Mother of a Man-Child

My life with teenage boys

Drug and Alcohol Education – the unofficial kind! August 19, 2011

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bongThis week I attended the Cannabis Education evening at the school of the men-children.  They thought it was a good idea to talk about drug use to Year 9 parents and boys, having covered off Alcohol Education last year.  We had a presentation by the local Drug Support program, and the local Youth Affairs Police Officer.  Little did they know that sitting in the audience was the mother of a man-child whom they had both had the pleasure of meeting almost one year earlier!!

Below I have published the post that I drafted a year ago, when one of the men-children decided to experiment with cannabis (for obvious reasons I couldn’t bring myself to publish it at the time).  Looking back, I am convinced we handled the situation appropriately.  To the best of my knowledge our son has not continued to experiment with cannabis, and I think he learned a lot through the process.

Original Draft Post (November 2010): 

We’ve endured some interesting events on the journey to date that is adolescence.  Parties, gatherings, girlfriends, shoplifting, meetings with the school, smoking cigarettes, sneaking out at midnight, uninvited guests at 3am, and so the list goes on.  With each new event we seem to exhale with a “well that should be the worst of it shouldn’t it”, a glimmer of hope, but a sense of the inevitable.

And so our latest hurdle.  Man-Child II arrived home on a recent Saturday afternoon after being out all day with friends.  He was happily (unusual in itself) sharing details of where he’d been, and with whom, when I noticed his words were slurred, and he could hardly keep his eyelids open.  My first instinct was of course alcohol, but I couldn’t smell it on him at all.  My second instinct was dope – and unfortunately it seems I was right.

Now both alcohol and marijuana are drugs – but one is highly illegal and one is legal (for those of adult age of course).  The use of either by my 14-year-old son scared me, but more so dope, because you don’t find kids “pushing” alcohol to fund their habit the way you do drugs do you?

Naturally Man-Child II initially denied all usage to my face, but claimed he had been with others smoking dope and therefore he smelt of it and was mildly affected – yeah, right!  Seriously, do they really think any parent with a brain bigger than a goldfish would believe that?

He wasn’t in much of a state to talk (yes what you call totally “stoned”), and for obvious reasons wasn’t forthcoming with any associates names, so off to bed he went.  We actually called the police to check what we should do (we were more than happy to haul him down to the local station for a good talking to on the spot).  They were very interested to know his age, and school – no doubt looking for patterns in usage and known users.  They asked us to bring him down to the station at a later date for a meeting, and also advised us they offer a counselling service where they work with young teens to try to encourage them not to use drugs so they would be referring our son to them.  Perfect!

In the meantime, there was instant punishment dealt out (“you can forget the long-planned Halloween party”) and we had to endure 24 hours of pleading, begging, cajoling, crying, tantrums and text messages to try to make us relent.  But we held our ground and he didn’t attend the party – a minor victory for the parents.

I also had a conversation with Man-Child II to actually ask if he knew what effects drug use had (for irregular and regular users).  He was a little vague so I set him straight.  And I also explained how the classic pyramid selling worked, and why people he didn’t know well were more than happy to give him free drugs with a view to recruiting him longer term.   That seemed to make him think.

I am hoping that the meeting will involve the police scaring the absolute crap out of him (a la Man-Child I’s run in with the law over shoplifting) so he’ll be put off for another few years at least, and that the counselling session will have the desired educational effect.  And if I find out who exactly was kind enough to share the drugs with my son, they should be more worried about me finding them than the police.

Post-Script (August 2011): 

Our man-child did meet with the local police officer, and did attend the drug counselling program as instructed by the police.  He was told if he didn’t attend the program there would be serious consequences for him.  To his credit he took himself off for several appointments as required.  He didn’t share what went on at the sessions, and nor did he need to – it was between our son and the counsellor and we were pretty sure he was in good hands.

When I arrived home last night from the school I mentioned the name of the local policeman and the counsellor who had attended the evening.  Man-Child II nearly died of fright when he realized it was one and the same, as he is obviously known to them.  The fact is he has nothing to fear.  He has learned his lesson, and I hope is actually one step ahead of some of his peers, who haven’t yet been given the skills or life lessons to equip them with the ability to make the right choices when exposed to drugs.

