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I did a bad thing. I went through the kid’s phone.

anaxnicole's picture

I’m at a complete and total loss, and truly just seeking advice, because I have no idea what to do. Some background information is that we have SS14, SD12, and SS5 every other week. SS14 has always had a temper and fighting troubles. BM has always bailed him out of everything. BM isn’t the best figure and neither is any of her family. In the six years that I’ve been with my husband, she’s probably had five separate occasions of unemployment, and from memory, eight different jobs (I know there are more, but I just don’t remember all of them). If it weren’t for her mom and boyfriend supporting her, she would’ve been homeless several times. She’s very unstable and has an extremely toxic, abusive relationship with her boyfriend. SS14 has been in physical altercations with DH, his stepdad, and his grandma (BM’s mom) multiple times. BM doesn’t see this as a problem and thinks everyone else is the problem, even though he’s the one who consistently assaults adults knowing they can’t fight a child. A few months ago, SS14 tackled DH and we were at our witts’ end, so he ended up on a preliminary probation. He had to attend group therapy, individual therapy, and meet with a JPO one time where he was told if he gets in any fights, misses school, etc., then he’d have to go on real probation and possibly do jail time. I’ll also add in that I don’t think SS14 took any of this seriously because he has a bad group of friends who have all been on probation before, as well, and I honestly think he thought this was a normal thing that teenage boys go through. He’s since completed that and as far as I know, his temper has improved at least at home, and he hasn’t been in any fights with peers. HOWEVER, I recently did a bad thing. I went through his phone. I’m heartbroken. 


I essentially learned that SS14 is a pothead, vapes, occasionally drinks, and hates his entire life with us, and only tolerates us because of what we have to offer financially (I’m drawing conclusions for that last one). I’m not gonna lie, it did sting to learn that he’d rather live with his mom full-time, and that he dreads coming to our house every week. Logically, I know that it’s because he has no rules at his mom’s house, gets to skip school whenever he wants, is never held accountable, but I can’t help but put the logic aside a little and still be hurt. I also learned that his best friend’s mom is the main supplier of said vapes and alcohol. BM does smoke weed too, and we have no issues with adults smoking weed. DH has just always asked that she does it outside, away from the kids at all times, and she swears up and down she keeps it locked up and away from them. Guess what. SS14 has been smoking weed with his mom for roughly a year now. She’s been full of shit this whole time. DH and I have always maintained that taking the kids away from their mom isn’t right, even if she’s a very questionable mother, but this is kind of changing my whole perspective. I haven’t told DH and I’m honestly a little scared to. I can’t help but feel like going for full custody would be unfair to the kids, and I know that’s the first thing he’d want to do. I need advice. Am I crazy????? I feel like BM has gaslit and talked so much shit to us and about us over the years that I’m genuinely questioning my own sanity and questioning if this is the right thing to do. I just want to keep the best interest of the kids at the forefront of any decision-making. 


Elea's picture

If I were you I would pretend I never saw any of that. Not because there aren't big red flags but because there is no good outcome in this situation. It was not your place to look through his phone. His parents aren't looking so why are you? If anyone should look through his phone it is his parents.

If you and your DH force your SS  to live with you when he already prefers no rules and he already has aggression problems then your life in your own home will be hell.

14 y/o boys hating living with their parents is totally normal. It's not personal. It's just a difficult age. Most 14-16 y/o boys do not appreciate how lucky they are. It's a natural age to be self-centered. It's not a natural age to be aggressive so I am glad your DH took some action on that.

At least teen boys tend to lock themselves in their own bedrooms for a few years. Teen SD's are loud, meangirl, drama on steroids. (Don't ask me how I know.)

Obviously SS shouldn't be smoking at all but it's not uncommon for teens to smoke pot. It's bad but it's not the end of everything. 

I find it horrifying that his BM thinks smoking with him is ok but you can't control the bad, stupid choices other people make. Punishing BM by punishing yourself with taking on SS is not the answer IMO. 

I do think your DH would be wise to have your SS see a psychiatrist so they can talk to your SS about his current usage and maybe recommend a healthier alternative. You found this information and your DH is still clueless so I am not certain how you can enlighten DH without it being obvious that you snooped. It would be best for your DH to somehow find out what SS is up to on his own. I think you should stay out of it.


Lillywy00's picture

even though he’s the one who consistently assaults adults knowing they can’t fight a child.

shiiiit....depending on the size of the child yes I would fight them particularly in self defense.  Some of these kids are very dangerous with no morals or empathy or rehabilitation. 

I'll be d@mned my child put their hands on me ... brought them in and will take them out if it meant saving my life. 

