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DS17 is sneaking people into my house when I've said no, and it's freaking me out(60 Posts)
Sorry. Long one. I think I'm offloading as well as asking for opinions.
A bit of background (for those of you who don't already know)... About 6 weeks ago, I had a nightmare weekend: I was burgled by someone who had a key for my house - so almost certainly one of my son's 'friends'; then my own son was arrested because the police suspected him; then, tho he hadn't, it turned out that he was at a party held by his 'best mate' (19) and attended by many local lads, plus - incredibly shockingly - two men who had allegedly just stabbed a couple of people, killed one of them, gone home to get changed, and headed off to the party.
I put a ban on my son bringing anyone at all into my house for a week or two. I then relaxed that ban to "no-one comes in when I'm not at home and around to supervise". My logic was/is that (a) my son has a lousy taste in friends, (b) until I know who did burgle me, I can't be sure who didn't, and (c) DS2 and I need to be and feel safe in our own home.
But my son does not respect my feelings or take them seriously at all. He has totally different values and measures of risk/danger/acceptable behaviour. He thinks I'm making 'a fuss'. Since then, he has broken the ban several times. He has let his friends in when I have been at work. He snuck 4-5 lads in when I was asleep and they took drugs in my kitchen. Last night, he snuck his 'best mate' in after I had gone to bed, and when I discovered him and chucked him out, my son kicked off, screamed and swore at me, and left with his mate to go and find somewhere else to sleep.
His take on it was that his mate had no-where else to stay, he stands by his mates and supports them, he didn't ask because he knew I'd say 'no', and there was no way he was going to let him 'go out on the streets' on his own. My take on it is that I do not trust the guy - there's something about him that makes me uncomfortable; he has never had a conversation with me or made any effort to be pleasant; people who have 'nowhere to stay' have burnt bridges and are not good news; every time my son has anything to do with him there's trouble; and anyone who is happy to try to sneak into a house past a sleeping mum is untrustworthy.
I am now close to panic because I can't work out what to do... My problem is that if I ask myself "What do you want in this situation?", everything I can think of is impossible or worse than the current situation... I have been here before and I know I am going round in circles...
My first choice would be for my 'nice' son to come back and replace this selfish f*cker who has taken his place during the last couple of years I know that isn't going to happen, of course.
My second choice would be for him to get an entirely different set of friends - nice ones who are at college or in work, and who don't have criminal records. But of course I can't chose his friends for him, and he's not going to make any new friends while he's not doing anything.
My third choice would be for a relative to offer to have him live with them. We haven't got any who would/could. And his
useless f*cker father is on the other side of the world.
My fourth choice would be for DS1 to leave home happily and go and live somewhere far away doing something constructive that will help him grow up, and come home to visit from time to time when we both want to see each other. That isn't going to happen either: he doesn't want to go anywhere, he isn't mature enough, he's a bit of a lazy sod, and he's too young for any organised schemes (like VSO).
choice option would be to throw him out. But that will bring him into more contact with the people and things I don't want in my life, or his. I fear for his safety and wellbeing.
My sixth option is to have him living at home but not to allow anyone else in at all ever (or at least not until he makes some new nice friends ). But that needs his co-operation, and I haven't got it
My seventh option is to have him living at home and allow friends in when I am at home and awake... But we've tried that, and the trust is already broken. And again it requires cooperation from him that isn't there.
I can't work out any option that would actually work
So (and if you've read this far, thanks) I have some specific questions for people. Any answers/thoughts welcome...
1) Am I being unreasonable to be now wanting a total ban on having any of his friends in my house?
2) I hate that my son has friends I do not like or trust. I know that's quite a common parent perspective, but how do other people deal with it? Do you let people you don't like and trust into your house?
3) Given that I can't actually enforce a ban on my son's friends with my son living at home, do I just (a) give in and let them hang out at my house; or (b) accept it's impossible for my son to live at home any more, and throw him out, despite inevitable bad consequences for him?
4) I wonder whether a compromise would work - i.e. allow the 'best mate' in, even though I don't like or trust him - on the understanding that no-one else is allowed in ever - and taking the gamble that this will make it more likely DS will stick to the agreement. My trust in DS is so damaged I would expect this agreement to be broken too... But is it worth a try?
Or can anyone else think of something that would work?
I am really struggling with this. Any help/advice will be much appreciated
Only suggestion I can make is perhaps take his key off him so he can only come and go under your supervision, don't know how well that would work though.
I don't think you are being at all unreasonable under the circumstances. You have a right to feel safe and comfortable in your own home.
