A mother speaks about her offending children

By 31 May, 2013 35

A comment in overnight on a story from earlier in the year was worth a wider audience IMHO.

#62
Imperfect_parent
10:20 pm, 30 May 13

As the mother of these two boys I feel compelled to reveal some facts, not as a defense to their actions, but as an imperfect parent.

The house was abandoned and 10 teenagers (including my sons) decided it would be great on a Friday afternoon to get someone to buy them alcohol and hang out in an empty house…one teen kicks a whole in the wall, others follow, they go way too far and cause over $10,000 worth of damage.

Neighbors see kids leaving, call police. Police attend and most of the kids do a runner from my home where they all ended up. Make it clear to my boys that try need to own their behavior and face the consequences of their actions.

It was aggravate burglary due to entering premises with another. Boys are interviewed and charged, spend the night in the watchtower and are released on bail conditions and curfew. Court has been ongoing for months, restorative justice was attempted in order for my boys to face the impact of their choices-the owners are not willing to go down this path as they live out of state, which is fair and reasonable.

The boys have had an ok childhood, their dad and I split when they were 1 and 2, he is currently a methamphetamine addict in jail, in an out of their lives constantly, ignoring orders and assaults my 14 year old the day before the incident-was my 14 year old angry? Probably…does it make it ok?

Definately not! Am I ashamed of their behaviour? Absolutely! Do I still love and support tem and hope that they learn something from this? Yes, I’m their mother…they have a roof over their head, food in their mouths, love, support and understanding. They don’t have I phones, I pads and all the things they want, but they have all they need.

They made a sequence of very poor choices an try have pleaded guilty awaiting a verdict. They have been referred to external suppor services (a lot easier to get into after they get in trouble), they are taking responsibility for it and they will have to face the consequences. They knew better, they chose not to follow their values and they will suffer the repercussions. I’m a single mother, I work full time, I don’t live in public housing, I don’t har $10,000 and I dont see the parents of the other children involved contributing. My boys chose not to ‘dob’ on their ‘mates’ (no longer friends btw) so they are liable for the whole amount. They have a bank account, $10 per week since they were born for car/overseas trip when they finished school. That sum will be significantly reduced now. They are learning a lesson on the effect of their choices. They are learning about consequential thinking and outcomes. There is some positive in this for them, as there is in everything in life. I do not condone what they did, I am somewhat relieved that they have owned their behaviors and will make amends as much as they possibly can. Does not make it easier for the home owners or anyone else involved.
Hurts to hear people refer to them as grots and scumbags…their past choice do not define who they are, rather how they handle this is what will make or break them. I am also not naive enough to think that this will be their last stupid choice, but I know they have a newfound awareness of consequential thinking that will hopefully give them the courage to realise that it is possible to do the right thing ad have a fun life. I also know that not every decision my children make is a reflection of my parenting-those who do and jump to statements about sterilization and foster care really don’t have empathy as adults.

I am doing the best with what I have, I love my children in all their flaws and realise that no one is perfect-no one makes all the right choices in life…I do not take away from the massive negative impact that their choices led to, just trying to provide some insight into the incident.

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35 Responses to A mother speaks about her offending children
#1
bundah9:09 am, 31 May 13

It’s hardly fair that you be burdened with footing the bill for the damage that eight others also contributed to so if I was in your shoes i’d be insisting that the boys disclose the names of the others involved.Why the hell should they get off scot-free?

#2
Brianna9:41 am, 31 May 13

Having a teenage son myself, I can certainly see how this happens. You have written some very thought provoking things. You say you’re a single mum who works full time. This is where you can’t blame parents for the actions of the child. You cannot keep an eye on them 24/7 and I defy anyone to try. Especially if it is a one parent family. You have obviously tried to raise these boys in the right manner. Respect for property, other people, etc.
Alcohol is a stupid choice that leads to other stupid choices. I am not saying that alcohol is to blame, rather that the choice to drink with mates in an abandoned house was not a good choice. The effect of alcohol and peers seems to be the main instigator of the damage.
Your boys have done the right thing in accepting responsibility but I really think that the other boys should be named and take their share of responsibility and repayment. Were the other teens the same age or older?
I feel for you during this time.

