My 17 year old has left...

Dana - posted on 04/27/2012 ( 2 moms have responded )

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My 17 year old son has left "to go stay with a friend for awhile". He has always been very close to me, has been struggling with wanting to grow up faster the last year. Two days ago we got in an argument because he would not get out of bed to go to school. He LOVES his music and has been in a band for quite some time and when I told him if he didn't get up he would be grounded from band practice for a week...he got up. He packed a bag and is now staying with a friend. He says he doesn't know when he's coming home. He says I need to let him grow up. He's still going to school and working, so I just don't know what to do. I'm lost!! He even texted me a couple of times the first day with just general conversation like everything was normal, but when I told him to come home he said "NO". He then sent a long text about me nagging him and he needs to be independent, and I haven't heard from him since. ??? In the past when we would have a disagreement or argument, he would always come back and apologize within the day or at least by the next day. HOWEVER...he never left before. I'm lost with no clue what to do. I feel like a horrible mother because the boy he is staying with is 18 and lives with his grandmother...I have always had the cell phone to reach my son so don't know where this boy lives or how to get ahold of his grandmother!! I can't imagine what they've told her. Since he is going to school, I'm hesitant to get the school involved. I've been told I could call the police and force him to come home...but my husband thinks if we give him space he will just come home on his own. (I pray that happens, at which time have a game plan showing him he can be more independent, but here's what we need....). I'm sick and can barely function. Any advice???

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Dana - posted on 04/27/2012

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Thank you Brittany for your reply. You give some very good advice, and the best part is it is practical and not all about "calling the police" and "forcing him to come home". My son has the personality that when someone tries to bully him, he puts up a wall, so I feel that just forcing an issue will only make matters worse in the long run. I'd rather he see I'm going to give him some space, but have expectations of him as well. When I reflect, I'm concerned that he may think my expectations of him are too high...so I need him to know I don't expect him to be perfect...just to make the most out of the life he is given. He's a rational guy for the most part, so i pray he eventually comes home, but in the meantime, I will alert the school, etc....thank you SO much for that. Good luck with your 17 year old as well. I hope that foot stays on the INSIDE of the door. :)

Brittany - posted on 04/27/2012

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I'm so sorry your having a hard time! It can be very hard to let your children "fly" from the nest... You absolutly could call and have him forced to come home, but I would think this could cause alot of animosity and he could very well take off again.



I think if it was me I would tell him I'm thinking of forcing him to come home, and the only way to avoid police is to give me the details of his new circumstances. I would ask to have the address and grandmothers phone number, and explain to him if he can't be responsible with keeping up work and school he will be returning to your care. Tell him you want to see him at least 2x a week (or whatever you feel comfortable with) and that you want to hear from him daily to ensure his safety. If he can keep up his responsibilities with you, he can stay with his friend. Let him know your giving him a chance to prove himself, but there are absolutly conditions and you have the final say until his 18th birthday.



Sometime at this point we really cannot turn our kids back around into children. He's trying to spread his wings and show independance, but obviously its scary to let our children go. Let him know your scared for him, tell him you need him to reassure you that he is thriving and taking care of himself.



I absolutley would speak with the school though, explain to them what is happening and you want to make sure he is still attending and doing well. He is your child whether he is with you or not you are his gaurdian and have this right. He will need to be amancipated for you not to be able to get this information.



He may come home on his own if you give him this option, or he may not - but try your best to keep a good relationship with him, and show him understanding to help ensure he knows your there for him during the tough times. Hopefully he will cooperate with your expectations and in a month or so you may feel much more comfortable with him not being in your home, but still being a constant in your life.



I sincerly hope all turns out well for you... I'm currently dealing with a 17 yr old who is also trying to force his independance, and although he hasn't left yet, I know he has one foot out the door already. We have to do our best at times like these to show our kids we know there growing up, and not resort to imagining them as 14 (which is VERY hard) But I think the more we take away, the more resentful they become. So try to encourage and support, and hopefully he will prove the independance he is trying to obtain.



Good Luck!

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