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I cannot believe what my kids did...

post #1 of 72
Thread Starter 
My three eldest children (DS1-14 1/2 years, DD-12 1/2 years, and SS-11 years) shocked DH and I on Sunday morning. Here's the backstory:

DS2 (6 years old) has special needs and often has insomnia. Saturday night, he couldn't get to sleep. At 4 am, DH and I decided that DH would go downstairs and get a little sleep. I could stay home from church with DS and sleep in, but DH had to go. At 5 am, I had JUST gotten DS to sleep maybe 20 minutes earlier when DH turned on the light in the bedroom. He said, "The kids just came home."

Of course I was really confused, since I kissed all the kids good night at about 10 pm and they had gone to bed. He had to explain to me 4 times that the three kids had just walked in through the front door.

They had all piled into their beds. I think they didn't realize DH saw them, since he was in the dark living room and you don't walk through there to get from the front door to the stairs. I went into their bedrooms and turned on the lights and started asking what they were doing out there. First, "We heard a noise." Then, "We walked to the park." On and on, tiny bits of truth and lies. Eventually, we got this: my kids and about 6-8 other kids in the neighborhood sneaked out of their houses around 2:30 to meet at the park. My kids were gone for 2 1/2 hours in the wee hours of the morning and we had no idea! It wasn't the first time, either. And there were some much older kids (16-17) at the park, and here my SS just turned 11 this past week!

I was furious, of course, but more scared. Since we caught them coming home, I've had a hard time getting to sleep because all the "what ifs" keep running through my head. I'm pretty confident they didn't do anything except hang out at the park; I saw no evidence of any smoking or drinking (or smelled; I actually stuck my nose in their mouths to smell their breath), so thank goodness we caught them before that started!

DH and I called SS's mom and DS1 and DD's dad right away (we're a blended family) and had them come over at noon. Poor DH, he still had to go to church on no more than about 2 hours sleep, which was more like dozing since he was so scared. When the other parents came over, we discussed the consequences for their escapade. We collectively decided that this requires big consequences since it's such outrageously risky behavior. I was SOOO grateful, sitting at that table with my ex-husband and DH's ex-wife (and her live-in BF, too!) that we could agree on how to handle this!

So then DH went upstairs to tell the kids to get dressed and come downstairs. That must have been scary for them. When you're coming down the stairs, you can see straight into the dining room, so they must have felt like they were walking to the firing line. We took away all their cell phones and iPods, plus all TV, computer, and video game time, plus took away the keys to their bikes, locked up all the skateboards and scooters, etc. We gave them all an 8 pm bedtime, too. Really, we took away pretty much all their privileges and told them that summer vacation is over. They go back to school on 8/12, so that's when they can start earning some privileges back, though we won't just lift everything all at once. They're also doing chores in the house and yard during this grounding (do they still call it grounding?).

Thank goodness my DS couldn't sleep that night! If we'd been asleep, we never would have heard them. They have to walk past our bedroom to get to their own, but we keep it closed and our floors don't creak, plus DH's c-pap machine kind of drowns out noise. If we hadn't caught them, eventually it would have been cops knocking on the door either because they were caught out at that hour, or because they were hurt, or something else. I guess I'll have to adopt a new attitude about his insomnia, huh?

After our meeting, my ex-husband and I went around to the houses of the kids who were at the park (the kids we know) to tell the other parents. They were just as shocked as we were, although I know that at least one girl (who we don't know, and who's several years older than my eldest) had permission from her parents! I can't even imagine that. Of course, I can't imagine that my kids (my good, kind, responsible (I thought!) kids) would make such a lousy decision!

