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12 November 2014

I'm so very tired of this.

I am completely at my wit's end.

This morning, every word out of my child's mouth was defiant. It took him two hours to take a shower and put clothes on. I had to miss my morning job.

This afternoon, I left him home for four hours so I could go to work. He was supposed to use that time to work on school. When I got home, he had answered 10 questions in one assignment. He had used the rest of the time to watch Transformers on Netflix, which he attempted to conceal by closing out the browser window. His school is online, so having no browser window open when he's "working on homework" was suspicious. Of course I checked the recent browsing history. We had planned to watch a movie together tonight. Instead, we did his school work right up until his early bedtime.

While getting ready to tuck him in, and adjusted the pillow on his bed. When I picked up the pillow, I saw a shiny new cell phone. Not his. I asked whose it was. He said he didn't know. Actually, he shrugged while giving me that deer-in-headlights look. I asked where he got it from. He didn't remember. No really, I said. Where. He mumbled something about my desk. Then I remembered I had a brand new, in-the-box Motorola Droid on a shelf in my desk. Looked at the phone. Yep, it was a Droid.

This... child... had stolen the phone out of the packaging, reassembled and returned the packaging so that I couldn't tell it had been touched, and then - did what? I don't know. There's no SIM card in the phone. If you turn it on, it tells you to either make an emergency call or shut it back off. But he did something. The camera lens on the phone is shattered. Completely. As though someone took and ice pick and a hammer to it. He says he can't remember. I don't believe that at all, but I couldn't see anything useful coming out of my mouth at that point, so I walked out of his room, shutting the light off and closing the door behind me.

That's $500 I don't have, gone in a child's lie. I didn't need the phone, but I had planned on selling it so I could afford to get him some decent Christmas presents this year.

I wanted to scream.
I wanted to hit something.
Mostly I wanted to cry.

This is becoming a pattern. Today wasn't unusual. The phone bit is unusual, but the deception isn't. The more I work away from home, the worse he gets. I can't afford to pay someone to come hang out with him unless I work a lot more. If I work less, we don't get to keep our comfy house.

I'm all out of ideas.


  1. I agree with you, the child is probably acting out because he doesn't know how to express his feelings of loneliness, hurt and anger. He probably understands that you are working hard, so he also feels some shame over his own feelings. The hopelessness you feel is his too, so what's really the point of homework, of anything?

    I think the important thing is to act quickly and take care of this. As long as his life situation does not change he will not change his behavior, instead it might get worse. It might be enough to sit down with him and confront him in a calm manner, or maybe you can schedule weekly family talk time? You might want to involve the school counselor (I'm assuming there is one even though he has on-line schooling?), if just for some guidance in the matter.

    There is no shame in admitting that you guys might need some help!

    1. I think you're right, about how he's feeling and about the need to deal with this quickly. I did talk to him about it the following morning, and he is obviously making an effort since then, but I've also changed my work schedule (spreading my gigs out over more days, so I'm gone less each day).

      I'm waiting for his therapist to get back to me about having a meeting that, besides me, will include his therapist, a potential tutor (to be supplied by the organization the therapist works for), his case manager, and his teacher and 504 plan case manager from the online school. (The 504 plan, in case you're not familiar with it, is basically an educational plan for kids with special needs that allows teachers/administrators to deviate from the norm with kids that need that flexibility. My son has ADHD, so his 504 plan includes things to accommodate that.) I have high hopes that we'll be able to work something out. There's a possibility that he will have to go to public school to get the structure he needs, but it's not a forgone conclusion at this point.

    2. Your plan sounds really good and structured, and hopefully your actions will make him feel understood and loved - but also more willing to help out to get your little family back on track.

  2. You could try explaining to him that the phone was to have been his christmas present and his actions mean that now he won't get anything. How old is he? Because, even though he's a kid, at some point he needs to learn that his actions have consequences.

    1. Thanks, MorningAJ.
      He's 11, and I do regularly explain consequences (or just allow them to happen, then explain the connection). This time, we had the conversation the next morning. I was too angry that night, so I explained that I was very upset and we would talk about it in the morning, which we did.