Here at Empowering Parents, we’ve received many messages from parents sharing sadness and disappointment over the way their kids have turned out. It’s a subject we don’t talk about very often, but it’s one that really deserves some attention.
In The Total Transformation Program, James Lehman talks about parenting the child you have rather than the one you wish you had.
What he means is that we each carry an image of who our child will be. And we often hold on to that powerful image, attempting to connect with the fantasy of our child rather than trying to relate to our child as they really are.
In order to be effective parents, we need to see our kids as who they are, right now, not who they used to be.
Letting go of that “fantasy child” isn’t easy. In fact, it can be hard to even admit our disappointment when our kids don’t turn out exactly as we imagined. Perhaps they don’t like the things we enjoy, or they don’t want the career we’d wish for them to have. Many parents feel grief at the loss of that fantasy. And that’s normal.
But what happens when the reality of who your child is goes beyond disappointment? When the reality of who they are is actually incredibly painful? Here’s one parent’s story. Maybe you can identify with the grief in her words.
My son was a beautiful little boy. He was smart and kind and got along with everyone. Right up through his younger years, he was everything I dreamed of.
That changed when he started school. He started bullying other kids. He got into fights, refused to follow directions and just argued with everyone. My formerly calm and kind boy became anxious and aggressive and eventually started using drugs.
He’s dragging himself through the end of high school now, but there’s nothing left of that sweet child he used to be.
I feel that I failed him, but I still look at him and see the boy he used to be. My heart is just so broken. My beautiful boy is gone, and I don’t seem to be able to let him go.
How do I accept my son now? How do I let him be the person he’s become when all I see is that sweet little boy he used to be?
It’s difficult enough to see your children become people other than you imagined. It’s deeply painful to see them making mistakes, poor choices, or otherwise not living up to their potential.
In this parent’s case, her son has veered far from both her dream of him and from what he used to be, so that “parenting the child she has” is far easier said than done.
As parents, it’s easy to fall into the trap of acting the way we think we’re supposed to. We pretend we’re not grieving the loss of our ideal child. We push ourselves to love and accept our kids, no matter what. And we shove our grief under the rug and put on a brave face.
In the end, though, we don’t lie to ourselves very well. The grief is too real. And the more we try to pretend that it isn’t, the more ineffective our parenting becomes. We end up trying to parent a child that doesn’t exist, and we don’t take care of our emotional selves.
But, to be an effective parent, you’ve got to address the feelings, issues, and challenges that come up for you as a natural part of parenting. For example, many parents get annoyed with their kids. Children can be annoying at times, so this is a natural response. But if you don’t address these feelings (of annoyance, disappointment, grief, and so on) outside of your relationship with your child, you can find yourself making ineffective parenting choices like losing your temper or giving a consequence in the heat of the moment.
If you’re experiencing deep sadness and grief over what feels like the loss of not only your ideal child, but the child who used-to-be, it’s okay. You feel grief because you lost someone you loved. It makes perfect sense. It’s a valid and real loss, one combined with disappointment and, for most parents, a heavy load of guilt. Denying these feelings only makes things worse. How does it make things worse? It negatively impacts both your ability to make effective parenting choices and to connect with your child.
It’s important to find places where you can speak the truth about your grief and your disappointment. While you do not want to share your grief with your child, you might lean on your peer groups, a trusted therapist, or the other adults in your family system.
The Empowering Parents community is also a great place to find connection and validation. The important thing is that you find a place where you can share the truth about your grief so that your heartbreak isn’t undermining the effectiveness of your parenting.
We all love our kids. We love them through all the bad choices, wrong turns, disappointments, and struggles. And we try to keep finding the good, even inside all the bad. We want the best life for them, the best life they can build. And sometimes, despite all our love, they choose a different path.
In our roles as teachers and guides, we have power, but we do not have complete control. Sometimes, there is deep grief in accepting that.
If your child is no longer who you once knew them to be, you aren’t alone. As James Lehman wrote, in order to be effective parents, we need to see our kids as who they are right now, not who they used to be. We need to come to them with firm boundaries, clear rules and expectations, and unconditional positive regard.
If you’re struggling with this issue, please know that unconditional positive regard for your child can really only come when you’ve had the chance to speak the truth about your grief and your sadness. When we stop fighting our grief over the loss of the child we knew, we can show up to the reality of the child we have with all of our most effective skills.
We’d love to hear from you. Let us know if you can relate to the topic of grief and parenting in the comments below
Parent the Child You Have, Not the Child You Wish You Had
“Am I a Bad Parent?” How to Let Go of Parenting Guilt
Perfect Parents Don’t Exist: Forgive Yourself for These 6 Parenting Mistakes
Megan Devine is a licensed clinical therapist, former Empowering Parents Parent Coach, speaker and writer. She is also the bonus-parent to a successfully launched young man. You can find more of her work at refugeingrief.com, where she advocates for new ways to live with grief.
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This article really hit home for me . I have been beating myself up thinking what I did wrong with my children . Have 24 year old twin daughters. Always good students until high school. Went downhill from there.went to college dropped out after 2 semesters. Worked here and there not currently working at all. Totaled car we bought them a year ago and now have a car again gifted by their brother but reuse to
Pay for insurance or gas. Disrespectful and fight with me all the time if I tell them they have to be responsible , don’t do any chores in the house either. Think life is a party . Stay on phone when home and never look for a job. I know I enabled them to be this way but don’t know how to fix their behavior at
This point . I too am grieving for what I had hoped for my daughters. I had hoped all my sacrifices would give them a good future. I will never give up
On them and hope they wake up someday and see they are going down a very bad road.
My sons aren’t serious problems, they’re just lazy. My older son is 24 and still has a semester left of college. He needs to get an apartment in the city where his school is but hasn’t really done anything toward that. He spends all day playing video games, which are a complete and total waste of time and kill brain cells, and doesn’t read books other than class requirements. (He took one on-line class this semester. Part of the reason he hasn’t graduated is because he doesn’t do on-line classes very well.) All his friends are on-line.
My younger son at least has a job and actual human friends, but he’s only working as a barista. He’s a really talented guitar player and artist but doesn’t use any of those skills.
I graduated from college at age 20 with a Summa cum Laude degree. By age 23 I had graduated from law school and started working as a lawyer. (To be fair, I was a terrible law student and have been extremely disappointed in myself.)
They’re nice kids, but I want them to set the world on fire. My cousins’ children all were top graduates of their schools and are poised to do extremely well in life. My sons’ friends from high school are all high achievers. Why are my sons such losers?
