a teen in America who can’t access alcohol. If she wasn’t buying it for them, someone else would.
- She allows them to smoke pot in the home. She has even purchased it for them. I don’t even know what to say about this. Her permissive ways will eventually bite her in the ass. Meanwhile, you’d be hard-pressed to find a cop who will be able to prove that the kids were smoking it with her consent, and even if it could be proven, the most she’d get is a slap on the wrist. Meanwhile, you’d be foreclosed from seeing the underage girls and the 19-year old might decide on her own to cut you off. Again, the good doesn’t outweigh the bad.
- Her 15 year old had sex with a 21-year old house guest. Although what he did constitutes statutory rape, I tend to agree with your sister that the punishment of having to register as a sex offender (for the rest of his life) seems out of proportion to the inappropriate act of having had sex with girl 6 years younger than he is. Had it not been consensual, I’d be the first to say that you should call the police.
- The girls have sex in the house and my sister knows this. Again, not appropriate, but is this an offense that is reportable? Perhaps. And then what? The two younger girls get removed from the home?
This sister of yours isn’t winning any Parent Of The Year awards, to be sure. And I can only imagine how difficult it must be for you to witness the absence of real leadership in her family. But those girls need an adult who has her head screwed on straight, and I think that’s where you come in. Instead of spending time stewing over your sister’s permissiveness, make it a point to have at least one date per month with each girl. That should keep you out of your head and close enough to your nieces to have a positive influence in their lives.
Writer’s Stats: Female, Straight.