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Aibu to be in a state of anxiety about what happened yesterday?

93 replies

whatisittoday · 18/06/2017 08:02

My ds is nearly 11. Yesterday he came in saying he had been asked to stay at his friends house over night - let's call friend Bob.

So I just said yes sure! I know bob , bob has been here loads ds has been there loads. He lives right over the road from and I know his parents.

I was in the middle of wallpapering and I just waved him off and thought no more tbh.

Next morning bob comes to call to ask if ds wants to play out - turns out he's not at this bobs he has gone off with some other random child from his old school who also happens to be called bob.

No one knows where bob2 lives . No one knows his parents. I don't immediately panic thinking the others boys parents would send him home soon. Lunch rolls round no sign of ds, then 3pm.

Dh, mil and I start going round asking if anyone knows bob2. A couple of hours later we finally track down bob2 to a block of flats half a mile away. We search around and finally find the right flat. The dad opens the door, and it just stinks, theres bags of rubbish in the hallwY and looking though the door it's just terrible and bizarrely the bed seemed to be covered in huge piles of cornflakes. The dad said oh bob wants him to stay a while Confused

I politely made excuses grabbed my ds and left.

When we got home ds says the dad apparently hadn't fed any of the kids (the youngest looked about 2) and food the night before or breakfast. The next afternoon they had gone to some church where they were given food - apparently there was no actual food event there or handout. They just went and asked and the people at the church found them food .

The dad apparently couldn't see properly that day because of migraines. And while I don't dispute the possibility - the smell of the flat makes me think it's more likely something he smoked rather than migraines .

I have been having kittens about this. And going from anger at ds, anger at the dad to a deep self loathing that I allowed him to go there.

I should explain here I am in the midst of a massive depression/anxiety episode anyway. I have spent all night having panic attacks and fighting the urge to self harm because I now hate myself for failing to look after ds.

Dh doesn't see the problem and says ds is in trouble but the other dads probably a nice guy.

I don't want ds going anywhere near bob2s house again.dh thinks that's ovdrrscting.

Am I being stupidly over anxious here because with the anxiety I have learned to doubt my own feelings. I never know when I'm right to be worried.

OP posts:
PlaymobilPirate · 18/06/2017 08:06

You need to report to school / social services

whatisittoday · 18/06/2017 08:09

I thought that but - I wasn't sure what exactly the problem was - the house wasyntidy and they missed meals but they clearly ate none of them were underweight or anything.

OP posts:
Crunchymum · 18/06/2017 08:11

This all happened yesterday? Confused

dingdongdigeridoo · 18/06/2017 08:12

I'd report too. It sounds like the dad isn't coping too well. Why wait for things to get worse for those poor kids?

And YANBU to be anxious. It sounds like a worrying situation.

kimlo · 18/06/2017 08:13

ring the nspcc for advice on the situation.

I would have asumed the same as you, if dd1 had said she was staying at Sophies house I would assume it was her friend Sophie's house not another Sophie.

Squeegle · 18/06/2017 08:14

I think you just need to say to your DS please make sure you tell me exactly who you are staying with. He is ok, nothing happened. And although you didn't see something you liked, it doesn't sound like he was in danger. But your DS needs to understand the importance of letting you know exactly where he is going.

whatisittoday · 18/06/2017 08:17

He went to sleep over Friday night so we were looking for him Saturday.

OP posts:
Eebahgum · 18/06/2017 08:17

I would ring children's services and report this or, if you can't bring yourself to do that contact the school on Monday. I work in safeguarding at a school and think you have uncovered a case of neglect.

rightwhine · 18/06/2017 08:17

If your ds is ok, put it down to a genuine mistake and don't beat yourself or ds up over it. Remind ds that he should have made it clearer and consider reporting the home situation if it worries you but otherwise put it behind you and move on. No harm has been done. We all make mistakes.

OTOH if it appears to have affected ds then that might need further action.

PlaymobilPirate · 18/06/2017 08:18

Go with your initial gut reaction.

SheSaidHeSaid · 18/06/2017 08:19

I'd report it, let social services decide whether it's an issue or not.

Don't be annoyed at your son, he asked to go to a friend's house and he did. Ok, be should have been more specific but it's done now. Also, don't beat yourself up over it, your DS is fine and from now on you'll double check all details before he goes to play elsewhere again - no harm done.

whatisittoday · 18/06/2017 08:19

Right - ds seems fine, I don't think anything terrible happened although I think he was a little shocked that the kids skipped meals he actually said thank you when I got him food last night Shock

OP posts:
Alibobbob · 18/06/2017 08:19

You are not overreacting! I guess your partner didn't see the flat and thinks you may be exaggerating.

That family needs help.... no food the night before or that morning or lunch then going out to beg for food. The kids probably get free school meals which keeps them going but what about the 2 year old?

I bet your son was glad to get home - did he really want to stay longer or was the dad just saying that? I bet your son was massively outside his comfort zone and relieved that you found him and took him home.

