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Throw him out, have him arrested, or hang on in there?

(82 Posts)
flow4 Sat 03-Mar-12 18:32:58

I'm wondering if anyone has any experience of throwing their child out or having them arrested? I'm pretty much at that point with my 16 (nearly 17) yo son, and obviously it's not an every-day situation...

Over a 5 week period at Christmas/new year he gained access to my savings and stole £850. He spent it mostly on skunk and m-cat (drugs). He finally got guilty, confessed, said he was sorry, and promised to pay it back. He doesn't have a job, but for a few weeks he did chores to begin to pay it off.

Then I got careless and he stole £20. And he stopped doing his chores. And he stopped going to college... Then he seemed to turn a corner and went back to college last week...

Then this morning he came in from a night of partying, off his face and smelling of mcat. He crashed out and slept until about 20 mins ago. But a couple of hours ago I unlocked my cash box (one of a few desperate measures) to go pay a builder, and found he has stolen another £50 from me.

He knows what he is doing is wrong, but he's doing it anyway. He refused counselling or help from a drugs agency. I'm a single parent with limited support. He is bigger and stronger than me, and often bolshy and scary, tho rarely actually violent.

I'm very uncertain about what to do for the best. I'm tempted to have him arrested, but I can't imagine that a criminal record ever helps anyone. I do not want to live like this, but am aware that if I throw him out he will go to sleep on the sofas of exactly the same teens he takes drugs with. And I imagine things will get rapidly much worse for him.

On the other hand, every moral instinct I have says he shouldn't 'get away' with behaving like this. And I am not at all a natural doormat, but I am totally out of ideas and very nearly out of strength. I am also very conscious of how unfair and stressful it is for my youngest son, as well as me.

Anyone got any experience or wisdom here,? Your thoughts would be much appreciated. Thanks.

purplecupcake Sat 03-Mar-12 19:02:45

i would have him arrested.. the youth offending team do offer great help to teens.
My DS used to do weed and Mcat till he was sent to YOI for drugs related crimes, it was the best thing that happened to gave him time to think about what he was doing to the rest of the family and after a few months inside he came out drug free smile
I also had my DD arrested for assaulting me, It was a kick up the arse she needed to, she's never raised her hand to me since

You certainly can't go on living like your living.. my heart goes out to you

2fedup Sat 03-Mar-12 19:17:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Maryz Sat 03-Mar-12 19:54:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

oldqueenie Sat 03-Mar-12 20:22:48

oh maryz, you give great teenage advice that is always firm but fair. much appreciated by me at least! Thanks.

Maryz Sat 03-Mar-12 20:50:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

flow4 Sat 03-Mar-12 23:37:33

Thanks everyone. You're right it helps to hear I'm not alone, Maryz... You know some stuff, you do! smile

Tortington Sat 03-Mar-12 23:42:28

i would have him arrested

and he also kwouldn't own anything worth having - becuase i'd bin it

knittedslippersx3 Sun 04-Mar-12 00:11:23

I lurk more than I post! Maryz - if only you realised how much your posts help us mums of teenagers, you have kept me sane (almost) and made me feel normal. OP, stick by him but at the same time tell him what the rules are and stick to them. Life is a series of moments, good and bad. Look on this as a bad moment that will pass eventually. I tend to stop at several points during the day, take a deep breath and then continue on. (weird, but it helps!)

mumblechum1 Sun 04-Mar-12 09:20:09

Another vote here for Maryz.

My ds dabbles occasionally in weed and I'm not overly concerned, in fact he's just given it up as he's joining the TA, but your wisdom and experience is, I'm sure, helpful to an awful lot of parents.

I'm really glad your ds seems to be straightening up, Mary.

