This blog is my place to vent and share resources with other parents of children of trauma. I try to be open and honest about my feelings in order to help others know they are not alone. Therapeutic parenting of adopted teenagers with RAD and other severe mental illnesses and issues (plus "neurotypical" teens) , is not easy, and there are time when I say what I feel... at the moment. We're all human!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Forging ahead

We finally decided on consequences for Bear's drinking of Hubby's alcohol. He owes double the cost of the bottle, which was $45 so he owes us $90. We don't have any projects around the house so we've decided to loan him out to family and friends. Kind of like doing community service. I'm thinking $3/hr for manual labor is fair - so 30 hours. Of course the weather was uncooperative this weekend so he'll have to get started tomorrow. Hubby won't be home so I'm going to be the one enforcing this. *sigh* Wish me luck!

It bothers me that Bear has received very few consequences for what really was a pretty major event. Plus, we're all having to deal with some of his consequences. We've locked the pantry (to stop the midnight munching) and the laundry room which leads to the garage (to give us a place to lock up more food and keep him from sneaking out and hiding stuff). This means anytime we need food, to do laundry, to throw out trash, to get bikes or put them away... the kids have to find me. Hubby put his key on the car key chain so when I have the car...


This morning Bear brought me his weekly point sheet to be signed. This is for his special school. The one he won't be going to after this semester because he's "doing so well." He used to have to have these signed daily, but now he's a "Merit" student. Which means he's doing so well he gets extra privileges (of which the school has mentioned that sometimes he takes advantage - I know!! Color me shocked! *sarcastic emoticon*).

I quickly skimmed the teacher's notes on the point sheet. All positive - as usual. Then I notice some scribbles near where I usually sign my name. Kind of looks like when someone was writing the pen ran out of ink so they did that swirly scribble we all do to get the pen to start writing again. But what was being written was the beginning of MY signature!! Instantly suspicious, I pointed this out to Bear and asked why it looked like he'd started to sign my name. He of course denied it and claimed his pen had been running out of ink so he'd scribbled on the "nearest piece of paper" and proceeded to tell me he'd done it in several places on the card (when I looked at it later he hadn't).
I stopped talking. Why argue with him? He was escalating and obviously ready to try to intimidate convince me that he was right.
Hubby and I went to the school and informed them that we felt that Bear had tried to forge my signature. They got the card and Bear had rubbed off the part with the recognizeable beginning of my signature. (I'm so glad I'm a believeable adult). We were concerned that this was not the first time he'd forged my signature, especially since neither of us could remember having signed his cards in awhile. so we asked to look at earlier point cards... they weren't there.
The principal asked Bear where they were (they're supposed to have been turned in weekly and kept in a folder in one of the teacher's classrooms - this is the teacher that has been saying since the beginning that he doesn't know why Bear is at the special school to begin with, and never kept this from Bear). Bear said they were in his locker at his home campus.
They were ready for us to leave, when I pointed out that missing cards aside, we hadn't talked about any consequences for the forged card. As a Merit student Bear earns points that he can trade for stuff (this tends to be candy). He spends his points as soon as he has enough to trade for pretty much anything so he didn't have a lot, but his points were wiped and he will not be able to earn any more for the rest of the semester (he won't be at this school next semester).
So Hubby and I went to the home campus and searched - no cards. Called Bear... "Oh, maybe they're at home..."
For once the issue was finally about something school related! The school actually had to care. It was kind of a refreshing change. Hubby wanted to let things go a couple of times (like wait to confront Bear on the cards not being there until he got home), but I pushed to make sure that we took this as far as we could, because Bear will be under less scrutiny at his home school so I want to take advantage of the fact that this was something they would pay attention to (stealing and drinking are not their concern unless it is done on school campus).
I did go and search Bear's room (of course) and found the cards. Unsigned. Nothing negative on any of them. I didn't find any "practice" signatures either. Maybe this actually was his first attempt.
We question why he did this. There was nothing on the card that he wouldn't want us to see. Obviously he hadn't turned in cards in months so he most likely wasn't concerned he would get in trouble for not getting it turned in (I thought he might have done it at some point when I wasn't available). Maybe he was thinking he'd sign all the ones in his room so he could turn them in before the semester ended and just started with this one. The only thing I know for sure is that he won't tell me the truth.
And of course the big question -
What to do about this.
Hubby wants to start using the law as a guide. What would have happened if he'd been caught forging a signature on a document by the police? Sometimes that has helped us (fines, community service, house arrest...), but in this case the police wouldn't seem to care unless there is fraud, and then it depends on the monetary amount as to whether or not it's a felony.
Then there's the fact that Bear was already in trouble when he did this. When we were still using the FAIR Club, this meant he would go on Restriction. Maybe we'll still do this.
I'm sooo tired of this.


Anonymous said...

$3 / hour for manual labor is going to get you one *very* resentful Bear, who can ask his friends what they get. $3 / hour might be what illegal immigrants who can't speak English get, but it isn't what the job is worth. Pay him at least minimum wage (don't worry about that he'd get less if he were paying taxes).

As for the reason for the unsigned, not bad cards? Practice. Practice at stealing them. Practice at lying. Testing the system to see what would happen. The problem is, he has been testing it for weeks, so he thinks he has succeeded.

Anonymous said...

Agrees with Struggling to stand.


Anonymous said...

I'm concerned why the school didn't let you know that they hadn't seen any of the cards returned to them in weeks. When I have a student with repeated "missing assignments" I email or call the parents.

Labor should be at LEAST $5/hour; if you don't "pay" him a reasonable wage he will quit before he gets anywhere near the required number of hours. And make sure you keep SUPER accurate records of how many hours he works. I have made the mistake in the past of letting it slide, and believe me, it will slide right off the radar and next thing you know there is no consequence at all.