Your DH isn't thinking clearly either. Introducing kids to substances before they're legally able to consume isn't healthy at all and could be part of why his behavior is on a decline. He might need to have a conversation with her to give her chance to improve then take action if things don't get better although sounds like he's not as bothered by his sons behavior because if he wanted to intervene he would have by now before his son attacked him plus several family members. 

Also it sounds like his son prefer to live with their mother because less rules. 

Your husband would need to be on board with you. If you have a lawyer you may want to consult for insight. 

anaxnicole's picture

He has somewhat already had a conversation like this before with BM. That's part of why I feel so hurt and betrayed. Like I said, BM smokes weed regularly. The kids often smell like weed when they come from her house. We have no problem with adults smoking weed, but we do think it should be kept away from kids. In a perfect world, kids probably shouldn't even know that their parents smoke weed at all. DH has told BM he doesn't want them around weed under any circumstances. She swears up and down she doesn't smoke in front of them, that it's all locked up, but then they still smell like it ... their last weed conversation, he told her he's not going to talk to her about it again, he said he'll just get the police involved next time. Of course, all of these conversations happened before I knew that she was actually smoking *with* SS14. Now that I know that's the case, I feel even more disgusted by her lies and behavior. 

Rags's picture

Pot reeking gutter trash.  Why do that when edibles are available and don't make someone smell like gutter trash?



At some point these people will lose a job because of being under the influence at work.  The law does not protect them from termination for work safety violations.

It can't happen soon enough IMHO.

I have had to release a number of people over the years for being under the influence at work or for refusing a random or reasonable suspicion test requirement.


Every one of them came back after 90days begging to return to the job.  Nope, I always made sure to have filled those openings ASAP.  That company had a 90 day no application rule for those terminated for drug policy violations.  If they were on Rx'd medications, I would work with them.  Recreational use... nope. I did not want to deal with a major injury at best or a fatality at worst.  Making a call to a family member that a person has been killed on the job is hard enough.  I could not imagine having to tell a family that their loved one is dead because they were stoned at work and violate safe work practices.

Better terminated from employement than terminated from life due to being under the influence while working in an industrial environment.


CLove's picture

Anything YOU do at this point will activate the defensiveness.

Leave it alone.

anaxnicole's picture

Of course, I would never do anything on my own. I would for sure tell DH and let him handle it how he wants. I just don't know if this is worth bringing up to DH because as a lot of people have said, can we really control what BM does in her house? Is it enough grounds for full custody? I know without a doubt that my husband would immediately want to get the courts involved if I told him this. My dilemma is I don't know if that's the best thing for the kids or not. 

Lillywy00's picture

Yeah you all can absolutely do something about the illicit substances because he's continuously doing things that aren't legal 

In our state here (where it's legal) you have to be 21 to consume thc, nicotine, and liquor. 

All that's needed is a home drug test to prove if he's really doing it or not. 

Although he could lie and say he got it from a "friend" and not his actual mother in order to keep her out of major trouble. 

Dont feel one ounce of guilt looking in his phone - you all pay the bills (including cell phone) so until he's responsible for himself and has a job then you have every right to look in that phone and anything else you paid for. Although I could see where you'd feel how you do about his rants about coming to y'all home. 

advice.only2's picture

There are so many things at play here that can backfire in your face.  While I think it’s acceptable for parents to go through their adolescent child’s phone, the courts may not agree with you, especially if you don’t pay for the phone, they could see it as an invasion of privacy.  Not sure of your state’s rules, but getting full custody is never usually easy unless the other parent is incarcerated.  If marijuana is legal in your state do you have proof that SS14 doesn’t have a medical card issued to him?  Vape pens aren’t illegal and prove that it’s SS14’s and he’s not just “holding it for a friend” or “he didn’t know what it was.” While holding if for said “friend”.    I think the only thing you might get out of this and make stick is to press charges against the parent who is supplying alcohol to underage minors…even then you would need to prove it beyond a shadow of a doubt.  Again, it would all be hearsay seeing as you went through his phone and he could easily delete everything and say he doesn’t know what you are talking about.  The laws and rules aren’t really set up to assist the parents trying to do the right thing. 

anaxnicole's picture

We pay for this phone every single month and paid for the phone itself, too. Phones are the least of BM's concern when she has utilities going off every few months, rent piling up, etc. Trust and believe any extra privilege these kids have came from us. That's why I said it hurts to know he only tolerates us for the extra things we give him. I also know for sure he doesn't have a medical card. We're very involved in their medical stuff and doctor's appointments ... my husband takes him to most of them because BM will cancel and reschedule them if she doesn't feel like getting up for the day. 

BethAnne's picture

In my opinion you should trust in your husband and tell him what you did. I always go back to the question of if it was my kid would I want to know, and I generally I don't keep secrets from my husband.

