Apr 13, 2010

Judge not lest ye be judged

So I've written many times about my struggle with keeping my teen on a straight path. He's a tough cookie, and stubborn (don't know where he gets that from)...but deep down, he's a good kid.

Then it came. Freedom. I'm not going to get into the details but suffice it to say, I lived through them myself at his age.

This is what's sad though. All my life with him, I have touted again and again the importance of getting your education. "Don't be a drop out like me!" are words that I've said thousands upon thousands of times.

Yet, day after day, I get reports of him failing to show up at school. I've talked to the teachers, I've talked to the counselors...and at this point they're saying "he has to make the decision."

I get that -- I really do. But the problem is that he won't make a good decision. He will make the huge, epic, failure of a decision that I made at his age.

We've had a touch and go relationship since the last blow up when he left home -- and facebook was my way of keeping tabs on him. Today I made the mistake of commenting on his status which was something like "F****ing kids..all talk, talk, talk, with nothing to back it up. F***** faggots" (or something to that effect. Yeah...proud moment for this mama. So I let him know it. I responded with "Wow. A drop out and now a bully....boy am I proud. :("

He removed me from his friends list.

I know it's pathetic, but I was really hoping that we'd be able to reconnect. We'd have some serendipitous moment of togetherness where we'd sing and dance together and flowers would rain down on us as God smiled on our reunited and happy family.

I know it wasn't likely to happen. But good God...I raised him better than that! I did not raise him to be a racist, I did not condone his rude and belligerent behaviour. This is not the child that I raised!!

It really hit me today -- reading that lovely little status of his. I used to see people on the news; people who'd been harmed by someone shouting at the offender's family "What did you do to him? Why is he this way?" And I'd judge. I'd sit there in the comfort of my TV with the remote in my hot little hand, and I'd judge those families. She must never have held him. They must never have told him they loved him. I bet they were never even around and he was left to fend for himself.

Well -- now it's time to be judged. I am the mother of a delinquent. Oh -- he may not have done anything illegal (yet) and he may never...but he is a delinquent all the same. Disrespectful, rude and ignorant -- and completely opposite of the child that I raised.

Where did I go wrong?


Erin said...

You didn't go wrong. All a parent can do is give their child the tools, information they will need to be good citizens.We give them love, teach them the difference between right and wrong.... and then we hope some of it sunk in. Ultimately it's like the teachers are saying, he needs to make the choice. Unfortunately a solid smack to the back of their heads doesn't really knock any sense into them. Will be thinking of you.

C said...

He seems to have a lot of anger. I think he really needs to talk to someone. I'm not impressed by the swearing but that's what angry people usually do. What about his mother, shouldn't she be addressing this issue? You need to find out why he wants to quit school. What are his underlying issues. Since you have been in his shoes you can understand where he is coming from. God put him in your life for a reason. Insha Allah you can work this out between all parties concerned. He needs you now more than ever.

Anonymous said...

Ok, Hethr! When you dropped out, when you've been making mistakes, wasn't your mother asking herself: "Where did I go wrong?" Look at you now - you turned out all right. My parents have been looking at me asking themselves: "Where did we go wrong?" I turned out all right too.
Let him be, let him make his mistakes, and learn from them. He will turn out all right. There is always a way.

Ella Jean said...

Oh, hun...My heart hurts for you! I know we all want what's best for our children, we don't want them to make the same mistakes we did. I was a drop out too, different reasons, but it's all the same. I'm doing okay now...it took a while to get here, to a point where I'm happy and have things sorted out in my life but I'm doing it.

Sometimes the best love is tough love, let him screw up, royally. He's going to be a 'brat' a 'dissapointment' and a few other more colourful words, but at some point (probably not anytime soon) he's going to turn around and need you, and that's when you get to decide if you're there for him or not. Don't beat yourself up, or feel like you've failed until you get to make that choice.

Susan said...

I'm sorry, that absolutely stinks :( . I'm not looking forward to the teenage years, that's for sure. I'm sure that some day he'll come around, like most kids. Best wishes.

Sue said...

Okay, so many of your writings evoke emotion, but I'm usually to lazy to respond. This one however, really gets me.

The title is "Judge not lest ye be judged", however, you are judging your stepson all over the place. There was an assumption when you commented on his page about being a drop out and a bully. I wonder if his response would have been different if you asked about his status instead of making a hurtful assumption. I wonder what the back story was? Is it possible that your interpretation was out of line? I think so.

Your statement, "But the problem is that he won't make a good decision. He will make the huge, epic, failure of a decision that I made at his age." Okay, so I get that your worried, and I realize I don't know details. However, I wonder what would happen is you reframed the way you look at his life, and choices. There seems to be an assumption in that statement that he won't make a good decision, and will be (that's my interpretation of the "feeling" of those words) and epic failure.

I wonder what would happen if you changed the way you interpreted his behavior? If you changed the "don't do what I did/ how many times do I have to tell you" attitude to the "I can't wait until you've learned some lessons on your own and we can laugh about this" belief?

Sometimes raising children involves ignoring the intention behind a behavior and just dealing with the behavior, other times it means ignoring the behavior and dealing with the intention behind it. It's a fine balancing act.

Just keep in mind, you did the best you could with what you had at the time. Hindsight is 20/20.

Sue said...

Oh, and, "I am the mother of a delinquent. Oh -- he may not have done anything illegal (yet) and he may never" may possibly be a self fullfilling prophecy. If you had the experience with teens that I have had I can almost gaurantee you would wrap your arms around your miserable teenage stepson and be incredibly thankful that it's not worse!

Lowering your standards and labelling will do nothing to rebuild your relationship.

Hethr said...

Oh Sue, the slap in the face I needed. Thank you!

I've actually just started a new course in school (Family Support -- go figure) that is talking about exactly what you're saying. I'm reading these topics and one by one, I see myself (or my family).

Raising a teen is NOT easy. I wish it were half as easy as caring for a baby...Oh...I trade those sleepless nights for the ones I suffer now any day.

I hope that eventually, he will turn around...I know that one day (hopefully sooner than later) we will sit together again and be a family and look back on these years with a little resentment and nothing more (much like I do with my own past now).

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