Thanks firebird. I have taken his key off him, in the past and last night. But it doesn't work: he is bigger and stronger and more stubborn than me, and I can't get him out of bed if he doesn't want to get up... So he can easily just refuse to leave the house when I go to work
How old is your son? If he wants to invite his friends around maybe he should start payiny rent. Not parents rates but rates he would have to pay if living in his own place ( save some of it for him but don't tell him). Hopefully this might kick him in the right direction
Only two people have been banned from our house, one for each teen, and for quite different reasons to yours. But I feel that it is your home, and he has no right to violate your and his brothers safety or security. I would kick him out as none of your other options are actionable. Hard, but tough love is a necessary thing sometimes. He will come right or he won't, but it isn't exactly having any negative consequences for him if he is just doing what he wants regardless of your feelings, so he isn't going to learn from that.
Very difficult for you. It's worth trying to keep him at home if you can. Could you get a new lock and not give him a key? So he only comes in if you let him in, then you lock up and keep the key on you?
So he will have to Talk to you to be allowed to live with you under your reasonable rules. At the moment he's seeing living with you as his Given Right isn't he? And he's doing it on his terms.
Ok, do the new key regime and tell him 3 strikes (of not getting up) and he's out for good? The police WILL remove him from your home for you, have they been involved yet? I found police involvement helpful for scaring DS(17) into better behaviour.
Thanks, ben, beagre and noteven
Charging him rent isn't an option, ben - partly because he has no income, and partly because if he was paying rent, he would then feel entitled to bring whoever he likes into my house - which is what I want to stop.
noteven, do you know for sure that the police will remove him at my request? Just cos I want him out? I had him arrested at Easter (for smashing things, throwing things at me and threatening me) and I had to refuse point blank to have him home afterwards. They told me there was nowhere else for him to go and that I had to have him, and told me I was an irresponsible parent when I still refused.
God you poor woman. My MIL has a son who she had to get a restraining order to keep him away from the house because of his drunken rages, violence and ranting at neighbours. He's 37.
I would go with getting him out of the house if possible - you need to feel safe in your own home, and since you can't trust him to keep undesirables out of it, even after you've gone to bed, the only other option is to get him out and with no access.
The police telling you you are an "irresponsible parent" - that's so wrong. Just so very wrong. You should not have to house someone who puts you in danger.
I wonder if talking to someone in the DV department would help you - it doesn't have to be marital DV to qualify, surely?
I really hope you can find a successful way through this - I just hope you can find an appropriate way to get him out of the house.
Thanks Thumb, I feel quite sorry for myself today too
If DS was 37 not 17, I would have no qualms about throwing him out. If he was my partner rather than my son, ditto. But 17 is such a weird in-between age... Social services don't want to know, yet they can't take full responsibility for themselves - e.g. he can't sign a tenancy to able to rent somewhere else to live...
I agree that I should not have to house someone who puts me/us in danger, but the tricky thing is that almost always it's potential danger and fear of danger, rather than actual danger. I have called 999 on the 3 occasions I have felt in real danger, and my son know I would do the same again if a 4th occasion ever arose. But I can't phone the police and say "My son has dodgy friends and he's letting them in my house", can I? They have better things to do.
DS says I worry too much and imagine risks. I think there is a massive culture clash here: I've said it before, but he compares his life and behaviour with Jeremy Kyle and Shameless - and thinks he's "not bad" and I'm making a fuss about nothing and "chattin' shit" when I express my concerns. I compare his choices and behaviour with my own nice middle class upbringing and my friends' families (and perhaps with The Archers on Radio 4 ) - and I feel stressed and afraid and out of my depth and worried for his future.
I also agree about the DV 'angle'. But there is no recognition of children as perpetrators of DV against their parents, let alone any services/support. I know quite a lot about DV (have worked/researched DV and work alongside the community safety team in my area currently, so I know individual officers, which is a bit awkward). At some point, I will try to raise the issues and do something about it, but I don't have the energy or strength to do it now - I can't lobby and set out needs and propose actions, as I would be able to do if I wasn't so personally involved, because I am likely to burst into tears
I don't know where you live, but would this website be any use to you?
There may be something similar in your own area, ways to get him out and renting, even though he's 17.
Is he still in education?
Thanks again Thumb In our area, apparently his only housing option would be B&B - and he has to go there willingly of course.
He has applied for a BTEC course, but he only got round to doing it a few days ago, so we don't know if he'll get a place. His last course finished at the beginning of May... So much time spent hanging around doing nothing isn't exactly helping
I am really sorry for you.
In your cicumstances, I would have to ask him to find somewhere else to live until he can respect your home. I wouldn't try to palm him off on friends/relatives either as he will disrespect them too
At 17 he is old enough to know better...but he thinks he can do what he likes. Well, he can. Away from the family home.
Get a restraining order out against his "friends"? then if he does bring them around you can call the police.
I know it sounds harsh but he's being really disrespectful and arrogant, to say nothing of naive and stubborn. Did he have nothing to say about the burglary-with-a-key? That alone shows you are not over-reacting, IMO.
