I have two voices in my head regarding David.
One is calm...David is very nearly 18 and could have been moving out in June.
He has mostly made smart decisions and has proved trustworthy. He is also about out of money...so let him have this freedom. He wants to spend the entire weekend in The City, okay. His friends are struggling to take care of themselves, they won't pay for everything. When David can no longer pitch in for the occasional pizza it will get uncomfortable. He will have to have a job and if he has a job he will have to stay in Our Small Town as much as I want him to anyway.
The other voice is having a major freak-out. David is leaving on Fridays with a suitcase and not coming back until Sunday. He is spending his time playing two young men off of each other because he likes it when boys are jealous and fighting over him. If I were to tell the social workers that I had a teenage girl who was spending every weekend with two boys who were both trying to date her red flags would go up. I need to get control over this situation before it gets worse. Something must be done...I am afraid that running out of money will not have the affect that I hope it will. David will adjust and his friends will pay for everything. Summer will come and he will just live with his friends in The City -- come home once a week to check in and do his laundry.
So I really am torn. I don't know how to handle this and I don't think the social worker really does either...at least I am not getting the feeling that she has any better ideas than I do. I know that an escalating power battle is likely to result in David moving out...something I do not want and which I don't think would be particularly good for him.
I hope the calm voice is the wise, not the naive, one.
… He's not 18 yet though, is he? Aren't you still in a position to forbid him to be gone all weekend and make it stick?
I could. For the next 3 1/2 weekends I could threaten to call him in as a runaway if he did not get home by a certain hour. I could warn all of his friends that if they let him stay they would be harboring a runaway. (A runaway is a kid who won't come home; not a kid you can't find.)
I am not certain though that that would be a good idea. I am not certain that it is not a good idea.
David has had foster parents who called him in as a runaway before. It did not have any lasting affect on his behavior. Besides, I want him to find a job, not simply be home.
I cannot remember a time when I was so unclear about what I should do.
I should talk to David's counselor -- the one that I did not like all that much but has an excellent reputation with teenagers.
David's Story Part 1: The Beginning
David's Story Part 39: A Quarrel