Monday, January 08, 2007

Complicated respite decision

I guess it is complicated. It didn't seem overly so to me.

See...we do respite care for Mandy all the time. She takes kids who are on probation. They have been cutters, had eating disorders, chronic runaways, and more. I ask the fam, "Hey, one of Mandy's girls who is on respite with Annabelle got caught in a compromising situation with a 20-something at the Y. She's throwing a fit and refuses to go home with Annabelle. The police have been called. If we don't want her she goes to detention. Anyone mind if she spends the night here?" Naw...hubby and the kids are fine with it.

Or, "A fight broke out at Mandy's. Blows were thrown and they want to separate them. You all okay with one of them coming over here to cool off for a couple of days?" problem.

And then I get a call from the social worker with my agency. There are these two brothers, really nice boys, good kids who don't get into any kind of trouble. They are bio-brothers 15 and 17 years old. Their foster mom's daughter is expecting a baby in the next month or six weeks and will I agree to giving respite to them for about a week but with very little notice so that mom can go be with her daughter and grandbaby? I say probably, but I will have to talk to the family.

Everybody is anxious. Teenage boys? Remember when we did that before, Mom? That one boy stole video games. Well, yes, but the thief was the older brother, not in care, and had a police record. If you are worried you can always move it all into your rooms and lock them. That's why you have keyed locks.

Hubby says, "Wait, aren't you teaching an afternoon class?" "Yes. They might be home for a half an hour before I get back. Brian and Andrew will get home before they do though."

"Oh no. They can't be in the house if one of us isn't there. We can't allow that."

Where is all this anxiety coming from? These are boys who don't get into trouble. Girls with history, fine. Nice boys who might like their new video games however are to be viewed with suspicion.

See my sons know the girls we take often have a history of shop-lifting, but they don't shop-life video games. Teenage boys though...that's a threat to their turf. Getting a brother that they get to know first is fine, but a drop-in? That worries them.

So now I have to call the social worker back and ask her if the boys have any history at all of theft and as long as she is arranging them a ride home from school (they are just over the district line and go to a different high school) can she arrange for them not to get home until 4:00?

Funny what they get used to and what feels threatening.


  1. Yondalla,

    I think you might have summed it up when you wrote

    "And in many subtle and not-so-subtle ways, when I was gone the man-cub communicated to the leader's mate, "Your rank in this house is dependent upon her authority. Right now she is not here, and you cannot control me."

    Maybe it is the idea of living with another potential alpha male?

  2. What an interesting reaction... might be some gender stereotyping going on too - girls (even with history) are less threatening than teenage boys?

    Idle speculation. Good luck with the decision.


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