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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:
Neome · 18/06/2017 08:50

Kids can often accept the oddness of different adults/families without getting upset over things we immediately see as problematic. If your son is ok, if a little thoughtful about the benefits of regular meals, perhaps no need to unsettle him by talking to him about it further - unless he initiates it.

However you might casually say to the family that what with getting mixed up about where he was going this time and how the news is making adults feel they want to take extra care of their families you will only be agreeing to sleepovers when you have spoken to the parent who will be there. No blame to anyone.

As you were shocked about the state of things at bob2s you could call someone like NSPCC as suggested (or childline) or even the Samaritans to talk over the situation. They could help you get perspective and decide if you need to let anyone official know. Samaritans are great to talk things over when life is really upsetting you.

FinallyThroughTheRoof · 18/06/2017 08:50

Agree you should speak to school btw , just dont think you should worry about your own son in all this.

VintagePerfumista · 18/06/2017 08:52

You need to make sure you know where your child is going to be sleeping next time.

Tbh it's all a bit glass houses, thinking of reporting a family when you didn't even know where your own child slept on whatever-night-it-was. And then once you did realise your own child wasn't at Bob1's (so you basically didn't know where he was, you "didn't immediately panic" because you thought the other family would "send him home soon".

Bob2's family might have been a little bit "wtf" about your child sleeping there without you having contacted them or anything (surely standard procedure for sleepovers? "Hi it's X, Bob has invited ds, what time shall I get him etc etc" That way you'd have known from the start he wasn't where you thought he was.

Bob2's family setup doesn't sound ideal, no. (safeguarding lead here too) but in all honesty (and not meaning this nastily) you might get an eyebrow raised yourself- how exactly are you going to present it? "well, my son slept at this house, er, no, I didn't know which house it was as it happens, er, no, once I did find out he wasn't where I thought he was, I didn't immediately panic I thought "well, they'll send him home soon"

Not good all round really.

But yes, I'd mention it to school.

Neome · 18/06/2017 08:52

Say to your family I meant - not Bob2s

Mummyoflittledragon · 18/06/2017 08:53

I'm sorry you went through such a difficult shock trying to find your ds. Maybe you can help to rescue this family by talking to the safeguarding scheme at school and/or reporting to ss. Poor bob And his younger sibling.

TanteJeanne · 18/06/2017 08:53

You've had a 'near miss' with your DS. You are probably going over and over the 'what ifs' and the worst case scenarios in your head, feeding your anxiety.
But you need to let it go. Your son came to no harm but you and he need to talk through what happened and what should happen next time.

Your DC is lucky to have just spent a few hours in Bob2's life and come home to a safe comfortable home. What could you do to help? Advice from NSPCC seems a good idea- and invite Bob2 round to yours and get to know him better.

whatisittoday · 18/06/2017 08:59

Vintage I thought he was at bob1s house who I speak to all the time and the kids sleep around at each other's house a lot. I didn't immediately panic because bob2 was in ds class so although I don't know his dad etc I have seen him and know bob2 is an actual real person who lives around here.

Not sure what exactly you were expecting me to do at that point ? Run into the street screaming my ds name?

OP posts:
TestTubeTeen · 18/06/2017 09:05

Ok, it was an innocent mix up through which you discovered that Bob2 doesn't have the best home life. Your Ds had an uncomfortable experience and had his eyes opened a bit.

So far so good,

The person who ISN'T Ok is you. None of this is your fault. Your thoughts of self hate and self harm are down to your depression and anxiety, Yes you are being 'over anxious' but not 'stupidly': you can't help it.

You are worrying about Bob2 and family, and your DS but the person who needs help is you. Do you have a counsellor or therapist you can talk to about the self-harm thoughts?

How close friends are DS and Bob2? If not close it may fizzle out. If close invite Bob2 to yours, give him a nutritious dinner, and say you won't allow DS to stay where people smoke.

Boredboredboredboredbored · 18/06/2017 09:07

A similar thing happened to a friend of mine. Her dd turned up at 7am crying as the house she'd been sleeping over at was in a terrible state. Friend contacted the welfare person at school and it turned out this child was known to them and SS. Would it be worth speaking to school?

whatisittoday · 18/06/2017 09:08

Testtube- my ds knew him at school but he left that school a year ago. So they know each other but not well and tbh I had totally forgotten this other bob exsisted.

