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What do you do when your 13-year-old son's best friend is 17?

We don't have custody of my husband's 13-year-old son, we only have visitation every other weekend. He keeps telling us about his "best friend," who turned 17 four months before my step son turned 13. This friend is "really into anime," which is disturbing because of the graphic images portrayed in most anime. He has also convinced my step son to make videos of himself stealing money from his mom and her boyfriend to put up on youtube. He stole enough money to buy himself an ipod touch. His mom won't do anything about it, and we don't know what options we have for protecting him.

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Sarah S.

Asked by Sarah S. at 1:40 AM on Apr. 8, 2013 in Teens (13-17)

Level 2 (4 Credits)
Answers (10)
  • Going back to court comes to mind. If he's stealing from mom, who ELSE might he be stealing from? And mom's not doing anything about it is a problem. Perhaps a judge can do something about it.
    gdiamante

    Answer by gdiamante at 2:08 AM on Apr. 8, 2013

  • Judges do not tend to favor fathers in custody cases. Also, that costs a lot of money that we definitely do not have.
    Sarah S.

    Comment by Sarah S. (original poster) at 2:13 AM on Apr. 8, 2013

  • Judges will be more likely to consider favoring a father if that father has video evidence of his son stealing money from his mother. Not to say the dad will get custody, but it would be worth a try, or at least it might wake up the mom to the fact that she better take action before the problems get worse. Contact your county or state offices for Legal Aid services.
    Ballad

    Answer by Ballad at 2:41 AM on Apr. 8, 2013

  • I agree with going back to court with that evidence. You don't have to have an attorney and it doesn't cost that much to file the papers.
    missanc

    Answer by missanc at 5:56 AM on Apr. 8, 2013

  • Court is the only option you have with video in hand.....
    older

    Answer by older at 7:04 AM on Apr. 8, 2013

  • Just because judges don't tend to favor fathers doesn't mean he can't get custody. The videos are evidence that his mother's home is not the best environment for this boy, and if Mom will go to court and admit she won't do anything about it or agree to let his father have custody, it's even more likely that he can get custody.

    And besides...do you really want to be the one to look this kid in the eye through prison bars one day and tell him you could have tried to get custody and stopped him from doing all this but judges tend to not favor fathers so you just didn't even bother to try? I know I certainly wouldn't want to do that.
    wendythewriter

    Answer by wendythewriter at 7:28 AM on Apr. 8, 2013

  • His mom won't do anything about what? The relationship with the older teen? Or the fact that her son has stolen money from her? Do you know that she knows about the videos on youtube, or how he got the ipod?

    I think revisiting the arrangement (you might be able to share custody, have more parenting time, etc.) is a worthwhile consideration.

    But as things are, I would work on the relationship you have. Listen to what he has to say (the fact that he's talking so enthusiastically about this friend to you guys is a good thing) and focus on understanding him for what things mean to him & how he feels. Building relationship is probably the most protective action you can take, certainly more protective AND effective than trying to legislate contact. Think of it as influencing who he IS, right alongside everything else, and also making an important connection based on understanding & acceptance, rather than trying to exert control.
    girlwithC

    Answer by girlwithC at 10:31 AM on Apr. 8, 2013

  • If it's clear (to him) that he matters to you both as he is, you will be establishing and building something important. Keep in mind that who we are, is largely a process (a person in process.) Try to think of it less as "reinforcing" anything (by accepting him as he is) and more as establishing important contact, showing acceptance for him as he is, and thus having a chance to participate in the active & always-unfolding process of the minute-to-minute process of becoming and change that is happening.

    Reach out, make contact where he is, build something.

    Your discomfort, dismay & fears make sense. And you have to honor them (tolerate the uncomfortable experience of them, be thoughtful about what to do in response.) But to me, responding constructively to those fears and reactions is key.

    You could look at the book "Hold On To Your Kids: Why parents need to matter more than peers" by devel. psych. Gordon Neufeld.
    girlwithC

    Answer by girlwithC at 10:40 AM on Apr. 8, 2013

  • I think you need to start asking some questions about why a 17 year old is friending a 13 year old? And if the 17 year is obviously a bad influence, what else is being encouraged?

    And yes going to court is costly and difficult, but if you have some proof, you've got a head start. I would look into trying to do some background checks on this 17 year old too.
    boobarandbell

    Answer by boobarandbell at 4:55 PM on Apr. 14, 2013

  • In all honesty, I'm not qualified to answer your question. All I can say is that you need to learn more about the 17 yo and get help for him and your son. However, I think that your statement on how most anime contains graphic images isn't really correct. It's true that lots of the anime that teens watch contains violence and suggestive material, but it depends on the series he watches. The really gory stuff is usually in adults only series. as a 13 yo, he's probably watching stuff like Bleach and Naruto, which has a violence but also contains many life lessons. I suggest finding series that he can relate to an teach important lessons as a way of helping him. They do exist. If you don't believe me, look up "Usagi Drop" (aka bunny drop). It's an adorable series that I'm sure you'll like. Sorry, but I'm a huge anime fan, so I had to point it out.
    hershybar

    Answer by hershybar at 2:28 AM on Aug. 12, 2013

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