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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:
lovelycuppateas · 18/06/2017 09:29

I have an 11 year old son, and I would never let him casually sleep at anyone's house without talking to the parents first - it's simply not appropriate at that age (my 15-year old I now take on trust if am secure of where he is, but that's a different matter). It's not really your son's fault but yours for not finding out more.

As for the house, perhaps call NSPCC if you are concerned.

lovelycuppateas · 18/06/2017 09:30

.... but your son is safe, so no harm done. Chalk it up to experience and ask next time.

rightwhine · 18/06/2017 09:32

Give over about the ops parenting. She thought he was somewhere where he'd been numerous times. It's a one off error. Ds just needs reminding he needs to be a bit clearer so that the op can do what she needs to.
Please don't worry about your parenting op.

quizqueen · 18/06/2017 09:42

Even if you thought that your son was staying with his usual friend over the road you should surely have spoken to Bob's parents to check it was okay and what meals he would have there and what time he would come back before allowing him to spend the night there. Your son also lied to you. He must have known you would think that he was staying with Bob1. If you are on the same estate, couldn't your son find his own way home when he realised there was no food?

Tikkatoride · 18/06/2017 09:42

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!

I really don't think it is a bad thing tbh. You have three families who all take turns to host each other's kids for playing, food and sleepovers. That's actually lovely for the kids. Since they are 11 and fully capable of walking across the road safely and the kids in each other's houses is a longstanding thing I wouldn't necessarily have checked either. I would have assumed that if the kids were trying it on or there was an issue Bobs mum would just send my kid back home. I would also have made the assumption that staying at bobs was staying at the house of Bob across the road whose house he often stays at.

When you found it wasn't the case you tried not to panic immediately as like you say you do know the other Bob and most parents kick sleepover kids out by lunchtime. Once it hit lunchtime you went looking for him. I would likely have started looking for him sooner but honestly the actual mistake is easily done. You had no reason to even consider that he had decided to go and stay with someone he hadn't seen for a year.

I'm sure you and him have learnt some lessons for future and I would advise speaking to someone like NSPCC for advice re bob2.

NormaSmuff · 18/06/2017 09:45

the dad didnt feed the dc.
they went to a church and asked for food.
the flat smelt of pot.

the cornflakes on the bed wouldnt worry me.

just either contact school or nspcc.
however with cut backs dont expect any immediate help.

GrumpyOldBag · 18/06/2017 09:46

if you think Bob2 isn't being fed properly at home the nice thing to do would be to have him back round to your house and make sure he has a good meal.

pippitysqueakity · 18/06/2017 09:50

OP, you have done nothing wrong. We have a similar arrangement with friends across the road and if my DCs said they were going to x's house it would not occur to me to ask, which x? Please spend day with your DS calming down and enjoying him and phone SS or talk to school as you see fit. Remember, you did just get a snapshot.

whatisittoday · 18/06/2017 09:51

Quiz queen it tends to be whatever house the kids are at feed them! So if they happen to be at mine at lunchtime I feed them all or same the other way. Maybe it's way too relaxed I see now.

OP posts:
Splandy · 18/06/2017 09:55

To everyone saying that the OPs parenting isn't up to scratch - you are being utterly ridiculous. OP, I have a similar kind of set up here (perhaps it is more common when living on a council estate - nobody here thinks it odd) and also wouldn't think it necessary to contact the other parent. My son plays out regularly with a group of children from our street and the one behind. One of these children is a best friend from school and I am friends with his parents. Our children sleep over at each other's houses and regularly go to each other's houses to play and are given meals without it being a prearranged thing with a specific end time. Once its happened enough times there is no need for much communication.

Don't beat yourself up about it. Your son is safe and not harmed in any way. He was probably shocked at the state of their house but it won't do him any lasting harm. I had a few friends as a child who lived in quite chaotic homes. I didn't like being there so often wouldn't go but it didn't bother me other than feeling sorry for them and glad my parents looked after me the way they did.

I think speaking to social services or nspcc would be a good thing. They may already be known to them. I called social services a few weeks back about a family in my street and I don't feel bad about it because I did the right thing. I wouldn't be worried about being questioned about it because it was an easy mistake to make - your son regularly stays over at the other friend's house without much contact with parents, why would you think it was different this time? Don't let it put you off because having children out begging for food is terrible and needs looking into.

NormaSmuff · 18/06/2017 09:55

i had my dd went to a friends for the evening, when i went to collect she was at a different friends, coincidentally she hadnt been fed either. but it happens with same name problems.

the other issue is horrible and needs reporting to someone.

Mumzypopz · 18/06/2017 10:00

Hang on....he's 11, you waved him off on a sleepover, realised the next day he wasn't where he should be, but waited till three to look for him? I'd have been calling the police by that point.

whatisittoday · 18/06/2017 10:01

Mummyz we started asking people if they knew where he was at 11 when bob1 came round. By three we were wandering door to door looking for him.

OP posts:
PenelopeFlintstone · 18/06/2017 10:01

You've not been too relaxed at all and we do the same thing here. The good far outweighs the risk of bad. Even now, he didn't come to any harm and may have had a ball. But I do wonder whether your son knew you'd think he meant Bob1 when he said Bob, especially as he's at Bob1's so much.

NormaSmuff · 18/06/2017 10:02

why would you call the police? bit ott

NormaSmuff · 18/06/2017 10:03

tbh there are people with problems in their lives who do not prioritise feeding dc

rightwhine · 18/06/2017 10:03

splandy We don't live on a council estate but we have a similar set up.

Some kids and parents are just lucky enough to have such good friendships that this freedom is workable.

PenelopeFlintstone · 18/06/2017 10:03

And do some people smoke pot to relieve migraines? Not sure but maybe.

whatisittoday · 18/06/2017 10:03

Penelope I'm pretty sure he knew I thought he was elsewhere - which is why his computer has been taken for a while and he is currently cleaning his room.

I know I should have checked but I also know he let me assume if that makes sense!

OP posts:
alltouchedout · 18/06/2017 10:05

Call social services. Don't listen to people telling you this sort of tosh:
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
. You don't have to be perfect to report neglect.

Mumzypopz · 18/06/2017 10:09

But ott calling the police,?! Her son had basically been missing from the night before and she had no idea where he was. I'd have been in a state if panic.

whatisittoday · 18/06/2017 10:18

It seemed like a waste of police time to call them when we knew he was at bob2s and we hadn't looked for him ourselves first.

OP posts:
WorraLiberty · 18/06/2017 10:24

I know he's only 10 years old, but have you considered just buying a cheap PAYG from Tesco? I think you can pick them up for less than a tenner.

Make that the 'family phone'. Keep emergency credit on it and then any younger kids can use it too, if they're going anywhere alone.

Donttouchthethings · 18/06/2017 10:47

OP, these things happen and I'm sure you've learned the lessons here, so please try to be kind to yourself now. It also sounds like ds appreciates home a bit more now too, which is always good.

I would firstly have a chat with him, as others have suggested. See if there's anything he needs to talk about that's upset him. Then, reiterate the importance of you always knowing where he is. He knows this but obviously needs reminding.

I would then call the NSPCC. Have a chat with them and explain your concerns. I'm sure they'll take it from there.

Nishky · 18/06/2017 10:54

I am glad bob 2 has your ds as a friend as you sound a lovely family/ neighbourhood with kids popping in and out of each other's houses.

Totally missing the point of the thread but that was my reaction

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