the6parkers

the6parkers

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

My Son Ran Away. But, He Came Back. Now What?

It was kind of a strange summer. It started with me trying to appropriately discipline Kaleb and ended with me feeling like I lost a son and gained a roommate.

You see, Kaleb ended the year with a D in Geometry.  And, unfortunately, it wasn't a case of him not understanding the material, he just didn't do the work. Or he didn't understand the material because he didn't do the work, whatever. But, regardless, we grounded him.  This was not a surprise to him nor was it very rigid as evidenced by my softening and letting him go off to Daytona with his friends in the middle of his groundation (Yeah, I'm just blatantly making up words now.). So when I found out that he had snuck his tablet back into his room, I felt totally within my logical rights to let him know that he would no longer be un-grounded on the following day. I thought he'd be disappointed and mad at himself, but instead he ran away.

There were a lot of dramatic moments of him yelling that I broke a promise of him being free on the next day and that he was leaving and me yelling that he wasn't, as I blocked the door in a quite silly attempt to pretend like I could physically stop him. And then telling him that it was he who broke the promise. Anyway, in the end, he went back to his room. And, as I silently praised myself for standing my ground and tried to stop shaking, he climbed out the window.

It was only a few hours. It seemed like longer. It was awful. I got in touch with everyone that I could think of, Brian drove all over, and Kaleb hid in the neighborhood the whole time. But, either way, he came back. We barely spoke for days. It wasn't exactly like we were giving each other the silent treatment or anything; he did write an apology letter, after all. But, there was a level of discomfort that I hadn't experienced before. I just didn't know what to say. I did tell him that I forgave him and that I wanted to start over.

But, like most things, it's easier said than done.

So for the next couple of weeks, he basically did whatever he wanted to do. He would always come home by bedtime but then go hang outside as I slept. Then when I heard that he was bragging that he got away with everything, it was too much for us to take.

When we confronted him, it blew up fast. And, before everyone was done listening to each other completely, he announced that one of his friends read my blog and messed with him about it.  What? That took the wind out of my pissed off sails. He had successfully distracted me from the topic at hand and made me feel all kinds of guilty. When the fight was over, I didn't know whether to mourn the loss of trust between my son and me or the loss of my freedom to vent on my blog. Of course, I'm doing that now so I guess this is my goodbye piece (or more accurately, goodbye to full disclosure venting).

We had one more talk, Kaleb and me. I explained that he needed to be home when I think he's home, that he could not be outside at 2 in the morning (talking on the phone) and that he needed to do his part around the house.  I said that I needed him to do a chore, any random chore before going out to hang with his friends.  I said that once a month, I would like him to come to church with us.  Because even though, he didn't feel connected to the church, it was a family thing and really not fair that he is the only kid who gets a vote on going.

It was a good talk and I felt so delightfully proactive. But, nothing happened. The rest of the summer, he slept all day, only getting up to go hang out with friends. He did no chores with the exception of my occasional "Can you help me with _____?" because he happened to be standing there.  I stopped giving him allowance since he wasn't doing his chores but he didn't even notice because his friend kept buying him dinner. 

And the worst part is that I let it happen. I felt like I had a roommate, not a son.  Granted, he was a pretty good roommate.  He kept to himself, didn't say much, etc.  Between his determination to avoid William (Those two just can't get along!) and his determination to avoid us all, in general, he was the best roommate ever.  ha.  That's not what I want from family life.  But, I also have no idea how to fix it.  I never even asked him to elaborate on his friend reading my blog.  I didn't know how to bring it up and wasn't sure if I wanted to know, anyway.  Instead I wracked my brain for a way to blog about my life without blogging about my life.  I've already shared more in this post than I meant to.  But, old habits and what not. ;)


So school is back in and the routine is back.  I wouldn't say that everything is back to normal, but I would say that there is hope.  I mean, there is always hope, right?  He's hanging around more, talking to us more.  I've tried to get the rules back on the table.  It's mostly not working, haha, but at least, I am working on breaking my habit of looking the other way.


