First of all, thank you for the phone conversation last week, regarding our son J___ coming home this Friday from "Juvie".
One question I meant to ask you was, do we implement one session per week or all at once? My thought is there needs to be strong expectations (which we did do with him last week in person) right from the start. How would be the best way to do this? We have let him know how consequences will work.
I am somewhat nervous or anxious about him coming home since it has been 4 months. Part of my anxiousness is that if he messes up and doesn't follow his conditions, there is no going to court and waiting - he would have a warrant and would go back immediately and then they would decide if he gets a second chance or serve out the rest of his time or more depending on what the breach of his condition is. (I know I need to separate myself somewhat emotionally and it’s hard.)
We have told him our home cannot be the way it was before and he doesn't want the "war zone" either. As I said to you last week, he's telling us he does want to make changes. We also have told him that we are making changes as well. However, he still wants to hang with some of the peers he had before - however not all of them. Still these ones are into pot smoking - how much control do I put on him.
[On another note:]
I'm not entirely sure how to handle this situation. I was talking to my son tonight by phone (he's only allowed a 10 minute phone call) and he's looking forward to coming home. In our conversation, he told me he has about $45 in his account (at the young offenders centre). We once in awhile would put money in his account for toiletries, snacks, haircut. When my husband and I visited him the weekend prior to this past weekend, we asked him if he had any money left in his account and he said no, he spent it on some toiletries and snacks. (Now I feel like an idiot… I guess we should have checked if he had any money left before we put more money in.)
At that time we offered to put in $15 to last the next 2 weeks. Now, he tells me he has $45 that's HIS when he gets out on Friday. I said to him "you told me you had nothing left and now you have $45". First he said - "if I would have told you, you wouldn't have left anymore money. I've been saving $5 a week from what you gave me". At first I thought - good job you were able to save $5 a week. And then I thought, I've been deceived and duped.
I said to him, "you never said anything about saving $5 a week". He insisted not so nicely that he did tell us. My husband and I both agree we don't ever recall him saying this to us, and if he had, we WOULDN"T have left anymore. I said to Jordan, "I feel you only told me half the truth and I'm disappointed you weren't honest." Of course, he started to get upset, but this time I never engaged, and repeated I'm disappointed you weren't honest with me. I said to him, "I don't know how to handle this right now, but I'll let you know what I'm going to do about it - I have to think about it." His reply to me was, "if you take my money, I'm taking something from you!" I replied to him "I'm not arguing about this, I'll let you know what I'm going to do". He then had to get off the phone, and told me "thanks, now I have to go to bed mad and you've made me mad for the whole night and I can't talk to you until I can call you tomorrow." (he did say "I love you").
To be honest, I'm not sure what to do about it. At least now I know not to let him suck me into an argument, although it almost worked, and I kept my calm! My first thought is, this was our money we put in, no you shouldn't have it, especially by being dishonest about it! My thinking is, this would be the best consequence?
So, my question to you is, when I do talk to him tomorrow night, how would be the best way to respond so that he starts to learn we can't be manipulated or lied to. I feel we've been manipulated.
Keep it simple for now. Just implement Session #1 assignments this week …Session #2 next week …and so on.
He clearly cannot keep the money because he did nothing to EARN it. Having said this, I would strongly suggest that you simply start with a clean slate. I think it will be a big mistake to start his arrival home with a consequence. You’ve told him all you needed to over the phone.
So does he get off the hook for lying? Yes, for now. But you have the tools to deal with this should it happen again.
Put this issue to bed. Start fresh when he gets home. You’ll have bigger fish to fry – I’m sure.
My Out-of-Control Teen
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