Doggone


I’d say “kidgone” but that’s not a word.  And I’m all about the words, ya know.

Yep, the teen took off again.  Guess it has actually been awhile, almost a year really.  Just a matter of time, as they say.  I gave him a choice yesterday morning: follow the rules, or leave.  Simple.

He gave it some thought, oh, about 10 seconds or so.  And packed.  And left.   And, following his usual MO, began telling everyone that I had “kicked him out”.

See, the pattern goes like this: he behaves for a few days; he continues to appear to follow the rules for a few more.  Then he starts to slack off, but still exhibits his charming, public exterior.  For about a week or so.  Then he slips up, we find out things aren’t exactly kosher, and we tell him that we KNOW and that he needs to STOP. 

This makes him mad.  He thinks, you see, that he’s all grown up and is entitled to make his own decisions.

I think that he really has no concept of that.  He hangs out with an older crowd, usually – oh, not necessarily full-fledged adults, but “kids” who are 18, 19, maybe early 20s.  The ones who do live on their own, who do own vehicles, pay their bills, manage their money, and so forth.  And he tries to keep up with them.

If someone says, let’s go out to [fill in the blank], he’s all over that; even if he can’t afford to.  So he has to make like he can, and that gets him into financial trouble.  Like stealing a debit card, or making unauthorized withdrawals.  And of course, there’s the matter of the hotel receipts and electronics/stereo components for which he can’t possibly be paying legit money.  And so it goes.

I told him that this was going to be his first adult decision.  Stay or leave.  Here are the rules he is supposed to follow:

Keep his room picked up; do his laundry once a week; let us know where he is, who he’s with, and what time he’ll be home.  Stick to his budget.

That’s it.  Even the judge said that we, as parents, are to expect these things.  Period.  Of course, he also has to check in with his DJO and do community service and make progress towards continuing his education.

He’s hardly done any of these things, and usually just lies his way around them.  And he got caught.

I have to wonder what a typical teen would think of this routine.  Is it so hard?  So complicated?  Too difficult?  What about these things would make anyone feel helpless and out-of-control of his own life?  Does everyone not, at some point, have to do laundry?  Doesn’t everyone, sometimes, have to pick up the stuff they drop on the floor?  Maybe it’s the accountability?

Of course, there are also legal matters, and what brought this to a head is the Internet.  He’s nuts if he thinks I don’t know about the porn and such on the computer – in fact, it’s come up to caseworkers, the court, and almost everyone.  This time it was illegal movie downloads.

Now, I work online.  The account is in my name.  He messes up, I lose work.  Not good.  Yes, I was angry, but I explained it, calmly.  This isn’t the first time; years ago it was music downloads.  Both times he said he “thought” it was okay.  Sheesh.

So things came to a head.  Again.  I did get a text.  One.  With no info, of course.  He’s been online, so I have to assume someone took him in.  Good for them.  And I hope he’s okay, I really do.  I worry.  But it was his choice.  He’s shown a pattern of throwing away every opportunity, and this time is no different.

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