difficult child keeps lying and sneaking out


Struggling for air
My difficult child is 12 and now that he is in middle school we have let him come home on the bus after school (for two hours) rather than going to the after school program. He was in it at the beginning of the year and continued to get into trouble because he hated it. He would sneak home on the bus, would disrupt the activities (when he would go) and would berate and belittle the counselors. Now we let him stay home and he sneaks out to friends houses, to the mini mart or park down the street, etc.

We live in a safe neighborhood, but it scares me to death if I come home and he isn't there. We tried a cell phone with GPS and he just proceeded to rack up hundreds of dollars in bills.

I can't quit my job to stay home with him, but he is too old for a sitter and the after school program isn't structured enough to deal with him.

What have you all done in the past that might help me find a solution?


Active Member
I'd put him back in the daycare. If he sneaks home on the bus, call the police and report him as a runaway.

If he commits a crime while he is unsupervised, you may be liable.


Active Member
I have had, and in a way continue to have similar problems. I have done a combination of things including locking up bicycle during the week, cutting hours at work to be home earlier (no I can't afford it- the difference in income has to be made up on credit), letting him go out for a while after I am home IF he stayed in until I got home. Finally, after medication changes to mood stabilizers, he met a kid that I considered pretty responsible and doesn't live too far away so I compromised and let difficult child go there after school sometimes before I got home, with the expectation that he would call and let me know he was there. This worked fairly well- until they bboth got in trouble together. (The trouble wasn't while I was at work.) I think there is only so much we can do- I started looking at it more as a transitional period where I would have to compromise and find a solution that we could both be comfortable with because difficult child was clearly not going to sit at home alone every day until I got here and, like your's, he clearly refused to do day care anymore.

I worried now about what he'll do this summer- he is out-growing several of the day camps he's done in the past and I'm not ready for him to "be on his own" all day- as he thinks he should be. If you have any ideas on that one, I'd love to hear them!!
He's not where he is supposed to be. That's considered a runaway.

Another option is a kid's cell phone that is only programmed to be able to call certain numbers. My friend has one of these for her 11 year old. He can dial 911, her work, the school, his father, and the house. That is it. Make a pact with him that if he wants to be responsible enough to be home for a couple hours be himself, he has to prove that he can be trusted. He needs to call you at such-and-such a time, and let you know where he is. He must provide a phone number and you need to be able to reach him there (no, you calling him on the cell phone if he claims he is at Jimmy's house is not good enough. He needs to give you Jimmy's number).

If he cannot follow these rules, then back to daycare he goes, like it or not. This way the ball is in his court.


Also, older kids with diagnosis'es are considered still eligible for child care deductions on your fed taxes just like little kids. I'd put him back in daycare.

I screwed up with my difficult child in this regard. He "should" have been old enough to handle it, but he wasn't, and I went off what he "should" have been able to do, not what he "was" able to do. We narrowly escaped serious repurcutions.

I encourage you to get him in whatever sitter service you can.


New Member
Have you thought about hiring a responsible teenager to supervise him at your home during the couple of hours before you get home?


New Member
Many here have given some good advice. My difficult child used to sneak out as well. Its pretty scarey no matter where you live safe or not, You just never know. I already had an alarm system with every door and window in the house hooked up but had to have some repair on some of the zones so I did just that and started arming the system. Even when unarmed it would alert me to any door or window being opened in the house. That deterred her from sneaking out. Any other time when she chose to not come home after school or just blantenly walk out being defiant I would give her until her curfew time and call the police. They would ask me if I wanted to report her as a runaway and my response was " I'm not sure if she has runaway or not" so they would put her down as a missing. Make sure that you request a report be written by the police dept so you have a papertrail. I quickly learned that they will not do a written report if not requested by the parent (Where I live anyway). As far as being where he should be, With my difficult child I always made it a point to talk to the parent of the kiddos house where she was supposed to be to confirm. Mind you it can be a task to keep up with but definitely worth it. I gave her no wiggle room at all and she knew for the most part that I was on to her. I do agree with the others about the daycare, If he cannot prove to be responsible then how sad for him that he will just have to be treated like a toddler to assure his safety and well being. It would certainly be more relief to you knowing that hes safe. Do you possibly have a police explorer program in your area. My difficult child was a police explorer at one time but unfortunately she ended up being a police explorer gone bad. Not ever arrested but got a lil lazy with the program and they do not stand for that.


New Member
I hired a sitter. If she refused to behave responsibly, then she was too young to stay home alone -- this was when she was 14 -- and I let her know this was a babysitter (a local college football player who was big enough to enforce the rules). It actually worked out great -- he was big enough to enforce rules, didn't mind helping her with homework questions, young enough so she wasn't totally embarassed, he got to do his homework while being paid, took her places (with my permission).


Well-Known Member
Maybe I should assume this, but have you tried the 'if you do not stay in the house after school you will be put back in the after school program' routine?


Active Member
Also, if you put him back in daycare, take away his ability to get into your house (his key, change the code, etc).


Struggling for air
Thank you all for your ideas and support. My husband was able to change his work hours this week so he will be home about 10 minutes after my difficult child gets off the bus. I hope for all of our sake that this solution works out!


I am a CD addict
Not necessarily the solution for you, But we have a small business and both my difficult child come here after school. They hate it but neither can be left at home for various reasons. they are soon to be 15 and 17. This summer will be interesting. the easy child's are off to explore the world before starting school in the fall (both will no longer be home) So the older difficult child was at home last summer with easy child. Younger difficult child spent a big part of summer with bio mom (we will not be repeating that this year) But younger difficult child is looking like he may have to start day treatment. so that may be the answer for him. But I agree with it not being a "should" issue.
We are still looking for solutions. But for us this has helped tremendously in minimizing broken and stolen items around our house.
I would put it on him. His responsibility. If you can not trust him. you have to place him somewhere to assure yourself that he is safe. Let him build from there. Maybe work on a one or two day reprieve to gauge if he is responsible enough to eventually be left at home after school and be able to stay put until you come home.