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!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Stolen trust

Bear was listening to an MP3 on Saturday. 1st time in awhile that I'd seen him listening to one. I told him I thought his MP3 had been lost or stolen. He said...yes... but that was the MP3 he'd gotten for his birthday. This was the one he got for Christmas, that had a messed up screen, but he could still use it.

Whoot! Whoot! Mom radar starts blaring!

"Bear, I want to see the MP3 player."


"I want to see it."

"It's in my pocket and I can't get to it when I'm sitting down."

"I want to see it."


"Because you are making me suspicious."

"It's in the pocket of my shorts underneath my jeans." (Bear wears undies - hopefully - and a pair of gym shorts under the jean shorts he wears every single day. When comments are made that he wears the same shorts every day, he claims to have no other shorts, and it doesn't matter because they don't touch his body. I've learned to ignore it. Oh and I know there are no pockets in his gym shorts.)

"I still want to see it."

" " (long pause while he tries to think of a way out of this. Then he starts talking about something else. We get to the store we were heading to. He sits in the car rubbing his knee as though it hurts. I can smell the gears in his head burning as he tries to think).

"Bear, I want to see the MP3 player."


"I want to see it."

"It's in my shorts under my jeans. It's hard to get to."

"I want to see it."

Bear puts his hand in his jean pocket (So much for it being in difficult to get to or in his nonexistant inside short pocket) and pulls out the MP3.

"I traded MP3s with my friend Charles." (yea, that makes sense. Charles traded a very nice MP3 for your cheap one with the damaged screen).

"Hand it over."


"Because you know you're not allowed to do that."

"You can talk to Charles!"

"No, I don't want to talk to Charles (because I know he'll lie for you). Give me the MP3."

Bear hands it over and sulks into the store. As we're getting ready to leave the store, he asks if he can borrow my cell phone and I refused. (assuming he wanted to get his story straight with Charles). We head home and the minute we get home he goes straight to the phone. I stand within hearing distance (the phone is in the kitchen and I legitimately needed to make dinner). The person he called couldn't talk.

Bear hung up and went straight to the computer. I walked by and said, "Say 'Hi' to Charles for me." Bear gave me an excellent confused look. "Don't think I don't know you IM on that computer."

Bear blustered something about Charles not using the computer and I walked away. Bear then mentioned that he talks to Charles' girlfriend. Bingo. Don't know why he volunteers that kind of info. Did you notice that he didn't deny using IM (which he's not supposed to use because he's used it inappropriately)? Then we had to leave to go to Grandma's .

Bear disappeared into the bathroom (typical M.O. for him, he can be in a bathroom for up to 45 minutes - usually when we're going somewhere). I walk past and hear loud banging noises. I ask him what's going on?! He pauses for a minute and then claims he's cleaning the ceiling vent?!!

When he comes back downstairs about 5 minutes later he shows me the dust all over him from cleaning the vent. Whatever Bear. Not buying it. I didn't say anything.

At this point I debated searching him, his room and bathroom, and his stuff. I decided I just didn't want to. Hubby did search the bathroom later, but didn't find anything.

So now it's discipline time. Bear asked to have his new potential girlfriend over, can't remember her name, lets just call her Kleenex. I told him no. He had no idea why. I said because of the MP3. He said, "I didn't steal it!"

"Whether you did or not, you still lied."

"I didn't lie!"

I went on to list all the lies about being unable to give me the MP3, he denied the whole coversation happened that way. *sigh*

So anyway, what to do next.
  1. Turn the MP3 over to the school? (Knowing they'll do as much about it as they have about everything else he's stolen, but it's not like we're giving it back to him and they need to know he's still stealing).
  2. See if we can figure out if there is some name or something on it (discovered the true owner this way once).
  3. Make him copy bible verses or section from a book about honesty (this is good for his handwriting and spelling too).
  4. Ground him (for how long?)
  5. Something else?

Bear feels entitled to an iPod, iTouch, iPhone, computer, new clothes, sex, sweets.... Since we are depriving him of these essential items, he feels he has a right to take them. Lies and theft are totally justified.

I'm not sure it's worth fighting anymore. We can't "catch him" enough for him to feel we're on top of things. There's no punishment that would stop/keep him from lying and stealing. We can't give him enough stuff and privileges to make him feel he isn't deprived. I can't imagine what he could do to convince me that he's earning my trust.


Megan said...

As a mom of kids who don't have these kinds of issues, I can't offer a single word of advice. (Don't you hate the advice you get from people who have no idea what you go through every day!) I can just say I'm someone out here in the blogosphere who thinks your doing a great job!

Anonymous said...

Did hubby check the bathroom vent? Because now you know that's a new hidiing space for him. I'd keep an eye on anyplace like that and be aware that he's got at least one screw-driver that he's hanging onto in order to access the vent(s).

So this is what he admitted to in that exchange:

1. He IM's onlne.
2. He chats to Charlie through his girlfriend.
3. He got this MP3 player in some covert way.
4. He hides stuff in the BR vent.
5. ________ (I'm sure there was more!)

You know he needs structure, rules, and consequences. You're doing a great job.

Jennie said...

call his bluff? give him permission? I had some students in health class last fall (before I resigned) that were giving me lip about chewing tobacco, smoking and the like.

I said, "you're under 18. who's supplying?"

"UGH!" was their reply.

"It's bad for you. read the book."

"wah wah wah!" was their reply.

then they wanted to argue why the book and the videos and the worksheets and I were all wrong about tobacco products and they were disrupting class and I was getting royally pissed off so I finally said,

"whatever. I don't care. Smoke the darn things."

the room got dead silent. No one breathed. then the annoying student put his head down and groaned. "ugh Mrs. S! you've ruined it now!"

Confused I said, "huh?"

"you giving me permission to do what I want to do that I shouldn't do just makes me mad so now I don't want to do it!"


So tell Bear, "fine. steal the mp3 player, hide the evidence, deny lying about it, IM when you're not allowed, have sex and get Kleenex pregnant. i don't care." then walk away.

Anonymous said...

Jennie, LMAO! I don't think that ploy would work w/ Bear, but that classroom story is a riot!

I can't imagine why you resigned... (she said sarcastically.)

Anonymous said...

Reading rather late in the game here ... Also check the plumber access holes (even if screwed into place), inside the back of the toilet, the tops of door frames, inside books (yes, my son did cut out the inside of a book so he could hide stuff there), behind the book shelves ... every time I searched my son's room I figured out a new place to look. And you know what? I usually missed the important stuff. Not only are the kids crafty, they tell eachother the best places to hide things.

But the banging in the bathroom is a clue to something, although maybe he'd gotten himself dusty somewhere else and wanted to deflect attention.