Neighbor almost called the police

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by TerryJ2, Aug 15, 2008.

  1. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    The neighbor (for whom easy child babysits who caught difficult child in her bedroom) stopped by early this evening.
    As we were standing in the doorway, with-the door propped open, she whispered, "difficult child was in my drawer and I'm missing a lot of stuff--the whole drawerful."
    I shut the door behind me and we stood outside in the rain so difficult child wouldn't hear.
    I said, "Those were yours?" She said, "G-strings?" and I said yes. She said "There was a whole lot there--" and I interrupted and said, "It's expensive!"
    Oh, I wish, wish, wish we hadn't thrown it in the psychiatric's trash. I'm going to call them tomorrow and see if the trash has been picked up. Otherwise, it's a gift cert. for Victoria's Secret for her.
    I said "I thought he was in your closet." She said he was actually in her dresser drawer.
    But, I digress.
    She said her husband was so upset he was going to call the police and she had to calm him down.
    I told her that if and when it happens again, go ahead and call the police. Her eyebrows shot up and I explained that we'd been having problems with-difficult child, we're in counseling, and that he does not understand boundaries.
    She was worried about the police "because he's just a kid," but I told her he's at the age where he's got to learn that's what people do when people break in and steal stuff.
    "What would you have done if it had been a stranger?" I asked her.
    "Called the police."
    She was very upset, because our kids have grown up together and now her daughter, whose panties were also taken, does not want him around at all any more and he is banned off of their property.

    easy child took them all to the mall today to give me a break because I had lunch with-a friend (only one friend locally know about this) and then went to bed with-a migraine. I really thought she was bringing difficult child back after lunch but easy child could shop in the middle of a hurricane so she lost track of time.
    So I told the neighbor that he would not go along with-them to the mall or anywhere else and she was happy with-that.

    She was so concerned about him and felt so sorry for me, she started to cry and then I started to cry. It must have been the look on my face when I said, "Go ahead and call the police. We've got to do something and make it work." Mostly, I was just trying to breathe as I talked.

    easy child and I sat down with-difficult child after the neighbor left and told him.

    He took it very well. His only physical reaction was to cross his arms across his chest, and of course, he denied the entire thing and said he was not in her drawer and he didn't know where the panties had come from. Boy, can he stonewall.
    I said, "Do you remember taking them at all?"
    He said, "No, I think they came from the laundry at camp."

    I think it's both. I'll find out if I get the garbage bag back. Or I may never find out.
    But I am concerned that after all this, he refuses to admit he took anything from anyone.

    I told him that we love him and are very worried about him, and that he grew up with-S and now they are not friends any more.

    He said he understood perfectly why they are upset and won't allow him on their property.

    I told him that he had to work around the house to earn $ so I could pay back the neighbor. He started to get angry and shout that he didn't take anything of hers, so I then suggested he write them a short note apologizing that he has ruined their trust with-him, and that he is working on it. Short and sweet. And I will deliver it so he does not go on their property. He agreed to that.

    I also told him that I cannot control what they tell other people so there's a chance it will fly around the neighborhood. He nodded and said he understood that. He seemed resigned to it.

    He asked if that was it, we said yes, and he turned on his wrestling show.
  2. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    Hard as it probably was for both you and the neighbor, that conversation was a good thing. On your part, you now know the extent of the theft. On her part, she knows (even though she probably did anyway) that you are aware and aren't just blowing it off. FWIW, even if you can get the undies back....if it were me, I don't think I would want them. There is the concept of the $$$ yes, but even if I washed them myself, I still think it would be a bit oogy to wear them again after all of this.

    As for the conversation you had with difficult child.......again, just MHO but I've had similiar types of conversations with my difficult child with bascially the same end result. (i.e. "Is that all?" and then goes on with whatever he was doing) Granted, I don't know yours but with my difficult child, it never registers. He agrees, understands, contributes, etc. but it just doesn't stick. Or it is one of those "but we talked and that was the end of it" thought processes. No concept at all of the actual meaning of the conversation or the consequences.

    I do agree with you telling the neighbor to call the police if it happens again. Kid or not, there are some issues going on and it's going to take something big to get through to him. Sending hugs. been there done that. (erm....minus the panties)
  3. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oh Terry,
    I think you are handling this extremely difficult situation very well. I'm sure nothing about this is easy. Sending gentle hugs to you tonight.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    This is a terrible situation, however he is not reacting appropriately. He doesn't seem to understand exactly how serious it is (again, I think Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)????).
    I would not have encouraged her to call the police because they will not think he's a child with a disorder--they will think he is "bad" and god knows what they will do. Juvy Hall? CPS would get involved and possibly decide you are a "bad" parent rather than the good one that you are.
    Or you really think that he'd "get it" if the police were called? I'm just assuming that he doesn't really understand the seriousness of what he did and that even the police won't be able to make him understand.

    Rather than getting him a very young police record, I'd want to get him some more help than he is already getting. And this is from somebody who called the police on her own daughter when caught with drugs. However, I was sure my daughter knew what she was doing and the severity of it, and she was also sixteen.

