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Old 06-22-2019, 07:41 PM
 
8 posts, read 6,740 times
Reputation: 24

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As the title says, my 9 1/2 year old step son just got picked up by the police for Vandalism. Has been suspended from school before and regularly sees a counselor, his parents are currently fighting for custody with a trial in July.

FACTS are:
  1. Spray painted cars on private property
  2. Broke window of garage where cars were stored, unlocked
  3. Scraped at least one vehicle with knife found on property
  4. Spraypainted curse words on driveway
  5. Broke box of light bulbs found in a vehicle

Excuses are:
  1. Didn't think they were of any value
  2. Thought is was a small junk yard

It was pretty obvious that it wasn't a junk yard and while some of the cars were older. One of them was a corvette with 33,000 miles on it.


How would other parents handle this?

MOM is currently:
  1. Pissed
  2. confused
  3. searching for rationalizations

Biological Dad is currently
  1. Probably pissed
  2. Probably confused
  3. Most likely blaming mom in someway
  4. Possibly quetioning himself

He hasn't been fully informed on all the details yet as our week on week off custody just switched so he's got almost a week before he gets a chance to really get into it.

Stepdad (Me) is currently
  1. Wondering what we should do
  2. Comparing the bad things I did as a kid that thankfully wern't caught and how they compare in age and level of badness
  3. Debating how much of an OBI-Won Konobi I want to be
  4. Is this kid Anakin or Luke?
  5. Can I even help him?


Backstory:

Mom:
  1. Adopted by Grandparents
  2. Father in prison during youth
  3. Mother in and out of her life
  4. Dropped out of high school
  5. Physically abused by Ex-Boyfriend
  6. New boyfriend 13 years older than her got her pregnant
  7. Had kid at 21
  8. 2 "happy" years
  9. Met me
  10. Left boyfriend
  11. Married me
  12. Had another kid with me 7 years later. Girl

Biological Dad:
  1. Raised by parents
  2. Graduated Highschool
  3. Graduated trade school
  4. Works blue color job full time
  5. Met mom
  6. knocked mom up
  7. loved mom but wasn't working
  8. begged mom to stay
  9. mom left
  10. Cut brakes of Mom's car to "keep her from leaving"
  11. Convicted felon, no jail time
  12. Mom still split custody
  13. married Step-mom few years later


Step-dad (me)
  1. Raised by parents and 2 older sisters
  2. Straight A student till Highschool the 3.5 GPA
  3. Marine 5 years
  4. Wife
  5. Daughter
  6. exwife
  7. Government Job
  8. 6 figure salary
  9. Clean Record
  10. Church Softball player
  11. Former Boyscout

Step-mom
  1. Seems nice
  2. no other kids
  3. kindy ratty looking
  4. cuts hair for a living
  5. Loves the boy



I just want to help and I feel like I'm the only one who sees where this is heading.
Currently me "punishment" for him this summer is:
  1. I will find a book and we will read it.
  2. Might put him in Scouts


Everything punishment else wide is up to the courts and the parents and the victims.

Looking for suggestions, ideas, camps, and books that may inspire him to behavior better.

Thanks for reading.
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Old 06-22-2019, 08:08 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
17,005 posts, read 17,320,800 times
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Read a book? Join Scouts?

I am a retired special education teacher, in my experience, the behavior that you listed is far, far beyond "normal" misbehavior by a 9 1/2 year old boy. Now, I have seen similar behavior in children that have severe emotional/behavioral issues.

There are so many red flags. Where was he and how long was he unsupervised that he was able to do so much damage? Obviously, it would be a different situation if was playing in his own yard and he broke into his next door neighbor's garage vs. a mile from home and no one checked on where he was or what he was doing for hours.

Where did he get the spray paint? Again a huge difference between stealing the spray paint from someplace or bringing it from home so the vandalism was premeditated or if the spray paint can was just sitting on the driveway or on the hood of a car "ready to go".

Also, was this a one time thing or just more in a long list of inappropriate behaviors. Did he "think" of those things himself or was he with a group of older boys?

IMHO, he probably needs more professional help than he is currently receiving.

Depending on his history and how the juvenile courts work in your area absolutely nothing may happen to him to quite a few restrictions and penalties. This may even effect if they accept him into his regular school next year (he may need to go to special school for children with psychiatric needs or a juvenile detention facility - but, both are pretty unlikely for a 9 1/2 year old). And, someone will need to pay for all of the damage that he caused (which could be rather costly).

Last edited by germaine2626; 06-22-2019 at 08:19 PM..
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Old 06-22-2019, 08:53 PM
 
39,443 posts, read 40,743,367 times
Reputation: 16238
Reading a book or joining the scouts(or other youth activities) is not something to be used as punishment. It's something to be encouraged.


