Not quite runaway

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by bepositive, Jul 7, 2010.

  1. bepositive

    bepositive Guest

    This is my second post here. My 16 year old has struggled with school (ADHD) and started using pot occassionally, but generally, outside of the home adults say he's a model kid: great leader, empathetic, considerate, hard worker. At home, however, he's a bully, rude, disrespectful. My husband has had it with him and on Monday, after my son swore at him, my husband kicked him out of the house. My son said, "Great. I don't want to live with you anyway." And he left. He spent the night with a friend the first night, but I don't know where he was last night. I know he's still going to his job each day and he stopped by the friend's house last night & today, but he refuses to come home. I'm not sure what to do. I said he can come home (& we want him home) IF he can be respectful and stop being a bully, but he says he won't respect us because we don't respect him. (Apparently asking him to close the front door is disrespect.) He refuses counseling, but my husband and I are going. My son says we get along fine as long as we don't try to parent him. He says he's 16 and he can take care of himself. He believes he's capable of making good decisions and we should trust him. However, the issues with pot and giving up on school and laziness at home make me doubt his abilities. The therapist says I can't parent a 16 yr old who won't be parented. My sister says let him stay away until he's ready to abide by our house rules (if we force him home now, nothing will get better). But I don't know what to do. Can I allow my teen to bounce from friend to friend each night? Or sleep in the woods alone? I'm legally responsible for him. Is he technically a runaway if he's going to work every day? How long can he stay away from us before I'm a negligent parent? I mean, if he was living at home I wouldn't let him go somewhere unless I knew the parents were there, etc. But tonight he could be anywhere doing anything. And of course, it's unfair to other parents for him to mooch off them. Am I supposed to call the cops or something and have them bring him home? This is all new territory for me.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Check with the state laws about that. I believe almost all states make us responsible for feeding and housing kids until they turn 18, then it's up to us. You could get into trouble by kicking out a sixteen year old in most states.

    If your son is using drugs (my guess is it's more than always say it's just pot on the weekends) and if he quit school, he isn't making good decisions with his life and at 18, if you want, you can make him leave, but I don't think you can yet (again, check it out). If he won't come home have the cops bring him home so you don't get into trouble. Also, no matter how big and bad he thinks he is, he isn't safe. All we can do is try.

    I think it is next to impossible to force a sixteen year old to do what you want him to do if he doesn't want to obey. I was in the same boat with my daughter who took drugs. She would slip out her window at night and run around town, take drugs, hang with whomever she liked and basically didn't care that we stopped giving her money and took away all her things. She did get a job and paid for her own stuff and she graduated high school, but she did those things because SHE wanted to. Since then, she quit taking drugs and is doing well (there is hope!). But I sort of agree that if a child doesn't care if you don't give him money and don't let him use your things, etc. it is very hard to parent him. Just let him know what your intentions are later on if he doesn't shape up, and then the decision is his. At least that's what I'd do. I think he's too old for you to force him into treatment of any sort.

    I'm really sorry. I soooooooooooooo have been there/done that.
  3. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    If I were in your shoes (and I'm pretty child has run away on several occassions, although not for long)--I would call the non-emergency number and file a police report that my teen has runaway. This is to CYA--but also...

    If you know where your child is, you can tell the police that you want your child "picked up". "Runaway" is considered a "status offense"....and your child can be held accountable by the juvenile justice system.

    If he is found with drugs in his system, it may be a way to get your child into drug rehab through the courts.

    So sorry you are going through this...
  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    In most places you are legally required to report him as a runaway. Call the nonemergency number and make the report. Let them know any info you have. They may or may not find him and make him come home. If he comes home and runs away again, report him again. Every single time he is out of the home with-o permission you need to call and report him as a runaway. It will take a while but eventually the courts will take action.

    Also call if he destroys any of your property or takes anything that is not his. As he is a minor, he owns very little. Mostly just his clothes and any school books. Even the video games and systems are not legally his.