I'm so sorry to hear your daughter has started to cut ties with you. I can only imagine how devastating that must be. WE have a couple articles that focus on estrangement you may find helpful: https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/estranged-from-your-adult-child-5-things-you-can-do/ & https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/estranged-from-adult-child-parent-child-estrangement/
We appreciate you reaching out and wish you all the best moving forward. Take care.
I am glad to know I am not alone in feeling grief over my son's disrespectful behavior. He used to be so caring And thoughtful, now I'm lucky to receive a hug. He is only ten and I am not looking forward to his teen years!
His father and I are not together but he is in his life and we are able to coparent effectively.
As a younger child, he was very loving, eager to please and always happy. That all changed when he turned 7. It was gradual and he was diagnosed with ADHD with co morbid combination type and was put on meds to help him.
Fast forward to today and I cry at least once a week because he treats me so poorly. He talks to me like I am his enemy and I am losing my joy.
Thank you for listening.
I am dealing with the same thing. My child always had potential , made the honor roll from 3-7 n 9th grades. Now he found new friends n smokes weed n maybe other stuff. He is very disrespectful n don’t care abt call consequences. We all tried to save him but he must do this himself.
I am so disappointed n don’t even like looking or speaking to him. Everyone said he is going to change but when? I am so tired. If behavior doesn’t change the AP stated that he will b referred to an alternative school. I really want him to attend so he can c/b in that type of environment… just maybe he will b grateful. His friends r
All Unfortunate n failing in school.
I am showing him tough love but it’s hard. Any suggestions he is on 15… this has been the worst year ever raising him
Up until about a year ago I had a really good relationship with my son, who has now just turned 16. He's an intelligent child who knows right from wrong. He's always been taught to be respectful and honest. Both parents, although divorced, are working and although we're not rich, money has never really been an issue. Over the last year however, his attitude has completely gone down hill.
He was arrested yesterday for armed robbery.
I am in a state of shock. I don't know who he is. He is in serious trouble and doesn't even seem to care. He argues with everyone around him. Police, judge, me.
I have completely lost him and feel that my heart has been shattered. I can't stop crying.
I am living the same parenting nightmare. my daughter has instead turned to sexual promiscuity and dabbles in alcohol and weed.
I adopted her at 6yo and the trauma, abuse and genetic predisposition to mental health issues have been a horrific combination. Yes, I feel so very sad for her. Physically, aching sad for her. But she too, cannot live in my home with her destructive behavior to me, our home and belongings and to herself. So, I grieve the loss of my daughter, I mourn and I feel sad. But I also had to set limits and boundaries to what was unacceptable behavior in a family and a home. She was in residential, she has had meds and therapy for years. She now refuses it all. 18yo and she knows best. She does not want to talk to me because I have "terms and conditions ". Yes, I do. As does the world. This is life. I pray for her constantly. But I know my limits and I am trying to work through the plethora of emotions, constantly swirling..
And I so APPRECIATE this article and those brave enough to share and comment on their stories. I have never talked about this with friends. Thank you for letting me know others are grieving their "loss" of a child.
Thanks for your feedback on this amazing site. I think you have a classic case of misunderstanding what I read is the child is on drugs several of them and that's what they're referring to and also they're not telling you you need to have some fantasy child but you do need to read that a few more times unless of course you are anywhere from 16 -28 Years old??? I'm just guessing maybe that is the explanation for getting so defensive and offended... Please if you don't like this page or site just do yourself a favor and just go ahead and log off please don't add any additional negativity and I don't mean to sound mean but this has been the best site I have found in all of my parenting years and I have enjoyed the fact that there has been absolutely no comments like yours thanks for understanding
Every parent has to provide guidance to their child. I've never engaged in 'tough love', have always supported my daughter in positive choices and tried to explain my position when her choices weren't advisable. What may have worked for your son hasn't worked for my daughter for the last few years, in fact it has boomeranged to the point where she believes she can demand anything, any response, any consideration without extending that same consideration to me. The path we are taking now is with the advice and recommendation of therapists and counselors who know my daughter well and have witnessed her insulting demeaning and demanding behavior toward me on many occasions. I'm grateful for all sugggestions and I'm glad that you and your son are working together in harmony. Relationship is important and keeping the lines of communication open is extremely important. Unfortunately, compassion, understanding and respect was only a one way street with us and an new approach had to be attempted. My daughter has already rebelled, big time, staying out til 4 or 5 am, not calling to let me know she was safe, we've been there and done that. Now she needs to understand as she approaches her 18 th birthday that there are some lifestyles and some choices that, while she may make those decisions for herself, I will not finance or support. I love her too much to provide her with the 'ammunition' to shoot herself in the foot. She, as a soon-to-be adult, has to be willing to accept the responsibilities of adulthood as well as the freedom she believes it provides. .
HeartBrokenInAZ Do not shield her from the consequences of her actions! What your daughter and her "gang of boyfriends" did was CRIMINAL breaking and entering, grand theft auto, tresspass, vandalism, and possibly aggravated assault, depending upon whether ther was anyone in the house at the time of their burglary! Do NOT dissuade your brother from following through on pressing charges: his insurance company will probably require that anyway before it pays a claim. You were right to NOT bring your grandchildren back with you from your visit: if you do not have legal custody, and your daughter does not have legal custody of her children, then you could have been charged with kidnapping had you done so! She is an adult to the law, even though her behavior is not. She has to learn that behavior has consequences. That's what "Tough Love" is. The only person you are obligated to care for now is YOURSELF. You can't take care of anyone else if you're a basket case. Keep a relationship with the social worker who is supervising your grandchildren, and show that you ARE a desirable influence in their lives, and that you will NOT enable their mother's poor choices any more. Thank you to your brother who gave you shelter, sustenance, and support when you were very vulnerable. Your daughter is grown, and has to learn to grow up.
I do understand your anguish, having rescued my daughter from too many consequences when she was a teen and a young adult. Then she did something stupid, and was held in jail for 5 days before I knew what had happened to her. Those 5 days effected a great attitude adjustment! Fortunately, there were no young children involved, only her dog (who had to be bailed out of Animal Control).