#3
wrigbe9:50 am, 31 May 13

Thank you for your bravery in responding. There is always so much more to a story than what we get in the news. Perhaps a lesson for all of us RA readers.
I am surprised that the police did not dig a little harder to get the evidence necessary to find those other boys without the help of your sons. Surely fingerprints, where the paint came from, witnesses etc could have helped if they had tried a little harder . Perhaps they thought your boys would break when they realised the seriousness of what they were charged with. Dare I suggest that perhaps the police see this so often that perhaps they get hardened and maybe the care factor just wasn’t there for them. Two offenders was sufficient to call the case solved.

#4
Hovelites9:58 am, 31 May 13

Thank you for sharing this with all the detail. It is shameful that the other children are gutless. Their families must know they’re involved. But do not realise, as you do, the benefits of confronting your actions as a teenager. I am certain that with them making amends and with you behind them, your boys will make up for their reduced nest-egg by being reliable workers and young adults. I am most impressed with your clear statements about what a parent can and what they should not take on board on behalf of their children. Best wishes.

#5
someone10:13 am, 31 May 13

what the others have said – it sounds like you’re raising two decent kids who are willing to step up when they do the wrong thing. i can absolutely see how something like this happens, and i’m really impressed with how your family has handled this.

#6
gungsuperstar10:39 am, 31 May 13

I’m not usually a fan of defensive sob stories, but I feel really bad for you as a parent and appreciate you sharing this. I made my share of alcohol induced stupidities as a teenager – in fact I made a lot of peoples share… I learned from it, and had quit drinking by 25 once I had exorcised myself from that peer group.

Your boys have done the right thing by disassociating themselves with the other kids.

One thing though – I don’t understand where this “though shalt not dob” mentality comes from. It’s good that your boys are accepting responsibility – but in taking the whole rap themselves… well I just don’t really think they’re meeting their responsibilities entirely. There’s no pride, and there is no dignity or respect restored by allowing the other kids to get away with it.

If I were their parent, I think I’d be urging them consider the lessons they’ve learned from this incident and asking them whether the other kids involved need to learn those lessons themselves – in fact I think I’d be framing it by asking whether the other boys deserve the opportunity to learn those lessons themselves.

There’s one thing I absolutely hope “imperfect_parent” will read from my comments – a lot of my alcohol-induced stupidity came in the wake of a family break up. The story is similar to your boys – although my dad wasn’t a meth-head, he was just an adulterer.

My poor mum spent years quietly blaming herself, trying to rationalise that “this was just my way of dealing with things.”

It took me years to do realise this and to be able to tell my mum that my behaviour absolutely wasn’t her fault, nor was it my way of dealing with things.. My family situation had NOTHING to do with the mistakes that I made – to say otherwise would’ve been a massive cop out on my part.

I would’ve made those mistakes anyway, because I had the opportunity (ie. “because I could) and because of the peer pressure and the complete lack of maturity that I had at the time.

I’m sure you are imperfect, I’m sure you’ve made mistakes along the way – but if your kids are anything like me, I wouldn’t go assuming that this is in ANY way your fault. Kids will be kids; they’ll do stupid things out of peer pressure and a lack of maturity and just because they can.

Please don’t be hard on yourself.

A quick final comment – I’m personally sorry for some of the crap you read about your boys on the original thread. Faceless keyboard warriors on the Riot Act have a long history of going off half cocked and using assumptions and misconceptions to denigrate and almost slander others. Brush it off – the RA is full of idiots.

#7
peitab10:45 am, 31 May 13

First of all Imperfect_parent – thank you for sharing your post with everyone. You’re clearly trying to do right by your boys and the community. I particularly support you when you say your sons’ past choice shouldn’t define them, but rather how they handle owning up to their wrongs and make amends. That’s true for all of us.

