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ds 17 didn't come home till this afternoon....suitable punishment?

(46 Posts)
soaccidentprone Sun 07-Apr-13 16:35:48

ds1 17 went to work yesterday from 12 till 4pm. before he left for work I asked him if he was going out in the evening.

he said he didn't think so, but he'd see if anything was happening. I went to bed at 11 and had not heard from him, though I did text him at 10.30 asking him what he was doing. I have spoken to him several times about letting me know what he's doing in the evening if he isn't going to be home before I go to bed. he promised that he would.

anyway when I got up this morning he had not come home. I rang his mobile but it was out of charge. I took ds2 to a party at 12. when we got home at 2.45 ds1 was home. he said he has been to a party, got drunk and crashed at a friends house. I don't have a problem with that, but I do have a problem with the lack of communication.

to put it in to context - his df, my xh died when he was 5, my DM died 7 years ago and my df died 23 years ago. I try really hard reign in my fears about something terrible happen to them, and to set age appropriate boundaries for both ds1 and ds2, and have talked loads of time about freedom and responsibility.

so basically what do I do now? I have asked dh what he thought we be an appropriate response, but as him and ds1 don't get on he said he didn't know.

any ideas?

grounding/curtail freedom?

some kind of household job that'll take 1/2 a day ie cleaning out the shed?

not allowed out until his bedroom is loads tidier than it is now?

Cerisier Fri 12-Apr-13 14:11:54

Your DS could easily have borrowed a friend's phone- he just didn't think at all.

We are having a problem with DD2 15 that she goes out for hours and hours and doesn't update us. We talked about how if something happened to her the Police would think we were awful parents if we couldn't even say where she was. Plus did she want us ringing round her friends and their parents trying to find her? No she didn't of course.

We have activated FindMyIphone on all our phones to try to help. It doesn't work if they are out of battery but it does let you see what percentage of battery remains so you can try to contact before it conks out. It helps a bit. It helped her find her phone when she left it in a coffee shop too.

Good luck with talking to your DS. He is too old for a punishment but I think asking him what the solution is and whether he thinks he should make amends in some way is a good one. We have talked and talked to DD and things have improved. Until the next time.

Stricnine Thu 11-Apr-13 16:38:58

OP I just wanted to add some words of support, having at16 and half year old DD who so far has been not too bad at communication, but does tend to change her plans at the last minute which messes up everyone else...

We have discussed this with her and she is improving, by encouraging her to be part of the planning process, but she's often thwarted by her friend's thoughtlessness - it's a teenage thing... - talk to your son, and maybe come up with something more like, home by a certain time, or you assume he's staying out. Lock the door.

We aren't quite at that stage, but have used similar tactics over evening meal times - home or text by 5pm or I assume she doesn't need/want fed.... come home late and hungry - tough ... cook for yourself!

Bare in mind too though that texts are not always guaranteed to be sent/recieved immediately - we've recently had two 'misses' whereby one I sent arrived 5 hours late.. and one DD sent me, several days late... that can cause some confusion believe me!

custardismyhamster Thu 11-Apr-13 14:59:52

OP, did he give a reason WHY he didn't let you know?

Just thinking, maybe the answer to this is to make the reason not happen next time. So, if it was that he didn't think-agree that you will text him just before you go to bed, and that will remind him to text you back with his plans. Or, if his phone died-write down your mobile number right now, get him to put it straight into his wallet, then next time he can text from a friend's phone. Or if he was going to ring your landline but didn't want to wake you, confirm to him you'd never be cross that he woke you but would if he didn't come home?

Hope that helps

slipshodsibyl Tue 09-Apr-13 09:28:30

I will admit than I brought some if not all of this on myself through my difficulties in finding the line between care and control!

slipshodsibyl Tue 09-Apr-13 09:24:22

I have found it really hard with my daughter, on a gap year. She is sensible but at this age they seem to feel invincible and very capable. She has grown up an expat child and is well travelled and doesn't, IMO, realise how insulated she has been. She has also only seen the tougher sides of people and life from her bubble and I don't think she realises how close we can come to situations that can get out of hand.

Obviously she feels differently! She has asserted her independence by not always texting me and it has been deliberate. I can feel the defiance across the ether!

I have tried to trust that my messages about safety have gone in deeper than she will admit and trust that she stays lucky. I don't get cross (well I have done but to no avail) as it is clearly intended to give me a message so I just try to back off. I have said it allows me to sleep if I know she is safe. I have said that it is a small price to pay for a good relationship and the financial support she receives. The phase seems to be wearing off after a few months as she matures.