You can read about Man-Child I’s brush with the law here: “An Arresting Story”.


Mother of a Man-Child: Young Teens Running Wild November 12, 2010

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I was interested, but alas not surprised, to read a story on this week about a particular suburb in Western Sydney.  The story made headlines because one weekend police had set about rounding up all the roaming kids one Saturday night and subsequently sent no less than 55 young teenagers home to their parents.

What was most alarming for the police was the fact that most of the teens’ parents had no idea where they were – believing them to be somewhere else.  Some of the kids were found to be consuming alcohol, and a few using drugs.   The police rightly despair for these kids, and what other trouble they may find themselves in.  They are also rightly annoyed with the parents, for not taking more responsibility for their sons and/or daughters.

Trust me, you don’t need to look far to find similar behaviour going on, and it’s not contained to the Western suburbs of Sydney.  The nice Eastern suburbs of Melbourne will do just fine.   We have ourselves been the recipient of four female guests (aged just 14 years old) at 3am one morning – they had been out all night roaming the streets of Melbourne, and their parents were completely unaware.   And I know for a fact that several of them have repeated this behaviour.   I’ve also attended a teenage girls party where the parents were letting anyone in, along with their alcohol and cigarettes (and god knows what else) – and the parents are supposed to be the responsible ones!   Don’t worry I quickly turned into the door bitch and promptly turned the undesirables away.

I have to say I agree with the Sydney police – it’s time parents had a reality check and took more responsibility for their children, ensuring they are safe from harm.  As my readers know, we’ve had our share of trouble, but that’s with us being the “world’s strictest parents” and always checking up on our men-children.  Imagine what they’d get up to if we didn’t check on them?

Apparently “Operation Enough” is set to be rolled out across NSW.  Maybe I should lead the charge for Victoria – I know a leafy suburb they could start in!!!

To read the full story:


Mother of a Man-Child: Don’t they learn? August 6, 2010

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As those who read my blog regularly would know, we recently had an issue with Mother of a Man-Child II, who had four early morning (3am) female visitors to our house following a three-hour jaunt in the park along with three of his mates (all guests at our house for the night).  Of course Man-Child II was subsequently grounded for LIFE and we moved on.

So it seems did Man-Child II.  You see he was sick of being grounded and not allowed out, so he decided to go out, without our permission, thus inviting even more trouble.  The issue is not only the blatant disregard for the punishment, but that he decided to sneak out at 3am in the morning!!!!!  Or at least that’s what time I discovered him missing.

Call it female intuition, but I had overheard Man-Child II on the phone late on the Saturday night, and did get the distinct sense that something was being arranged.  When he went to bed I made him properly lock all his windows – you see I just KNEW.  And so it was that when I awoke in the middle of the night, I decided to check that all my darling children were tucked up in their beds, in the blissful land of nod.

As I poked my head into Man-Child II’s room, I strained to hear the familiar breathing of a slumbering child.  When I didn’t, it was with my heart in my mouth that I switched on his light, and found an empty bed.  Okay, don’t panic I told myself, he’s gone to the loo.  I checked every room of the house and when I didn’t find him, realised that my gut had been right after all.   And when his mobile phone was gone it was pretty clear so was he.

So what to do?  First wake husband – he’s not missing all the action this time.Second, send text to son advising him to come home (just to let him know we know).  Third, call son so I can scream down the phone at him, hurling the vitriol and hurt that only a mother can muster at 3am in the morning,  Fourth get angry that he won’t pick up (no wonder, he didn’t want to be on the receiving end of what he knew was coming).  Five, seriously consider ringing the parents of his mate, that I am confident he conspired with, then decide that they would NOT like a phone call at 3am.

After 30 mins of anxiety, he finally texted me back to say he was coming home.  That was only after I threatened to contact the police if he didn’t respond.  My poor husband decided to get in the car and drive around to see if he could find him – half asleep at the wheel, visiting 24 hour McDonald’s restaurants.