In a fair world, all 10 of the boys should be made to face the consequences and make reparations, but I actually support your sons’ decision not to name their co-offenders. If they did, they may leave themselves open to recriminations that can quite easily turn into ongoing bullying and harrassment. As you say, your boys now no longer have contact with them. In the end, there may be less financial, physical and emotional cost for your sons in taking responsibility and paying for the damage themselves.

One last point, and it’s a minor one but I think worth making: a few people have referred to the house as an ‘abandoned house’. From what I can tell, it wasn’t abandoned – it was vacant with the owners interstate. ‘Abandoned’ implies there isn’t really a victim, as no one really owns it. The choice of language can lead to people diminishing the harm that’s been done (not that I’m saying this has occured here).

#8
Hellno10:48 am, 31 May 13

Well done Imperfect_parent (who isn’t an imperfect parent?) for speaking up and for doing a great job as a parent. So many people who post on RA lack the imagination to see the real people behind the news stories or to remember that teenagers do stupid things regardless of how they were raised. I wish you and your family well.

#9
Gerry-Built1:10 pm, 31 May 13

We often forget there is a family and a story behind any offender, and as bad as any criminal action performed – it shouldn’t be allowed to define them. Thanks for sharing your story; I hope things improve for your lot.

#10
magiccar91:13 pm, 31 May 13

The only thing worse than what these boys did is the destruction of the English language from the mother. I actually died a little inside with the horrendous attempt at spelling 5 lines in.

I am sick of parents playing the “I’m doing the best I can” story. My family split when I was young, my mother struggled to provide, but I got through my teen years without a single brush with the law – it’s not difficult to do the right thing.

I agree your child’s actions aren’t yours, but the home life you provide is what contributes to their behavior so the blame falls equally upon your head.

#11
tim_c1:20 pm, 31 May 13

A mostly encouraging read, though it’s a bit short-sighted and even irresponsible not to report the other people involved – it is often [well] said that silence is complicity.

Not too many people have a spare $10,000 sitting around – and I’d dare say that most likely includes the owner(s) of the damaged home now having to foot the remainder of the repair bill.

#12
Brianna1:24 pm, 31 May 13

magiccar9 said :

The only thing worse than what these boys did is the destruction of the English language from the mother. I actually died a little inside with the horrendous attempt at spelling 5 lines in.

I am sick of parents playing the “I’m doing the best I can” story. My family split when I was young, my mother struggled to provide, but I got through my teen years without a single brush with the law – it’s not difficult to do the right thing.

I agree your child’s actions aren’t yours, but the home life you provide is what contributes to their behavior so the blame falls equally upon your head.

Not everyone has the obviously super human strength you had in your teens to avoid peer pressure and experimenting with alcohol. Don’t let the halo slip and choke you.

#13
astrojax1:51 pm, 31 May 13

magiccar9 said :

The only thing worse than what these boys did is the destruction of the English language from the mother. I actually died a little inside with the horrendous attempt at spelling 5 lines in.

I am sick of parents playing the “I’m doing the best I can” story. My family split when I was young, my mother struggled to provide, but I got through my teen years without a single brush with the law – it’s not difficult to do the right thing.

I agree your child’s actions aren’t yours, but the home life you provide is what contributes to their behavior so the blame falls equally upon your head.

o, saint magiccar9, show me the way to purity…

clearly you can read, having discerned horrendous butchering of the queen’s english; now try to read for substance and not style. imagine, if you will, the likely destructive effects on even the most resolute attempts at caring, loving, attachment parenting this op has described wrought by the influences of the father, as described.

now, what were you pontificating about again??