I am sure that your son is also just going through a phase. I wouldn't bother with threats as you care unlikely to be able to enforce them and you will very quickly feel him pulling away so you will end up knowing even less about where he is. Just emphasise Your need for a happy night's sleep and ask him if it is such a tough request.

It was so much easier ten years ago. Good luck

Branleuse Tue 09-Apr-13 08:49:17

I would tell him that hes taking the piss, the house is not a hotel, and the rule is, you let me know what youre doing that evening, and if he cant cope with that and thinks hes adult enough, hes welcome to start looking for somewhere else to live, and that youll give him one more chance

cory Tue 09-Apr-13 08:43:50

My mother thinks I am immature in many ways and would like to take over the way I do things because I just can't "do them right" (it's something to do with the correct mangling of linen napkins).

I think she is immature in many ways and think I could probably run her life better than she does (particularly her social relationships).

In the end, you reach a stage where you have to realise that adults have different definitions of maturity and (unless incapacitated in a legal sense) just have to be allowed to get on with it.

cory Tue 09-Apr-13 08:37:40

Sylvia, the problem with being too controlling of an adult or almost adult child is that they are likely not to wait until they have a proper income and the maturity to cope on their own before they run away.

Children like that have been known to end up on the streets in totally unsuitable company because they are desperate to get away from a situation that does not allow them to grow up in a healthy and normal manner.

What is unhealthy about the attitude you describe is that you plan to be the person who decides whether your adult child is really an adult at all or needs to be treated like a child. Would you let another adult decide that about you? Supposing your mother, or your husband, decided now that you are so immature that you have to be treated as a child? Surely you can see that that would be wrong? Yet this is what you are proposing regardless of whether your child is 17 or 27, by the sounds of it.

flow4 Tue 09-Apr-13 08:22:25

syl, about a dozen experienced parents of teens, who have actually been in situations like the one the OP is in now, are telling you that your advice is naive and unrealistic. You're not listening, which is your right, and absolutely fair enough.

But think about it... Your own son will grow up as sure of his own opinions as you are now, and he will also think he's right even when he's not... By 17, you will not be able to control his opinions (let alone his friends and drinking habits) any more than we can control yours.

That's why wise parents help their kids learn to control themselves. Punishment undermines self-control, at this age. He needs to phone home because he understands and agrees it's the decent thing to do... Punishment won't help achieve that.

syl1985 Tue 09-Apr-13 01:56:42

I've send you a private message.

There's a huge difference in being overprotective and not giving your children any space. Or teach/protect them. Like learning them that the oven is to warm to touch. How to teach that? You'd speak with your child about it. Instead of waiting until they've burned their fingers.

Sure they can have their own life and make their own mistakes. But I'd try to stop them if making those mistakes involves ruining their own healthy body and future.

It's true that many young adults do stay up all night and drink.
Many of these also do get into trouble.
- fights
- accidents
- Drivers under 25 have the highest incidence of failing a breath test after a crash and in
roadside checks.
- Road crashes are the biggest single killer of young people in the UK. Young drivers are involved in one in four fatal and serious crashes, despite only making up one in eight driver licence holders.

The same as I said before in this message:
There's a huge difference between being very controlling or just being protective.
Around 250 people die a year in crashes in which someone was over the legal drink drive limit.

You see that some of these young drunk adults don't get a second change anymore. It's not like dropping out of school and you can come back at any time.
To much alcohol can get the drinker into serious trouble.

Especially if my child would get drunk on a regular basis. I'd sure do what I can to stop him from doing it.

"You didn't reply to missymoo. Why is that, Sylvia?"

It's because when I was writing my last message, her message wasn't posted yet. I've just seen it and as you can see in this message I've responded to it.

"I don't give a flying fuck how you raise your child".
Why do you feel the need to start swearing?

"I'm giving you a bit of friendly advice, that's all. Back off a bit. You don't own your child. Your job is to prepare him for the world. If you hide him away from it and think you can control what he does into adulthood, then you are failing in that task. Please, please, come back in ten years and let us know how you're getting on".

I'd love to do that and let you know how things are going. Things might go well for us and yet again I might need to face the very same trouble as soaccidentprone does on this moment. Only time will tell.

But, can you also say this to parents who lost their child due to the direct/indirect consequences of alcohol?
I think those parents would love to turn back time and lock their kids up in their bedroom. Do anything and everything that lies in their power to stop their child/young adult from getting drunk and then being killed in a car crash or another way due to the alcohol.

Don't you think?
Or do you still think they'd react like you do? He's almost an adult, so I can't tell him what to do anymore.

"and as for 'Why treat someone like an adult if he doesn't behave like one?' When someone is an adult, you don't get that choice".

