Need some cool-headed advice about how to deal with my teens' misbehavior

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by recovering doormat, Jun 26, 2010.

  1. recovering doormat

    recovering doormat Lapsed CDer

    Greetings. I've been away for a while but I'm seething with rage over something that occured at my home in my absence this past week. I need someone to help me organize my thoughts so that I don't keep making the same mistakes and acting the doormat.

    I went away last Saturday (the 19th) on my first vacation in many, many years, and left my easy child with her father (difficult child 2 lives with his dad, about 4 miles from my home). It was a five day cruise to Bermuda with my mom, aunt and cousin, just us girls, and it was heavenly. easy child has a set of keys to the house, difficult child does not (or so I thought). I told easy child that she could enter my house while I was gone to feed her fish, collect the mail, get clean clothes (our schools were still in session this past week).

    I should tell you that my difficult child's have a history of having parties in my house when I'm out of town, despite my insistence that they not enter the house while I'm gone. A year and a half ago all my jewelry was stolen during a party, and there is no suspect. Right now difficult child 1 is in treatment in VT and was not involved in this latest episode.

    So. I got home Thursday and have been finding out in dribs and drabs just what went on in my absence. difficult child 2 had a party Saturday night and easy child found out about it the next day and ratted him out to his dad. Dad apparently displayed no reaction and didn't do anything to prevent his son from throwing two more parties during the week, complete with Keystone Light and weed and vomiting girls. Little sister easy child was at one of these parties and admitted that she drank some beer.

    I am angry. I am very, very, angry. I have to get a locksmith to change the locks Monday, and I don't feel that I can go away again. I had promised difficult child 1 that I would visit her this Independence Day weekend in VT (she is lonely during holidays) but I'm afraid to leave. Ex husband is passively aggressive in his anger toward me for leaving the marriage and seems not to care what the kids do. For example, difficult child 2 showed up on my doorstep just about an hour ago, drunk and high as a kite, road maps for eyes, asking if he could bring in a very intoxicated 14 yr oldneighbor girl to sober up before she went home. I refused to let him in. I called dad on his house and cell phones, no answer. Left a message to come and pick up his wasted son. I ended up telling my son and friends that if they didn't get off my property I'd call the cops. They scattered. My son just got a ride home with another friend.

    Whew. I need to calm down, and tomorrow I need to think about what I am going to do, besides changing the locks. My son was going to see a SA counselor ($175/visit, no insurance accepted) but I've decided not to bother anymore, he still gets drunk and stoned at least two days a week, sometimes every day.

    I am attending Al Anon for my two older kids, and it helps tremendously, but I'm a newbie and haven't been "working the program" for very long. I need a plan, or a boundary statement, to give both difficult child 2 and easy child.

    At the very minimum, I wont' tolerate illegal drugs or alcohol for underage kids. I have the option at some point of getting a juvenile probation officer for my easy child, but I'd rather not go down that path unless it's really necessary. We've done it for difficult child 2 and it didn't do anything to change his behavior, long term.

    difficult child 2 is all set to take his driving test on Wednesday but he has no car available to him if he passes, since he violated my rules so flagrantly this past week, and since he refuses to get sober. Neither myself nor my ex is going to lend him our vehicles if we think he's impaired.

    Didn't mean to rant so long. It's just that I have a history of getting mad, then failing to follow through with the consequences ( for many reasons that only make sense to me). I need your help to stay strong. I don't have a sponsor yet in Al Anon.

    Thanks for reading this. It feels better to get this off my chest so I can go to sleep.
  2. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    I would not allow him to even take the drivers test. Having the liscense is too big a risk - he can find a friend's car to use and then serious trouble! (my diva went to a sweet 16 b-day party of a friend who ended up being arrested for underage drinking and providing alchol to a minor after diva left the party - her mom picked her up from jail a few days later and took her straight to the driver's liscense test! I couldn't believe it!)

    Your easy child is growing up in a very strong dangerous path set up by the difficult children. She is more likely to fall into that life style because she is already living it through them. Not allowing difficult child 2 to even take the test until certain strong criteria is set such as getting sober and met will send a strong message to her also.

    Have you checked with your county to see if there is a teen recovery program that difficult child 2 can be admitted to? It may be in a different part of your state but there may be state funds available to pay for this. The state funds are tapped into by the county. You would need to do this soon before he turns 18 because once they are an adult, parents have a very difficult time being allowed into the process of an admission. After that, the child can refuse unless their is a commitment hearing. You can make going through an in-patient treatment program part of the criteria needed to take a driver's liscense test.

    However, since he lives with his dad and dad seems to have turned a blind eye to what is going on, there may not be much you can do. I would still call the county just to gather information on options for teen programs.

    I also would tell difficult child 2 that you will call the cops the next time he shows up drunk/high at your house. Did the 14 yr old get home safely? I would be so scared for her safety at this time running with these kids. She also needs help ASAP. I hope her parents are aware and are working on that.
  3. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    Change your locks. Don't help difficult child 2 get his license in any way (take him to the test, pay for it, etc). If his dad helps him, you can't do anything about that.

    Visit your oldest over the holiday weekend. Send easy child to her dad's or your mom's without a set of keys. easy child will have to take everything she needs with her. And have someone you trust come over to feed the fish.