#14
Imperfect_parent2:15 pm, 31 May 13

In response to comments-
The house was vacant, not abandoned…absolutely there is a victim/victims in this.
Yes my grammar is awful in this as I was typing from my phone…I myself cringed reading over it!
In regards to being irresponsible for not reporting other children-I was not allowed to coerce the boys in their interview, I was there solely as an ‘interview friend’. I had encouraged the boys to be entirely honest and my younger son did reveal some information to the police. Unfortunately it is my belief (from comments made by the officer) that my boys are being judged on their father’s history and the police officer made it very clear to me that they would come down hard on the boys to ‘teach them a lesson and deter them from the path their father chose’.
Clearly not many people have that money laying around, the owners of the property included may not have it-but I clearly stated that I (well actually the boys) are paying the damages.
I am grateful to the people who have commented and shown their open mind in regards to not making judgements based on media or opinion only.
In no way was I attempting to get sympathy or do the ‘oh i’m a single mum trying my best’ angle…I simply wanted to provide some facts around the matter.

#15
DrKoresh2:20 pm, 31 May 13

Brianna said :

.
Alcohol is a stupid choice that leads to other stupid choices. I am not saying that alcohol is to blame, rather that the choice to drink with mates in an abandoned house was not a good choice. The effect of alcohol and peers seems to be the main instigator of the damage.

+1
I broke my leg partaking in drunken shenanigans. Nothing even close to smashing up a house but still, I learned my lesson the hard way that night about drinking with the boys and goading each other into doing stupid stuff.

#16
magiccar92:49 pm, 31 May 13

astrojax said :

Imagine, if you will, the likely destructive effects on even the most resolute attempts at caring, loving, attachment parenting this op has described wrought by the influences of the father, as described.

now, what were you pontificating about again??

Right. So if the father is a meth addict who assaults one of her sons, why does she continue to leave the child subjected to that sort of treatment? If she is, as everyone is making out, such a loving and caring mother, how can she justify it? Surely, no matter how tight money is, you would do everything possible to protect your loved ones from violence.

Call me heartless but I don’t buy this sop one bit.

#17
rosscoact3:04 pm, 31 May 13

Not heartless, more wilfully cruel perhaps?

#18
Conan of Cooma3:13 pm, 31 May 13

All teenagers get up to no good like this. Unfortunately you taught your to brings all the mates around after a crime spree, so the ball is in your court.

#19
Tooks3:38 pm, 31 May 13

Conan of Cooma said :

All teenagers get up to no good like this.

Most teenagers aren’t charged with aggravated burglary.

#20
LSWCHP4:02 pm, 31 May 13

Thought provoking stuff, good on you and your boys.

What mongrels the other kids are though, eh?

#21
Imperfect_parent4:37 pm, 31 May 13

Right. So if the father is a meth addict who assaults one of her sons, why does she continue to leave the child subjected to that sort of treatment? If she is, as everyone is making out, such a loving and caring mother, how can she justify it? Surely, no matter how tight money is, you would do everything possible to protect your loved ones from violence.

Call me heartless but I don’t buy this sop one bit.

Had AVO on kids father, he breached it…hence the jail term

#22
wrigbe4:43 pm, 31 May 13

Tooks said :

Conan of Cooma said :

All teenagers get up to no good like this.

Most teenagers aren’t charged with aggravated burglary.

Though clearly eight more Canberran teenagers should have been.

#23
IrishPete9:13 pm, 31 May 13

My sympathies to mum, and to the owners of the house.

Solely in the interests of being pompous and arrogant, I here repeat the first post I put on the other thread:

“A couple of kids broke into a house and did some puerile damage. Now they’re charged with Aggavated Burglary and are labelled “young men”.

Hands up anyone who didn’t break the law when they were a teenager. Yep, breaking into a house is probably at the more serious end, but they’re hardly mass murderers (though The System might try to fix that).

It would be interesting to know who phoned the police and said “I’m reporting an aggravated burglary”. I sounds like it was Aggravated only by dint of there being two of them. It used to be that Aggravated meant “with violence” or “armed”. Now the majority of burglaries are classified as Aggravated because the definition has been widened so much.

IP”

Where do I claim my prize for being right all along?

Admittedly I wasn’t quite so sensitive in later comments about the kids’ family, but I plead provocation.

IP

#24
IrishPete9:16 pm, 31 May 13

p.s. entrenched in our legal system is a “sentencing discount for guilty plea”. I’ve never liked it, because often the offender pleads guilty but doesn’t tell police or the court where the proceeds of the crime went, who the co-offenders are, who they bought the drugs from etc. We should have “sentencing discount for cooperation”, pleading guilty shouldn’t be good enough on its own.

