OT - Am I over reacting?

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-22-2003
OT - Am I over reacting?
22
Sat, 06-07-2003 - 7:45pm
I have a 12 year old son.

He left today to go to his friend's house. At 6:30 he was not home - he is supposed to be home at 5. That's our standing rule.

So I called the friend's house. No one there knew where either child was (or seemed to care, but I digress). At 7, he called. When I asked where he'd been, he said he'd been walking around. It's pouring out! and has been all day!

When he got home, his father and I sent him to bed with no dinner. He is not to get up except to go to the bathroom until tomorrow am.

I don't believe for a minute that he's been walking around all day. Most likely he went up to the 711 (where he's not supposed to go due to busy streets) or across the main road to another friends (again he's not supposed to go there due to the busy street.)

He's been lying to us alot lately. Just last weekend I found a playboy in his room, and he denied it was his. Found out later that it was and that he'd shown it to the boy I babysit (also 12). That's how we knew it was his - the other kid told his dad.

Anyway, am I overreacting by sending him to bed for not being where he was supposed to be and for coming home so late? Should I be allowing my 12 year old to roam the neighborhood on a Saturday?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 06-07-2003 - 9:02pm
>>>>Anyway, am I overreacting by sending him to bed for not being where he was supposed to be and for coming home so late? Should I be allowing my 12 year old to roam the neighborhood on a Saturday?

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I absolutely don't think you are overreacting by being upset that he was roaming the neighborhood & didn't tell you where he was.

However, I personally don't ever think withholding food is an appropriate punishment for a child.

Considering that he didn't arrive for his 6:30 home time (a standing rule), coupled with the fact that he didn't inform you of his whereabouts, you might tailor his punishment around the arrival time instead (i.e., he must be home at 4pm for the rest of the week or something).

Additionally, you may want to take a closer look at the friendship he has with the other 12-year-old. It seems supervision isn't a priority in his (the friend's) household, so maybe his friend should play at your house in the future.

Anyhow, just my opinion.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 06-07-2003 - 9:45pm
i dont think you are overreacting. if hes jerking you around at 12, whats it going to be like when hes 16. sending him to his room without dinner, imo, is no biggy. hes not going to die of starvation, and if he is that hungry, make him a peanut butter sandwich and a glass of water, bring it to him, and thats that.

i have three kids 20, 19 & 15, and the boys are tough. my dd is a dream, which is her personality i realize, as i was not a dream by any stretch, but i have just experienced a tougher time with the boys. i love em, but they're stinkers. LOL. i have learned the hard way, i might add, they will try to stay one step ahead of you, so you need to work overtime staying a step ahead of them, for their own protection. when they try to send you on a guilt trip, its just another ploy to out-do you. my kids would tell me i dont trust them, and i would tell them, until they prove i can trust them, i wont. in a lot of cases its the peer pressure, and the other kids to watch out for, so i would try to learn more about his friend/s.

Avatar for 1969jets
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sun, 06-08-2003 - 10:34pm
I think that most 12 year olds can be allowed some freedom to wander in their own neighborhood UNTIL they prove they cannot be trusted. Your son has proved, by repeatedly lying to you that he cannot be trusted.

IMO the punishment should relate to the crime. So-if he has betrayed your trust I would make the punishment somehow related to his "freedom" to go where he wants without checking in with you. Perhaps you need to require him to check in every hour, perhaps revoke his ability to roam altogether.

Jenna

Avatar for taylormomma
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-23-2003
Sun, 06-08-2003 - 10:51pm
No advice on the staying out thing, but about the lying thing, I'm wondering why you gave him the opportunity to lie about the Playboy. My mom always said (and I agree with her) that any child with any brains will lie to save their skin when you back them into a corner, so it's better not to set them up.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 06-09-2003 - 7:49am
Yup yup yup. Totally agree about the lying. Honestly, I've learned not to ask questions I already KNOW the answer to. I mean, if she found the magazine in his room, why even ask? Unless dad is hiding them in there, It's safe to say they belong to the boy.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 06-09-2003 - 8:59am
Here is what I would have done with my 13 year old dd.

I would have gone looking for her when she wasn't home. When I found her, or she called, I would have probably let her know that when she isn't home ON TIME, I worry sick. I at least need a phone call if she was going to be late. If it was a first time offense, I probably would have let it go. I realize they get caught up with friends and can lose track of time, but it's no excuse not to call. I think letting her know that I'm more worried than angry, she'll know not to do it again.

I'm sorry, but I could *never* send a child of mine to bed without food. That's just cruel. Food is nourishment, and should never be used as a way to punish a child. JMHO.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-22-2003
Mon, 06-09-2003 - 10:02am
I completely agree with you on that. In retrospect, we handled it completely wrong. I think we were just in shock as we didn't expect him to do this so soon! There was also a chance that they had been there from when my brother in law stayed here for a few weeks and slept in his room. When we did finally say to him "we found this in your room and we know it's yours" he kept saying "no, I don't know how they got there." And he seemed so sincere. I couldn't believe how good this kid is at lying. It's making me question everything he has ever said.
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-22-2003
Mon, 06-09-2003 - 10:06am
I agree about the witholding the food to a point. He had missed dinner because he didn't come home on time. Beleive me, the child won't starve. I was hoping to make a point that if you aren't here when we all eat, you don't eat. Had he asked for something later, I probably would have let him make a peanut butter sandwich but he didn't ask. In fact he feel asleep within 1/2 hour after being sent to him room. Guess all that walking around made him tired.
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-22-2003
Mon, 06-09-2003 - 10:09am
It's so hard to stay one step ahead though! He continually surprises me.

I think the guilt trips from him work so easily on us because he was abandoned by his BM when he was younger, and she's been quite a flake ever since. So we tend to chalk alot of things up to that. It's very hard for us to know when he is acting out out of normal preteen stuff, and when it's because he's missing his mom.

Thanks for letting me know i'm not alone and that others deal with this from their kids too. As of right now, he's been told he's on a short leash and how well his summer goes will depend on whether we can trust him or not.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-22-2003
Mon, 06-09-2003 - 10:10am
I like the checking in every hour. I think we'll try that.

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