It wasn’t until 4.30am that my son finally answered one of the 20 calls I had made to his phone – by which stage it’s fair to say I was getting slightly hysterical, especially since my husband wasn’t answering his mobile either (visions of a car accident due to tiredness just to add to the turmoil of the event).

He informed us he was at a train station quite a few suburbs away.  I could hear his mates (male and female) in the background.   So my husband went and picked him up, and at 5am after yet another lecture and extracting diddly squat from him as usual, we all went to bed.

For now that’s where I’ll end the story.  You can read the second instalment of this Man-Child episode next week (if you don’t want to miss it subscribe to the blog).   Those who know me know that I wouldn’t be happy just to have my son back.  Oh no!  Detective Mother of a Man-Child had plenty more work to do!


Mother of a Man-Child: Uninvited guests after midnight! July 23, 2010

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After Man-Child I’s recent brush with the law, Man-Child II decided it was his turn for trouble – what is it with twins?  Fortunately this incident didn’t involve the law, although some of his friends may think I have recently joined the force, such was my police-like response to the event!

The night unfolded like any other, with my man-child deciding to ask me, no in fact, beg me if three of his mates could stay for a sleepover during the school holidays.  They always seem to leave these requests for the last-minute, which they either do because they think it’s more successful, or because they’re too stupid to consider the impact on anyone else at 14 years old – sadly I suspect it’s the latter.

As it was 6pm, and I had just arrived home from work, and was now faced with the task of feeding an extra three hungry teenage boys, I am not quite sure what possessed me when I said yes.  Perhaps it was the opportunity to do something nice for my son, having been on his back about a few things recently.  A mother’s guilt goes a long way sometimes – little do they know!

At any rate, like a true Masterchef I managed to whip up a perfect gut-filler of carbonara and mounds of garlic bread, that seemed to satisfy the needs of five hungry boys and my daughter.  They then retired to their lounge room for a few hours, where they did all the normal boy things (farting, snacking, joking around, snacking, fighting, snacking, Facebooking, snacking, PS3 etc), before finally taking over the family room at midnight when we retired to bed.

Like all mothers, I remain the world’s lightest sleeper, so I typically hear every noise in the house (unlike my husband who could sleep through a freight train in the middle of our bedroom)!  So it was that at 3am I woke to the sounds of several teenagers…..”Shhhh……Be Quiet…..Shhhh……Giggle…….Be Quiet…..”.  I decided that 3am was late enough, and they really should all be asleep by now, so I promptly opened the door and turned on the light to tell them all so.  What I saw wasn’t quite what I expected – the sight of eight – that’s right – EIGHT bodies all diving under the doona covers in my son’s bedroom.  Eventually my brain took in this fact, and then realized that the extra four bodies were actually FEMALE!  Yes, we had four teenage girl guests in the middle of the night – yikes.

I calmly invited the four girls to join me in the family room, leaving the boys in the bedroom.  After a stern lecture, during which I ascertained that they had each told their parents they were staying at a friend’s house (yep, that old trick), I obtained their names and that of their school.  I then explained that under no circumstances could I allow them back into the dead of night, and that I would need to drop them home to one of their houses, where it was more than likely I would need to wake the parents and let them know what had gone on.

Whilst down the other end of the house doing a quick change (I didn’t think I should drive them home in my pyjamas), and simultaneously briefing my husband who had slept through the excitement to date, I heard the sounds of four screaming girls making a quick get-away down our side path, and quickly realized that my late night visitors had in fact done a runner!   I was so furious that I actually got in my car and tried to find them, unfortunately to no avail.   What we did find was Cinderella’s boots on the back doorstep – so one of them certainly ran home with cold feet.

We then dealt with the teenage boys, delivering yet another stern lecture, and extracting an apology from some (sadly not all).  As the text messages came in thick and fast to Man-Child II’s mobile, I told him that the girls had done an extremely stupid thing bolting, and that I would now make it my business to contact their school and/or their parents to ensure the event didn’t pass un-known.

