15-year old son owes money to friend's mom who says he's "disturbed"
Started by Cymrygirl , Jul 09 2013 11:21 AM
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5 replies to this topic
Posted 09 July 2013 - 11:21 AM
Our 15-year-old son, on a visit to a friend's house several months ago, was given PayPal access to the family's PayPal account by either his friend or the family. He subsequently spent $280 on games, to which he readily admits his wrong. When I first found out about this, the amount was supposed to be only $100, and my older son (Son 1), who also has a PayPal account, was going to just pay it and let our younger son (Son 2) pay him back from grass-cutting money they get from their grandmother.
Yesterday, Son 1 was contacted by Son 2's friend's older brother, who is supposedly in law school. He was asking Son 1 for our phone number for his mother to call us to discuss the matter. I gave consent, and she called. I answered the phone, and she started in on what a liar and a thief our son was, how he had "played on their heartstrings" by saying I had cancer, and, when I offered to work out repayment, she said her concern about the money was secondary to our "seriously disturbed" son. She said she had spent 25 years in counseling and he was "seriously disturbed." She said he had sent her a Facebook message that he would get her "greedy money" to her as soon as he could. She kept harping on that phrase, "greedy money," and said she was concerned he might pose a threat by bringing a weapon to school (which begins in a few weeks), so she was planning to take the message to the school superintendent and maybe have Son 2 suspended or whatever. She never really said in so many words WHAT she planned to suggest to the superintendent, but that seemed to be the gist of her words. She talked at length about how she dropped her son off at school every day and picked him up every day and how concerned she was about her son's safety, etc., which is certainly every parent's concern, but the way she talked so derisively about our son, it seemed she was casting aspersions on him.
Our Son 2 had a girlfriend last school year (he was in 9th grade, and turned 15 during the school year), and she broke up with him around March or so. This caused him to entertain thoughts of harming himself, but he asked us for help before he ever did anything, so we got him in with a psychiatrist who started him on an antidepressant. As time went by, we found a child/adolescent psychiatrist, and he has had 2 visits with him so far, and is so far diagnosed with social anxiety. His next appointment with the p-doc is in 2 weeks. At first, I was going to see about getting him in this week, but I can't really see what good that would do in getting the money back to her, which is my main concern right now.
As for telling them I had cancer, I was diagnosed back in Oct-Nov. 2012 (last year) with anemia and hypothyroid. When I was diagnosed with anemia, and before we knew a lot about it, my husband and I had more than one conversation about the possibility of it being cancer. My dad had non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and my grandfather (his dad) had leukemia, so the possibility was certainly there. We even added a cancer policy to my benefits package during Open Enrollment at work (Oct-Nov), and Son 2 no doubt overheard us talking about cancer. He even said as much when I asked him yesterday how he had gotten the idea (without mentioning his dad-and-my conversation). Whether he actually thought I could have cancer or just "used" it, I don't know. Just because he's my son doesn't mean he's immune to wrongdoing. In fact, the only time we ever were called to the school was a couple months ago before school let out when he and a girl had gotten into an argument and had texted mean things to each other that were being considered bullying. She showed his texts to administration and we got called in. She got talked to also, however, when her own posts to him came to light. The incident ended, and we have heard no more about it. In fact, Son 2 says they are friends now.
Son 2 has his problems from time to time, just as other teenagers do. He deals with anger and shooting off his mouth sometimes, and I have tried to caution him about both. I don't see, however, how a Facebook post about "greedy money" could possibly constitute a physical threat on Son 2's part. I'm happy to pay the money back, and I have told this mother that. I don't know whether or not she will follow through on taking the Facebook post to the principal or superintendent, but I would like to have some idea as to how to proceed. I have told Son 2 to NOT contact the boy or any of his family in the meantime. We normally live a quiet country life, don't bother anyone, and are generally law-abiding people, so yesterday's strident phone call from this mother was kind of "shock-and-awe," and I was at a loss for words. Besides the fact that she was talking a mile a minute, all I could muster besides my offer to repay was "uh-huh, yeah, right . . ." whenever she paused for breath. I also created a Google document detailing the conversation and events of yesterday and the events surrounding it in case we ever need it, right down to the time of day when she called.
Posted 10 July 2013 - 06:16 AM
It's not really clear what you want us to tell you, and there is a HUGE amount of irrelevant information in your post. The only legal issue I see relates to the alleged debt. Your son seems to admit the debt, so he should pay it (although it appears that the amount of the debt may not be certain, so he may want to ask for a PayPal printout to verify the amount). Whether you have liability for your son's debt depends on the laws of your unidentified state, but you likely don't.
Posted 10 July 2013 - 02:25 PM
We live in Georgia. As to what I would like done, I really just want mostly to pay the money if I have to and get it behind us. I'm sorry for so much detail, but I didn't want to leave anything out and it was, I admit, partly a vent because it was very stressful having a mom talk like that to me about my child, suggesting he was "disturbed" and threatening to go to the superintendent (for whatever reason, maybe to have him suspended -- she never really said). I guess I was wondering if she could really get him banned from school when he has never sent her anything threatening. I'm beginning to wonder if maybe she was more just upset by the "greedy money" message he had sent to her before she called me and was going off on that than anything else, kind of throwing her weight around, so to speak. This also came on Monday, a day after I had a seizure for the first time on Sunday and was still recovering from that.
I decided to wait until Son 2's regular p-doc appointment in 2 weeks and address this then if necessary than to get a sooner appointment. He's not in danger of hurting himself or anyone else, and if the mother of his friend has "gone to the superintendent," we haven't heard anything yet. I suppose I am mostly wondering what our legal obligation is here. If he took the money, he took it and needs to repay it (he says he felt they owed him for some work he had done for them, but I know of no agreement he made with them), and I know many times parents are responsible for the actions of their minor children, so I'm wondering if we have any liability there.
When this started, the $100 was being deducted from Son 1's PayPal, which he wasn't expecting and which he contested at the time (not knowing), and as far as I know, that is still under review. Now, where the $280 amount came from, I'm not sure, but we can pay it if need be. It was just kind of weird that the mom said she wasn't as concerned about getting the money back as she was about our "seriously disturbed" son.
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