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My nearly 15 year old snuck out last night(6 Posts)
Long time lurker - really need some advice, sorry its quite a long post.
I'm having a tough time with my 14 (nearly 15) year old son. My easy going, friendly, happy son has had a personality change over the last few months, coincided with with the lock down situation and getting his first girlfriend (they were friends already from school who formed a bond talking and messaging whilst in lockdown). I have been increasingly worried about his mental health, it has been a difficult time for teenagers in lockdown (as for many of us). His behaviour and attitude has been deteriorating but last night went to new lows and was the final straw. I had suspicions that he may have snuck out a few nights ago but no proof and without proof I knew he would lie to me. I also saw a message on his ipad from his girlfriends mum, which stated that the daughter had snuck out to our home and been in the house with my son whilst me and my husband were asleep upstairs. So last night I set up a motion sensor camera on the back door to track what was going on. I caught him leaving the house in the middle of the night. I went out in the car looking for him and found him at the girlfriends house (she lives close by) the mum had let my son in at nearly midnight and believed he had permission from me to be there?!! I asked her what she was thinking and clearly as a responsible parent I would not have given him permission to come to their house at that time of night. (He had been there earlier in the evening for a BBQ with my permission and had returned home at the agreed curfew time) I was very cross but kept my composure, whilst making it very clear how unhappy I was with my son and the girlfriends mum, and got my son home.
He opened up to me when he was home that he had gone over as his girlfriend self harms by cutting herself and she had just cut herself again, I also confronted him about the message I saw that she had been to our home in the night a week or so ago, again he told me she had harmed herself that night and he was helping her with the wounds. He also told me that when he talks to her he is often able to help her not to harm herself. The mum doesn't know about the harming apparantly. I've explained to him that this is too big a burdon to carry by himself. I am livid that he's been sneaking out and incredibly sad that his first love (he's utterly besotted and obsessed) is with a girl that is clearly very troubled. I've always had a great relationship with him, but he hates me at the moment and its heartbreaking. I literally feel like my son has been replaced with someone with a different personality.
He's spending the day and night at his dads today as I'm working and the space between us is probably a good thing. However I'm so worried about how to handle things to get the best outcome, obviously he's grounded and lost privaledges, but I feel our relationship is on a knifes edge. The biggest issue is that he cannot be trusted and is clearly a liar. We are in the process of setting up counselling for him as I have been concerned about his mental health for the last few months as he's been clearly depressed and anxious. Ordinarily my gut would be to tell the girlfriends mum about the self harming, however firstly I don't want to enagage with her as clearly last night wasn't a very successful first meeting and I'm not entirely sure about her own mental health to be honest and secondly my son will be even more cross at me for breaking the confidence. His dad is going to talk to him today and try and persuade him to tell the mum and again emphasise that he can't deal with this alone, whilst also reinforcing to him how wrong his actions are. This problem just feels huge and I want the girlfriend to just disappear out of my sons life, however I realise that is not possible and the more I clamp down the more sneaking around they will do, I'm also concerned that the girlfriends home will become a safe haven for them both making me even more the bigger enemy.
My head is a big mess of emotions, I am so bloody angry but also incredibly sad.
You've said that he's grounded and has lost privileges but I think that it's worth thinking about why you want to punish him and what you want the punishment to achieve.
I had an incident last year when my then 16 year old dd asked to stay the night with a friend. This was a girl that she'd recently become friends with in college so we didn't know the girl but said that was fine.
It turned out that she'd just used the girl as an alibi. She's actually caught the train and gone to see a boy that she'd been talking to online but had never met in RL, and she's stayed the night at his house.
DP and I were completely shocked and pretty angry. Luckily, a combination of me working late and having an evening meeting and dd's part-time evening job meant that it was a couple of days before the 3 of us had an evening where we could all get together and discuss the situation. That worked out well as it gave us time to cool down.
We ended up going down the disappointed in you route rather than the angry route. We explained why what she had done was so dangerous and talked through what could have happened. We even said that the boy could come to our house to see her but that if he did, he'd need to come downstairs first to talk to me and dp so that we could see what he was like and so that he could explain why he thought what they'd done was ok.
dd was upset and angry with us; there really wasn't any need for any additional punishment. Eventually she calmed down and could understand our position (although she'd never admit it) and hasn't sneaked out since.
I think that the most important thing is why your ds snuck out. He wasn't going to a rave or meeting loads of mates to smoke week; he was worried about his girlfriend. You're right that that's too much of a burden for him to cope with alone and if I were you I'd prioritise supporting him with this.
cariadlet thank you for sharing your experience. I agree being calm is a far better way to deal with the situation. If i'm honest I would rather he had snuck out for a rave or to smoke weed (that's a teenage behaviour I could relate to and understand) accepting that experimentation is part of growing up. What troubles me more is the huge issues with the girlfriend and her mental health and the effect it's having on him and the burden he is carrying trying to support her. Its heartbreaking to see him so low mentally and with so much anger towards me, I've had to take his phone off of him each night for the last few weeks as he was up talking to her and supporting her all through the night and then not being able to complete his school work the next day as exhausted. The school have also become concerned about him and regularly call me to keep up to date with him as he's come on their radar.
You are right I should be encouraging her to come over and meet with us, his father has made the suggestion at his house. However at the moment, whether rightly or wrongly I am not feeling much warmth towards the girl. Maybe something to consider once my anger has died down. Its his birthday next month so that could be an opportunity.
@123sunshine I have been/am in in a very similar situation. I don't really have any words of advice, but wanted to share you aren't alone.
My DS is 15 and has been with a girl for nearly a year now, and she too is very overbearing with lots of issues. He is always there for her supporting her and dealing with her stuff. It's become a massive strain, but we all decided that we can't ban him from seeing her because that'd just make their desire to see each other even worse, it's already been bad enough because of lockdown and they've not seen each other. We've all tried talking to him about not shouldering all the responsibility of her woes, but he is absolutely besotted with her and will do anything to support her even though we've noticed a marked change in him since this relationship started. We too have had issues with him speaking on the phone to her in the middle of the night which wakes the rest of the house up. This had calmed down until recently, so we haven't had to remove his phone at night but I think it may now be on the cards unfortunately, a battle and argument/hostility I am not looking forward to
@Idontknowwhattodo01 It's hard isn't it. I wish you luck!! I keep hoping that some distance between them will allow the girlfriend to move on to someone else....wishful thinking on my part!!
I have often wished the same, I wish one of them would just see the light and end it! But it is not looking likely...…