IP

#25
chewy147:44 am, 01 Jun 13

IrishPete said :

p.s. entrenched in our legal system is a “sentencing discount for guilty plea”. I’ve never liked it, because often the offender pleads guilty but doesn’t tell police or the court where the proceeds of the crime went, who the co-offenders are, who they bought the drugs from etc. We should have “sentencing discount for cooperation”, pleading guilty shouldn’t be good enough on its own.

IP

I fully agree with this.

And I don’t think these kids can think its unfair that there was eight other kids involved whilst simultaneously being unwilling to tell the police who they were.

#26
Tooks9:05 am, 01 Jun 13

wrigbe said :

Tooks said :

Conan of Cooma said :

All teenagers get up to no good like this.

Most teenagers aren’t charged with aggravated burglary.

Though clearly eight more Canberran teenagers should have been.

1) You’re assuming she’s telling the truth about there being 8 more offenders (hint: don’t believe everything you read).

2) If the primary offenders won’t name these other offenders, and there were no witnesses to these other offenders, then how can they be charged? Most teenagers aren’t on the forensics database either, so any samples from inside the house are unlikely to come up with matches (yet).

#27
bundah9:33 am, 01 Jun 13

IrishPete said :

p.s. entrenched in our legal system is a “sentencing discount for guilty plea”. I’ve never liked it, because often the offender pleads guilty but doesn’t tell police or the court where the proceeds of the crime went, who the co-offenders are, who they bought the drugs from etc. We should have “sentencing discount for cooperation”, pleading guilty shouldn’t be good enough on its own.

IP

Actually you would be aware that there are many instances where informants have received sentencing discounts and or immunity from prosecution in order to bring down those involved in organised or opportunistic crime.As far as sentencing discounts for pleading guilty are concerned while it saves money,court time etc it’s a trade off that i’m ambivalent about.

#28
Tooks9:36 am, 01 Jun 13

IrishPete said :

My sympathies to mum, and to the owners of the house.

Solely in the interests of being pompous and arrogant, I here repeat the first post I put on the other thread:

“A couple of kids broke into a house and did some puerile damage. Now they’re charged with Aggavated Burglary and are labelled “young men”.

Hands up anyone who didn’t break the law when they were a teenager. Yep, breaking into a house is probably at the more serious end, but they’re hardly mass murderers (though The System might try to fix that).

It would be interesting to know who phoned the police and said “I’m reporting an aggravated burglary”. I sounds like it was Aggravated only by dint of there being two of them. It used to be that Aggravated meant “with violence” or “armed”. Now the majority of burglaries are classified as Aggravated because the definition has been widened so much.

IP”

Where do I claim my prize for being right all along?

Admittedly I wasn’t quite so sensitive in later comments about the kids’ family, but I plead provocation.

IP

Right about what? You’ve lost me. In fact, you’re wrong in saying most burglaries are aggravated. Everyone is suddenly fawning over this mother for some reason, when she’s telling a very sanitised version of the ‘truth’.

#29
Tooks9:38 am, 01 Jun 13

IrishPete said :

p.s. entrenched in our legal system is a “sentencing discount for guilty plea”. I’ve never liked it, because often the offender pleads guilty but doesn’t tell police or the court where the proceeds of the crime went, who the co-offenders are, who they bought the drugs from etc. We should have “sentencing discount for cooperation”, pleading guilty shouldn’t be good enough on its own.

IP

I disagree with you on your previous comment, but we’re in agreement on this one. And they don’t even have to plead guilty on their first mention. They can plead not guilty, wait to receive the hearing brief, THEN plead guilty and get the same discount. It’s wrong.

#30
Postalgeek10:54 am, 01 Jun 13

magiccar9 said :

I actually died a little inside with the horrendous attempt at spelling 5 lines in.

good 2 no. will rite like this mor often. carry on dieing.

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