An adult thinks like an adult and so behaves like one. Therefor can be treated like one, no matter what his/her age is. The law needs to have it's clear rules and therefore from being at the age of 18 you're in these days considered an adult.

There're 15 year old teenagers who are more grownup then some 20 or even 30 year old adults.

Should I treat a 15 year old as a child? Only due to their age? Then you'll get into trouble with them! There also is no need to treat them as a child. Because they are able to take care of themselves. That's grownup behavior Sure they'll make mistakes in life. But don't we all?
None of us is perfect.

"Does your mum come round to your house and check you've tidied your room"?

No she doesn't and there's no need for it. Because I do take care of myself and my family. I'm not a child anymore and so I don't behave like one either.

"At 17, you are not far off being a legal adult, and you certainly have certain rights. it isn't a case of deciding to treat him like an adult or not, it's simpler than that. You respect his independence or you ruin your relationship with him".

If I'd have an adult and treat this person like a child, because of his/her young age. It's no more then normal to get into trouble with them.
If I'd have a child and treat this person like an adult, because he/she should be an adult due to their age. Then likewise I'd get into trouble with them.

You can't expect a child to turn into an adult, because there are almost 18 candles on his/her birthday cake.
Everyone develops on his/her own way. Boys are known for to grow up slightly slower then girls do. You can't expect anyone to think or act as an adult when their development isn't that far yet. You can help them, but not force them to grow up.

Like someone who has broken his leg. This will heal in it's own time. You can't ask this person to walk if clearly his leg hasn't been healing as fast as it should do. But you can help him to walk again and as soon as possible by giving this person the best care available.

To try to prevent that my son is going to develop any wrong behavior I do talk with him about these things right now.
There're never any guarantees in life. But you can't blame me or any other parent for trying there best for there children.

If things do get out of hand. I'll take my steps on that moment depending on what the problem is.

"Yes the OP asked for advice, but I presume she means from people who live in the real world where 17 year olds behave like 17 year olds, and whether you like it or not her son sounds like a fairly typical lad of his age".

So because it's normal and most 17 years old behave like that it's ok? We don't need to do anything about it?

Unfortunately I do live in the real world. Like many others I also think that teenagers and young adults shouldn't be drinking as much and as often as they do.

I don't want to see them getting killed in traffic and I also don't want to get killed or injured by one either.
In area's where there's a lot of nightlife. There're also a lot of alcohol related issue's.

In these area's police has got his hands full at night to control the order by stopping several fights and to stop people who're looking for a fight.
Don't forget the damage some make because they're so intoxicated by the alcohol.

Ambulance has also got their hands full with youngsters who have been drinking so much that they're in need of medical help. Or they've been in a fight. Or they've injured themselves or been injured by others who were drunk.

This comes from the telegraph.

Epidemic of drunk teenagers in hospital
The number of drunk teenagers admitted to hospital in England increased by more than a third in the past 10 years, from 3,870 in 1995/96 to 5,280 in 2005/06.

They consume at least five units of alcohol at a time at least once a week, said a survey of 12,000 schoolchildren, mostly aged from 15 to 16. More than half admitted to being violent while drinking. Almost one in four said that they had regretted having sex while drunk.

Dr Vivienne Nathanson, the head of ethics at the BMA, said that too many children did not understand that alcohol was "an acute poison" when consumed excessively.

"We are not just talking about liver disease," she said. "People become violent, fall unconscious and become seriously dehydrated.

"It most definitely is not a compliment if a 16 year old would rather live in a hostel than stay living with their parent".

That's why I added that it's a compliment when they're able to take care of themselves at that age. Have a good job and being able to pay the rent and other monthly bills.
I didn't mention running away from their parents, did I?

At some point kids do grow up. Some it's very soon and with others this will come later. But when they do it's no more then normal that they want to get a life of their own.

It has got nothing to do with either having a good or a bad relationship with your parents.
A lot of people who moved out of their parents house will still have good contact with them. It was just time for them to leave the nest.

If you as a parent can manage to get your child at such a level of independence at the age of 16. It sure is a huge compliment for you as a parent!!!


beatlegirl Mon 08-Apr-13 21:11:09

FGS, I wasn't making assumptions, I was stating a fact. You were asleep. So not sat up worrying. I didn't comment on your need to sleep!

I also gave some well meant advice, and had a go at a poster who was criticising your parenting. But you'd know that if you'd even bothered to scroll up and check my name. But no, you just pick on the bit you don't like and have a go.