My Brothers when they were in the 10 to 12 year old range got caught egging a house. We lived in small town and things like this were all handled locally.... in this case by my Dad to the satisfaction of the police and the homeowner. The first thing he had them do was walk to the store about mile away with a list of cleaning supplies they paid for with their own money. Couple gallons of this, couple gallons of that. If I recall 6 gallons in all so they each had three making off balance carrying them awkwardly. They had newspaper routes so this wasn't money gifted to them. The next thing he had them do was clean the exterior of the house, the whole thing... I know for fact they never egged anything again.



Sounds like a much bigger issue than egging but if it were me that is where I would be heading with this.
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Old 06-22-2019, 09:40 PM
 
8 posts, read 6,740 times
Reputation: 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by germaine2626 View Post
Read a book? Join Scouts?

I am a retired special education teacher, in my experience, the behavior that you listed is far, far beyond "normal" misbehavior by a 9 1/2 year old boy. Now, I have seen similar behavior in children that have severe emotional/behavioral issues.

There are so many red flags. Where was he and how long was he unsupervised that he was able to do so much damage? Obviously, it would be a different situation if was playing in his own yard and he broke into his next door neighbor's garage vs. a mile from home and no one checked on where he was or what he was doing for hours.

Where did he get the spray paint? Again a huge difference between stealing the spray paint from someplace or bringing it from home so the vandalism was premeditated or if the spray paint can was just sitting on the driveway or on the hood of a car "ready to go".

Also, was this a one time thing or just more in a long list of inappropriate behaviors. Did he "think" of those things himself or was he with a group of older boys?

IMHO, he probably needs more professional help than he is currently receiving.

Depending on his history and how the juvenile courts work in your area absolutely nothing may happen to him to quite a few restrictions and penalties. This may even effect if they accept him into his regular school next year (he may need to go to special school for children with psychiatric needs or a juvenile detention facility - but, both are pretty unlikely for a 9 1/2 year old). And, someone will need to pay for all of the damage that he caused (which could be rather costly).
So many red flags and Ive seen them for years but feel like a blind father with so many limitations put on me as a parent.

The vandalism occurred during the evening around 7pm, still daylight. All the paint was already there. It was maybe a 1/2 mile from the house, he was gone maybe an hour. Had an older friend with him, seemed like a good kid, both their ideas from what i have heard but boy 2 did more damage.

He doesn't throw temper tantrums just wont stop arguing until his point is made, demands that his voice be heard. Constantly gets in trouble for cursing, doesn't understand why their are different rules for different people. A lot is just normal boy behavoir but he constantly gets caught.

Obviously the vandelism is not normal boy behavoir.


As the Step-parent punishment isn't really my job. I am looking more for guidance on what encouragement i can give him, hence the idea of finding a good book that we can go through together. Already read the gospels last summer, helped a little.
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Old 06-22-2019, 09:42 PM
 
8 posts, read 6,740 times
Reputation: 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by thecoalman View Post
Reading a book or joining the scouts(or other youth activities) is not something to be used as punishment. It's something to be encouraged.


My Brothers when they were in the 10 to 12 year old range got caught egging a house. We lived in small town and things like this were all handled locally.... in this case by my Dad to the satisfaction of the police and the homeowner. The first thing he had them do was walk to the store about mile away with a list of cleaning supplies they paid for with their own money. Couple gallons of this, couple gallons of that. If I recall 6 gallons in all so they each had three making off balance carrying them awkwardly. They had newspaper routes so this wasn't money gifted to them. The next thing he had them do was clean the exterior of the house, the whole thing... I know for fact they never egged anything again.



Sounds like a much bigger issue than egging but if it were me that is where I would be heading with this.
Working it off in the summer there has already been decided, homeowners were very willing to "old school" this as much as possible
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Old 06-23-2019, 05:15 AM
 
346 posts, read 255,784 times
Reputation: 1081
A nut doesn't fall far from the tree. This is a tough situation that you're in as a step parent with no voice. I wish you luck.
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Old 06-23-2019, 08:10 AM
 
5,407 posts, read 6,661,466 times
Reputation: 8654
Sounds like this kid has had and continues to have a pretty chaotic and crappy life. Nothing like being in the middle and the cause of all your parents fighting to make a kid feel good about himself. He's probably angry about his situation, and rightfully so, and is acting out in the only way he can. Keep him in counseling. And throw some family counseling in there too. And tell his parents to get their act together.
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Old 06-23-2019, 09:51 AM
 
Location: Loudon, TN
5,767 posts, read 4,822,990 times
Reputation: 19387
You do know that his parents will be held financially responsible for restitution for any crimes through age 18, right? Just thought I'd get that out there.