I too have rescued my now 17 y/o daughter from her negative behaviors. Now she is in a residential treatment program for both neurological issues and behavioral issues. I placed her there to give her one last try at getting her act together and getting the 'bad' kids away from her.It's been only marginally successful, she still refuses to join a 12 step program to deal with her marijuana dependency issue and I've had to draw the line firmly in the sand. No 'home visits', no 'freebies' (she wanted a personal dvd player for her dorm room), no trips to amusement parks other than planned by her treatment center, no cash for summer clothes or 'goodies' and no visits to grandma's house. so far this summer I've said 'no' to about 8 things she has demanded of me on the advice of her therapist. The key to all of these things is joining the 12 step program provided by the facility and getting through at lest the first two steps with the goal of completing the entire program. The second is to attend school once school is back in session Only then will I consider her other demands, and only if they are reworded as requests. At the advice of her therapist, neither her grandmother or I will allow her to return to either of our homes unless she is clean, sober and still active in a 12 step program and is attending a high school equivalency program. She MUST learn to stay away from the negative influences in her life. As much as it deeply hurts me to appear to abandon her, I'm not. She has abandoned principles she was raised with for over 17 years and I simply will not facilitate or financially support her marijuana dependancy.If she needs a place to live, she can get clean, sober, straighten out her negative and abusive treatment of me, make amends (12 step program) and I would love to have her back and provide as much help as possible. I've cried more tears in the last 18 months than I knew were in me. It breaks my heart and rips if from my chest, but this is the time for 'tough' love to let her know her life will NOT be the same and it could get pretty challenging.
barbm123 - I'm reading with interest about your journey. Personally, I'm on a pathway to mental destruction because of my absolute belief that I can help my 16.5yr old son through this odd period he's been going through over the past 7 months. His behaviour has caused that much stress, that I have lost an 8year long relationship with my partner, had to relocate 700km away from my family and town, am struggling to hold down work because of high levels of stress and anxiety and now my parents won't attend Christmas with us because of the way my son spoke to his grandmother recently. He's not violent. He's charming, passive and quiet. 100% resistant, sarcastic and completely disrespectful when challenged. When I leave him alone, he's fine to run his own race in my home. No chores, no boundaries, no homework, no socialising, no job, no motivation, no cares. He's attending a new school and like his old school of 10 years, the new school of 6 months has discovered that they are at a loss as to how to handle and motivate him. When I challenge his behaviours and enforce consequences, he digs his heels in, says "no" and becomes intimidating, abusive, threatening, disruptive, violent and downright scary. He's had reports of "fine" for mental and physical health and "superior" for his IQ.
Like @sbratlanta I have tried the softer approaches, but it appears to be a one-way street. I was interested in reading about your story because I believe I need to take a different approach. I have tried all I know. I have even tried working on myself with psychologist assistance because I'm wondering whether I am the one who needs new skills. He is a carbon copy of my ex-husband (my son's father) and I am facing PSTD and the abuse all over again, just this time from my 16.5year old. My question to you @barbm123 is, how did you get your daughter to treatment or outside help?
barbm123 @Peoplematter ExasperatedSingleMum
kindly to you both for taking the time to respond. I read with interest and
sincerely appreciate both of your stories and your viewpoints. barbm123 - my
heart goes out to you. You sound as though you are an amazingly strong person,
completely devoted to your daughter and to giving her every possible
opportunity. There is no doubt in my mind of the pain and suffering you are
going through on a daily basis. I pray that you are taking every opportunity to
support yourself so that at some point in time soon, you may find peace. It is
never easy being in the midst of parenting teenagers who are battling to find their purpose and as parents, every action we take is considered and with love. Personally, my actions and judgement are
often clouded by the love I have for my son so hence I truly appreciate your input - with both you and @Peoplematter being on the outside, you have cast more clarity onto my situation and for that I am grateful <3.
Where my son is headed is unclear and sometimes I cast my own concerns and anxieties for his future onto him. I need to remind myself to take a step back now and again and check in with myself as to where the problem truly lies. I waver between your situation barbm123, and your perspective, Peoplematter. I told my son I had cancelled Xmas because without grandparents it wouldn't be the same. So he headed to his father's place and now says I kicked him out. He has now on his own, headed 700km away to be with friends for NYE and I am told via SMS that he won't return for 3 weeks. I am comfortable to a large extent about his friends and their parents however the emotional distance is heartbreaking at such an important time in his life. I am relieved that the girlfriend he'll be spending the first week with (that was a big shock!) is from a very religious (albeit single mum) family and trust that during his time there, he will regain perspective about his own family.
Peoplematter , I read the book when he was a toddler but it was of course, way too premature back then. I should dig it out again. I hear you with the ++++++++ role models. And that is the one thing my son doesn't have. I love seeing him with the fathers of his mates - it's where he belongs - in male company. Personally, I struggle to find good role models and perhaps through own bad experiences, have become cynical about finding a good, honest man with excellent mental and physical health. And of course my son is completely alert to attempts I make involving the services of agencies such as 'Aunts & Uncles' (here in Australia) and refuses to engage on that level. I will keep trying to find opportunities for him to connect which are less obvious but I'm running out of ideas.
I have of late been thinking about sending him on a 3 month exchange program to Kenya where I have a contact. I'm thinking that time in an underdeveloped country particularly within outlying communities could connect him more deeply with men and with the idea of responsibility. My concerns about sending him to a more afluent English speaking society is that it becomes a superficial connection which will be over once he's back home.
2016 will certainly be welcomed as a year for interesting developments in our lives. For the moment while he's away and refuses contact, I will try to heal and garner my inner strength to deal with whatever comes when/if he returns end January, ready for school. barbm123 and Peoplematter , I pray that you both have a peaceful and prosperous New Year - and thank you for your words. Appreciated.
ExasperatedSingleMum barbm123 Peoplematter
Am going to wish you a Happy New Year today, both possibly sharing the exact same wish for this year to be one of great positive change for our sons.
Christmas here was also quite a muddle, as per learnt disrespectful behaviour from son to try to avoid letting Mum here steer a few pleasant social events for us to share in together AND even have him with me for the day and evening, as is common with families at Christmas, whether only two of you or an entire 'pack'.(Lucky if you have this). I can say it was (the predictable) horrible, stomach churning anxiety, not being able to rely on any certainties of my son's presence, withholding commitments to others to last minute frequently, because of my son's learnt unreliable and uncommitting responses (text, occ'ly phone call)...___! What a strain it is!...fortunately it has been moderately worth it...well, no more than that, as he and I did have a great time with all the people I had made the 'semi'- arrangements with...the best being, one new-ish set of friends who have not met my son before were just brilliant to be with and definitely brought out my 'inner' boy (as I'd hoped) while we were there all having a great time.