My next post was going to be this, until I realised you were having a pop at me:

Actually, the fact that you take medication which makes you sleep may be relevant to this. He may have thought 'no point calling mum, I'll disturb her'. In which case you need to let him know that you'd rather be disturbed, or at least have a message left that you could see in the morning rather than panic.

lovelyredwine Mon 08-Apr-13 21:10:52

My parents used to tell me to 'leave the room as they were so disappointed in me they didn't even want to look at me' in these sorts of situations (only a few times as a teenager I hasten to add!). I would go to my room, cry and feel very guilty. An hour or so later they would come to see me and tell me (in quiet disappointed voices) how my behaviour was unacceptable etc etc. Great psychological stuff. Would something like this work with your ds?

flow4 Mon 08-Apr-13 21:05:29

" was thinking of giving him a last warning, and that if he ever does it again there will be serious repercussions (though I don't know what these would be" << And there, exactly, is your problem. There aren't any. Or none that will help or work.

When your DH "did a similar thing about 8 years ago" did you punish him? If not, you already know how to handle this situation. You may need to spell things out more to a 17yo than to a 'real' adult, but other than that, your reaction should be about the same. smile

Loupee Mon 08-Apr-13 20:39:48

I would suggest that if you had conversations regarding respect for the household, and actions/consequences, it might be time to think about repercussions.
Does he pay any digs? Do things round the house? Do you still provide food/clean clothes/kitted out bedroom? Who pays his phone bill? Just asking for an idea of what the repercussion could be.
Also if you have already spoke about, maybe a warning wouldn't be enough.

soaccidentprone Mon 08-Apr-13 20:27:59

wow - it appears I have inadvertantly stirred up a hornets nest.

ds1 is 17. one the whole is not a bad lad. he was asked to leave his 'a level course at school last year, and then repeated the same thing again at college, generally for being late or not turning up.

he's now managed to get a p/t job as a carer for one of our friends who has ms. she has known ds1 since he was 2.

I am trying hard to 'guide' him, and sometimes it is really hard to decide what to do for the best. come down too hard and I risk alienating him, but not do anything gives him the message that it's OK to be thoughtless, and also, I believe shows a lack of respect.

dh did a similar thing about 8 years ago and I gave him a clear message that staying out all night with no contact was completely unacceptable, and sends the wrong message to our ds's. I believe we have to set an example to our children what is and isn't acceptable behaviour.

I have spoken to ds1 many times about him having courtesy and showing respect by letting me know his plans and what time he'll be back. he finishes work at 4 and has a mobile.

I thought it was a simple matter of sending me a text just saying he'd gone to a party and might crash at a friends. but there was no communication from him at all. he left to go to work at 11.15 am and then didn't come home till 1pm the next day. I have also told him that I worry, and that it only takes a minute to text me. he promised he would text and let me know what he was doing.

and in answer to the poster earlier who said I couldn't be worried sick as I was asleep. you shouldn't make assumptions about people. I take regular medication which makes me sleep heavily. I don't normally hear ds1 when he comes in. I woke at 8 and went to the bathroom. I immediately realised ds1 hadn't come home as his door was still open. I went to check my mobile and there was no text or voicemail. I rang him, but it went straight to voicemail. I am also having counselling ATM.

I was asking for others perspectives as I believe that is one of the things mn is about, and I honestly wanted some guidance from parents who may have been in a similar situation.

I have explained about actions and consequences so many times, but he just doesn't seem to 'get it'.

so I am still in a quandary. I was thinking of giving him a last warning, and that if he ever does it again there will be serious repercussions (though I don't know what these would begrin )

TheBuskersDog Mon 08-Apr-13 19:54:49

Sylvia I actually said that it may be considered immature behaviour, not that it wasn't adult behaviour, it isn't childish behaviour.

Yes the OP asked for advice, but I presume she means from people who live in the real world where 17 year olds behave like 17 year olds, and whether you like it or not her son sounds like a fairly typical lad of his age.

It most definitely is not a compliment if a 16 year old would rather live in a hostel than stay living with their parent.

flow4 Mon 08-Apr-13 19:53:34

syl, your child is 7, so of course you're thinking with the mind of a parent of a seven-year-old. By the time your child is 17, you will realise (if you are paying attention) that you have influence but not control.

When you say "I wouldn't even allow him to hang out at a friends place to get drunk there and stay there for the night. I wouldn't want my child to hang around with such teenagers/adults" you are missing the point and revealing your innocence. Whether or not you want your son to hang around with these people is irrelevant to what happens on that night: you will still have an influence on your son's values, sure; but you will not be able to control his actions. There is nothing you can do to stop him; he has to stop himself.