I think you should speak to the person responsible for safeguarding at school and if that doesn't help contact SS.

Do not blame yourself it was a misunderstanding your son should have made it clear which friends house he was staying at.

booellesmum · 18/06/2017 08:20

Firstly focus on the fact that he is fine.
You have raised him well enough to judge the characters of his friends.
Your son likes Bob2. Bob2 is more than likely a lovely boy who just lives in crap circumstances and will benefit from the friendship with your son.
I would have a calm discussion with your son and set the rules for the future. From now on you know exactly who, where and how long for. He needs to know you were worried because you love him so much. That makes you a great mom.
You are also a great person for worrying about Bob2. The chances are they are already known to social services and under watch as children in need. If I was you I would call social services and voice your concerns. It will then be up to them to log it / investigate/ help as necessary.
Have a lovely day today with your son.

Tinkerbec · 18/06/2017 08:25

How old is ds? Does he have a phone?

This family need support. Ring CS for advice.

Do not judge yourself too harshly. Though I get where you are coming from. I have friend finder on my daughters phone as it puts my mind at ease.

ProfessorBranestawm · 18/06/2017 08:26

That sounds awful :( I agree speak to school if you are worried but it's hard to know without seeing it.

I would be cross at DS, but did he deliberately mislead you to think it was original Bob he was staying with? Or was it that he didn't think about the confusion between the two boys? Either way it's a good reminder for both of you to always clarify where he will be

Evelight · 18/06/2017 08:28

Oh my God just reading these lines:
"Next morning bob comes to call to ask if ds wants to play out - turns out he's not at this bobs he has gone off with some other random child from his old school who also happens to be called bob.

No one knows where bob2 lives .

gave me such horrible anxiety, it's one of my own (one of many) parenting nightmares as well as sounding like the opening scene of too many detective stories. bravo to you OP for not keeling over then and there.

As for the rest of it, sorry don't have a clue what you should do.

T1mum3 · 18/06/2017 08:28

You need to talk to your DS about making sure that you know where he is going and what time he is coming back. Nobody's fault that there was confusion about where he was, but would be good to have a ground rule that you always have a phone number and address and a time for return. It must have been terrifying for you, but not really your fault, Ds's fault or Bob's dad's fault.

It does sound like they are struggling. On the other hand, if they are living in poverty that's not a reason for your son to avoid going there in future.

The lack of food is the issue. Some bin bags outside (waiting to be collected?) and cornflakes on the bed aren't particularly problematic. If it's genuinely that they are struggling to get enough food to eat properly I do think you should mention this to the school. The family may be on the radar or they may not.

Understandably your anxiety about not knowing where your son was is mixed up with it not being a "nice" environment when you found him.

whatisittoday · 18/06/2017 08:28

Ds doesn't have a phone yet. We were thinking of one for his 11th birthday: his older sister is 13 and she had one for her 11th so it seemed fair!

OP posts:
whatisittoday · 18/06/2017 08:30

I should probably add here I don't live in an immaculate mansion - we live in an ex council house on the same estate as bob2. And we have 6 children so I do kind of expect a certain level of mess but this shocked even me!

OP posts:
SuburbanRhonda · 18/06/2017 08:32

I work in safeguarding at a school and think you have uncovered a case of neglect.

I'm also a designated safeguarding lead in a school. You don't know what you've uncovered - it's the job of children services to determine that - but a call to their safeguarding hub or equivalent for advice would be a sensible thing to do.

allegretto · 18/06/2017 08:36

Don't beat yourself up about it OP, the same thing has happened to me - thought that DS was going to one child's (who again lives opposite us) but was actually walking across town to another's!) However, I would be really worried about what you saw - no food? So Bob managed to get some food from the church (but what if he hadn't?) and what about the 2 year old? I think you need to find out more.

FinallyThroughTheRoof · 18/06/2017 08:40

I doubt your son would he traumatised

I spent time with kids who lived in less than ideal circumstances as a child and didnt bat an eyelid.

Piratesandpants · 18/06/2017 08:43

Report the family - it does sound as though they need support. On another note, please don't spoil the children's friendship, and 'Bob' probably needs friends. Just invite 'Bob' to yours and if your DS is invited over, just make done excuse why it would be easier if Bob comes to yours.

TheFirstMrsDV · 18/06/2017 08:45

I can get cross on MN when people start going on about red flags and safeguarding. Not in this case.
Children begging for food is reason enough to raise concerns.

That single thing alone is indicative of neglect. That doesn't mean the dad is evil. He can still be a 'nice guy' but he isn't parenting his kids adequately. Providing food on a regular and predictable basis is a basic requirement.
If he is failing because he is ill he can be helped.
If he is failing because he CBA those kids need help.

You are anxious because you had a terrible shock. That is normal. Dont feel you have failed because you are having a reaction.

Speak to the school on Monday. They are probably aware there are issues but you cannot be sure and this is a 'new' incident so should be reported.
You can phone duty SS if you think its an emergency.

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