Acknowledging that she and her siblings all “suffer from various emotional problems,” Evans points to one defining moment in 2000 when then-9-year-old Colin set his toys on fire and accidentally set the family home ablaze.
Her brother ran downstairs, frantically interrupting a movie night. “It took us a few moments of confusion to figure out what in the hell he was going on about,” writes Jenelle, now 25, in Read Between the Lines: From the Diary of a Teenage Mom
The mother of three reveals the family would later learn Colin had set a toy car on fire before tossing it on the bed. As the attic was destroyed by flames, the family had to evacuate. It was her mother Barbara’s “breaking point,” Jenelle says in hindsight, adding, “This … was too much for all of us.”
Colin was sent to a group home in Texas for nearly two years. Despite her tumultuous relationship with her mother, Jenelle says she empathizes with the choice to send Colin away.
“I don’t blame my mother for sending him away like that,” she writes. “It is a hard decision, yet I would’ve done the same.”
Barbara, 64, tells PEOPLE the decision to place Colin in a home “was very hard” and reveals her son has been in and out of mental health facilities since the age of 6.
“I had to do what I had to do because he could not live in that house, he was dangerous,” she says. “He burnt my house down when he was 10. We’d only been living in the residence for six months. Six months and he burnt the house down.”
Defending Colin, Barbara acknowledges the fire “wasn’t intentional — it was an accident. But still, it was a tough life. Tough life.”
Read Between the Lines: From the Diary of a Teenage Mom is out now, and Teen Mom 2 airs Mondays (9 p.m. ET) on MTV.