Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Considering responses

Well, I've got lots of feedback and it's been pretty consistent. Everyone agrees with the part of my brain that says, "No people in my house I have not met."

Life really is easier when they go to school during the same hours you do. This going to night school and being unsupervised all day long is for the birds.

And of course that is part of the issue to be negotiated. I am in the position of making a rule which I cannot enforce.

This means that there a couple of options.

1. I can simply proclaim this to be the new rule.
-- I believe I have the authority/right to do that and am willing to if I decide that it is pragmatically the best option. Pragmatically I have my doubts though. The truth is that I cannot supervise him during the day. I can threaten to do drop bys and even do a few, but if I do I have to have consequences and I have to be willing to follow through on them. I have not worked that part out for myself yet.

When he was in rehab and we visited I told him that he could only live with me if he followed the house rules and worked cooperatively with his counselor and social worker. That was non-negotiable. If he were to announce to me that he was tired of seeing his counselor and wasn't going anymore, I would ask him if he needed help packing. I meant that then and I mean it now. I say this because I guess I want people to know that my debating here is not about being afraid of confrontation or unwillingness to enforce consequences.

I also know, and this is something that I just know about myself, that he could get away with a lot between now and the end of October -- as long as he continues school. I want him to finish high school so badly that I know I would forgive things that I would not be willing to forgive later.

So if I make this the rule, I can only do it after I have answered the questions, "How will you monitor his behavior and what will you do if he disobeys?" I don't have answers to those questions yet.

And of course I am thinking that the more Evan disagrees with a rule, the more likely he is to just get sneaky. Hiding boys in his closet or having them climb out his bedroom window whenever I show up unexpectedly for lunch is not the result I am going for.

2. I can enlist the help of the counselor to help me talk with Evan about why I am worried and what I need to happen to feel safe. I can allow that to be an open-ended conversation in which the rule that emerges is not exactly the one that I originally considered.

This, you may have already figured out, is the way I am going to go. It has the disadvantage of being a longer process. It has the advantage, however, of being more likely to result in a rule that Evan will follow without being heavily monitored. It doesn't guarantee compliance, but it helps.


It occurs to me that the best consequence for breaking the rule is losing the privilege of being home alone during the day for a certain amount of time. But there are logistics that must be considered. Do I drop him off at a foster home with a SAHM/F? Do I take him to work? Or do I simply lock him out (from 7:30am-3:00pm) and let him figure it out?

And though I do need to have a consequence that I am willing to follow through on, I am not all that worried about him breaking a rule if he helps to make it. Evan has been very good about following the explicit, agreed-upon rules.

Oh...just in case anyone has wondered. Evan's social worker was part of the presentation Andrew and I took part in on Saturday. I did tell her that Evan was "taking full advantage of all of his time home alone." She knows that I was talking about sex. As I agreed with Hubby, I will not give her all the details until after I have spoken to the counselor.

I have wondered if Evan is exaggerating his sex life just to mess with me. It is not the sort of thing that he has ever done, so I doubt it. On the other hand I do find myself hoping that he is.

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