About an hour ago there was a quick knock on the door. I got up to answer it, but before I could get there, the person was knocking again harder and faster. I figured it was Jake’s friends, so I knocked back and then opened the door. And there I was – face to face with a cop who said, ” I got your son in the back of my car. You need to come down to the station and pick him up.” Say what?!
I get to the station and there are four boys sitting in chairs facing the cop’s desk. I can see that Jake is trying to read my face. The other moms are not there yet. The cop tells me that the boys were caught trespassing in an old abandoned warehouse. There is a chain link fence all around the building, but someone had cut the fence at a corner to get in. The boys had been using it as their “hangout”.
The owner of the property did not want the boys charged, but did want the cop to really scare them. The cop though told me that he didn’t want to scare them, because he didn’t want to create mistrust. He did give them a stern warning though – along with stating that if they got into trouble again, it would not be just a warning, but charges would be filed. “It’s a small town,” he said, “We know who you are.”
As we are going out to the car, Jake says glumly, “I’m grounded, aren’t I?” Um.. yeah, ya’ think?
So now I have to figure out the best way to ground him. What is it that is important to him that I can limit or take away? And then for how long? I always hate this part. Especially because I can remember as a kid, doing similar things – I just never got caught (even the cop admitted he did stuff like that too when he was young – again, never got caught). Jake wasn’t so lucky.
I told Jake I would have to think about an appropriate punishment. He said, “I suppose there’s no video games.” I had forgotten how Jake “grounds” himself before I get a chance to. One day when he was little, he was in his room laying on the bed and when I walked past, he said, “Mom, I sent myself to my room, because I did something bad.” He had broken something on accident, so grounded himself. Since it was an accident and he told me, I let him out of his room.
So, now I have to go announce his punishment – No video games, come straight home from school and no going out with his friends for a week. He LOVES to go out with his friends and is out with them more than he is here at home, so that is going to be one tough punishment for him (and for me as he whines and carries on about it for a week). I think that it will help though. He needs to know that what he did was serious enough that he could have gotten in real trouble. If I don’t ground him, he will think that it is not that big a deal and that I don’t care. But it is because I do care about him, that I have to punish him – he just won’t see it until he has kids of his own. Then he will truly understand.