Over the following days, the tale unfolded even further.  Amazingly I received hand written notes, text messages and phone calls from each of the girls professing their deepest regret at what had happened and assuring me it wouldn’t happen again – yeah right, how dumb do they think I am exactly?  It turns out, not only had they given me the wrong school name, but also used false names, and briefed my son, so when I drilled him he actually knew what names they had used.  Pretty conniving isn’t it?  When one of the girls offered her mothers phone number during her apology (which I did acknowledge was brave of them all) I joyfully accepted.  And that’s when things got even messier.

You see in assuring me of her absolute honesty with her mother, I decided to verify her story.  Alas, the truth had been twisted quite a bit, and the trusting mother had fallen for the very fictional version of events.  Eventually more and more of the story came out, until it was discovered that in fact the boys had all left our house for a midnight jaunt in the park with the girls.  At 3am they had come back to our house because they were all cold – and clearly all thought we would be none the wiser.  I’m not sure how long they were planning on spending in Man-Child II’s room, but the mind does boggle.

Needless to say Man-Child II is having a very quiet quarter, having been grounded for an entire term.  His friend’s parents have chosen their own punishment – that is for them to decide.  Unfortunately the mother of the “honest” girl in question decided it wasn’t her place to alert the parents of her daughter’s friends at all, which does disappoint me, as I think that’s extremely irresponsible on her part, but I can’t live someone else’s life for them.

So the lesson?  Hmmm, I’m not sure there is one, except that what goes around comes around.  Once in my teenage years I crept out of the house in the middle of the night for a party, unbeknown to my parents.  But I was so terrified when I arrived home and had to sneak back into the house, I was sure my heart could be heard pounding three blocks away.  I never did it again because I couldn’t bear the fear.  LOL.


Mother of a Man-Child: An Arresting Story! July 16, 2010

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Just when you think the “men-children” couldn’t possibly surprise us any further, or provide me with any other great stories for the blog, along comes yet another incident that will be added to the rich and colourful history of their adolescent years.

We have already had the delightful experience of parents who are called to the school to discuss their son’s behaviour.  Whilst initially it was for an incident involving Man-Child I, by the time the meeting came about there had been another separate incident involving Man-Child II, so we had the joy of back-to-back meetings – “in stereo” I called it.   I am quite sure one of the senior teachers who met with us almost felt sympathetic at the fact it was BOTH our charming sons who were in trouble.  He very kindly pointed out that we weren’t the only parents who had made a visit to the school to discuss their sons, but I bet we’re the only ones who managed a twin visit!!!  (Thank goodness I didn’t get triplets).

However Man-Child I did excel in the trouble stakes the other day, when I received a call from an out-of-town country police station whilst we were away on school holidays to say my son was at the local supermarket and had been caught shop-lifting.  Fabulous!  I was then asked to collect him and take him to the police station, where he received an official “Caution”.  Now for those who think that’s a nice kick up the backside and “don’t do it again”, you are mistaken.  The presiding officer decided he needed a lesson that would keep him on the straight and narrow for quite some time.  So Man-Child I was told he now has a police record (not a conviction) and is effectively on a good behaviour bond for the next five years.  He had his mug shot taken (this even alarmed me) and we were also paid a visit by another policeman sporting two guns and several Tasers – totally effective trust me.  In an amazing case of irony the “arresting officer” actually had a son attending the same private school in the same year level as my Men-Children – we naturally assume privacy is assured, but it did add to the impact of the consequences.

The officer was very convincing in ensuring Man-Child I understood the impact on his life in the event he is ever stupid enough to do something that earns him a criminal conviction.  It really can derail someone and totally ruin their life.  I explained to Man-Child I that there was no point punishing him, I figured he had punishment enough for the next 5 years.  I also made him share the experience with his friends and Man-Child II so they all learned from his lesson.  But I did say if I found out they had shared it on Facebook their lives would be short-lived.   I guess only time will tell whether our teenager has heeded the sage advice and life lesson given to him by a well-meaning, and totally savvy policeman.

Read my post-script to this story here.