I might just tell him you found somethings that are worrying on his sons phone and you think he should read it. Tell him at a time when the phone is available for him to look through immediately so he doesn't push you to tell him. This way he can read it and interpret it for himself.

There isn't really much chance of gaining full custody over this in my view unless there is firm proof of BM supplying her son (in which case she could be prosecuted legally) and BM doesn't just deny it all and claim her son is lying to whoever he is talking to. A consultation with a lawyer will give your husband an idea of his options and likely outcomes. 

la_dulce_vida's picture

The only thing that your husband might want to address is the vaping and use of pot.

All of the other griping and complaining is completely normal for an angsty teenager. Pretend you didn't see it - it's not personal. If he was with his BM 100% of the time, he would gripe and complain about her right now.

How is your husband going to react to hearing about you going through his son's phone? Will he get defensive?

The honest truth is that even with this information, SS14 will likely continue to vape and smoke pot. The courts will likely not side with your husband for full custody.

You said yourself that SS14 seems better behaved lately. I really think you should let this go. SS14 will slip up and his father will likely find out about the vaping and pot at some point. If you push your husband to make an issue out of this, especially since you don't say if SS14 is vaping/using pot in your house, if it all backfires, your spouse may end up blaming you and resenting you.

Rags's picture

Unfair?  How is a quality parent taking custody away from a shit parent unfair to the kids?  Full custody for dad does not neccessarily mean zero contact with BM.

As for SS. He is 14, there is no privacy for a minor child regarding adult authority figures in that adults home.  Snip every message highlighting SM and the SS's escapades, give it to DH, forward it to your lawyer, and release the hounds on both of them.  Not that I would want that shit spawn in my home if I were either you or DH.  However, getting him the hell away from his shit mother is in his best interest and is entirely fair.  I would get all of that documented stuff to a Judge. See how criminal POS SS-14 reacts to having his ass grilled by a Judge on the stand while mommy is sitting on her side of the court room sobbing over getting caught for her idiocy.  While DH remains stoicly calm and professional on his side. Odds are, you will not be allowe to remain in the court room due to the toxic side attorney motioning to exclude witnesses so BM's support squad does not hear the facts regarding her bullshit. Though I would forward them a copy of the court proceeding minutes or recordings I I were you.  Just so her circle knows how big of a POS she is.

Had our CO court activity been during a more advanced age of the internet I would have done it with the court recordings from our hearings.  SS listened to every second of the recordings as he grew older towards aging out from under the CO.  When the SpermClan/SpermGrandHag would perpetrate her lies, manipulations, and PASing bullshit, SS grew very interested in all of the records.  

This kid is 14 and he is shit. Period. Dot.  Shit is what it chooses to be. He is far more than old enough to know right from wrong and if I was DH, I would have him in jail for the assaults and I would be working with the parents of his assault victims at school to put his ass somewhere that truly badass types would turn this kid into their shower bitch and scare the holy shit out of him to the point where the very thought of breaking the law would cause him to collapse into sobbing apoplexy.  Shit stinks. No one should feel bad about shit being what it is.  You have done nothing wrong or bad.  The kid is a dipshit for documenting his idiocy and BM's idiocy.  That is on him. Leverage it to your and DH''s full advantage.  I would.


I get that he is a kid and that his situation is tragic. But, this is on him and his parents. Both of his parents.  For whatever reason, DH and BM have failed beyond measure with this kid and it is time for the kid to live the full consequences of their parental failure and  his violent dope head choices.  BM needs to be arrested and prosecuted for contributing to the delinquency.......  If I were DH, I would not hesitate press those charges.

IMHO of course.



Rumplestiltskin's picture

Two possible outcomes. One, people either don't believe you or get mad at you for looking, and nothing changes. Two, your DH is extremely grateful to you for getting the info, and you win full custody of SS. That's probably the worst outcome. 

Kloewent's picture

I would stay out of it. Kid will hate you, BM, will make life hell and your husband may feel forced to do something he doesn't want to do and you may be stuck with a kid that will make your home a war zone! 

CLove's picture

Thats my take on it too. There was once a time I would have banded together with husband and went for it, "its in their best interest".

I promise they will make you the enemie.

ndc's picture

I would not do or say anything that might result in DH going for full custody of this kid.  I think that would be a terrible outcome for you, your household and your marriage.  

Dogmom1321's picture

I looked through SD13s phone a couple of years ago and we had a HUGE blowup. I screenshotted SD texting that I was a b!tch and our baby was a dumb@ss. And that she hates DH and doesn't want to come to our house. 

DH DEFENDED SD and said "she's just a kid." SD13 fake apologized and said "I just get angry sometimes." My foot was halfway out the door at that point with how SD13 treated me and my son to my face. That was all the proof I needed to disengage 100% and not feel guilty about it. 

I would ask yourself, what you do you want the end outcome to be?