Help regarding someone else's 15yr old son(5 Posts)
I was wondering if anyone could offer me some advice, this is long I'm afraid. Over the last week or so, my hubby and I have been trying to calm a situation between his ex's mum and her 15yr old boy. She has been at loggerheads with her older daughter for a while, and the two of them are continually phoning social services against each other. In his infinite wisdom, despite knowing the arguments between them, the lad has been visiting his sister thus causing issues with his mum.
He was taken out of school last year through lack of attendance and causing issues at school. He can just about read but can't particularly write or spell, to the point where he's been asking me how you spell "round" and "now", although he has just started a part time course at college. He is forever being kicked out of the house for hours at a time, often without shoes or a jacket and at times as early as 6am (without breakfast) so has recently started to come to us as we only live across the road. He tells us that she hits him with things, or kicks him etc, sometimes over trivial things like making a coffee for her that she didn't like. She tells us that he's lying however, my husband briefly lived with them whilst dating her daughter, and he saw her knee her son in the face in temper.
Last week he arrived at 11am, having fallen out with his mum because he'd been with his sister, at which point his sister wouldn't let him stay with her either. He went home continually to try and sort things out and was basically told where to go. After collecting my hubby from work at 10.30pm, we went over. He ended up staying at hours, because his mother had gone to bed. We had woken her, and she said this was fine. The following day, we mediated so he could go home.
This past week, she has continued to throw him out at all hours of the day, so he has been over at ours. He missed college this week as she chucked him at just before 7am and threw his uniform on the grass outside and it got wet. He went to get it, but she'd taken it in and gone out. He doesn't have a key. Again, that night, all day she refused to have him home, so later in the evening, we arranged with her for him to stay. We sat and talked to him, and spoke with her to try and mediate somewhat, but within 5 mins of going home, he was back on our doorstep and she was texting to say he was aggressive and wouldn't leave her house so could he stay with us. He wasn't in a bad mood when he left and he was extremely upset when he came back. She assured us, that she would pop over to talk to him, but then didn't although she did ring to ask if he would babysit her younger kids. He went home, and within a few mins, she was on the phone telling me he was no longer welcome at hers and that she would give me her child benefit money each week to feed/clothe him etc. She requested that he collect his stuff later but when he came back without it, saying there weren't any bin liners to put it in.
This was after Social Services closed on Friday, so my hubby and I agreed that he could stay for the weekend, that we would discuss it and we would work things out with Social Services this week coming. We were hoping that she would calm down and change her mind.
My husband and I have discussed making arrangements for him to legally live with us, however, we have a 1 yr old of our own, on a fairly low income where I was made redundant earlier this year although we do not receive any benefits other than child benefit ourselves. Aside from the affordability factor, we are concerned that now he's out of his mother's house, his sister is in touch. Where we all live within 1/2 mile of each other, this will rapidly aggravate his mother, and being so close that we can see his mother's front door from our living room, she will then pop over to give him a hard time over it. She has already been over today to tell me how awful he is and to get him to get his stuff etc.
We are now completely torn about what to do. We really want to help him, as from what I've seen and we've heard from other people, he's actually a good kid with a really awful upbringing. We also don't want to reject him too. However, we don't think there's a single thing we can do to help him at ours the whole time his mother is able to just pop over whenever she feels like it to give him grief. We especially don't want trouble around our daughter.
We have discussed calling Social Services with her, and from what I understand, they have told her that they won't put him in fostercare as he'll be 16 next summer. She has given us the name of his social worker to call though and she has said as far as she's concerned, it'll be his own fault if he ends up in care and she doesn't overly care. Her older daughter contacted Social Services at a similar age to have them remove her for similar reasons.
What are the options for him? We don't want him to get lost in the system if we refuse to have him, as he really needs guidance and people to care about him who will help him get some sort of education. We don't feel that we can provide what he needs, purely because of the outside influences of his family.