That's it, that's all I've got. I'm adopting a "this too shall pass" and just "keep on keeping on" attitude because I don't know what else to do.  My posts might contain a little more silly and a little less deeply honest and touching raising children of foster care adoption stories.  (Unless they are about Lizzie and Antwan because I can totally get away with that for a few years!) But, there's always homeschool stories, tips that I don't have on getting kids to do chores and go to bed on time, my thoughts on the importance of teaching your children the history of Batman, and random pet updates! ;)

Hopefully, that will be almost as good.  Because as much as I love writing about doing right by my children, it's more important to actually do right by them. I have to find the balance between my need to vent and my kid's need for some privacy.  Even aloof teenagers who would currently rather be anywhere but here. :)























16 comments:

  1. I have always enjoyed your blog and I am sorry for the stress that you all endured over the summer. Parenting isn't for the faint of heart, as I'm sure you will attest. I chose a life without children because I didn't think I had what it takes. I only know your family through your posts but I feel like I know you a little bit and I root for you to always be a happy and close-knit family. Just two things I would like to say...The first is: Please consider getting Kaleb a math tutor. I got a D in Geometry and I was never able to recover. I would say it was the reason I ended up quitting school. I am very good with numbers but I never understood algebra or geometry. The second is: always remember that with love and perseverance, you will get through the hard part of raising them and one day they will even thank you for the discipline. Sooner or later, Kaleb will come back around because he has parents who love him. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mathnasium. Excellent instructors, unbeatable curriculum, flexible hours and owners who care. Please come by and let us talk with Kaleb, because it's true - Math deficits can be tough to overcome.

      Delete
    2. Mathnasium. Excellent instructors, unbeatable curriculum, flexible hours and owners who care. Please come by and let us talk with Kaleb, because it's true - Math deficits can be tough to overcome.

      Delete
  2. Parenting teenagers is so hard! Parenting adopted teenagers feels nearly insurmountable! I'm sad to hear all that happened this summer. My son ran away once this past winter. It was such a scary time and I can so relate to frantically calling/texting everyone you know to find him. I had to call the police, since I couldn't leave the little ones alone to go look for him. It took us some time to get back to normal after that incident, but we did eventually. My son still has his moments, you know the ones where he knows it all and I'm a dummy? Yeah, those moments. But, I think having been through a situation where instead of kicking him out, I searched to find him, oddly created a different kind of bond for us. I think, he understands how permanent our family is and that no matter what he does, he won't be kicked out. Still, the time we were in the thick of things was so, so HARD! Prayers for you and your family as you navigate it all.

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  3. Rest assured, you are a good mom. That's from someone who's seen what you do for three of your four, and from someone who was once a teenage boy. Don't back down on your requirements - it's how you show you genuinely care. I've seen teachers get slack on the rules and then complain about classroom discipline. Kids need to know that you care before they care what you know (I'm sure you've heard that before). And be dilligent about his "friends" since they can have more influence on him than you do at his age. And Kaleb, if you're reading this, think of someone you care about and how you'd feel if any harm came to that person when you think you could've intervened to prevent it. THAT is how parents feel all the time. They love you and want the best for you. You'll make mistakes and so will they, but it's all part of the learning process. Be cautious, though, because there are some mistakes that you might not recover from. Your parents have been around a while and can see many of those dangerous outcomes in advance....let them teach you. And remember you are loved by many. Look for ways to return that love and you will be enriched beyond your expectations.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Rest assured, you are a good mom. That's from someone who's seen what you do for three of your four, and from someone who was once a teenage boy. Don't back down on your requirements - it's how you show you genuinely care. I've seen teachers get slack on the rules and then complain about classroom discipline. Kids need to know that you care before they care what you know (I'm sure you've heard that before). And be dilligent about his "friends" since they can have more influence on him than you do at his age. And Kaleb, if you're reading this, think of someone you care about and how you'd feel if any harm came to that person when you think you could've intervened to prevent it. THAT is how parents feel all the time. They love you and want the best for you. You'll make mistakes and so will they, but it's all part of the learning process. Be cautious, though, because there are some mistakes that you might not recover from. Your parents have been around a while and can see many of those dangerous outcomes in advance....let them teach you. And remember you are loved by many. Look for ways to return that love and you will be enriched beyond your expectations.

    ReplyDelete