Sorry to go on so long. I guess I just needed to tell that story. It makes me long for the day when making a mess in the kitchen or calling me poopy-head was the worst thing any of my kids ever did!
post #2 of 72
We're going throuh some very similar things this summer. (sorry, nursing the baby while I type.) i'm also coparenting/blended family with my ex and his wife. I was just telling dh today how grateful i am to have them around to help. My sister has a 14 yr old dd who ran away today. She called me and asked if I'd seen her. Then she said that she called my exhusband to see if my neice was there. He told her he'd drive around looking, and if he found her, he'd bring have her stay at his house until my sister could get her. I started cracking up and said "Isn't that weird that you call X and talk about parenting." Who'd have thought lol.
I love our set up too. It's a large blended family.
post #3 of 72

no advice really, I don't have teens.
post #4 of 72
It sounds like this is something that is happening frequently in the neighbour - a recipe for disaster having young teens out so late. I would also contact the local police & let them know - they should at that point make more of an effort to monitor the park. Where we live (in Canada) most city parks have a curfew & anyone in them after hours is "out of bounds" so to speak. Not so much to get your kids into trouble but in an attempt to protect all the kids in the neighbourhood from themselves.

Sounds like you've dealt with admirably.
post #5 of 72
I'm glad you caught them. This brings me back to my college days when my parents caught my 14 yo sister sneaking out at night and going to bars. It was a harrowing time. They ended up sending her to an all girls boarding school in the middle of nowhere and she straightened up eventually. I'm glad all the parents were able to agree on consequences and I hope they learn a good lesson from this all.
post #6 of 72
wow. maybe you guys could plan a middle of the night party with the kids? the adults could take turns supervising? it could be a lot of fun and kind of take away the mystery/excitement/thrill of sneaking out in the middle of the night.

glad they are all safe!
post #7 of 72
OOOOH!! How scary!

Their butts would have been awake at 6:00 a.m. Just in time to fall asleep, then I would have gotten them up, and made them go to church, THEN I'd have all the other family members there when they got home. And while the kids fixed lunch, the adults would have discussed how to properly make them wish they had made other choices.

At least they all went together. Three out is bad, but one out is probably a lot worse.

I kinda bet they think this little adventure was worth the punishment though.
post #8 of 72
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nextcommercial View Post
OOOOH!! How scary!

Their butts would have been awake at 6:00 a.m. Just in time to fall asleep, then I would have gotten them up, and made them go to church, THEN I'd have all the other family members there when they got home. And while the kids fixed lunch, the adults would have discussed how to properly make them wish they had made other choices.

At least they all went together. Three out is bad, but one out is probably a lot worse.

I kinda bet they think this little adventure was worth the punishment though.
Oh, we didn't let them go to sleep right away. I had let them go to bed, but at about 5:30, I was pacing, way too upset to sleep. So I said to DH, "Nuts to this! If I can't sleep, neither can they!" So, my house has 3 toilets. I passed out old toothbrushes and got them started. At about 9 am, we fed them and let them go to bed for a few hours.

Yeah, I'm worried that they'll decide the punishment was worth it, too. Hopefully, if they pull enough weeds and scrub enough floors on hands and knees, they'll turn their thinking around. I hope, because holy cow, this could've been bad bad bad!
post #9 of 72
OMG -- you so make me fear the coming years (my oldest is just turning 9)!

You might also want to think about some preventative measures for the future. I agree with alerting the local police to monitor the park. I would also install door and window alarms in my home.
post #10 of 72
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan&Anna's_Mom View Post
OMG -- you so make me fear the coming years (my oldest is just turning 9)!