So, son's NY plan to go with friends to party from his dad's has also come to pass as far as I know but have not received details yet and his usual highly delayed monosyllabic replies to my 1 or 2 texts again avoid answering outstanding questions have given him re: school stuff. Friends to rescue! Unsolicited, I received a message of incitation from dad and 27 yo son to ask my son out for a coffee in town....which son did answer...Yes!! Now trying to pull it off... (again, others' voices aiming for same things with our boys...so MUCH MORE effective than us directly...and 'inner' son knows he needs it..).
Which leads me to your present circumstances....I hope you do not have the problem I have had as a result of refusing to accept certain bad behaviour almost two years ago, when he then began to stay permanently at his father's. While it has probably had the most positive impact in recognising son needs to earn a privilege/favour from me now..at least by communicating when we do converse, doing small jobs etc, I HAVE LOST HIM TO HIS FATHER. However, I also know that this could again have been a very different outcome if friends (in lieu of caring family) with similar values as me, could have spent more time with him and helped him accept my expectations as 'normal' as opposed to excessive, because his dad and paternal grandmother let him do what he wants. My point is, our boys really do need another conduit of influence and nurturing that isn't just ours, as other boys may have dads, uncles, grandads (if are positive) so sorry to say, this mum has absolutely no shame in revealing this truth to friends etc...because I can see it is the only solution for my son to connect with his inner, better self that I believe he has.
If you could have seen my stroppy, sulky, unco-operative, previously ODD son at these various friends homes...as they all usually say: what a sociable, clever young lad you have....(if only they knew ...and those friends who understand our boys need so much more subsatnce to get by well in the world than ability to 'charm'...well, if I have just found them, am shamelessly going to stay close as is appropriately possible...)
Am wishing you a good return of your son and fresh start...could talks with friends with husbands..or a respected tradesman (work experience??)/male friend be possible...?
Have my fingers crossed tightly...
Very best heartfelt wishes to you.
Hi Other Mum,
Have just read your summary and it is extremely similar to mine.
WHen my son was 8 yrs old I read the book Raising Boys...had no partner, no grandad's around and a most distant (sadly completely uncaring but intelligent and witty) brother who had no interest in my son..or us in general, not reciprocating help with my son as I helped my niece....why mention this comparing with your description of your son. Well, my son is 16.5yrs (Gemini) and under-performing something awful, now living more with his poor work ethic and deceitful father.... So, read this book and then spent next 4+ years looking for exceptions (2 I could find but even then they might not be if I had all the facts about these boys/men) exceptions to the 'rule' I could see forming from reading this book:
Male role models - to get a balanced, accomplished achieving young man with motivation and positive respect for you as mum and your opinions, advice etc that you give to your un-listening son, they need++++++++++++++++++ positive male role models to emulate. It seems, unless you can be with them for masses more time than most of us working single mums, they are biologically wired to 'copy' men. Nobody's fault and it is really apparent when you see them in company of men, particularly if the man/mentor has gained the son's respect.
So, upshot: when my son was 8 yrs old I could see he was going to be just as your son is described at this age...if I did not meet someone really good to be in our lives and who would care, in a masculine way, about this young, aimless charge in our joint care...Well, 2 relationships were not great and aspects 'missing' lead to this predictable result...a split home boy statistic...yet we know, don't we, that there is much much more to our sons. There really is...and mostly, it is the complete absence of a meaningful male relationship that stands in the way of finding the 'positive' lad...it's been awful. WOrse, you try explaining it to others not in your predicament...
Hoping you will keep trying. I am. Happy to keep in touch, if you want.
He can't see past Friday night!
As his parent I feel it is imperative I guide him, rebuke him if necessary, and
share with him things at 17 he cannot see simply because he lacks life
experience. Yes, I am thankful he is not on drugs, in a life of crime, and
sleeping with every girl out there willing (he's a good looking kid); however,
at the same time I as a parent who loves her kids more than life itself I want
the best for him. He can't turn back time and will regret some of the decisions
he is making out of immaturity. Failing to counsel him could have devastating
Police are a walking target right
now! I know, because I did the job, how hard it is not only as an individual,
but on family life, social life, a person's body, mind and spirit, and
mentally. Not to mention, it is definitely NOT a career path that pays what it
is worth! After all, the police and authorities put the very lives on the line
EVERY time they put on a uniform. I have been to too many police funerals in my
day. I certainly do not want it to be my son's!
I simply told him... As a senior
he needs to make available to him all options possible so at the end of the day
the choice is his. Failing to play football will only lessen the opportunities
afford to him and limit his choices for his future. He needs to see, smell, and
taste all that is out there before he makes a decision. "What he
thinks" things will be like isn't necessarily how they are. I for one want
him to have as many options for him to choose from as possible. Additionally,
at 17, he is not mature enough to make life long impacting decisions.
.....and all this while, I thought I was the only one feeling that I had got it all wrong and that the future only had doom and gloom for the rest of our days.
Thank you for validating my despair, for giving me hope and the strength to accept what I cannot change. Meanwhile, I will keep on trying to live with the reality that my son must be helped and loved, just like it used to be.
Oh my!!!! Thank you so much for sharing this. This is my daughter right now to a T. Behaviour really started at 14. She is now 15. She bounces from house to house, when boundaries, rules or chores are put in her. Pretty much acts out when she can't do as she wishes and wants. As for rules.....don't bother trying to instill them, because she throws in your face that your in her constantly and finds another home to live at. I want her around. I want her to understand I'm not doing anything wrong. I miss her! But I when she's around I find myself walking on egg shells and afraid to say anything to her. I can call her up from her room just to clean her food mess etc and it starts a whole blow up which is always my fault. If I push, the rules and demand, then I get verbally abused and she's gone. When she is confronted about the names she's called me, she denies it even it if I had witnesses. She will then say, we took her comment wrong, or we are making it up together. Like what the hell!!! What could be made up or taken wrong when your calling your mother a w@#$e and such!!! Lol. I believe she is in just total denial. She wants the run of the whole show and is wanting me to accept it. She wants to do as she wishes, have no rules. Basically, she wants to grow up too fast. She want to live life like an adult to do whatever she pleases with no rules but, wants me to be her maid and shauffer at the same time. She wants me to jump when she says jump.
