Of course he was found. Yesterday. And I wasn’t really surprised where, either. He said he was with an adult, but here I use the term loosely – a mother of a teenager who appears be heavily and inappropriately involved in the lives of other teenagers is probably not the best definition of “adult”. And one who knowingly harbors a kid who has taken off without a word – one who is on probation, at that, although she’s probably unaware of the details – is not exactly someone I’d call “responsible”.
He was supposed to call me. He texted. Said he was coming home, because he “had” to. Yes, his DJO said he “had” to, mainly because he’s still underage and the judge said he “has” to live here. Of course, this could change next week when the judge gets back in town.
Not sure where the kid is going to end up this time.
At any rate, he didn’t come home last night; he texted me again and asked if he could stay till Saturday, when he has a ride. No idea how he got there, 100+ miles away, in the first place, but whatever. He’s safe, I suppose, and has a roof over his head.
So in exchange for all the worry, fear, changes of plans and appointments, driving us all crazy, he got a vacation. Yup. Got to take off, do whatever he wanted, call the shots. Again.
And you know what really sucks about all this? We have to take him back, until he’s 18. Did you know that? Did you know that, in Missouri, your kid can take off in a huff, yell, curse, be a jerk, miss his curfew, and so forth, but you still have to let him back in the door? At 17, yes, that’s the truth.
I read an article the other day, about a conversation between a parent and a DFS caseworker. The parent was told that you can’t spank a kid, that’s physical abuse; you can’t yell at them, that’s mental abuse; you can’t even put them in time-out – which is useless anyway – because that’s emotional abuse.
The state’s solution is communication.
Basically, a parent is supposed to ensure that a kid understands that what he did was wrong, and the parent is supposed to receive assurances from the kid that he’ll never, ever do it again.
So, someday, when said kid commits a felony, is the state going to “communicate” with him? Or give him a prison sentence? Hmmm. I’m betting that if more kids had had a greater consequence than “communication”, there would be fewer inmates in the prison system. What do you think? Kind of a no-brainer, huh?
At 17, in Missouri, you must provide for your kid; you are responsible for him and, many times, his actions as well. But he has zero responsibility. He can do whatever he wants, and you have to continue to cater to him. At 18, of course, he’s an adult; end of story. And at 16, he’s a minor, and you’ll have the full backing of the law to help him see the error of his ways.
But once he turns 17, look out! Because he can do whatever he wants, you can’t stop him, you can’t enforce consequences, and neither can anyone else. Nice law, huh? Pretty archaic too – or maybe just stupid. You gotta wonder what the state legislature was thinking when they passed this one.