So, we are having some major issues with one of our 7 yr old boys...
Background: We have gone through some big changes recently, bought a house and moved almost 2 months ago (still getting settled), boys didn't change schools (we transfered them to stay - its about 20 min away now), Mother-In-Law has moved across the country to live near us and help with the kids, and has been staying with us until she finds an apartment (moving her out this weekend!). She has been picking them up from school everyday, occassionaly also takes them. I take them on the other days, but get home later than usual (longer commute), and so see them only for dinner and tucking in. Their dad has been spending most of his home time outside as there is much to do on our property (for our animals and cleaning up junk last owner left). So most of their time, lots of time, is spent with their grandma. Although she is friendly and silly and listens to them read to her (for their homework), she is a very be-in-the-same-room-but-don't-really-interact kind of grandma. This is VERY different from my parents, and my upbringing, and how I am.
DS2 has always been a very curious kid, likes to see how things work, likes to understand cause and effect relationships, check on "what-if" scenarios.. and much more active than DS1 (who can be contend drawing or reading or playing cards for a long time).
Lately (maybe the last several weeks) DS2 has been doing destructive things like: stabbing a watermelon sitting on the counter with whatever tool he finds lying around (for us to find later when it starts to rot or draw flies), dumping out hand soap or shampoo (into the sink/tub), stabbing holes in bananas with a pencil, popping their outside balls with sharp sticks, clipping chunks out of his hair, cutting a small piece out of our bottom sheet on our bed, and this morning, DH finds his phone charger wasn't working, only to discover the cord had been cut completely apart.
He has never been caught red-handed for these, but we are confident it is him. When I came back to my room (trying to play the game Sorry with them in-between cooking dinner) and found a cut out of our sheet, I ended the game and asked him to sit in his room for a while because I was very upset that he would destroy our things that cost us money (btw, we parents are very financially stressed at the moment). I texted back and forth with DH who was working out in the yard and we decided he should pay for the sheet out of money from his piggy bank. We ended up taking $15 (left him with the coins and 2 $2 bills).
This morning after the phone cord incident I had a talk with him about how he feels about not seeing me much and spending a lot of time with his grandma. He stated that I was never around and that it has been "really boring" with his grandma, that he is just by himself, that his brother doesn't want to go outside and play.
I told him later we would come up with some ideas so that he doesn't get so bored.
The permanent arrangement will be that MIL will have an apartment near their school, she will continue to pick them up everyday, DH will get off work and get them from her place and bring them home, I will get home a little later.
I can definitely understand his feelings, but can't have the destruction continue... any thoughts on natural consequences (he is out of money), or ways to approach this? I would be very grateful.