You might also want to think about some preventative measures for the future. I agree with alerting the local police to monitor the park. I would also install door and window alarms in my home.
Yeah, we have an alarm but something is wrong with it and it hasn't been working for a couple of months. We called the company and they're coming later in the week to get it working again. I hate that so much! It makes me feel like I'm living in a prison or something; not the alarm itself, but being unable to tell my own children the code.
post #11 of 72
Wow, that must have been terrifying!!! I definitely would have been majorly unhappy about this too.
I did want to add though, that as dangerous of a choice they made, they sound like normal teens. Try not to read too much into the behavior. I am sure they are not "bad" kids, just kind of thoughtless, as all teens are kind of prone to being.I am sure that seeing the adult caucus and then losing so many privelges instilled in them what a huge mistake they made and I am guessing it is not a mistake they will be likely to repeat ever again. Don't underestimate your mothering or anything like that either. Teenagers make really bad decisions some times, it is just part of growing up, KWIM?
When I was a teen I had a friend that was a bit more sophisticated tan I and she recommended we drive to hollywood ( we lived in southern san diego at the time) and hunt for some rock n roll hotties. Neither of us ever considered the consequences ( curfew violations, car accident or breaking down, getting attacked by some loony tune). We just thought, "cool, lets go meet Motley Crue!!!". FWIW, we both grew up to be very responsible women, lol!!!!
post #12 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by UptownZoo View Post
Yeah, we have an alarm but something is wrong with it and it hasn't been working for a couple of months. We called the company and they're coming later in the week to get it working again. I hate that so much! It makes me feel like I'm living in a prison or something; not the alarm itself, but being unable to tell my own children the code.
Yeah, I would hate that feeling and hate the idea that it might be needed. But it would still be better than the feeling if they got out and got hurt! Either way its a yucky feeling.
post #13 of 72
I used to sneak out of my best friend's house from the time I was 14 until I was almost 16. Her dad knew we were sneaking out and once caught us coming back in at 5am through the bathroom window when he was getting ready to shower for work, lol. At that time we were having fun and hanging with friends in the neighborhood. I was not the wild type of kid either, I just did what my best friend did but I was safe (or so I thought I guess). But no matter what, I feel kids need consequences for their bad choices and actions. You didn't mention what you did? I hope you at least grounded them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thirdeagle View Post
This brings me back to my college days when my parents caught my 14 yo sister sneaking out at night and going to bars. It was a harrowing time. They ended up sending her to an all girls boarding school in the middle of nowhere and she straightened up eventually.
We have an all girls academy in our town and the girls there were worse than the ones in public schools in the area. Go figure. I had a guy friend that dated a girl there that had at least two abortions that he knew of and dated adult men. She was sent to the school from out of state so her parents never knew anything she was doing. So they aren't always better, but the parents also have no idea what is going on once their kids are out of their house living elsewhere.
post #14 of 72
What a scary thing. I think you've handled it incredibly well! *hugs*
post #15 of 72
Oh and...

P.S. This will turn into your kids' favorite story to tell at Thanksgiving able... "remember when we snuck out of the house in the middle of the night, and mum grounded us for life?... "
post #16 of 72
Holy guano, Batman! I have this deep fear of something happening to ds when I can protect him, and something like this would very well be enough to make me stop sleeping for the rest of my life.

to you.
post #17 of 72
I'm glad that all the parents were able to agree on how to handle this- that aspect alone could have resulted in a huge mess!
post #18 of 72
Oh, man! I hope they learn their lesson on this. I am also really thankful DH and I keep odd hours, especially DH. Good luck sneaking out of our house when we are still awake at 2:30. LOL
post #19 of 72
Let me qualify my response with a couple of statements: I don't have children, teenagers or otherwise. I was that kid, and yes, I've apologized to my parents.

How are they getting out of the house? Do you know?
My dad installed some very inexpensive magnetic alarms on the door and window frames (I was getting out through a window at one point). The window frame ones were actually on the outside of the window, so I could not "turn them off" from the inside.

You can install them high up where the kids can't reach easily. When the magnets break contact there is a horrifying screeching noise. Trust me. :

The kids will more then likely try it again, I'm sorry to say. But you can take a few preventive measures, like you are doing. You are fantastic! I think you handled it just right.

BTW - My parents and I added up all the "grounding" time that I SHOULD have served, had it been consecutive and not concurrent. I'm still grounded. I'm 38. I'm also a productive member of society.
post #20 of 72
I don't understand what the toothbrush reference means. You made them brush their teeth at 5am? I don't get it. 'splain.
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