    There is NO way to force a 16yo to do almost anything he doesn't want to do. Not as long as he doesn't care if he is cut off from all funds, privileges, and material possessions. IF you are 110% determined to give your best effort, go and strip his room. Take out all but 7-10 outfits, 1 pair of shoes, his mattress, sheets, pillow and blanket. The room must have a light source - ceiling fixture or a lamp. Take EVERYTHING else away. I would make sure that the clothes are items that you think are appropriate. NOT his "faves" if they are in any way objectionable.

    Put the items in a storage unit or shed with a sturdy lock. Don't give them back unless/until he shapes up. Let him earn a few things fairly easily to help motivate him. Post the rules and consequences.

    It won't be easy. I strongly recommend drug testing as often as you can. with-o warning. Also go through his pockets, backpack, etc every single time he comes back home. If he hits you over this call the cops and report domestic abuse. INSIST on pressing charges for ANY physical violence.

  5. bepositive

    bepositive Guest

    Thanks for all of the tips. If I call the cops to have my son "picked up," will that go on his record at all? It sounds like that's different than saying he's a runaway.

    Also, I'm not exactly sure how to go about drug testing. He used to attend a school on a university campus that did hair follicle testing that was good for 3 months, but we don't live near there anymore. My physician told me she has no idea where to do drug testing - she can take an occassional urine sample and send it off, but they don't do it there and she doesn't know anything about the hair follicle thing. I think it's odd a family doctor doesn't know where I can have drug testing done, but anyway, where should I go? I know there are OTC tests, but it doesn't sound like they're reliable.

    Any suggestions?
  6. janebrain

    janebrain New Member

    When my dtr was under age 18 I reported her as "missing" every time she was gone and I didn't know where she was or she didn't return home. I don't think they bothered really looking for her but I had a paper trail and I was making sure that I was covered legally. Eventually the police did really look for her because one of the cops who knew her pretty well by then really wanted her to be able to get into a drug rehab program. She was easy to pick up then and she was court ordered for treatment. The rehab didn't change her much but she did get her GED while there and it kept her off the streets til she was nearly 18.

  7. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Please understand that I mean this in a very gentle way, because I am also a Mom and I understand how much you love your son and don't want to make any trouble for him.

    IF your son is choosing to engage in criminal behaviors (doing drugs, running away, skipping school, etc) then HE is the one choosing the criminal record. You are NOT making trouble for your child by reporting it. In fact, by protecting him from the consequences of his are doing more harm than good...AND may get yourself into trouble, to boot!

    Call the police. Make the report. If you know your son's location and that he may be doing drugs there--tell the police. Be on the side of the law--not against it.

    Some drug testing kits are available at your local drugstore.

    As for other facilities? When you speak to the police, ask them about it. They have plenty of info and resources and are usually happy to give advice to parents who are trying to get their kids to do the right thing.
  8. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Hi -

    You've gotten some very good advice from the other gals. You wanted to know if this goes on his record? Yes and no. Technically it's not 'HIS" record as in a police record, but it does create a paper trail. In one respect this is a good thing if there are going to be future need to get him into family court when/if this gets to be a huge problem. My thought is (from experience) if he's this much of a handfull at 16 it's not going to get any better, or correct itself, it's going to get worse. You DO have a few things in his favor that I see. He is working. With the drugs he's doing now however that could lead to other harder drugs. Some people will tell you that marijuana is a 'gateway' drug to other harder drugs. I'm pretty on the fence about that. I know a lot of people that smoked in hs and never did anything else, but still smoke that; smoked in hs and stopped and never did anything else, and some that smoked in hs and went on to completely destroy their lives with drugs. It would depend on his genetics, and personality. At 16 it's really too early to say - "He's going to -----and fill in the blank."

    I can tell you that this is NOT a stage, or a something he's going to grow out of. It's a progression of behaviors that get worse over time and without counseling do manifest into worse behaviors. I've yet to see or hear about anyone whose child had conduct disorder or oppositional defiance disorder at 16 and then say at 23 - Well he's fine now. Pillar of the community. I'm sure it happens, but there are always quirks. get back to the original question - WHY wouldn't you want a paper trail. Well this is what breaks a Mother's dreams and heart huh?