    Of course, this is just my own bias.

    I would get that new evaluation on your son as soon as possible. (((Hugs))) Again JMO.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2008
  5. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    You have a good neighbor there! Wow.

    Hugs, tho. What a terrible situation.

    You know, I recently asked difficult child 1 if any of the punishments we gave him worked. He said no, he just waited for it to be over so he could go do whatever he was going to do again. Your son's reaction reminded me of him. But you can't stop trying.

  6. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Terry, do you think your son will never break the law again? Do you think that if he does, the next person will let it go? Do you think that more punishment will prevent it or stop him? If so, do you think this state's legal system for juveniles provides that effective punishment to teach him that lesson and keep it from ever happening again?

    Or do you think that something else is going on with your son?
  7. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member

    Sending hugs....
  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It


    I think you handled that beautifully. I don't think there is much you CAN do to get through to him, unless you can get him admitted to a long term psychiatric hospital to have them try to get through to him.

    It hurts so bad to tell someone to call the police, or to do it yourself. I know how hard it is to even breathe through it. But you did the only thing you could do.

    I think his reactions are actually pretty common for a preteen in an embarrassing situation. To adults it is so much more, but he is not an adult.

    What does husband think about your talk with the neighbor? Does he realize this is WAY more than "just guy stuff"? Is he ready to discuss Residential Treatment Center (RTC) or psychiatric hospital with you? I know you don't want to, but it may be the only thing to keep him from getting a record at age 11.

    I think the neighbors really have no choices here but to ban him and to call the police if he is on their property at all, esp if he is in the house.

    Be prepared for him to test this as much as he can. he won't believe she will call the police, or that her husband will. I think he doesn't see this as a big deal.

    Does your husband realize what a big deal this is? It truly IS.

    I would not want to touch the panties, much less wear them if I were the neighbor. And the younger I was, the more creeped out I would be by the thought of wearing them.

    In reality, this is a violation of not just the neighbors' home, but of the wife and daughter. and THAT is something most judges WON'T take lightly. Please discuss all the possibly ramifications with your husband. As many as you can think of.

    I am so very very sorry. I have been there in situations where the police may have been called, where we had to call them on our preteen/young teen. Please PM me if I can support you in any way at all.
  9. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Thank you all.

    I'm torn between retreiving the undies and considering the ooginess of if :) and just getting a gift certif.

    My husband is out of town on biz and does not know that the neighbor came by tonight. He will get home very late Sat so we won't be able to talk until Sund.

    I am thinking of calling the local precinct and having them meet us so they know who difficult child is, and talking to them about strategies. They may be able to scare the :censored2: out of difficult child with-o actually having to charge him.

    I am still concerned at difficult child's perceived lack of response tonight. Welll try again in the am when he has to write them the note.

    I need major league sleep. I hope at least until 10.

    Thank you all for your support.
  10. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Chiming in late here and just want to say how sorry I am that your family is going through this! You sound like you are holding up pretty well, all things considered. I can't really offer much advice -- no experience with this, but I agree with others that this is a serious boundary issue and as you know, very important to to figure out -- and FAST. The few boundary issues I've had with difficult child's here happen within our family...

    Do you think the medications he's on now are serving him well? Or could they be exacerbating other issues? Just thinking out loud here...
  11. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It


    We had at least 3 times where the police came out and worked diligently with us to scare the boogers out of Wiz. Once was for wandering around when we didn't know where he was - during the day on a weekend, but he was several MILES from wehre he said he would be. Twice were for abuse to me (once before the long psychiatric hospital stay, once almost 2 years later after teh psychiatric hospital stay).

    Chances are they would be willing to at least TRY, as long as neighbor doesn't press charges. sounds like she won't, and will try to keep her husband from pushing the issue.

    You are doing an awesome job of parenting a really special, but difficult kid.
  12. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    All I can say is that I think you are handling it very well. Both in how you are trying to help him get through this, and in how you are getting your family through it. You have my sincere admiration and support.
  13. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Keep in mind, once police are called, they can choose to arrest him whether or not the person who called wants to press charges. I agree that they probably won't the first time they have ever been called on a kid, but given the seriousness of what he did, there is a risk that they will do more than lecture him then walk away and forget about it. There was at least one felony in what he did and the law has changed a lot in our state to crack down on juveniles.
  14. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    I'd suggest you make an appointment to meet with either an officer or juvenile lead at your police department. Give them your son's background, a hypothetical of IF he were to break into someone's home, etc. and see what they would do in such a situation. I did this when my daughter went through her stealing stage. They really did try to work with me and help her. Sadly, nothing they did worked (including putting her in a holding cell for 3 hours). She just kind of outgrew it around 14 or 15.

    He might actually be taking more in than your think. Again, mine would react like yours -- deny even with the evidence laid out in front of her, accept the consequences and then just go about doing whatever she was doing previously as if nothing had happened. It took her turning into an adult before she told me that she was truly heartsick inside but just didn't want to show the world she was guilty.