    Honestly, though, I wouldn't punish easy child overly much for this. I'm sure her brother ran roughshod over her to get what he wanted and there was probably little she could have done. She did the one thing she could do - tell her dad - and that accomplished nothing. So, this really isn't her fault.

    Your difficult child 2 reminds me a lot of my difficult child 2 (complete with the father situation) and I know how hard it is for my difficult child 2's younger siblings to cope. The older ones are very good at sucking the younger ones in and then putting the blame onto them.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    No driver's license. He can pay for it himself when he's eighteen. No good will come of him driving.

    I would tell him that if he enters your house again, you will call the police and then I would follow through. It broke my heart, but I called the police on my daughter when I found her using drugs after repeated warnings that I'd do it.
  5. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    I would do all of the above:

    Change your locks.
    easy child doesn't get a key.
    Give a key to a trusted neighbor to feed fish/let easy child in if need be.
    No driver's license for difficult child 2 (he hasn't shown responsible enough behavior to warrant it).
    Call the cops any time difficult child 2 shows up drunk/high at your house.

    It's time to get tough. Good luck.
  6. confuzzled

    confuzzled Member

    i would also notify the police dept if you plan to be away (even for a night)....letting them know the house *should* be empty and to be on the lookout for any kind of activity in an empty house.
    if for some reason they wont drive by, i'd put my neighbors on alert and tell them to call the cops if they see anything going on.

    let them deal with the trespassers, which is what even your difficult child would be.....

    and make it clear to your easy child that you've done so, so she can stay far away....
  7. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Did either you or your ex give your written permission for difficult child 2 to take the drivers license test? It may not be the same where you are but here, when my son got his license, I had to sign papers at the drivers license office saying that I gave my permission for him to get a license and that I agreed to be responsible for his actions as long as he was still a minor. That's a scary thought! This was done when he went in to take the test, and if I had not signed, he would not have been allowed to get his license.

    If you and your ex are in agreement that he is not responsible enough to have a drivers license yet, just refuse to give your permission. If your ex signs, then he is agreeing to be responsible for any financial liabilities he might incur wile driving and that is a very sobering thought!
  8. recovering doormat

    recovering doormat Lapsed CDer

    I would think that a parent must give written permission for a minor to take the driving test. I will contact my ex and tell him I will not sign, and that I recommend that he not sign either. I think he will agree, he has threatened not to do so in the past. Son has no job, and hence, no money (he gets cash for weed from his girlfriend, who is not a pothead but is smitten by him), so he has no way of putting gas in a car or paying for insurance, and since both sets of keys to my car are in my purse, no access to my vehicle.

    The other suggestions are appropriate and doable even for a doormat like me.

    Your observations about easy child are spot-on. She is being driven crazy by difficult child 2, as much as she loves him.

    I will check with his SA counselor about commitment. He turns 18 in January.

    Thank you for the common sense suggestions. I know I can always get good, compassionate advice here. Bless you all.
  9. Bean

    Bean Member

    I agree with everything everyone else said.

    In our state, not only do you need a parent to sign (and prove that they drove you there and not the kid driving), but you also need to pay for it. Don't sign, don't pay for it, and tell him he needs to wait another 6months without violating the rules before you'll give it another thought. As others said, there's no good that's going to come from him having a license, not with the behavioral pattern he's already showing.

    Loved the idea of giving the neighbor the key. Giving easy child a key puts too much control in her hands. There's no way she can say no to a manipulating older (difficult child) sibling. This incident was a good example of that. Sometimes we need those things to happen to see the bigger picture. difficult child can badger, bully and break down their younger siblings like no tomorrow.

    Good thing for you to get away. Sometimes it is hard to do, and difficult child always have a way of attempting to sabotage your good time. But now you know what could happen, and you can prepare differently for the next time. Best wishes, momma.
  10. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I agree!

    I also agree with-Confuzzled.

    I would have called the cops when my son showed up with-the drunk 14-yr-old girl, anyway. I would not have given any warning. She is in better hands with-the cops. At least your son brought her to the door, in his altered state of mind.

    I am so, so sorry that your easy child participated in the party.
    So sad.

    by the way, my little sister used to throw parties while my parents were away. She is middle aged now and worries excessively about her kids (for good reason, in the case of her difficult child) but she always assumes the worst, because she knows so much. Or, remembers so much.
    Other than that, she turned out normal. ;)
  11. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I don't know if I would leave easy child with her dad ever again while you are out of town. Obviously, he did not do a very good job of keeping them safe. Is there another family member she can stay with? I agree with taking her key, too.
  12. recovering doormat

    recovering doormat Lapsed CDer

    Yes, I can leave her with my mom, or with a friend if I arrange it with the parents. I sent an email to my attorney letting him know that my ex failed to supervise both kids and did nothing to prevent them from entering my house and having parties with alcohol and drugs. The house is in my name so I am responsible legally as well as morally for what goes on, even in my absence. Ex is nearly demented with anger toward me for leaving him and taking some of his assets with me and has been fighting me in court for nearly six years now (divorce was granted in 2007). It's personal with him.
  13. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    When Miss KT got her permit, she had to get her father to sign as well, because we had joint legal custody. Came in handy when she took down the stop sign, and I made him pay half. Find out what your liability is in your state before you sign anything.