Anyways, the hurt and pain I feel is unbearable at times. When these things first started, I was devistated. I am coping much better.....but the hurt it still there. The verbal abuse.....was a shocking devistatiin at first but now although it still hurts, I expect it with each of her blow outs. I try to explain that I am not controlling her and her life. I am just being a parents and instilling, rules, responsibilities and chores for my house. Every place has set of rules and expected responsibilities from all living within the house. Therefore, I too expect such and when such is not followed, I have a right and a responsibility to voice it or give consequences. Told her I can't allow her to do as she wishes, then I will have 3 others demanding what she is. At this point, when she is around, everyone feels tense. When she's gone, we miss her but the house is calmer. I hurt with all this pain but I hurt for her!!! She has absolutely no clue what she's doing!!! I try and tell her to put herself in my shoes. I tried telling her to think if this was her child...what would she do. Would she let her daughter do as she wishes, be defiant, come and go as she wishes. Lol.....my daughter says she would. She would be in her kids as I am in her. Therefore, she has no clue.....and one day she'll wake up. One day, she'll apologies and thank me but one day she will go through the same thing. I know she will, but I so so so hope not. I don't want her to have to endure the pain and hurt that it brings.
The one thing I'm stuck on....is how did this happen? What did I do wrong? I did not come from a pleasant childhood. I made sure my kids never had to go through what I went through. I was raised in foster homes and was never this defiant, destructive and verbally abusive as a teenager. I Leary more in a foster home that I ever did. I learned rules, respect and responsibilities. I had chores etc and had expected to follow rules. With my kids, I made sure, they weren't abused, were dressed well and always had enough food in the house so they would never be without. I let my kids have fun, I did give them rules, chores. I gave them responsibilities and had expectations (to an extent). So where did I go wrong? I'm really made to feel like my kids shouldn't have had chores. This is not only from my daughters mouth....but from mother in law. She feels my kids shouldn't have to clean rooms or do dishes. She's even voiced it to my kids. Then my kids throw it in my face. I tried to set my kids up with a half hour to an hour of homework whether they had homework or not. To me.....why not? It'll just reduce them being on electronics. If they didn't want to review notes or find some type of homework to do for that time, I told them it could just be a quiet time of reading. Well my mother in law voiced her opinion yet again to my daughter. Told my daughter if she had no home work she shouldn't be forced to still do some. Told her if she had none, it should be her break. Well, this caused my daughter to fight me and be defiant towards that expectation. This rules was put into place for this daughter especially. She was doing her homework half fast. Would skip half of her work saying she didn't understand etc. but she wouldn't even try. If she couldn't answer a question off the top of her head, than she skip it instead of looking in her notes. Plus for assignments, shed wait till last minute to do it. It's fine if someone waits till the last minute but if your going to cry in frustration and take out your frustration on everyone in the house then it should have been started sooner. Therefore, with my rule of half hour to an hour work every week day, she may have had time or opportunity to start it earlier. Also, her reading was lacking. She never wanted to read assigned school novels....let alone any novel. She either never read the novels or never finished them and bluffed her way in class. With my half hour to hour of homework every day, I didn't think I was doing anyone any harm. I guess I was to my daughter and mother in law.
So sorry for the novel!!! I just had to much to say!!! Honestly and truly, I don't feel I'm doing anything wrong. I'm just dealing with an extreme case of teen behaviour. I expected normal teen behaviour but not this and definately not to this extreme. I am learning to accept it!!! Learning to deal with the hurt and pain that it has caused. At first, it was hard. I was made myself sick trying to understand this all, along with all the verbal abuse. Presently, she hasn't been around much but claims when she turns 16 in January she's going in welfare and living in her own. I haven't said too much about that other than.....Good luck with that!!! I know it sound a bit sarcastic, but at least it's a comment she can think about!!!
I'm so happy that you shared this. I'm going through the same thing but my son is staying with his grandma and I have been trying to get my self-esteem and life back on track. Thanks for opening up and sharing your hopes and dreams and of your reality.
Professional mum of one, 16 y.o. boy (and I stress 'boy' ...not well-adjusted thinking, mature, emotionally intelligent individual that my community/society, its laws and authorities appear to think just arrives with chronological age) here, I think, across the pond from yourselves (this is an American site?). Also, long-term griever as failed to stop downhill trend of my son's character, curiosity and academic potential since divorce when he was 7 years old and numerous boyhood 'needs' missing throughout his childhood and early teens leaving him totally prey to an indulgent, 'loving' father & paternal grandmother....who seem to view 'expectation' and 'standards' as child abuse e.g. asking ex-husband (tragically son's ONLY male role model) to engage son in topical conversations or when chatting, get him to explain himself clearer (using mature vocab!) and let him see you expect it of him....my dear passive-aggressive Ex, naturally, doesnt bother ...when son is 9...when he is 10...11...12...14...by which time have added, in plea, the great positive impact it has on all school subjects requiring extended answers, descriptions etc..and how well Tom, Dick & Harry...and any boy whose father, uncle, grandad etc hold their sons/nephews/grandsons to a communicating level that older males expect, are doing at school, character and general maturity...from this simple expectation and engagement. Obviously, Mr P-A Ex-hubby continues to neglect this and any mature thinking, application, much less stop our son's violent screen game addiction and loss of interest in most other forms of entertainment, etc alone ability to connect with watching a film, a drama, docu-drama, etc
Many bloggers here, particularly your comments, have struck a chord with me too...including the pain of seeing the bad choices and outward negative behaviours our youngsters are going through...and ultimately, which I particularly was relieved to see (as seems totally absent in ex-inlaw family), a healthy parental FORESIGHT of the negative impact this will have on their kids' lives.