    I wish we all had neighbors like yours. A little carng and understanding by those around us makes a huge difference. I would try to get the undies back and return them to her. She may not have the "oogie" factor going. I would if I thought he had worn them or something but if he just took them, there wouldn't be the yuck when I put them on. No matter what, a gift certificate would be a nice gesture.

    I'm with the others. You truly are doing a super job with a very difficult situation. I hope you get some answers and some way to get through to him.
  15. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    And, maybe he could do chores for you to pay you back for the cost of the gift certificate. Work and money can have a little more impact than words and lack of trust sometimes. Maybe let the neighbor know you are having him do this and asked her how she would prefer to be compensated- I definitely don't think I'd want undies back that had been stolen and put in a dumpster. If he took all of the Mom's and daughter's undies, they have already gone out to buy more or they have been going without undies for a week.

    PS My concern with calling the police, assuming that they don't arrest, is that given there were at least two serious acts here (B&E and theft or burglary)- not to mention what is was theft OF- is that they will probably put this boy on their radar screen. That might work in your (difficult child's) favor, but it might not.
  16. seekinghope

    seekinghope New Member

    So sorry for what your family is going through. However, just wanted to reiterate on what KLMNO said.
    We have a similar situation in as my son entered a friends house without the parents home and $ was taken.
    The friends parents did not press any charges because the $ was returned. However, the state trooper decided to press charges anyway!
    Just wanted to add my experience to the mix.

    Good luck,
  17. seekinghope

    seekinghope New Member

    What is Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)?
  18. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Shortly after my difficult child turned 11 he started acting pretty erratic and was doing dangerous things. One night, he wanted to go out and play by himself, after dark, and I said "no" (because I never allowed him to do this- and because he had been found recently riding his skateboard on a BUSY 4 lane street. Anyway, that night after I said "no", he hit me and took off out the door. I called police and ask them to help find him because he had been acting very uncharacteristic and erratic lately and I explained that I had statred him seeing a therapist and psychiatrist but we weren't sure yet what was causing this.

    They found my son, came by the house to tell me they were arresting him for assualting me, which they did, and they brought him home later after they booked and fingerprinted him- even though I specificaly told them that I did not want to press charges.

    There are other stories I could relay, too, but I hope you get the jist. And, the laws are state laws- not jurisdictional.
  19. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Terry! I'm so sorry to hear you're going through this. I want to point something out here though!

    I know you suspect that he's either got Aspergers or is way up there on the spectrum. If he does, he's NOT getting it! It's not feined ignorance, it's not forgetting, it's not refusal to take responsibility, he's just not getting it!

    Quite often they don't get that what they do impacts others - whether it be feelings, possessions, sense of security, whatever. Until there's a direct correlation to something that impacts THEM, there's NO CONNECTION!

    What may help, is applying the situation to HIM and things that he holds dear and do to him, what he did to the neighbor. For example: say he has a favorite video game. Steal it. If you want, steal it and let him "sort of" catch you in the act. Not quite, but just enough to raise his suspicions. Lie a few times when he confronts you, and then get caught with the evidence. Give it back to him, but deny it and say you don't remember doing it. Let him feel the frustration and aggrivation etc. that you and your neighbor felt. Now you have to draw the obvious picture for him.

    "Wow! How did it make you feel"
    You may have to lead the questions or give suggestions as to what he's feeling because some of these kids only recognize anger.

    "What were you thinking" "I'll be J next door felt that way" and then work your way all the way out to the whole earning trust routine.

    I hope this may help! Otherwise I'd find a friend who has a cop uniform and scare the bejesus out of him!

  20. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Many of our kids, who are being treated for psychiatric problems, actually have Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) (Aspergers Syndrome or Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified) and we beat our heads against a wall because the children just don't respond to "natural consequences" nor do they seem to "get it." So we think they are "bad" or "defiant" and we try harder disciplining, which also doesn't compute. The child is just socially clueless and poor at picking up social norms and they can't be scared into it because they don't "get it" in the first place. I'm convinced that many undiagnosed ASDers end up on drugs or in jail or both. If a child seems not to "get it" to me the natural thing is to run (not walk) to a neuropsychologist to see if more than a defiance or psychiatric problem is causing this disconnect. It isn't normal for kids not to "get It." There is a big difference between kids who are deliberately defiant an act brash and bold and kids who simply seem puzzled and too calm when told that what they have done is inappropriate. They may know on some level, but not understand on another. These socially clueless kids deserve a fresh evaluation, which a neuropsychologist is best at because of the intensity of the testing. If the child has executive function deficits because of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) or for any reason (and many of these kids are brilliant--it's not IQ-related) then they will not "get it" no matter how badly they are punished. They need interventions badly so that they can learn how to understand life and social norms. Without these interventions, they just seem to do the same thing over and over again, never really catching on that they are crossing boundaries or doing the socially unacceptable thing or that they could get arrested. I had to work hard on this with my son, but it was worth the effort. And there was no way a regular therapist could have done the trick. Nor could we have done this alone, without Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) specialists helping us.
    ODD just means "defiance." It is in every childhood disorder and in my opinion has little meaning. It rarely stands alone.