Does he actually want to do anything with his life, OP, or just be like a Shameless character? If there's any self respect or ambition there at all, would it be worth suggesting that he joins the Army? It could be very good for him imo.
He needs to move away from the area somehow, get him away from the "friends" that he's hanging around with.
Some people are able to see when their crew are bad news, others less so. My DH hung around with friends who were just idle wasters, smoking dope all the time etc. when he was in his late teens - but unlike them, he had a job and other interests, and one day he just got fed up of the coneheads and left, never went back.
Your DS needs to find something else to do - if not a job, then some kind of voluntary work. Or community service! Anything that keeps him busy and not able to spend time with his friends.
Funnily enough, Golden, he doesn't disrespect others the way he disrespects me. But there are no friends/relatives who could have him to live with them anyway, so it's immaterial.
He had lots to say about the burglary at the time, Thumb - mostly about kicking someone's head in when he found out who did it. But a month or so on, though I am still pretty traumatised, he has almost forgotten about it. When challenged, his view seems to be "Well, it's happened now, so it isn't going to happen again". Yes, incredibly naive and stubborn.
He does have some aspirations Mumblechum, but not clear ones. In the past couple of months he has wanted to be a self-employed builder, a lawyer (after his arrest!) and 'something in media'. He has toyed with the idea of the army, but this 'best mate' of his has just quit (or been kicked out?) after a year or so, and has talked him out of it. And the immediate attractions of just dossing about (with lots of company at this time of year) are winning out over hazy future possible benefits.
He doesn't have enough self respect imo (which puzzles me). In a way, a lot of his behaviour feels like some macho version of self-harming Which is one of the reasons I haven't thrown him out yet...
Good grief - he's daft if he thinks burglary only happens once, unless he does know who has done it and has warned them off! My house got burgled twice in 2 weeks - first time they took all the big stuff, next time they got all the smaller stuff. Bloody horrible experience.
How is he funding himself - are you giving him money, does he get any from anywhere else? Might that be a lever to get him to do something?
How much is he doing in the way of drugs, do you know?
Do you give him money, OP ?
Yes, he is naive to the point of stupidity - and has a huge sense of invulnerability. He says he doesn't know who it was, BUT since it almost certainly was someone in his social circle, the word will have got round and acted as a general warning. Obviously (because I'm not stupid) I haven't ruled out the possibility that he might know more than he's telling. I've changed the locks, and had deadlocks and security lights fitted, so the chances of it happening again are very small
He only gets money from me for work, these days. Minimum wage. He has had some casual work. And he has sold various things, including his old PS3. We had about 6 months where I didn't give him any money, but then he didn't do any jobs, and withdrew his co-operation generally - and I decided in the end I wanted to encourage effort...
As for drugs - he smokes and drinks like an average smoking-drinking teen, he smokes cannabis and/or skunk most days but not all, and he takes M-cat every couple of weeks (with a big binge of several weeks over Christmas/New Year) but says he doesn't want to. That is a problem, because once he starts, he can't stop, and he is 'borrowing' money to binge on it all night. He has actually (good point ) attended a drop-in at a YP's drug service and has just started counselling. My fingers are very tightly crossed.
But but but... I have said all this on this discussion board already. I don't want to bore anyone. [shame] I really welcome new ideas... Can I ban his friends? How would I do that?!
Unless you're feeling in danger, or they're breaking the law (which they technically are with the drug use in your house), or breaking up your home, I don't know how you can do it legally. If he won't abide by your word, it makes it very hard.
If they were doing illegal/ bad things, you could call the police, have them arrested, get restraining orders on them - but if they're just hanging around annoying you, I don't think you'll manage it.
Have you tried talking to him as an adult.
Tell him that you can't cope with the situation as it is - you are scared after the burglary.
Agree you can't choose his friends, but you do have the right to control who comes into your home. If he doesn't want to abide by that then he has to go and live elsewhere. If he wants to carry on living in your house then he has to act like an adult and respect your feelings. Tell him you don't want him to move out, and screw up his life with bad friends, but whatever - it is now time to take responsibility for his choices. He is no longer a child and can't expect to be housed like a child.
Ask him to go away for a day or so and seriously think about how to handle this. Then to come back and talk calmly as an adult with you about what he is going to do.
I suspected as much They haven't used drugs in front of me, and I have told them all that I would report them to the police if they did... (That's why they wait for me to go out or be asleep). They do stuff that definitely is not illegal, like waking me up, and making noise, and - the one I really object to - coming in my house when they have been explicitly told not to. I am just getting so stressed and tired of feeling harassed by these hulking great youths... All taller and stronger than me and unintentionally intimidating... All I want it a quiet life...
There is still the option of harassment, isn't there? Anti-social behaviour? I don't know - perhaps you should post in Legal to see if there is anything that could be held against them! Then decide if you want to go that far.
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