ds 15 yr sneaking out at night(11 Posts)
We have just discovered our son (16 in 2 months) has been sneaking out of the house at night from at least new year to go to parties etc.
We have tried to talk to him about why this is so worrying but got nowhere. He has never even asked us if he can go to these things and says it is because we are 'so tight' and would not let him go!
Actually we would have but with a few rules (DH would pick him up and need to be home by a set time etc Nothing outrageously hard!).
I am horrified at the thought of him wandering home from god knows where in the early hours of the morning on his own at his age. We discovered he slept in the garage at xmas as he could not get back in house so was out in the cold all night. I found upstairs windows left slightly open and a ladder on conservatory roof and have nightmare visions of him drunkenly trying to climb up, falling and lying undiscovered all night. God - there is more but you get the picture!
He has always been independant and is quite a secretive type and has boasted to me that I don't know anything about what he does. I find that so sad as we are an open and communicative family. He nevers shares much about himself and seems to enjoy shutting us out of his life.
With his friends he is happy, popular and confident.
Most of the time he is friendly and chatty with us too but it has become clear he really does have a whole world he does not want to share. I know that is normal for teens and can't change that but am really worried about the night time outings - I think he will carry on just because he prefers to do it that way rather than let us in on where he is going.
I am so worried for his safety but feel totally powerless.
How do you deal with this?
Oh tutti, you have my sympathy. I've been there too. I think you are right about liking the secrecy: there is quite a bit of kudos for a 15yo boy if he can say "Oh, no, my parents wouldn't let me, but I snuck out anyway".
You will obviously have given him the 'safety lecture'. When he was 15-16, it was absolutely non-negotiable for me that I had to know where he was at night, and that there would be major trouble if I did not. I expected a phone call or text, and if I didn't get one, I made a nuisance of myself, phoning all of his friends as well as him. I stopped money. I blocked outgoing calls/texts from his phone (while keeping the ability to call him). I basically made absolutely sure that he got very little grief if he communicated with me, and lots of grief if he didn't.
It wasn't totally effective at the time. There were some nights I was awake worrying for hours. There were others when, with hindsight, he probably lied to me and gave me a false address. However, I'd say it worked about 85% of the time, which was a big improvement on the previous sneaking about. And now he is 18
and his ego has nothing to prove he is good at letting me know where he is and whether he'll be back.
Oh and since he is climbing through windows to get in, and that's obviously dangerous, I think you'd better give him a key...
Flow thank you so much for your reply. It does help to just hear someone else say they have been through this sometimes.
You are so right - I can imagine his escape act being the talk of the party.
He likes to turn the tables on us when he has been caught out so is not talking to us today would you believe?!!
I am waiting a day or two and will try to talk to him to move forward.
I like your ideas but will have to work on getting numbers for his friends - he refuses to give us their numbers/home addresses and I only know the addresses of the friends he's had from primary.
That's part of the problem of sneaking off - we would not have any idea where to look for him. So scary.
He does have a key btw so could easily use the door but seems to think the window is the way to go! Guess that's the teenage mind for you!
Just a few random thoughts in response...
I used to think my DS's escapes would be the talk of the party too. Now I think that was a projection of my own feelings of powerlessness, and humiliation if I'm honest. I reckon such teenage escapes are fairly common - much less of a big deal to them than they feel to us...
'Turning the tables' was a standard response for my DS too. Except when he knew he was in the wrong, he didn't sulk, he raged. It got to the point where I realised that the angrier he seemed, the more guilty I knew he felt! Maybe it's the same with your DS?
The most effective 'control' I had over my DS at that age (and it really isn't saying much) was blocking his phone. I paid for his contract, and it was in my name, and so I was able to call the provider and ask for "a temporary block on outgoing calls and texts". That meant I could call him, but he couldn't call or text anyone. Countless times, I texted him to say something like "Text me an address/Call me from the house landline in the next 10 mins or I'll block your phone"... He really hated losing contact with his friends, so he usually complied. However, it was less useful at night because (a) I didn't feel it was very safe to leave him without a way of contacting me at night, and (b) the phone company's help-desk closed down at 10pm! But still, as I say, it was just about the only thing that had any effect for a while!
It is scary. Really, really scary. The bottom line is, you can't stop him taking risks - you can only support him to make better decisions, and learn to manage your own fear and stress. That last point is more important than most people realise - I have suffered a lot of stress-related illness over the past few years, relating to my DS's 'bids for independence'. With hindsight, I wish I'd paid more attention to myself during this incredibly stressful time...
Oh wow yes he is a rager too! That all sounds a very familiar behaviour pattern too.
Lying and lying even when it is obviously a lie is another of his traits. He will never admit to it. Never able to give an apology either.
A lot of his bad behaviour really minds me of the toddler years.
I have read a lot of your posts flow and have recognised similarities in your son with mine before. I really appreciate your thoughts as I can see how much you have been through too. You are right about our own stress and health. I can totally see how fried my nerves could be if this goes on.
We are trying to invest just a little less emotional effort if that makes sense. Easier said than done!
Thanks for the phone info too - didn't know that so we could use that if necessary.
Yes Flow, suspending phones works a treat here too! My 16 year old dd is very different to your boys but suffers from developmental trauma (terrible early start, I adopted her when nearly 8) and when she's in a 'dark place' psychologically (thankfully much less frequent these days) she can be a nightmare. The best thing I ever bought her was an iPhone. There is an app called 'find my iPhone' which means I can track her movements from my iPad. She complains bitterly about it but secretly likes the safety she feels knowing that I know where she is. It also means that I don't have to keep calling her asking where she is. Of course it wouldn't work for your son unless you just didn't tell him about it...
Thanks olive - am looking into to putting a tracker on his phone for peace of mind.
Had some progress today. He is going to give me some friends tel numbers.
He says he never asks to go out as thinks we would say no.
Had a chat to explain that while we may have done when he was younger we are happy to let him go out now so as long as we know where and arrange safe return.
He has also opened up enough to tell me details of what he did when he went out, where he was etc and I feel much more positive now that hopefully this is not the start of him going off the rails completely.
So we will see but if that was the real reason he was sneaking out then hopefully we will move forward now and have a better understanding of each other.
Ah well, til the next catastrophy!!
Yes, fingers crossed!
Thanks again Flow xx
Well done with talking and hopefully getting somewhere. I was probably a bit lenient with my daughter but she was very honest with me and knew the rules about texting and staying out. She is now 20 and lives 400 miles away and very switched on. My son is nearly 18 and has had more freedom than I probably should have given him but his dad died last year when he was 16 and going out was a break for him as well as me. He used not to respond but his sister has drilled it into him how he is to behave.
I think the most important things with boys is keeping the lines of communication open. We used to have a lot of chats in the car when he couldn't escape which helped.
Once I was held up and my phone was on silent. (I forgot to change it) and he was really worried. I try to instil this into him that this is why I need to know where he is.
Just a note to anyone who needs to get their teenage friends phone numbers, print off the itemised bill and you have a full record of who they've called and when, when my DS turned his phone off at a party I just started randomly ringing the numbers and asking if he was with them, a bit of detective work, should have to do it though!
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