This is why punishment is such a bad idea in this situation, with a teen this age. A parent who tries to punish will achieve only one (or both) of two things: she will either start a fight, and/or she will make her child feel hard-done-by. In either/both cases, attention is shifted away from the teen's own actions and understanding why mum is angry, and the teen will instead focus on mum's actions and his feelings about punishment.

OP, as everyone else has said, talk to your son. It sounds like generally he keeps in touch, but it may help both of you if he understands why you are so upset that he didn't this time.

beatlegirl Mon 08-Apr-13 19:46:09

You didn't reply to missymoo. Why is that, Sylvia?

It isn't about 'not being able to handle it'. I don't give a flying fuck how you raise your child.

I'm giving you a bit of friendly advice, that's all. Back off a bit. You don't own your child. Your job is to prepare him for the world. If you hide him away from it and think you can control what he does into adulthood, then you are failing in that task. Please, please, come back in ten years and let us know how you're getting on.

Oh, and as for 'Why treat someone like an adult if he doesn't behave like one?' When someone is an adult, you don't get that choice. Does your mum come round to your house and check you've tidied your room? At 17, you are not far off being a legal adult, and you certainly have certain rights. it isn't a case of deciding to treat him like an adult or not, it's simpler than that. You respect his independence or you ruin your relationship with him.

Sincere apologies, OP, for de-railing the thread.

Loupee Mon 08-Apr-13 19:36:56

Drinking and staying out all night are not childish behaviours either! It's the behaviours of many young adults.
If your child is a young adult surely you have show respect while you try and help them find their way in this increasingly difficult world!

Syl, I left home at 16, didn't have enough money for rent, so ended up homeless. Was worth it to get away from my controlling dad ant step-mum!

I only have a baby, and currently refuse to believe he will be 17! I remember what I was like and that's scary enough!

syl1985 Mon 08-Apr-13 19:07:53


I only give my personal opinion about what I'd do in her situation.
I don't mind it if anyone is different then me, but this is how I'd deal with it.

Aperently not everyone, like:
natashabee and beatlegirl
can handle it if there're people who raise their children differently.

But I also see that we do agree on that the drinking and staying out all night without knowing where he's. Is not adult behavior. So why treat someone like an adult if he doesn't behave like one?

Asked for our opinion in this matter. For ideas what we'd do. I started with that my children are a lot younger then hers, but this is how I'd think that I'd deal with it.
I'm not in her position and my kids are not of the age that her children are. So to make this clear AGAIN!

This is just how I think that I'd deal with it!!!

I'd be very proud if my child would leave the house at age 16. Sure it'd hurt, but I'd be very proud as well.

If he'd do that it means that at that age he'll have a good source of income to pay for his rent and other bills.

I think it's a massive compliment for any parent if a child manages to support himself and have a good steady life at just age 16.


My Mother was also overbearing and controlling and expected me to learn from her mistakes rather than make my own, not unlike you Sylvia. I left home at 16, in fact I moved into a youth hostel within days of my 16th birthday just to get away from her, I no longer speak to her either. You may want to bear that in mind.

TheBuskersDog Mon 08-Apr-13 17:40:55

Sylvia, not really helpful to insinuate the OP's son would not be going out drinking with his mates if she had home-edded him and kept him away from these terrible influences.
Yes, sadly some people die as a result of drinking alcohol but most of us do not. I actually think that most people who get drunk with mates are not children, i.e. under 16, so that cannot really be classed as childish behaviour, immature maybe but not childish.

beatlegirl Mon 08-Apr-13 17:12:06

LOL! You'll be lucky if your kid is still in touch with you at 27!

NatashaBee Mon 08-Apr-13 16:24:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

syl1985 Mon 08-Apr-13 16:11:24

Sorry forgot to ad.

I also don't care if my child is 17 or 27. I absolutely won't stand on the sideline and don't do anything. If I know he was destroying his body by drinking alcohol to much and on a regular basis.

Will my child get angry about it.
For sure.
Will my interference work?

I don't know, but it's better then doing nothing at all.

My children don't go to school, I teach them at home.
It's already starting now.

Very tragically we lost at the beginning of this year a friend of us due to years of smoking.
We told our 7 year old the whole truth. In a way that he was able to understand afcourse.

He went to the funeral and didn't had any problem with it.

He knows what happened to this man. He also seems to have accepted that we all are going to die at some point. Just like we all have been born.

Sadly, but he has seen for himself at a young age that smoking can make your life a lot shorter then you'd like.

There's no better school then the school of life.
There's also no harder school then that, but we all got to accept at some point in our lives that life isn't always fair or is going to be soft on us.
Best and easier to accept that sooner then later.


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