I have a meeting today with Bear's MHMR mental health case manager and social skills teacher because we've been seeing some instability in his mood (mostly depression) over the last month or so and I'm wondering if we need to make some med changes (his next appointment is not for a couple more weeks so we need to decide if we need to move it up).
This morning I was alone with Bob while I straightened her hair (love this mother daughter time, even though I think her spiral curls are pretty!). I decided to ask her if she had anything to say about Bear's mood/behaviors. I figure the girls see things I don't since they go to school with him. Bob said she knew something about Bear that she hadn't planned to "tattle," but it ticked her off that he'd gotten the privilege of going to the rodeo with some friends (and an adult parent we trust) last weekend when he had snuck out to the movies the weekend before.
TOTAL SHOCK on my part!
A couple of weeks ago, Bear'd asked me if he could go to the movies with some friends. I looked at the fact that he's been skipping and tardy more often then he'd attended classes, and said N.O.! and assumed that was the end of it. Apparently not.
Most Saturdays the kids spend the night at Grandma and Poppy's house and they take the kids to church in the morning (Yes, I know I'm blessed!). That Saturday we'd dropped them off a little early. Allegedly they ate dinner really early, and then Bear went to his "room" and shut the curtains. Bear sleeps on the enclosed porch at my parents house.
At 10:30pm Bear came to the girls' bedroom to get his night meds (room time is 9pm at our house, but the grandparents aren't as strict about it as I am). Kitty apparently knew he was going to the movies and asked him how it went. He told them what movies he'd seen and offered them candy (Bob felt this was a bribe not to tell on him).
Bear told Kitty that the owner of the neighborhood thrift store drove Bear and one of his friends and her girlfriend to the movies. I did call the guy to check out the story and he denied it. This man had a childhood similar to the kids and has befriended Bear, but I generally keep them apart, because the guy is a bit rough around the edges and actually might go behind my back if he thinks I'm being too strict with Bear, but more like letting Bear use a pocket knife, smoke and cuss - not sneaking him out.
I believed the girls, but I didn't want Bear to know that they "tattled" on him because I worry that he'll retaliate. So I have to find a way to at least appear to "find out" almost two weeks after the fact. I asked my parents to search the room Bear uses at their house, because he never throws anything away, but they're clean people and they use this room for meals, so it's clean. They did find a welding mask in a bag that Bear was storing there, and I need to track down where that came from.
Hubby decided to confront Bear about this after he'd gotten ready for bed and was kind of drowsy. I don't think Hubby said anything about the movies, just that we knew Bear had left the house. Bear claimed that he went for a walk and that the grandparents knew it (when Hubby called him on that he said, well they knew he does take walks, but they probably didn't know he was gone that night. He claimed he walked to the neighborhood convenience store and got a ride home (*EEK!*). Bear thinks he's invulnerable because he's a big kid. Hubby never addressed the candy issue.
Our big concerns are -
- If he got away with sneaking out at Grandma's house, what's to keep him from sneaking out of our house?
- Bear needs structure and when the adults around him fail to provide that he feels unsafe. He gets moody and unstable when he's feeling unsafe. He just started EMDR therapy too, so he's probably feeling more unsettled.
- Where did the money come from for the candy since he has no "legitimate" sources of funding (did he steal it, sell his "stolen" Zune...),
- I can see him lying to Kitty just to tease her, but why did he admit to the hitch hiking? - does that mean he assumes he was caught arriving in a car back from somewhere so he thought this was the lesser of two evils? If so... what was the "greater evil" truth, because this was pretty darn scary.
- Where was my developmentally 9 year old child?!
So here's the "charges."
- sneaking out
- hitch hiking
Consequences I'm considering:
- At Grandma's he can no longer sleep on the porch, he'll go back to sharing the living room with Ponito. (He doesn't like spending the night at Grandma's and Hubby and I need this downtime so not getting to go to Grandma's is not an option).
- Grounded for at least 2-3 weeks.
- FAIR Club assignment on Stranger Danger
- If we can figure out how to afford it - alarms on his bedroom window and door. We have the system, but it got damaged recently so it's not chirping when someone opens an outside door or window anymore.