I'm sorry this was so long, I felt I needed to explain some of the background to enable the best advice to be given. If you made it this far, thank you for sticking with it, and many many thanks in advance to anyone who might be able to offer any insight.
I have no real advice to offer, never having experienced these sorts of issues, but I just wanted to say how sorry I feel for the boy, what a terrible time he is having, and well done to you and your hubby for trying to help him.
I expect someone with more knowledge of these things will post soon. Meanwhile please don't abandon the boy. I think that if he is living with you then you can claim any child benefit that he is entitled to, but I'm not sure about that. May be worth checking it out.
Thank you for the reply
I've spoken to his social worker this morning, and she says that the case she has with him and his mum is still fairly new so if we don't want him here, then for the moment they have to continue working with her to encourage her to keep him.
If you think he's at risk, 'phone Social Services. If you think you can help, do.
However, be very wary of accepting 'his side' of things without question, and don't condemn his mother without the full facts. She sounds like a woman who's desperate, and a lot of what you describe sounds very familiar to me - not because it's what I did, but because it's what my son might have said I did if he was trying to excuse away his own behaviour, or what the neighbours might have thought was happening, because they couldn't see through walls.
For instance: you see her throwing his shoes and uniform out of the house at 7am - but you don't see the 'context'. In my house earlier this year and last, I came very, very close to doing the same thing, more than once, because I was desperate to get my son to college, knew he'd get kicked out if he didn't go, needed to go to work myself, and I wasn't handing it very well because I'd only had 2-3 hours sleep cos he'd kept me awake half the night - and to cap it all, he was refusing point blank to go, was telling me that he wanted to make me late so I'd lose my job, and was calling me a stupid b*tch and a c*nt!
Another example: my DS told his friends I had 'twisted' his wrist. And I did. But what he didn't tell anyone was that when it happened, he had hold of me by my hair and trying to push me over onto the floor, because I'd woken him up. Bear in mind that unless the boy is exceptionally small or the mum is exceptionally large, at 15, he is likely to be much bigger and stronger than her - and she is (at least) as much at risk from him as vice versa.
Another example: you say this boy has no key and his mum locks him out of the house. Maybe, like my son 6-18 months ago, she can't trust him 'home alone' because he steals and sells things, and invites friends round who eat and drink everything and steal things too, and they all take drugs in the house... I couldn't lock my son out of the house, because he refused to go and I couldn't make him, but I definitely would have done if I could... In the end I put locks on all our bedroom doors instead and set up a webcam to film people coming in and out of our front door.
My point (as I reveal all these appalling and embarrassing 'anecdotes' about our lives over the past couple of years), is that since you do not live with this boy, you cannot possibly know what is really going on. Keep an eye, but don't be too quick to judge.
I appreciate what you are saying and I'm sure that a lot of it is 6 of 1 and half a dozen of the other and we do take of lot of what is said with a pinch of salt. We are to some extent family friends of theirs and have heard both sides of the story. The situation at the moment is fairly new, but we have been involved with all sorts over the last couple of years. Only yesterday, I was looking for a cot for her, as her youngest (1) managed to get himself out of his pushchair and hit his head quite hard so she has decided that its about time she got him one, as until now he's been sleeping in with her at night and in the pushchair for naps.
My husband did live with them for 6 months, so he has first hand experience of how it is over there, rather than just looking in from the outside. I felt so sad for him the other day when watching The Simpsons, the teacher lashed out and hit Bart so there was outrage from the other characters, but the 15 yr old couldn't understand why it would be a problem as, in his words, "kids don't learn if you don't hit them". He said to me the other day that he doesn't understand why we are so kind to him, as we make sure he has regular meals, we take him with us if we're going out and aside from the occasional "i'm just nipping to the loo, can you watch the baby for a second?" we don't ever ask him to babysit.
He obviously thinks he's staying with us, as if he wants to see his friends, he always asks if its ok first, although he does this if he wants to use the toilet/shower or get a drink too
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