It turns out DN (13) who is in our full time care was mugged for his watch, 2 weeks ago. He doesn't go out much and we are very firm about getting him home on time. He didn't tell us because he thought I would make him go to the police and granny thought we would too.
How can I build trust with him if she is remotely parenting him?
I'm so furious I can't think straight but I'll have to call her back soon. I told her I would talk to DP first.
First get yourself calm, if you can't think straight you can't talk straight and he will feel that he did the right thing in not telling you. Re Granny, think that it is good that he has someone who he goes to with his problems. Sit down with him and see if you can chat and find out what happened, why he didn't tell you, and try and build on that communication. You need to find out if this is a one off or the result of longer term bullying.
Thanks. I do need to calm down. I'm just writing an email to her. DN is not home till later. SHe said on the phone I have to promise her I won't tell DN she has told me. I'm going to tell her we don't believe in secrets especially about something so important.
It is good he has someone to talk to but it needs to at least start to be us. SHe lives a long way away and cannot help him the way we can.
Could it be that the alleged muggng is a line he's spun granny because he lost or broke his watch through carelessness or sold it for a pittance/gave it to a friend/was bullied out of it?
This might explain his desire for the police not to be involved, but why would granny go along with him? Are the police to be feared if you become a victim of crime?
It seems to me that more details from granny are needed as to exactly what he told her before you sit down with him and attempt to get to the truth of the matter.
As for the £85 watch, that gets put away for high days and holidays and you take him out to choose a cheapy for everyday use. Politely tell Granny that any gift with a value of more than £5 needs to be cleared with you before she gives it to him, and that expensive presents are to be reserved for special occasions such as Christmas, birthdays etc.
You have my sympathy, but so does he as he's being required to adjust to a new family structure in a new environment miles away from the one constant in his life, and to comply with a different set of rules and expectations of behaviour - that's not easy at any age but it can be particularly difficult for young teenagers.
Don't expect miracles; progress will be incremental and sometimes it may seem as if it's one step forward and two back but that's entirely normal in these situations.
Be kind to yourself, and to him, and to poor Granny who's likely to be consumed with guilt and full of regret for the loss of her child and her grandchild.