Tuesday, April 24, 2012

kind of a rant

When my children's father dropped off the children this last weekend he told me about a trip in August that his church was planning and was wondering if I had any info on Stephen's summer school schedule. I said I didn't know anything yet. He then went on to say that maybe a note could be written for our son to miss school. I said that wouldn't be possible, if he had summer school, because they only allow kids to miss two days and then they kick them out. There are too many children that need summer school and not all can go. So, if your child gets chosen then they don't play games.

I then went on to ask his wife, who drives and also my ex drives for the school system that I didn't think school would be in session during that week. She looked at some paperwork and agreed that it would be finished by then.

The moral of this story is that because my children's father thinks it's fit to miss school for an event is the reason why Alex is sitting with a GED and why Alex isn't starting his Senior year in high school. If parents don't take school serious then the children won't either.

Stephen is sitting on a record of perfect attendance and the school year is almost up. On the 30th, I have to take him for another assessment and it's going to take up to two hours plus the drive time. The Mom that wants to baby my son wants to treat him to the movies because it's very close to the place where we will be going. However, the Mom who wants my son to do well says now now this isn't right. I should feed him something to eat and take him to the school for the rest of the day because why? School is important.

Don't get me wrong. I don't put all the blame on my ex husband. My son gets some of the blame and honestly I feel responsible too because had my first husband and I not divorced I would have never not had custody of my son and wouldn't have felt like I didn't have much of a say so. I couldn't at any time just walk into my ex husband's place and force my son out of bed.

I firmly believe that had Alex not moved in when he did that he wouldn't have earned the GED. He has an official graduation coming up in June and even though it's not what it could be it's a reason to celebrate.


Karen said...

It's strange when you think about it. Some kids are motivated by their parents not being supervisors, and some are not. My husband was the 6th of 6 kids, in a very dysfunctional household. To be honest, his parents went to bars a lot, and rarely supervised him while he was growing up. He made it through, and graduated. He didn't ever get into drugs or alcohol (aside from cigarettes). And he was a very "good" kid. My dad had parents who did not graduate high school. He got almost all Fs, and in the end, he turned it around on his own. He went to college, and became a pilot for TWA, then retired and became an attorney. He is now (and has been since he was in his 20s) an over achiever.
My son had a rocky time with myself and my ex-husband, but he had it fairly easy. He had support from both of us, and he used it to his advantage and didn't go to school. He did earn his GED in the top 90% of others in our state who take the test, and has a super good work ethic now, at 28 yrs old. But it took the school of hard knocks.
I guess what Im trying to say is, yes, parental influence can be a motivating factor, but ultimately, it's the "young adult" making his own decisions...for whatever reasons that might be, to get his act together or to stagnate.
It's great when they have parents who support their efforts, especially when they respond to it. But, ultimately, the responsibility belongs to the teen/young adult. I don't know what makes some motivated to work their way out of it, against all odds, and what makes some not, but I do know that when I would blame myself or my ex-husband for my son's actions (and there were times I blamed both myself and him), it was much easier for him to fall back on those excuses. It wasn't until I let go, and started giving him both the blame and the praise, that he really made strides in his life.
Perhaps that is what motivates teens when they don't have support from a parent...Both my current husband and my dad never were able to blame either of their parents for their situations, so it was up to them to take responsibility for getting out of the rut. Interesting and thought provoking post.

birthmothertalks said...

Karen, I get what you mean. I was motivated to settle down with owning my own house and keeping it because I don't want to turn out like my parents and move my children all the time. I can proudly say that my second son has never changed schools because of a move. Sadly, I can't say for the first son. I saw a pattern and even though we were not moving yearly or more so than that.. I was afraid of being like my parents. Lately, I struggle with that. When my son gets a job I expect him to do his fair share of catching buses ect. Then, I remember how my mom when she got mad at me refused to drive me to work or home and how scared I was some nights walking home from work. I agree about how the young adult has to take responsibility and move past their upbringing.

Karen said...

Probably the HARDEST thing I ever did for my son was to let him be responsible for his own actions, no matter how much blame I put on myself.
For the longest time, I would see him fall down, then run over to put a bandaid on his wound. It's what we "moms" do! and when we surround ourselves with guilt and knowledge that we made poor choices for them as kids, it becomes important to overcompensate and protect them from their emotional wounds. So, when he was a teen, he would lose money and I would quickly give it to him. He would smoke pot and I would quickly blame it on his dad being a pain...or his friends. He would not go to school and I would give him "one more chance".
I finally had to move when he was 18 yrs old, to a new town, and even though I offered for him to come with me, he chose to stay where his friends were. It was the HARDEST thing I ever did. I stopped blaming myself and his dad for his own inconsistencies and his how failures. There were times he would call me or I would call him and he had sooo many excuses why he had not gotten his act together, he even lied to me about why he was not doing things..and that part hurt the most, when I KNEW he was lying. At that point, I started turning it back around on him...if he borrowed money and promised to give it back in 2 weeks, and then 3 weeks came around, and he would say, "I was going to, but ...this came up, and then things happened, and I had to pay back Joe, and then my car failed, and then...." I would not listen to it. I would just tell him, "Look, this was a promise, and I care about you but I really don't care about your excuses any more. You are responsible for your own actions and inactions." It took a while but it sank in and now we have a wonderful relationship.
THe best thing about being a mother is that there is so much forgiveness there....no matter what they do, a mom usually forgives and forgets (and this is coming from a woman who's biggest obstacle in life is resentment toward those who do me wrong)