“It was just a bit of fun, I understand. I used to do things like that when I was young. I just never got caught by the police because I ran too fast!”
That is what James, my Narcissistic/Sociopathic ex husband, said to our 13 year old son Charlie, on learning that he had been caught by the police in his old school and could be charged with Breaking and Entering. (See Wrong Choices)
“Your step mum and step sister (Carrie) did the same sort of things, everyone does, it is just kid’s stuff. Carrie nearly got expelled from Boarding School for stealing! Don’t worry about it, and your Mum is just over reacting. I know you better than anyone else in the world and you don’t have a bad bone in your body.’ continued his Dad.
Interestingly Charlie is in many ways very similar in character to James, and what James is effectively saying is ‘I don’t have a bad bone in my body.’
I had grounded Charlie as soon as we got home from his old school where the police had caught him and some friends in one of the previously locked classrooms.
Less than a week later Charlie called me at at work late on a Friday afternoon.
‘Mum, can I go up the shops for a few minutes?’
‘No – you’re grounded, you know that.’
‘Am I grounded all weekend too? I will lose all my friends if I don’t message them.’
I had taken away his Ipad and he couldn’t contact his non school friends.
‘Yes you are grounded all weekend. You are grounded until you earn back my trust and I unground you. If your friends drop you after a week of not contacting them then they aren’t friends you want to have anyway.’
‘I’m gonna call Dad. I’m gonna tell him you are too strict. Will you listen to him if he tells you not to ground me anymore?’
‘No Charlie, you know I haven’t spoken to your Dad for a very long time and it doesn’t matter what he says anyway. My house, my rules. He does the same when you are with him and he would never change it after listening to me. Don’t you remember I suggested getting you an iphone would be a bad idea and he went ahead anyway. And look what happened then!’ (See I told you so)
‘I’m gonna phone him anyway and tell him.’
‘You go right ahead darling, it won’t make any difference – you are still grounded.’
I got home from work and although I probably shouldn’t have, I asked Charlie what his father had said.
‘He said you were making a big fuss over nothing but that he can’t do anything about it. He said I could come and live with him when he or my step mum is here and I could go to school from their place if I want to.’
His father works one month on one month off in a fly in fly out job. He only spends a weekend in our city each month off, preferring to live 1200 km away where his family lives. They are hardly ever here but when they are it is an hour away from where we live.
So living with them for a week is hardly an answer, particularly when they have no discipline or rules in their house.
I knew that my ex husband would not back me up or be at all helpful in trying to discipline our son and teach him the right thing to do. His reaction when Charlie first called and then again after this plea for leniency was not unexpected but so totally inappropriate.
When I first told him what had happened he sent me an email saying that Charlie would not get a criminal record and I should phone him if I wanted to find out why.
Yeah. Right. As if.
I wrote back
I will be taking my advice from Legal Aid, the Youth Liaison Officer and the police at the PCYC. If you wish to verify the information I have been given is correct you can of course contact any of these people directly yourself.
In the meantime, Charlie lives with me, and while he still does it will continue to be ‘My house, my rules.’