Thank you Cat, for going expressing some of the details about your daughter's and mother-in-law's response to your caring, thoughtful and much needed parental guidance that any unfocussed or emotionally unpredictable teen should get. I can't detail the hundreds of conversations I have had referring sometimes also to similar behaviours as your daughter's, the painful disappointing responses, when you need help and moral support, are too much to keep reliving....but brings me to main reason for writing to you:
My son is not with me now, he is living with father, girl-friend etc, I have not had any supportive family and extremely distant uncaring brother - and this is the point: like you ( taking on all roles of husband, father, uncle, grandad plus trying to squeeze mum in somewhere in that ful schedule of endless round of life's responsibilities), my son and I had minimal moral or practical support - Steve Biddulph (CHild Psych + father) states so many times in his book Raising Boys, how the interactions of all sons' meaningful relationships are effecting their development and understanding of how to behave in the world....OTHER PEOPLE. My son is most definitely a much more positive and achieving lad...inside. His PEOPLE environment around him (sadly including state school attitudes) have undermined any success I was ever going to have with bringing this out of him . I am comfortable and confident that if he and I had the many positive interactions that other 'successful' lads got, he would be one of them too. .....i.e. a grandmother who continually spoils my son, will not scratch the surface and veneer of 'knowing how to make adults approve superficially and keep them from 'prying', an family attitude that my son's mother shouldn't have worked so much (no choice, deceitful father getting us into debt and nearly lost home to 4 years unpaid council tax - had to find this out myself)...and dishonest father who is happy to let customers down (carpenter), avoid telephone calls, doesn't face difficult situations...runs away...so is 'teaching' my son, by example, how 'easy' life is if you avoid challenges...avoid endeavour...made more toxic by spoiling grandmother etc
.....What you have described I read as: this mum needs: another person to intercede with grandma, another person to intercede with daughter. So many different conversations or regular contact with daughter could be had by someone she knows, is close-ish, is INTERESTED ...maybe has to be an outright challenge to grandma BUT your tale screams: daughter needs to hear similar messages, life philosophies from other caring people, preferably those she has meaningful relationships with.
We needed it desperately too...and the worse feeling in the world is all the answers are there, with experts...but none of the people around you are doing what could be a massive fame-changer, a life-changing rapport/experience. I have given up relating things about my son - it hurts, Not enough people care or have faith in your assessment of your/child's situation.
Dear CAT, Steve Biddulph also wrote Raising Girls - maybe you've been here too, if not...well. Secondly, if you cannot instigate a decent, eyes-open friend or relative to show an adult interest in your daughter, I would be so happy, even from this distance...before matters are worse, to help. Just let me know if you'd like it.
Very best of luck and keep those heartfelt beliefs strong.
Cat14 Like you, I am the "sandwich generation." On one side I have parents who never appreciated me or treated me kindly, despite the fact that I was a good kid and never caused any real trouble. Now after nearly killing myself to make sure I did a better job with my own kids than my parents did with me, guess what. I have kids who don't appreciate, respect, or even seem to love me very much. So you have my sympathy!
Your daughter sounds like a very tough nut to crack. I can picture having these exact same problems with my daughter when she's a teenager unless we find some form of miraculous intervention and ways to control her. Some kids are just like this - live wires, type A, loud, domineering, demanding, and when they get upset, they are completely irrational and can't be reasoned with at all.
It's so hard for us to accept that their awful behavior isn't because of anything we did wrong. But the truth is, most of the time it isn't. We parents are sold a bill of goods when it comes to the amount of influence we have over our kids. Because the truth is, no matter how hard we try, society has a much greater influence and society is a very selfish and sick place indeed these days. And on top of that when you don't have any extended family support, but you just have more problems to deal with like mother-in-law, that makes our job nearly impossible. Yes, as you said to her, good luck with that.
My teen son ran off with his girlfriend, and is learning what a tough place the real world is. Surprisingly, they're still together, but it has been tough on him. I say if it teaches him to grow up, it may turn out to be a good thing, even though he's with the wrong person. Hang in there Cat... and do some things to take care of YOU.
I agree!!! There is such a lack of respect from children these days!!! They think the own us and try and bully us and rule us.
At this time, I can only hope and pray for her safety and well being. One day she will grow up and reality will hit her. I just hope that I can be there to help. Sometimes, I feel the hurt she's caused has pushed me away and will continue to do so. I've always believed that her teen years should have been the best. It should have brought us the closest to a mother/daughter friendship.
I know I've done my best and I'm not doing anything wrong!!! One day she will realize it!! One day, I'll be able to forgive her. As for now, I'm moving on to heal myself from this, so one day I can forgive!!!!
Thanks a bunch all!! This sight found me for a reason and I am so thankful it did!!! Thanks for all the info!! Thanks for all the support!!! Thanks for all the advice!!! Means a lot!!! Mothers don't get out enough with friends or other mothers to share their feelings or problems. Makes us all feel like we are alone and guilty that we did something wrong!!! Then it leaves us feeling depressed!! If we can't get out, then thank goodness for technology. At least we have something to share our stories, vent, receive advise and positive encouragements!!! Again, thanks a bunch!!!! God bless you all and may we all find peace and forgiveness with all that concerns us!!!
Exactly the same as me, with this story.
I almost feel like I'm just killing time until she grows out of it, but then worrying that if I do nothing it will all turn out much worse. It's very difficult.
I wish these articles were more in-depth, and with a definite direction. This one starts off with mentioning shallow parents ("I'm so heartbroken, Johnny didn't choose to follow his dad's footsteps and become a lawyer, Susie hates cheerleading and I'd so hoped to see her make the varsity team like I did as a girl"). Parents like this don't even need to be mentioned in a real article about real grief in real parents. The only ones truly shortchanged in these types of relationships are the kids.
Parents suffering real grief are a whole different kind of animal. We raised our kids right; meaning loving them, providing for them, allowing lots of grace and room for growth and mistakes. Most of us did far better in being honest, admitting when we were wrong and actually apologizing to our kids, than our parents ever attempted to do. Many of us wouldn't even care if our kid turned out to be gay, or embraced a different religion than the one we hold dear, or shaved their heads for that matter. We just want to see them healthy, happy, at peace, and loving their families. Instead, they often have so little respect or regard for us that it leaves us with bruises, sometimes open wounds, and at times even struggling to get out of bed and face another day.
In-depth articles that REALLY address parents like us would be so helpful.
I am the mother of five children, this is the story of my eldest. Now 30 years old, out of the house since he was 19. Always a somewhat difficult kid taking more of my time than the other four combined. Upon HS graduation, he changed big time. Went off to college and went crazy with partying, drinking and smoking pot. After 18 months in school, we pulled him out and drew a line in the sand. Follow the rules of the household or you will have to leave. He left. Absolutely no communication from him for 9 months before he reached out. It is difficult to be around him. We see him a couple of times a year although he keeps in close contact with his other siblings. He was diagnosed with ADHD and ODD as a middle school student but does not take medication now. His physical appearance is one of rebellion, tattoos, long hair, the way he dresses, waiting tables for a living, etc. He has rebelled against everything we stand for. Our other children have turned out differently, they respect us, show love for us, care about us, etc. When he was younger I used to feel as though he had ice water running through his veins. He is completely self absorbed. Until he finds someone he loves more than himself nothing will change.
I have grieved for him over the years. The sadness I have felt that this was the outcome of my first born was devastating. I have learned to accept that there is nothing I can do to change him, it is up to him now. I am sad at the "death" of my sweet boy as I knew him. So many hopes and dreams for him but he chose another path. I hope, I pray but understand will all come in God's time, not mine.
