On one occasion, I arrived home around midnight to see the lights still on in The Pit. On approaching Small Boy with the suggestion that he should be in bed, I was greeted with howls of "Let me finish", "I'm just about to..."and "In a minute.....". After a few well placed words I simply went upstairs and turned off the internet. On another occasion I got "What's your problem?"
Given the information , that Small Bo may not be adhering to his curfew, Himself completely failed to change his checking methods. Head over the balcony. Light out. Must be in bed.
School holidays commence. Small Boy has licence to do as he pleases. Although this is less than appropriate, I was assuming that there would be no crises until term time when the demands piled on.
After a week of holidays, where significant adults were continuing with work and other commitments, Small Boy called his mother on a Friday morning, crying, anxious and talking about 'bad thoughts'. Desperate, Mother called Himself. Unable to get away from work, Himself called me.
Assured that SmallBoy was prepared to talk to me, I went down and hauled him up out of The Pit. We sat up in the sunshine and I got out a pad and paper to make graphic notations of our discussions (since his working memory is not great). For two hours we talked, I sketched, he cried, I held him.....it was intense. We established a few points:
- he is terrified of being a failure
- he cannot articulate many of his own strengths
- he glosses over his family issues (my family care about me)
- he is a pathological liar (not surprisingly he cannot admit to this)
His immediate reaction was to wriggle.
"Why do I need to come home?
I've got to truncate this because it causes me so much distress; but suffice to say I endured over an hour of harassment to change the boundary. It was insidious, passiv aggressive, but insistent and you so knew it was usually successful. Later that day I had to go into Himself's work and had an opportunity to discuss the same thing with SB's parent "Whatever you do," I urged, "Do NOT let him talk you into a sleepover." The sleepover was not the point. He was being allowed to do a number of things which he wanted to do, the coming home thing was a line in the sand.
The testing time would come later at night when his parents were tired.
10.30pm Himself gets a text message from the Small boy: Can I stay the night?
Himself, desperate to make this work decides to phone first. SB does not answer. Himself calls SB's mum. She texts and calls. No answer. Finally Himself and his ex get in the car and go to the address Mum thinks is the home of the boy SB is staying with. It is an old people's home.
At this point they called me.
"He's got you over a barrel " I say. The best thing is to get him home safely and determine consequences later.
They agreed and we all went home....