Monday, November 14, 2011

Parenting challenges

Today I'm a little down, so I return to this blog to find comfort, if nothing else. Blogging has never failed me yet. Parenting a teenager. Who'd have thought it would be so challenging? Certainly not me. I wasn't exactly a model kid growing up, I didn't expect it to be easy. But I have to say, I cannot relate to my 15-year old. He lives in a world I'm unfamiliar with, and is subjected to peer pressure I can't even begin to imagine. I suppose that I never was exposed to the kind of temptations he looks in the eye on a daily basis, and therefore I never had to make the kind of choices I'm asking him to make today.

Somehow I always thought that if I modeled good choices, good choices would follow. Sadly, that's not the case. It appears that F1 is determined to break as many rules as humanly possible, and if he gets grounded as a result, he escapes the house, to break them again, just for good measure. His less then stellar behavior has resulted in him not making the basketball team this year. Basketball is the only thing he's ever cared enough to make sacrifices for. No basketball... major mayhem.

I get it. He's one angry little boy somewhere inside. He's mad I divorced his father, he was too small at the time of separation to remember the physical and emotional abuse. I suppose his lack of memories is one thing to be thankful for, but it comes at a high price. Almost 3 years ago his father announced he was leaving the country, and F1 feels abandoned. As well he should. Be all accounts he was abandoned by that parent. It's an explanation for the way his downward spiral has escalated, but it's not an excuse.

He has a mother who loves him more than words can express, and who feels that nothing she does makes a difference. He has a step-father whose financed all the legal battles, and sacrificed his career for us to be together as a family.

I have driven him to school, sports activities, dance class, birthday parties, you name it. I've volunteered at school, at the concession stand for basketball games. I've read him stories, taken him out to dinner, and for mom-and-son ice-cream, I helped him with online math class because he failed the in-class version. And don't even get me started about the fact that I seem to inspire numerous students in the lab, I infect them with the science bug, while F1 is the king of mediocrity. "What's wrong with a D mom?" And science? "I don't care about science!" I even tried the sexist route! Me! Makita! I told him that back in my country, in my time, he would have been expected to do well in math, after all, he's a boy! "Mom, this is the 21st century. We don't care about that stuff now."

I have tried to let him set his own goals, he failed. I have tried to set higher goals, he failed miserably. I have tried to little manageable goals, no go. I have tried talking, having other parents talk to him, therapy ($125 dollars per visit, twice a month, for 11 years). I have tried hugs, and talks, yelling, and encouragement.

I know that I'm just doing what a parent is supposed to do. I don't expect him to fall on his knees and thank me, thank us. Simply staying within the boundaries of the law, an occasional chore around the house, and possible a halfway decent GPA will do, thank you very much.

Makita is running out of ideas. Makita is tired.


Cath@VWXYNot? said...

I'm so sorry Makita, it sounds like you are doing absolutely everything you can (and then some) and I can only hope that, like so many other teenagers, he finally starts to see sense.


ScienceGirl said...

I am so sorry he is going against everything you try. Hopefully he will grow out of it before he gets in too much trouble; all you can do is keep trying. Sooner or later he will realize that despite of a huge hole left by his father, he has a mother that has never given up on him.

Don't give up on him. And hugs to you!

makita said...

Thanks for the kind words. I spent all last night in the emergency room with F1-1. I can only hope that this scare sets him straight. There will be extended fall-out from the happenings in the past 12 hours. Lovely.

Paul Sunstone said...

I hope things improve. It's sad that he so unfairly blames you for the divorce. And his lack of effort in school is scary.

I had a rough time with my mother when I was a teenager. I was also a poor student until I got into university. But my mother and I grew pretty close -- and have remained pretty close -- once I became an adult.