If he were my child, after the police and victims get done with their punishments, my punishment would be grounding for the rest of the summer, paying the victim for repairs out of his allowance, and hard labor (yard work, scrubbing toilets, floors, cleaning the gutters, the garage, the attic, etc) for 2 hours a day for 3 weeks. He would also be enrolled in a summer school program and expected to do all of his homework and get good grades on it. He would also be prohibited from hanging out with that friend again, and would be assigned a babysitter even if you have to pay one. He's demonstrated that he can't be trusted on his own. If this is humiliating to him, it ought to be. He should be ashamed of himself.

I had to laugh at your "punishments". Reading a book was my favorite thing to do as a child. It was actually (and still is) my hobby. Joining scouts is something that people do for fun, comradery, and learning values, so it's a good thing, but definitely not a punishment. I would put him in scouts if you have an active troop in your area. If no one is home in the summer to babysit this kid, then that's a big problem. He needs adult supervision and someone modeling to him what is appropriate, and teaching him values.

Family history is not necessarily predictive of children's behavior, but someone needs to be teaching this child values and discipline or you are going to have a situation in a few years. I have a friend whose son went down the same sort of path (her husband was a druggie and ended up in prison). Her son and his friends (12 y.o.) vandalized a vacant home and set a fire that did tens of thousands $$ in damage. She, at age 62, is still paying off the restitution. He's in a lock-down facility for the mentally ill, due to drug-induced brain damage from smoking crack in his teens. Boys will be boys....but they have to be taught that there are consequences to their behavior.

We had an incident 2 years ago about two teen boys who were hiking alone while camping with their parents. They were throwing lit matches at each other in the forest. They didn't even realize that they'd started a fire that smoldered and, when the wind came up a day later, started a forest fire. The fire went out of control later when a violent storm blew 80 mph winds and wiped out a nearby community, 2,000 buildings burned and 14 people died. All because these kids were never taught that actions have consequences, and that they have to be responsible people, even when they're alone, and even though they're just kids.

Last edited by TheShadow; 06-23-2019 at 10:05 AM..
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Old 06-23-2019, 09:52 AM
 
Location: State of Transition
78,526 posts, read 70,430,585 times
Reputation: 76494
I don't understand why a step-parent can't be a disciplinarian. Does the bio dad want to be the "authoritative" one, or something? What does the mom say about you taking a more active parenting role? This is pretty serious; someone has to take a stand, and it shouldn't be the mom, who's only searching for rationalizations. She seems to be part of the problem.

Still, we don't know what the courts are going to dish out, so we'll have to wait and see about that.

And it sounds like the other kid instigated it? Is he the same age, or older?

What about this counselor. Do you feel any progress is being made? Maybe it's time to consider switching to a different counselor? Maybe -- someone who's skilled at doing anger and trauma work?

What kind of "just normal boy behavior" does he constantly get caught in?
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Old 06-23-2019, 09:56 AM
 
Location: State of Transition
78,526 posts, read 70,430,585 times
Reputation: 76494
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheShadow View Post
You do know that his parents will be held financially responsible for restitution, right? Just thought I'd get that out there.

If he were my child, after the police and victims get done with their punishments, my punishment would be grounding for the rest of the summer, paying the victim for repairs out of his allowance, and hard labor (yard work, scrubbing toilets, floors, cleaning the gutters, the garage, the attic, etc) for 2 hours a day for 3 weeks. He would also be enrolled in a summer school program and expected to do all of his homework and get good grades on it. He would also be prohibited from hanging out with that friend again.

I had to laugh at your "punishments". Reading a book was my favorite thing to do as a child. It was actually (and still is) my hobby. Joining scouts is something that people do for fun, comradery, and learning values, so it's a good thing, but definitely not a punishment. I would put him in scouts if you have an active troop in your area. If no one is home in the summer to babysit this kid, then that's a big problem. He needs adult supervision and someone modeling to him what is appropriate, and teaching him values.

Family history is not necessarily predictive of children's behavior, but someone needs to be teaching this child values and discipline or you are going to have a situation in a few years. I have a friend whose son went down the same sort of path (her husband was a druggie and ended up in prison). Her son and his friends (12 y.o.) vandalized a vacant home and set a fire that did tens of thousands $$ in damage. She, at age 62, is still paying off the restitution. He's in a lock-down facility for the mentally ill, due to drug-induced brain damage.
Chores could be chosen, that would actually teach him skills. That way, the time spent would not only be punishment, but training in life skills. What kind of trade is the dad in? If it's something practical (carpentry, electrical, whatever), the kid could do some of his obligation with his dad, learning a trade skill. Just a thought. Learning home maintenance skills (cleaning gutters, etc.) is also useful. You could call it his summer apprenticeship in adulthood.

Just brainstorming a little.
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