OP, I'd follow Mary's advice if Iwere you, but he needs to know that if he breaks those three rules, you call the police.

flow4 Sun 04-Mar-12 10:05:50

Very practical question, maryz or anyone... How do you enforce the "go to college" rule?
The no violence, no drugs rules are easy - and police have been called and weed has been flushed... But if he doesn't get up in the morning there is nothing I can do about it... (And his so-called full-time course is only 2 days plus 2 hours, anyway)

knittedslippersx3 Sun 04-Mar-12 11:02:22

I'm not sure how you enforce this. My dd had a period of refusing to go to school. I told her that the law says she has to attend and it would be taken out of my hands by ss etc if she didn't. Your ds is obviously older and doesn't have to attend but he needs to understand that the college will only take so much before they ask him to leave. He needs to know if this happens you will lose any benefit you receive for him and he will therefore have to stand on his own two feet. Easy words I know when they refuse to get out of there pit and get on with life. Hope things turn around for you soon.

Maryz Sun 04-Mar-12 11:05:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

flow4 Sun 04-Mar-12 23:52:51

Thanks all. All's quiet on the western front this evening. I didn't kick him out yesterday. I confronted him when he woke up and he denied stealing from me. I told him very honestly what I was thinking (including the fact that I didn't believe him), did a lot of crying and some ranting, then went round to a friend's and cried more and talked and drank a couple of beers instead, cos I couldn't decide what would be best...

Today my son came back all sweetness and light, walked the dog (twice), cleaned the sink in the bathroom, came home for tea on time and ate it making conversation and resisting deliberate wind-ups from his little brother, then developed a nasty cough and a temperature, asked for a cuddle and fell asleep on the sofa at about 9:30.

The total insanity of living with an unpredictable teen... confused

I don't know whether it's come-down or virus (or both) and I don't know whether he'll make it to college tomorrow.

Getting him there is a really difficult one. They've done away with the EMA training allowance here in the UK: if he was a year older and had started college last year, he would have received £30/week for attending, and this would have motivated him. But I really struggle with the idea of giving him £30/week of my money (which I could probably afford) because it just seems wrong to hand over cash to a boy who's stealing, lying, not doing what he's asked, swearing at me, etc. So since Christmas, he's been getting his fares to college, plus lunch money on days when he has got up without rudeness, and that's it.

He's nearly finished this course, and despite his very poor attendance, he'll probably pass it. He's bright, and it's an NVQ1, so it does not challenge him. He had some exams before half term and his lowest mark was 85%. So getting kicked out doesn't seem likely at this point. But what he does next is a worry - he'll probably finish in April/May and be 'free' until September sad

Anyway, I'm off to bed now - I'm wiped out. Thanks again, folks.

flow4 Thu 22-Mar-12 04:18:27

Well, we're 3 weeks on and things have reached a head. We had an argument when I came home from work today and found him sleeping/stoned, and he lost it completely and trashed and smashed things up: he upturned furniture and the telly, threw things around, emptied a cupboard, kicked an internal door off its hinges, smashed a mug, waved a knife around and smashed the glass in the kitchen door. I called 999, he ran away. I made a statement and he will be arrested if they find him. He came back while they were here (so the front door was unlocked) and stole a full, new bottle of whisky. He came back again about an hour and a half ago but couldn't get in cos I have now double-locked all the doors. The police came to look for him again, but that was an hour ago, so I expect they have gone away again now.
I am sitting locked in my bedroom with my younger son asleep in my bed. It feels pretty grim. My eldest has a self-destructive streak and a drug habit (?) that makes me worried he will flip and do something even more stupid. I can't see that being arrested and homeless will help him, but nor will 'getting away with' increasingly bad behaviour - and I can't live like this any more. I didn't want it to come to this but I can't see what else I could do... sad

CheerfulYank Thu 22-Mar-12 04:39:05

Oh, I'm so sorry this is happening. sad

How old is your younger son, if you don't mind me asking? My older brother had/has a lot of the same issues.