    One one hand that paper trail makes you think it would ruin his future chances of a good job, and education in the future. If someone did a background check on him later in life they could find those police reports. yes, that's very true. Unlikely - but true. Depends on if he's looking for a job with the Federal Government or something I guess. But running away at 16 is hardly cause to keep him from a job. Then on the other hand you have to consider the future....WHAT IF - what if he is so incorrigible by 16 and 1/2 that you can no longer live with him - his behaviors are so outrageous, he hits, starts stealing money, the car? And you need a paper trail to go before a family court judge to GET him institutionalized? Without those reports more than likely a judge is going to send him home to you and say - Sounds like a family squabble - your son will sit smiling in court and 30 minutes later - he'll be back home, out the door yelling Kiss my butt as he peels out of the drive way - smoking a joint - not afraid one bit of a drug test in 30 days, blowing off his court ordered NA classes. (narcotics anon)

    It's like a catch 22. But it's something a lot of us had to decide.

    I DO KNOW that if you threaten and don't follow through? You are doomed. If you say I'm calling the police - you have to do it. And currently right now? You could be in a lot of trouble for NOT reporting him as a runaway with Child Protective Services. If something happened to him and the police came to YOUR door right now and wanted to know why YOU didn't know his wear abouts? Oh man - are you in big trouble. Not joking one little bit. You need to make a report don't want the cops at your house? Fine - go to the station. But make sure you call them every day he is gone and make that report. Will they look for him? yes. Will they ask for his friends addresses? Yes. Will they go there? You bet. Will they be serious? YUP. If he's smoking pot will he be arrested? Possibly. And will they call you and tell you where they took him? Not likely. (But either Department of Juvenile Justice or County in a special section for juvenille offenders then transferred to Department of Juvenile Justice)

    I'm so sorry for you....and I wish 10000 times I didn't know what I know to tell you but I do.

  9. bepositive

    bepositive Guest

    Thanks for the advice! Everyone has given me lots to go on, and yours has been the most informative. Luckily,... so far..., right now..., things aren't as bad as they can be. He was very unhappy and lonely at his old school in another town. He was smoking pot periodically and although other kids were drinking, smoking cigarettes, and doing other drugs, it seems (according to his drug tests, his private postings that I've read, and comments from others) that he hasn't done any of those things - yet. He wanted to quit school, but he finished because I insisted, and he got Bs in everything except math. He hasn't stolen yet - from us or anyone else. And we were making good headway with therapy. But now that he's moved away from the old therapist he refuses to start with a new one. His friends in this town (who he knew before going away last year) are all really good kids and are very "anti-drugs" so that's a positive thing, & I'm pretty sure he hasn't smoked pot since coming home - though I still haven't found a testing site. I met with him yesterday morning and explained that I found out online that legally he can't live alone. He has to be with adults - either us or someone else we agree on - and he needed to be home by 10pm or we legally have to call the police. He stormed away and then showed up at home at 10:02pm.

    An important note is that everyone outside of our home considers him an amazingly helpful and mature person. He spent the past few days (but not nights) at his girlfriend's home, and her mom keeps telling me that he's a model houseguest. He refused to eat their food because he doesn't want to be a burden and he refused to spend the night for the same reason. He cooked for them, though. He told her he has goals and is excited about life, but when he steps into our home he becomes a monster, lazy, and unmotivated. So at least he recognizes this. Now, just to figure out how to get him back into counseling and also have a full psychiatric evaluation. He just won't do it!

    I'm glad to have all of your advice for if/when it continues to slide downhill. I hate the idea of getting involved with the police, but if I need to shake him into reality, I guess I'll need to.
  10. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three

    As far as calling the police and his future job opportunities goes. Several years ago our neighbor's 16 year old daughter keep running away, she smoked pot and ended up pregnant. All in the records. She then cleaned up her life and took responsibility for her child. Not only did she get a good job, but she got a government clearance. So it is not the 16 year old run-a-way report that will determine future job opportunities, it will be his behavior as he grows.