2 kids, money and stealing-WWYD?

This is my dilemma of the day. It’s longish, sorry.

I worked this weekend and when I work, it’s like I’m out of town. I have 14-15 hour days and come home to shower and sleep. Yeah, it sucks, but that’s not the point. Husband is in charge when I am at work.

We have a well behaved 7 year old son, a 14 y/o son and a 16 y/o daughter. Usually things are cool on the weekends. #2 son had a “friend” last spring who just showed up at our door one day. Since I had no idea who he was, I got his phone number and called his parents. He is being raised by his grandmother, who sounds nice enough over the phone. He and my son had a fight (an argument) and stopped playing together months ago. They go to different schools.

Now, suddenly, this boy (Jimmy, let’s call him) is back. He played over here both days of the weekend. They got along fine, per my husband.

  1. the basement is trashed. Dirty dishes, toys all over. For this, I fault my husband. that’s another matter for another day.

  2. Grandmother calls my husband and tells him on Sunday that Jimmy has arrived home with “paper money” in his pocket. She does not tell him the amount. Husband isn’t missing any money, #1 son says no, everyone says no. Husband calls her back and says, nope, not ours. #1 son THEN counts his money and comes up $30 short (no, I dont’ know why husband didn’t have #1 son count his money before). He says he is not going to call this woman back and “bother” her.

  3. I call Grandmother back this morning–I tell her what happened and that #1 son is actually missing $30. That is indeed the amount found in Jimmy’s pocket.

  4. I go downstairs, find the mess, make #2 son pick it up (this was before school). It is only later, after shopping and putting away groceries that I discover my sister’s viola (she died 2 years ago) out of its case and the bow under the daybed.

What should I do here? Grandmother says she is coming over today after school with Jimmy and the money so that he can apologize and return it. That is all to the good, and a good lesson learned. I give her a lot of credit for an awkward situation handled appropriately(aka I would do the same thing).

But what of the other stuff? Now, (just talked to husband) I find out that Jimmy also opened up one of the windows on our second floor yesterday (it was about 38 degrees out) and left it open!

WTH is with this kid? Oh, and #2 son told me that Jimmy took #1 son’s Swiss Army knife and opened and aimed it #2 son. He is in obvious need of some constant parenting and strong limits. But Grandmother doesn’t sound like a patsy, either, so I am flummoxed.

I hate to tell this woman that Jimmy can’t come over anymore. At the risk of being majorly flamed here, Jimmy is black. Now, I don’t have any qualms of being assertive at work with the diverse peole there, but I know those people. I don’t really know this woman at all. I would find this awkward if Jimmy were white. I’ve been thinking about this all day and I think I am concerned that she will write us nixing his visits down as racist. Then I think, so what if she does think that–it’s not true, that’s her problem etc. And then I think I will ask my fellow Dopers what they think.

And, so?

I also don’t want to write off a 7 year old.

I’m not going to flame you.

I will ask, though, why you’re thinking of treating these incidents differently because of the races of the people involved.

If it were up to me, just the knife play would be grounds for a suspension of visits for a long time, for safety reasons alone. YMMV, I guess.

I know this wasn’t ask the Black chick but:

Don’t worry about appearing to be racist. I wouldn’t allow any kid who was a constant bad influence to play with my children - Please don’t bring up race at all in the conversation - unneccessary and possibly will be misunderstood. Husband would be in big poop for allowing children to play totally (it seems) unsupervised.

You don’t say how recently he moved with his grandma, but that may be part of the problem. Sounds like he’s acting out the frustration with his situation? Maybe you can tell the grandma that in light of the number of incidents, you want the kids to take a little break and try it again in a few weeks. If he values his friendship with your kid, this may make him think twice before he misbehaves.

I won’t bring it up at all with the grandmother. I brought it up here because it IS a concern of mine. I don’t want to add insult to injury, Mr Moto. IMO, the grandmother has done a difficult and admirable thing here. (I made my daughter take back the nailpolish she had pocketed once a long time ago-the store manager looked at me like I had 5 heads to bother with it). To me, the whole black/white thing just added to the whole, well, mess. Living in Chicago ( a very racially divided town) it’s kind of an invisible presence (the 400 lb gorilla in the room, so to speak).

thanks for your input. I feel badly for the Grandmother (who has her hands full with Jimmy, a baby, and I believe 2 other grandkids as well). I don’t know where the parents are. I am sure it is difficult at home for Jimmy and everybody. I am willing to have Jimmy over- only when I am here (husband, as can be seen, really doesn’t supervise a thing) and with some rules. Now, if the rules are then broken, then-out goes Jimmy.