Yes, I am grieving my son who was smart, honest and a good boy with lots of friends until.... Jr. High school. He literally became someone different, lies that come easy but so easy to see, bad group of kids, poor school grades etc.
I feel like someone took my wonderful sin and gave me this "devil" of a child. To make matters worse he had a cardiac arrest last year and almost died. He's pretty healthy now but has the same personality so I am guilt ridden! He really is not a nice person,no love or warmth. Very unambitious wants to just lay around on his phone or play video games can't get up to do things he even enjoys would've missed a lot headed not been for me helping him out. I believe in natural consequences but everything he's been through I also feel sorry for him. I am in therapy trying to deal with this but it is just such a slow process he will be 17 in two weeks I fear that he will be out of our house on his own before we can improve our relationship.
I really wish there was support group for parents like us I looked into it in my area and just nothing. He has seen Therapist and got medication has helped his temper somewhat but that's about it. I really need to talk to other parents who have had similar children. I live in a pretty metropolitan area but can't believe no support groups available to help the parents. So I I am in this with just my husband and I, he kind of goes along doesn't have the pain that I do because I feel like I gave birth to him he's a part of me that is lost.
Thanks for your response, every little bit helps.
Can I relate to the above story? Many
times over. My oldest daughter is now 35. And I know I am deeply
grieving over her. For years and years I tried to help her but it wasn't
the help she needed. Oh, yes I physically helped. I helped her with
her first child, then second, then third, then fourth, then fifth. And
now, 15 years later we have her oldest son and we have been raising him for
over 3 years now. How is our grandson? He is troubled, challenging
and sometimes he completely wears us out. How is my daughter? She
is a mess! And what about the other 4 grandchildren? Well, my
daughter about 1 1/2 years ago married a man that we deeply feel he is not
capable of knowing how to be a good husband nor how to be a good father to the
other 4 children. Where are we at now? My daughter has completely
severed our relationship with them and our other grandchildren. Even our
grandson, which is my daughter's first child barely even sees is mother, nor
does he feel she even cares and he does not get to have any relationship with
his siblings. Do we care? Well, yes and no. We are so hurt that
even to see my daughter, to be quite honest, I would probably walk the other
way or maybe run. But, for the sake of the other grandchildren I would
run with speed to help my grandchildren, to see my oldest grandchild spend time
with his siblings, but we aren't allowed. My daughter has been diagnosed
with several mental disorders, her husband is extremely lazy and the children
are forced to conform to their way of life. (You can only imagine)
And to top it off, we live right next door to them. Do I grieve, yes every day......
Barbm123, thanks for calling me a "young man" because I'm actually 45. I guess you could call me a tweener. ?
No parent is perfect, but I think in many instances, some parents don't realize how damaging their own behavior is to their kids. My mom did a lot of hurtful things to not only me but to other people as well. She could be the most loving person but she could also be extremely manipulative and even cunning in getting people to see her as a victim. I got married when I was 27 but she wanted me to be her baby boy forever and she made sure that people knew that her baby boy was leaving her behind for some tramp that got her hooks into me and took me away from her. I guess she couldn't see me as a man with my own life rather than the little boy she wanted me to remain.
My message to all parents is to take a good look at yourself first and objectively ask yourself if you are doing anything to contribute to your child's negative behaviors. Fix your own faults first before complaining that your child is behaving badly and hurting you.
@Jon I agree that parents need to accept responsibility as well for their actions. I do believe their roles play an major part and contribute to how their children behave and become adults. However, to be honest, up until a few years ago - society offered no "learning" for parents - Parents were expected to instinctively know how to be good parents.
I think the world has changed on this view and people are now learning how to be better parents because it is a learning experience. Beating kids as a punishment is no longer tolerated and exposing kids to certain environments as well as leaving them home alone while parents entertained or shopped - these were things that were all done drinking, smoking and other behaviors that kids were exposed to - Adults now know better. If you are BRAVE and HONEST you will FIX you own flaws and faults just as you say. However, I also think the entire cycle of parenting needs to be taken into account and openly discussed. I think AMERICA or the WORD needs to go back to being families - and first and foremost better FAMILY MEMBERS and stop blaming and holding on to the a HATRED that is destroying the entire structure or family.
Jon, I'm so sorry you still have so much pain. I know it sounds easy but so much harder to make decisions that we won't cling to our anger and grief, however justified. The focus has to shift for you if you will ever be free of the burdens she placed on you. It is n't fair, is it? that her grasp reaches beyond her death and ensares you ? Grief is a cruel master and I feel as if the grief you have for what should have been will never replace the burdens that you were expected to bear as a kid. The truth is that she can no longer enslave you, you are a free agent now. You had a double whammy of sorts because of the loss of your father too. There was no counter balance in your childhood without his influence.Try not to let the 'should have beens' that so controlled you in your early youth/adolescence keep you a prisoner today. We all carry wounds from the painful periods in our lives but it's up to us to decide that we will no longer be victimized by them, enslaved to them. Reactions are instantaneous and uncontrollable initially, what we do with those reactions, how we respond to those instant flashes of memory and anger, that is truly what is within our control. If you can't release the regrets, sadness, anger and eventually come to a sense of forgiveness for her humanity, her failings, then you will enslave yourself to them. None of that is easy, it's damned hard, but it is the only way I know to put the past in the past and find healing and new life for the future. Whether she loved your dad or not, that was an issue between them and had nothing to do with you. In the end, her attempts at making a prisoner of you ended up driving you away, so she lost you in a deep and painful way because of her dependancy, her need and your right to an independant adulthood and freedom.