OP posts:
Tattybogle89 · 18/06/2017 09:10

Yeah.. Thats scary. I would have panicked if my child was out all night somewhere different to where I thought..
There situation sounds odd. I would mention it to bob2s school.

Am I the only one curious about the cornflake bed!? Was this like boxes of cornflakes yeah? Not like.. Poured out actual flakes on the sheets ? Confused

Giddyaunt18 · 18/06/2017 09:11

Report. You don't need to worry about what happens next, Children not being fed or kept clean etc is cause for concern and possible neglect. also, possible espouser to illegal substances. Absolutely report . Then explain to your son why you don't think he should dog there again. Your son don't need to know about you reporting the father.

Giddyaunt18 · 18/06/2017 09:11


Giddyaunt18 · 18/06/2017 09:12

Oh my post is littered with errors. Really should proof read it first. Sorry!

MrsJayy · 18/06/2017 09:13

Maybe sort yourself out first then report bobs dad for his dirty house you did not know where your son was top parenting that is

whatisittoday · 18/06/2017 09:16

Mrs jayy you are totally right and it's why I haven't said anything to anyone about bob2 or anxiety and self harm.

OP posts:
Giddyaunt18 · 18/06/2017 09:16

I don't think there is any need to be that harsh on OP as she presumed she did know whose house her DS was in, over the road with a family and child she knew so didn't enquire any further. She has already explained she has anxiety and your accusatory posts do not show any empathy.

Waxlyrically · 18/06/2017 09:16

I agree with others that as your DS is fine you should stop worrying about what if's and put it down to experience. No one is to blame, including you, as it is a misunderstanding and they happen. If anything your DS has had a valuable lesson in life that not everyone has the stability and care that he does. It would be sad to shut Bob 2 out of your lives though when he might need you more than ever. As a pp has said can you get to know him better and then gauge whether seeking official help for the family is the right thing.

whatisittoday · 18/06/2017 09:17

The cornflakes were literally just tipped out all over the bed - I was just looking in the door from the hall so I don't know the story behind that but I wish I could accurately describe it. Imagine if you leave 4 toddlers in a room and let them do as they please that's what it was like.

OP posts:
emilybrontescorset · 18/06/2017 09:17

Yes I would speak to the school. They might do a breakfast club and be able to get the children in there so that they can have a meal before school.

Giddyaunt18 · 18/06/2017 09:20

The problem with families like this is that the children suffer at weekends and school holidays when there is no breakfast club. I used to work in a school where 2 siblings would come back in September noticeably thinner and extremely happy to be back at school. Worries about them kept me awake at night and yes the family did end up being monitored by Social Services.

Jamhandprints · 18/06/2017 09:21

Sounds awful! Please phone social services and tell them about the dirt, lack of food and "ill" dad. Those children need your help. And your ds is probably in shock so give him the chance to calmly talk about his visit and reassure him that he's safe now and what he saw was not ok. Kids are great at stuffing down emotions so he may seem fine but that's not good for future mental health. It's not Bob2's fault though. Maybe invite him to yours next time. X

Crumbs1 · 18/06/2017 09:21

I agree you need to tighten up your own parenting a bit. You didn't know where your 10 year old child was and should have done. Do you not speak to parents about sleepover arrangements? Do you not agree when sleepover will end? Seems very loose and unsurprisingly you were caught out. How long was he away for - you talk about the next afternoon, which suggests more than overnight.
The other family do sound like they are struggling but if it's as neglectful as you suggest, then I'd think school and SSD were already aware. Are they Church attenders? Seems odd children would think to pop around to a local church where they weren't known to beg.

whatisittoday · 18/06/2017 09:24

Crumbs I do with other families. But with bob1 they are right over the road the kids play at each other's houses virtually every day- tbh with them and one other family a few doors down we pretty much just have each other's kids at random. There's no picking up, since is right near us and the kids are nearly secondary age. That's why I just waved him it's just a normal everyday thing. It's just a few houses in the street with kids playing in an out of and having food etc ! I never thought it was a bad thing before!

OP posts:
Jamhandprints · 18/06/2017 09:25

Ss are not the police, they will do everything they can to help the family stay together. But school holidays are coming up and those little ones need you to help them.

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