10 year old sneeking out bedroom window

Heidi - posted on 08/16/2010 ( 14 moms have responded )

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My son is 10. He was diagnosed with Aspergers when he was 5. He also has ADD and OCD.
He is fully verbal, and seems to understand language well. He has been leaving the house through his bedroom window espically at night. One time he said that he wanted to go camping in the park. Another time he went and got tools from the back yard and came back and used them to take apart his bed. He always has a reason that he is leaving, but clearly it is not safe. He has done this several times, and my husband has put a board over the window, but every time that he is out in the back yard he tries to get it off or puts thing in the window on the other side of the board to get later. He has gotten the board off a couple of times, and we have put it back better, but I am afraid in the end he will out smart us. It is hard not to laugh when I wake him in the morning and find a bed full of his treasures ( hammer, screw driver,drill, nails, screws , bolts and a pile of other things that I couldn't even name). If he didn't use these things to take everything apart (to the point that they can not be fixed) I would let him have them.

Any tips on how to convince him to stay in the house, at least until he is 18.

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Tracy - posted on 08/24/2010

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I had a similar problem with my then 6 year old daughter who was going out the door whenever she felt like it. Once I was in the shower and came out to find her in the backyard and the side door wide open and my 3 year old son on his way out the door. I did not have the money to get an alarm system so put in an application with a charity who funded $350 to the purchase of an alarm system. Now I will know if she goes out right away and the loud siren makes her close the door and run to get me to make the noise stop. She has since stopped going out the door without checking with me first to make sure the alarm is not going to go off. I do not know what to tell you about the taking stuff apart, I guess the best thing to do is figure out an alternative that will keep him happy and occupied during the night and keep him safely in the house at the same time. What about a mechano set? I think the tools would be too small to do any damage to your household stuff....????

Denise - posted on 08/23/2010

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I can't imagine what you must be going through. It has to be extremely scary and you must suffer from many sleepless nights. I don't know what is around for you but I would look into finding a support group in your area. There may be other parents and caregivers going/gone through the same/similar issues.

There are many great suggestions already and as a Support Worker I would suggest incorporating most of them, if you haven't done so already. My other suggestion is to see what kind of Respite you can get and see if they can do awake over-nights for you so that you can get some worry free sleep.

Anita - posted on 08/23/2010

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ask him what he would like ,something that would be real special for him and try to use that as a reward or make pulling something apart part of his bed time routine, my boys set up their tents in their bedroom and and also make army barracks aswell.i have woken to my 8 yr old jumping on the trampoline at 3 in the morning so i am going to buy a mimi tramp for inside.sometimes he just wakes up and can't get back to sleep so i try to have things he can do as not to wake the rest of the house or get into trouble by going outside.as for putting a nail in the window i think he is a bit old for that and he would end up hiding a hammer in his room to get it out.if keeping things in his room to take apart doesn't work maybe you will have to put sercuirty screens on it

Donna - posted on 08/21/2010

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How about if you get him some robotics kits, and a toolbox with his favorite tools, that he can work with in his bedroom?

Terry - posted on 08/21/2010

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Hello! My name is Terry. I have a son,Parker, who is almost 5. He has mild/moderate Autism and I just recently think I see some OCD tendencies. I can identify with your story because Parker likes to pull escape acts. We finally figured out to put the little plastic door knob covers on the front door.
I was thinking about your situation and perhaps start by encouraging supervised construction projects, such as building a birdhouse. This is being positive toward his interest with tools but help him learn to use things properly.Perhaps to build instead of deconstruct everything. Having said that I would also suggests nailing the window shut.
Hope this helps! I know it's a scary thing when you leave the house without you knowing.

Sheila - posted on 08/20/2010

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Hi Heidi,

I have no real suggestions to add; however, I do think you have a future engineer on your hands!

I hope you are able to resolve the problem as the worry must be enormous.

Good luck to you.

Sheila

Michelle - posted on 08/19/2010

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Hmmm, I wonder if there is any way to go with it... Just brainstorming here: Fully secure the yard, lock up most of the tools, make his window into a door or add a stepstool so he can go in and out at whim, get him a 'workshop' shed in the back with his own tools, and regularly stock it with lots of small appliances from the thrift store to take apart, and bins to sort parts... perhaps some actual user manuals so he can start trying to fix things and put them back together. Or maybe there's room for a workshop area in the house...Make it clear to him that he may work on and take apart or fix anything that's in his workshop, but he may not take apart things that the family is using... I dunno, that's a pretty tricky scenario. Good luck!

Sarah - posted on 08/19/2010

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check with your local Board of Developmental Disabilities. They may be able to recommend an alarm system that would alert you if he goes outside certain area. In some cases they will fund it also. The system our local MRDD suggests to local families is sort of a hybrid between an invisible fence and a house arrest system. Basically you program the parameters, and if they cross them ( with the bracelet), you are alerted.

Ann - posted on 08/18/2010

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Heidi. I'm not sure who manufactures your windows but it is worth contacting them. I contacted 'Harvey'. My windows do have the childproofing tabs that you just pull out but my son has learned to break them. (He is 3 and has not figured out that if he breaks both the window can open) Anyway they sent replacements and extras that at least have allowed me to use this in most of the house. I do NOT trust these in his room since he is on the 2nd floor and so they are locked for now. I am sure that in another year or so I will need something better. Suggestions I was given were... To put a nail in the window frame groove, that the window follows 3 inches above it, Make sure it sticks out. You can do both sides for more strength. Now, if your raise the window it will only go up 3 inches. Another idea given was to put a piece of wood inside the track snug so the window can not open (Should you do any of these I recommend telling your 911 controller. I registered my son with the Police Dept. and filled out a form that tells emergency responders what windows are his.)

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That's a good idea. There are some inexpensive do it yourself ones that make a really loud noise when the magnets are separated. Though he may be able to figure out how to override it or may be traumatized when it goes off. So maybe a professional system would be better.

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How about making part of his bedtime routine to go outside, with an adult, and to gather the supplies he thinks he'll need. If he's not supposed to be up disassembling things, what about getting him a book and pencil to leave by his bed so that he can write down what he wants to "accomplish" the next day? Tell him that if he goes out at night alone again, you'll put bars on his window, and mean it. If you have a thrift store nearby, you can always take him down there and let him pick out something to disassemble (like a non-working electronic or small machine). You can make that a reward for not sneaking out over a period of time and if you tell the people what it's for, they might have a broken piece someone donated that they'd just give you.

Bridgette - posted on 08/17/2010

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Luckily my windows have screens even I don't know how to take off, that and my children are afraid of our yard at dark, I hope some one can give you a solution.

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