Following the Rules

As you may remember, my son was in detention for three weeks and recently returned home. Prior to the court hearing which allowed this, he agreed to follow certain rules in our home, as well as the conditions for his probation.

I could give a whole laundry list of things he has not done, although for the last few days he seems to be trying – most of the time. However, the “honeymoon” period lasted just 24 hours.

Oh, he was happy to come home, to see his room, his “stuff”, his brother, the dogs; to watch TV and get on his computer, and to eat “real” food.

We had a nice dinner, played some tennis, and had a great evening.

The next day, I took him to the local community college to talk to admissions and to pick up some forms, and a bit later he walked over to the phone store. That’s where the issues came into play.

See, he’s had a cell phone for a number of years, just over three actually, you’d think it was a living being that depended only upon him in order to function; perhaps, if you’d seen how he’s reacted over the last year or so to threats of removal (or actual removal), you’d understand. This goes far beyond communication. It’s more comparable to an IV of life-sustaining fluids.

At any rate, on his return that day, he began badgering me about putting him back on our cell plan. HIS choice, a month or so ago, was to get his own phone, a month-to-month deal, rather than pay us each month (which he seldom did) and to avoid any control I had over the phone (such as who and when he could call). Before he left detention, this very subject arose, and he was told “no”, he needed to keep the plan/phone he’d chosen. In his infinite teenage wisdom, of course.

Naturally, I told him “no” again. And he kept it up, as is his wont, arguing, getting more and more obstreperous, and finally said “Fine, call my juvenile officer, see if I care.” Ooookay.

So I did.

They called me back; they had no clue what was going on, because the paperwork hadn’t been filed, he hadn’t yet been assigned a caseworker, etc. My son has yet to meet with the individual in charge of community service, and I’m still looking at a bill for the public defender (see recent blog post).

You gotta love efficiency.

On the other hand, probably many kids, if not most, do have that brief “honeymoon” period – a few days or a week where they actually behave themselves, thoughts of their recent detention still providing food for thought. Oh, no – not my kid!

Mostly, since that minor getting-a-bit-out-of-control episode, he’s been following the rules. Mostly. He still needs reminders to hang up his towel and pick up his room, and he needs to be told to actually LOOK at that chore chart he requested. But he’s said nothing else about the phone – although he’s asked every adult he knows to co-sign a contract for him or put him on their plans.

Today he wanted to go see friends, for lunch, and was supposed to call at 12:30 to let me know about any other plans. He did, but had no answers. He was supposed to call back by 1:00. He did not. At 1:30, when I called him, he finally had an answer, and was told to be home at 4:00; he said, okay, be home at 5. Sigh. It took a few minutes, but I expect him home in a couple hours. Or not.

Guess it’s a wait-and-see period. And it’s not the rules; well, okay, it is, but the point is that you’d think a kid who’d been in detention for three weeks would be falling all over himself to behave, follow the rules, and be pleasant.

Apparently it doesn’t work that way.


4 comments on “Following the Rules

  1. hopeannfaith says:

    Hey Robin,

    Sounds about right from this end. Aside from the particulars and focus of your son, mine has and is doing the same. I’m with you…prayers in kind. This too shall pass; unfortunately this includes the good and the bad stuff. Our boys are who they have chosen to be at this tumultuous time in their lives.
    A bit of cheer. Our oldest (now 28 and living in Alaska) with much the same problems has matured, has gotten married and has two beautiful daughters and is a firefighter. For them it is a choice.
    For us it is the prayers of a mother that get us through.


  2. matt says:

    This blog’s great!! Thanks :).


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