Thursday, March 10, 2011

Where's My Fairy Godmother?

Warning: a serious post today. No snark. No jokes. Just a straight out plea from my heart.

There are times when I realize that being a parent is truly one of THE most difficult jobs in the world...

...and now is that time.

I am truly at the end of my rope with my 17-year old son, and I frankly have no idea what the next step is.

He's pretty much given up his senior year.

He's given up baseball, which was the love of his life.

He's given up on finding a job.

He's given up on completing his 50-hours of required community service in order to earn college tuition money.

And it now appears he's given up on his grades - which means that graduation in two months is now in danger.

Is he on drugs? I don't think so.

I think he's just completely and utterly terrified of growing up - of taking responsibility - of moving on to the next phase of his life.

In his immature mindset, I think he believes that if he just ignores everything, that it will delay the inevitable...and he can remain a carefree child with no responsibilities for the rest of his life.

I have done everything - and I mean, EVERYTHING - to stop this downward slide.

I've begged. I've pleaded. I've threatened. I've bribed. I've cried. I've screamed. I've cussed. And I'm trying, as HARD as I possibly can, to LISTEN.

But he won't talk.

How can I listen when he won't communicate?

He just shuts himself off and closes the door - both literally and figuratively - leaving me scared, confused and frustrated as I see him making not-so-good choices that could have far-reaching consequences.


I tell myself it could be worse - that he COULD be on drugs, that he COULD have broken the law, that he COULD have gotten a girl pregnant - and so I should consider myself "lucky" that what we're dealing with isn't as bad as those possibilities.

But still.

I keep waiting for the Magical Parenting Fairy Godmother to come in, wave a magic wand, giving me all of the answers and fixing all of my parenting problems.... would sure make my job of being a mother so much easier.




Zella said...

Hi from Finland ! I'm new to your blog, and I LOVE it :)

I am sorry to hear about your concerns with your son though, that's gotta be tough. I don't have kids myself, but do you think some kind of intervention (with family members, relatives, maybe some friends ?) would help ? If he refuses to listen to you, maybe he'd be too embarrassed to hide in his room if a bunch of people he knows would all want to speak to him at the same time....

Well, as said, I don't have kids so I don't know about this approach -- just an idea :)

Good luck !

LDswims said...

I am sorry you are having to deal with this. Big hugs to you!

However, don't give up on him. I will tell you what my step-dad told my mom to do with me (you are describing me as a teenager, although not for any reason that you suggested. It just wasn't fun anymore, I was bored and actually READY to move on.). He told her...

"let her be"

His premise was that she had raised me well and right and that I didn't really know how to screw up.

I know, now, he was right. I had a hard time doing something just because I was supposed to, or someone else said. I still do, in fact. But graduation won't really be in jeopardy. He might not finish as strong as he could have, but I doubt he can throw away 12 good years all in two months.

I know that's not satisfying to hear.

I know, for me, that what really turned things around was not doing what I "should have". Someone with my demographics "should have" done x, y, and z. I chose, instead to do a, b, and c. (Joined the Navy, didn't get married until well past 30 and now am approaching parenthood, hopefully, at some point later than 36.) But it all worked out - and I think, for the better. If my mom had fought me to make me be more like others, I'm pretty sure it would have blown up in both our faces.

Here is the hard part. You have to trust that what you have done for the last 17 years is well and right. You have to trust that you ARE a good mother.

You are.

Just my two cents...

I'm so sorry you are having to deal with this.


KimberlyDi said...

We're going through the same thing with my step-son who came to live with us after wanting to get away from his mother who wanted to push him to greatness.

Guess what, he needs to be pushed.

His dad doesn't push him at all. His grades suck. He does whatever he wants. Hits us up for money all the time. His dad can't say no. My greatest fear is 5-10 years down the road and he's still living off of us.

Because he refuses to grow up and be responsible.

His career plan is to be a rock star. He can't sing and he won't learn how to play the electric guitar that he bought with his xmas money.

Much sympathy to you.

carsick said...

Have yo spoken with the school? (I'm sure you have)
Does he have close friends? Could you talk to his friends parents and see if they have any help to offer.
Our oldest turned eighteen during her senior year and right after her birthday she took her GED without telling us and enlisted in the ARMY. I darn near had a heart attact. She HATED school.
Don't give up on your son. Push him to go to school everyday.
I'll be praying for your family...

Anonymous said...

Sometimes the baby bird isn't going to fly on it's own. Sometimes being a good mother means giving baby a little nudge from the nest. We have a tradition for my kids. On their 18th birthday they get a kiss and a suitcase, and if their grades have been good, a bus ticket to anywhere. They know that at 18 they're expected to be grown and out on their own.

All of my kids started shaping up as soon as they saw that countdown timer on my desktop. My last two are getting very serious about school now (because they need the grades to get into college) but I was also at my wit's end until I pointed out that they had less than 500 days to get it together, find a job, get int college, and have saved up the money to move.

Now, yes, I have extended the time a little from time to time, and my son (who is disabled) did get some time back home (which was limited).

Sometimes the only way a kid will take responsibility is when his (or her) parents stop taking responsibility for them.

And after all, isn't that what parenting is all about? Raising youngsters to become independent adults?