Brightspark1 Thu 22-Mar-12 08:44:52

Oh hell, I feel for you. You've posted on my thread so you know my situation. I've since found out that local police have a policy of not rushing down the full prosecution route, but she will be referred to a youth intervention team that comprises police and social workers. I think there is some sort of community service and restorative justice element to the programme. So she won't get a record or even a formal caution but she won't have be getting away with it either. It may be a way of you getting some support and him getting and accepting help( and a kick up the backside). It sounds like you and DS2 are just living in fear all the time and that can't go on.
BTW Maryz your stern talking to is working a bit. Trying not to feel completely responsible for DD's behaviour

flow4 Thu 22-Mar-12 16:31:33

He has just been here, on the doorstep, begging to be let in, crying, telling me he needs a shower cos he slept out all night. Telling me that if I just let him in to have a shower, he'll then let the police arrest him. Then he admitted he'd been at a mate's house. And when I called the police, he has run away again. I feel simultaneously manipulated and heartless - how is that possible? sad

LauraShigihara Thu 22-Mar-12 17:14:34

flow have a hug and a squeeze. I am so sorry you are going through this with your son - we have been where you are and it is very hard.

We threw our DS1 out at eighteen, I literally had to shove him out of the door because he was being so violent. He slept on friends' floors for a few weeks and cheesed everyone off so much that he ended up sleeping on the streets.

When we took him back, he was ill and traumatised but it was absolutely the right thing to do under the circumstances. He realised that he had abused the privilege of being an indulged son and had to work very hard to earn our trust again. And he really, really didn't want to be told to leave again.

I have no advice for you but it can't hurt for him to realise the seriousness of his behaviour and that there are consequences. I hope it all works out for you.

BluddyMoFo Thu 22-Mar-12 17:20:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

flow4 Sat 24-Mar-12 09:50:31

Update: he laid low for a couple of days, and then was found and arrested yesterday lunchtime. He sent me a couple of texts saying it was all my fault. They interviewed him and I did not attend, so an social worker acted as his 'responsible adult'. They told me they would release him back into my care, and I refused, saying I needed some support - at least a mediated meeting to find out whether he was still angry and ducking responsibility and blaming me, before I could even consider having him back, or I did not know whether myself and my younger son would be safe. They said the best they could offer was a social worker contacting me 'next week'. He was bailed to attend a 'bail clinic' in April - I'm not certain what that is, but it does mean a youth offending team person will contact him. They released him to go to my ex-partner's (his brother's dad but not his) but he left there, after scrounging a bit of money, and went off to a mate's. I told him he needed to go back, but he just ignored me. He has been out all night.

(By the way, to answer your question CheerfulYank, my other son is 12 - almost 5 years younger)

I don't think I can have him back. I cannot control him at all (obviously). If he had even the smallest shred of sense, he would have realised this was crunch time, and curtailed his social life for an evening, and shown he was ready to accept at least some limits to be allowed to come home. It seems to me that a boy who can't/won't even accept limits on the night he has been arrested and bailed is not likely to improve later. His behaviour seems to me to be getting worse, and I don't think I can (a) expect it to get better or (b) cope with worse. Can anyone else think of ANY practical alternative to me throwing him out?

Mutteroo Sat 24-Mar-12 18:50:29

I thought I had problems till I read what you are going through. I think you are an amazing, fabulous woman who is dealing with this intolerable situation in the best way you can.

Your son's coping and he's got somewhere to stay even if it's not where's agreed. If its any help, I have two friends who have been in similar situations to this and both their children are now 19/20 and unrecognisable from the raging teens they were a few years ago. Look after yourself and take this hug from me. You are not alone.

Maryz Sat 24-Mar-12 19:01:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

flow4 Sat 24-Mar-12 22:40:13

Thanks for the support everyone. It's hard not to feel like a crap mum in this situation, and it's good to have some reassurance smile

I am sure you are right about the battling, Maryz. hmm

Any reactions to this earlier text exchange, folks? I haven't replied yet...

16:50 Me: I haven't heard from u, so I assume u agree it's best if u don't live here any more. I have got info about ur housing options and will take u to housing office on Mon if u like. Let me know what u'd like me to bring for you - eg clothes etc.

21:09 Him: I dont think its best 2 move out mum, i think you should take as much time as u need then we can talk about how we move forward possitivly! X

Maryz Sat 24-Mar-12 22:45:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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