The Strife Between Parents and Son over an Offending Item



The other week, Fred gets home at around the same time as my husband. Fred comes into my office to have a chat with me, as he does on a daily basis, and my husband, Toby, follows. Fred proceeds to talk to us about his day, and we listen and chat back with him.

Then, Toby says to him: "Tell-the-truth time, I just caught you vaping. I saw the smoke coming out of your mouth"...

Fred immediately denies it. However, Toby is adamant about his point; he said that he was driving home when he saw Fred entering the estate puffing on a vape, then quickly hide it when Fred caught sight of Toby's car. Fred continually denied it. I look at them both and suggest that maybe it was cold that was giving the illusion of smoke, and that Toby, instead, saw breath coming from Fred...

I know I should believe my husband, but if Fred told me he got a lift home from school on a pink fluffy unicorn, I would believe him. Fred tells me EVERYTHING - he tells me things that he feels I have a right to know, he tells me things that are bothering him, he tells me things that I wouldn't have told my mother. But, he tells me the truth always, so I believe him. 

Somehow, we changed the subject and talked about his forthcoming GCSE's until Toby spots something and says... "What is in your pocket?". Fred removes a large and heavy vape and looks guilty. He quickly tells us that a kid at school, called Paul, has been in enough trouble with his mum for vaping, so he asks other kids to take it home for him. Paul isn't even a friend of Fred's. I doubted at the time whether Paul even existed.

It still makes me ponder how this one small event could erupt so many thoughts, emotions and conclusions. To start off with, the vape itself - it is large, heavy and digital. I googled it and it is worth £50. How the heck does any schoolboy come into possession of such an expensive item? Secondly, the actual act of vaping. I find it funny that it such a modern sneaky thing for teenagers to do. My generation got caught smoking, and usually much easier to spot by our parents as we would stink after smoking. Most vapes smell quite pleasant. It's such a friendlier way of smoking - so, I applaud his healthier method of smoking, or still punish him as I would for cigarettes? I don't know!

But he lied to me. I couldn't even be angry, I was just so upset. I stormed up to his room to search for vape paraphernalia. I didn't find any, so I was slightly reassured that this is not a regular thing. Fred followed me and tried to hug me, and I shrugged him away.

"How can I ever trust you again?" I asked him through tears. Fred welled up too and I knew he got it. He knew that if he had got home, produced this vape and had told us the story, we wouldn't have been angry with him. We would advise him to stay away from strange kids called Paul that he isn't even friends with.

The irony is, he had already tried vaping, he had told me so already in the past. He is 15 years old and I am not kidding myself - if he isn't telling me that he is trying out vaping, drinking, fighting over his girlfriend, then I would assume he is anyway, and is not sharing this information with me. Toby and I have always drummed into our sons that they tell us the truth always. Lie to us, and you are in the biggest trouble ever.

Toby and I discussed his punishment. iPhone and Xbox immediately banned. Replacement brick style phone given as an alternative. I then posted on Facebook and tagged Fred in it: "If you are called Paul and Fred has your vape, please send your parents round to collect".

It could also be that Paul is made up and Fred has spun me another lie...

This had the double effect of humiliating Fred and letting Paul know the score. It did appear that Fred had told the truth about taking home a vape for Paul.  I don't want to give parenting advice to Paul's parents... but, I did think if my son was being as devious, and asking other school kids to smuggle his property, I would want to know. Paul sent a message to me via Facebook apologising and asking for me to give it back to him. I've ignored it.

A week or so passed, and I have had time to calm down. Fred has his iPhone back - tragically, having a smart phone is a critical piece of equipment and his poor girlfriend can't cope with not facetiming him. The Xbox is still banned, and will be given back when I can trust him again.

The vape on the other hand is still sitting on my desk. I was going to wait to see if Paul gathered any of his morals and confessed to his parents. If not, I was going to stick it on eBay and make a tidy sum from it.

But writing this made me question my own morals. I've just found out the contact details from his mum and we have just had a lovely chat. She is on her way round to collect the vape and view the message that Paul sent me.

Fred has learnt his lesson and I hope he won't lie to me again. But Paul, oh dear, you are in so much trouble!

Becky, Embarrassing Mummy of two teens


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