My daughter has always been the center of my universe. I love her with a depth I'd never known before. That doesn't make her, in any way, responsible for my happiness. or what I do with today or the rest of my life. she's still a teenager and she has a long life ahead of her, part of which I hope will include me as her mom and much of which will be independant of me and that is as it should be. Raising kids ain't easy and we all make mistakes, some little and other huge. I'm in counseling now to help me deal with my daughter neurological disability, though she was vicitmized in a cruel way by her birthmothers abuse of meth, I won't enable or or encourage that vicitimization. She has to learn ways to handle this issue and my saving her, enabling her, making her dependant on me will only enslave her future. There is no cure for my daughters affliction. No meds, no treatment, only strategies for living a life as free of turmoil as possible, She views, right now, my placing her in a residential treatment program as my 'abandonment' of her. I had to provide her a way of coping, with professionals that know what she needs now and what she will need in the future when I'm no longer here to protect her. Try to let it go, Jon or it will enslave you for the rest of your life. You deserve better than that. Keep in mind that when those memories, that pain surfaces and the anger returns that it is IN THE PAST, it's truly over.You do have a decision to make, the others that told you that were correct and it's not easy to let go of the hurts of the past, particularly when they are so deep, but we do have to let them go. You don't have scars yet, you have an open wound that has festered for years. It's now up to you to let that open wound scab over and build scar tissue around it so well that it can't hurt you as deeply as i has in the past. That's no longer her legacy, but your future.Mantra's are good ways of reminding ourselves that it isn't always going to be this painful. find a few mantras to remind yourself 'I've let that go and I won't let it back in', 'the past is in the past and I won't let it invade my today or tomorrow' . You are free. You loved her, hated her, resented her intrusion on your life, but now you are truly free. You have to claim that freedom and truly make it your own. It will take time and it's not easy, but it is achievable. You have to want that more than you want to cling to the resentment you have for your mother and try to reinvent your childhood the way you wanted it to be. That will be true freedom to live your life on your terms. I wish you peace, comfort and the courage to pursue that future.
@Anna banana barbm123
I'm so grateful you replied. Unfortunately there are no known medications that can help this problem. The first step for your daughter is diagnosis. Don't believe this is all 'behavioral'. Some of it may be, but if you feel strongly about it I would insist that she have a neurological workup by a qualified neurologist. They should perform BLOOD TESTS to determine brain hormone/chemical analysis. Pediatricians usually rely on finger sticks, it's not enough. If her levels come back on the low side, even the low side of 'normal' I'd pursue a PET scan and insist that it be done ASAP.
There is a suggestion that a non-fat, low sugar diet can offer some relief, Red Delicious apples, bananas, almonds, eggs, salmon and dark chocolate (artificial sweetener) can also help. Some have used a dietary supplement, but I'd check with the doctor before using, some could be toxic to her. Right now, I'm the guinea pig for my daughter, taking very low dosaes (100 mg) of Sam-e to assess my reactions to this over the counter dietary supplement. I've only been on it for a short time so my reactions right now won't be of any help.
Keep in mind that these kids don't want to be 'abnormal' and in most ways they aren't, they are perfectly beautiful, responsive kids who have been saddled with a huge problem. They need structure and order and can't achieve order without external help. My daughter was identified as 'gifted' intellectually and she is. The problem is that the diminished serotonin and dopamine naturally occuring in most people shuts off the 'reward' feeling when a good thing is accomplished, so they give the appearance of not caring when they flunk a test. They can be inattentive, easily distracted and need gentle guidance, especially at 10 but even beyond that. I would love to stay intouch with you, Anna and I will provide you with my alternative email address here: Barbm1712@gmail.com. If I hear from you on that email I can provide my regular email account so we can 'talk' online. I know we could both use a friend to 'understands' this issue. I so appreciate your concern and caring. Take care of your sweet girl, I wish I'd known at 10 what mine was dealing with, many things would have been handled differenlty.
Anna banana bobanna barbm123
Counseling is always a benefit. I have to agree with your pediatrician, ADHD seems to be on the upper scale, whereas my daughter is on the lower, almost inactive scale. My daughter is extremely intelligent, borderline genius, but the seratonin and dopamine deficiencies create problems for her that have no medication. If your daughter, like the son of a friend of mine, is ADHD it will take time to regulate the medicaiton for her and it would be better to start that before she hits puberty and the other hormones kick in. If your daughter, like mine, is very creative, their sensitivties to ther people tend to be 'off the charts'. Evaluation is the key and a good counselor or psychiatrist will know how to help her (and you). You've done the due diligence, medical evaluation, just stick to the plan and both of you will be better off for it. Very best of luck for you and prayers for your daughter too.
Anna banana bobanna barbm123
Her pediatrician would have recommendations, but I think I'd start with a psychiatrist first. They can prescribe meds if they are needed and can test your daughter to better identify what may be going on and point you in the direction of the best type of therapy once the diagnosis has been made. Best wishes for you and your family, it's heartbreaking to see your kid suffer, but we parents have to be the strong ones. Most of all, give her lots of love and compassion, but not without structure and boundaries. These kids feel things more deeply, probably because they are very creative souls.
As I write this I now this may sound crazy to some. And to be honest I am not sure why this is so very hard for me right now. I really had huge dreams for him, and knowing he has the potential to exceed all of them, but is waisting it, is absolutely heartbreaking.
All I know to do is pray. I know God says,"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD,“plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." It is just so very hard.
I now face the fact my son, although very
talented in his sport, has chosen to NOT play his senior year on a football
field. He says he loves the sport, but is just not interested in playing anymore.
I know, that I know, he WILL regret this decision. In addition to not playing
his senior year, he says he doesn't want to play college ball either, but plans
to pursue an AA then go to Florida Fish and Game.
This decision on the surface sounds ok, except
I know he has an idealistic view of how it is going to be, and frankly prefers
the "easy way". He has no way of fully understanding the
ramifications of this path in the long run, not to mention I definitely do NOT
want him in law enforcement, especially the way things are today.
I made these mistakes. His father made these
mistakes. Looking back I know how much I missed not going to college in my
early years, not to mention the missed career opportunities.
My grief is almost paralyzing. I will never
see my son a football field again. No senior night. No college offers. More
than a decade of practices, games, great plays, hard losses...OVER.
This may come as petty to some and I am fully aware of how much worse it could be. With that said, I am facing a tremendous amout of sadness regarding my oldest son. I have six kids, four biological and two bonus, and love them all so much, but the stages my boys (the youngest of the six) are entering is far different than anything I have ever experienced before with the girls now 22 and 24.
My oldest son, now 17 is entering his senior year of high school in a private Christian school. He began attending there in his junior year for many reasons, one of which was to play varsity football with his best friend, then a senior. As a junior he led the state in tackles and stood out as a great long snapper. My hope for him was to earn a scholarship to college with his talents, as he not a stellar academic wonder!
Myself and his father entered the career field of law enforcement at a very young age missing out on college and all that entails, life lessons which only come from those experiences, and giving up college even with scholarships and supportive parents. At 38 I had to return and earn a bachelor degree in order to support my children as their father was no longer in the picture. This wasn't an easy task while trying to raise the boys, hold down a full time job, and maintain a home. Lesson learned!