I stole something from a friend’s house when I was 7. It was thrilling and scarey and I wanted that comic book, bad. So, I kinda know the temptation Jimmy felt. I was an unrepentant criminal and was also never caught. But I have grown up to see the error of my ways. I hope we can salvage a friendship out of this.

I agree with the notion of a break. Maybe if they want to play together again, it can be on neutral ground, like a park. It’s also possible that your son really won’t want to have much to do with the kid either.

And, I have to say, as the mother of a 6 and an 8 year old, you husband needs to keep a better eye on the kids when he’s in charge.

Since the grandmother all ready knows that Jimmy stole something, she probably won’t be surprised if you don’t want him to come back. Race really shouldn’t have any affect on you two finding a solution (I know you’re concerned, but the other lady has all ready shown herself to be pretty reasonable). You let the boy come visit in the first place, so she probably knows that you don’t hate black people. As long as you don’t use the phrase “you people” you’ll be fine.:slight_smile:

I agree that he might be having some issues because of his missing parents, plus the fact that even the best kids can go wild when they’re with friends, and are left to their own devices.

What Would Yahweh Do?

Jeez: it’s What Would You Do.

Thanks folks. We people would never use you people in this context. (I use you people to fuss at all my kids at once, as in “you people need to clean up after yourselves”).

Well, that was awkward. Especially since Jimmy didn’t seem the least embarassed or regretful.

Unfortunately, Grandmother is allergic to cats and guess who greets people at the door? Our cat. That lead to her literally clinging to our front door, while I shooed the cat into the basement. I found myself apologizing for the cat (why do women do that stuff? Why do I do that?). Jimmy handed over the money and told me where he found it.

He said he wouldn’t do it again and sorry! and then jumped from that to his guitar lessons and then his baseball practice.

So, it was a bit strained, but OK. I doubt they’ll play much together-but who knows (the cat seemed to throw her). I did tell her that I would feel better if Jimmy came to play when I was home-not my husband. Apparently, Jason came with Jimmy (Jason is a little brother that I knew nothing about). Grandmother told me all about the 7, 6,5, and 2 year olds present in the house, as well as the developmentally disabled adults living with her.

I was torn between compassion and blenching at the thought of trying to deal with any of it. I think it explains Jimmy to an extent, though. (I also think Jimmy has ADD–he never stopped jumping up and down the whole time he was here, but who knows). I know I sound down on this kid and maybe I shouldn’t be.

I’ve spent afternoons doing better things, but I’m glad to have this resolved. Thanks for letting me think out loud here.

My daughter is friends with a girl who I wouldn’t have picked out to be her friend. Nonetheless, friends they are. Sarah has had a rough time of it, with her dad in and out of her life and her mother trying to raise 3 kids on a single parent income. She’s quite mouthy and my daughter’s sassiness increases dramatically in her presence.

I handle it by laying down the rules and enforcing them as if she were my own daughter. I do not tolerate “shut up” or “retard” or any of the colorful language she uses. She is not allowed to gossip about other 6th graders, or the teachers, in my presence. They are never left alone in a room with a door closed. If my daughter decides to show off by sassing me, she gets an immediate smackdown in front of all her friends.

Once we got all that straightened out, Sarah has turned out to be a loyal, caring friend. Not the perfect child by any stretch, but you know, she’s doing quite well for all the drama she’s had in her young life.

I think the Grandma did a great thing by having this boy return the money. Rather than banish him from your house, maybe you could try and be the role model he so desperately needs. With proper supervision and rules, I think the friendship could work. If that means asking the child to return to your house to clean up the mess he made, or to lay down rules (he is not to use the viola without your permission) that he is expected to obey, then I think you can make a huge difference in this kid’s life.

I agree, I just ahve a bad head cold today and dont’ want to deal with any of this.

I also dont’ think I am comfortable (just yet) with my son going over to Jimmy’s house. I hear you on the firm rules etc–been there, done that.

Here’s the whiney bit: his other friends (of all races-just thought I should clear that up) come over and there is no problem. Sometimes they get a bit loud or rambunctious, and then they are banished outside. but the knife, the money, the window etc. And the little brother!

I just think I need a break right now.