Possible Crisis Help

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Casual scribe

Possible Crisis Help

Hi. Any advice on how to find out if a teenager did or did not do something bad?
Situation is... did this kid do something to a kitten. I'm helping a friend with temp custody of her 16 yo son, court approved. This morning a 3 week kitten was missing. I eventually found is smooshed underneath our entertainment center. No permanent damage, thank goodness.
I don't have proof of the teen doing it but there is no way this kitten could have fit in the small opening... If I just ask him he won't answer, right? How do I maybe get an answer without causing a fight or at least resolving this issue? I feel like this needs to be addressed.

Super contributor

Re: Possible Crisis Help

Hey @Neko1216


Thanks so much for posting your concerns. it is a really tricky one.


 I spent many years working with young people who had an array of behavioural issues, which sometimes extended to poor treatment of animals.


My approach is this, you can't make someone 'confess' if they don't want to. There's no magic question that will extract the truth. All you can do is ask and decide if you believe the answer or not.


But, I would also advise that you have a think first and decide if you've already made up your mind about whether he's responsible for this or not, because if you have and you think he did it then you won't believe him if he says he didn't do it. SO it might be best to skip that bit and go straight to opening up a dialogue with him about what's going on for him and what he might need support around.


Does that make sense?


Also, not sure if this helps but I had a kitten that got stuck under a car seat in a way that seemed impossible. They do seem to be very good at getting themselves into bizarre spaces.

Parent Peer Supporter

Re: Possible Crisis Help

Hi @Neko1216, you must've been so worried finding the kitten stuck under there! I'm wondering if there has been something happen in the past that has made you concerned that the boy would do something like that? How is he generally with the animals?


The other thought that came to mind was the possibility that this little kitten has gotten himself stuck, as @Ngaio-RO's kitten did. My parents cat had to be rescued once because she got herself through a tiny space, (like a fifth of her size!), under the kitchen cupboard and then couldn't get herself back out. The kitchen cupboards needed partial deconstruction! I think if we'd tried to stuff her through that space we would have badly injured her, I don't know how she did it!



Casual scribe

Re: Possible Crisis Help

Thanks for the reply.
I did think a lot about the situation. I talked to him a lot about unrelated topics, took him on some errands. He didn't act overly dramatic towards me at all. Very relaxed.
I'm feeling more and more the kitten may just be a scary Houdini.
Thanks for the support. Dealing with outburst are one thing but stopping our own worst case scenario train of thought is another when dealing with a "problem " teen.
Parent Peer Supporter

Re: Possible Crisis Help

Hey @Neko1216, high five to you! It sounds like you've dealt with this in a really subtle detective-like way, and the outcome has been a positive one. 


Kittens are so flexible, and I think they see an out and just forge ahead until they are so stuck they can't move. You'll have to call him/her Houdini haha,


I think it can be natural for us to fear the worst when we are dealing with troubled teens. I certainly did with my daughter for a few years. But that's what I find so amazing about the forum - we can unload, hear from other parents, and it allows us other perspectives to consider. 


Hey, we're starting a chat night tonight for parents. It's at 8pm (EDST). We'd love it if you could make it. Just  follow the link here tonight Smiley Happy

Prolific scribe

Re: Possible Crisis Help

Hi @Neko1216 I agree with everyone 's advice .  What about also,  casually , when you are chatting , tell him a story of animal cruelty that you read in the news or heard from a friend , and how it upset you , what bothered you  the most and your view on it , then ask him his opinion . It may open a discussion that gets him thinking . 😊