Parenting Isn't For Cowards
Doors... It opened a door for Charlie and I to talk about what was going on. Not so much the drugs, because believe me, that's been discussed since they were babies. But about the child/parent relationship. The boys mother was crying and her heart was breaking as Dr. Phil went into her home and discussed with her that continuing to cut this child slack was not helping him. Charlie said that if that happened here, if he were on drugs, that I'd throw him out of the house. Sort of took me by surprise, but I understood why he said that. We have always had a rather 'no tolerance' policy here. Usually one warning and then consequences. I'm not a bluffer, never have been. If I say it, I mean it. However, I told him that I'd always try to help him first, whether it was rehab, counseling, prayer, whatever it took. If he continued and refused help, then yes, he'd have to leave.
I know that sounds cold. I wonder, though, if other kids had had that thought in the back of their heads, if perhaps they'd hesitated from doing the things they did that were their downfall? When I was growing up, I started doing drugs and drinking at 13 years old. No one noticed. Ever. I don't know how they didn't, because I can actually remember not be able to walk straight in front of my parents. But, my mom had her own addictions and my dad was either on his way in or out most of the time, so whether it was noticed or not, I don't know. But since I didn't have to answer for my behavior, soon I was out of control. My grades barely got me into a good university, and once there I flunked out my first year. I was taking an aquatic arts class and went in tripping on some acid, jumped in the pool and completely forgot how to swim. The whole year went by like that. But, somehow I had enough sense to keep going back. By the time I got my life straightened out, I maintained a 4.0 average. But, I wasted years. So, yes, perhaps I do tend to come down a bit harder on my kids than some parents.
Charlie and I discussed what he thought was 'over the top' behavior from me as a parent. Such as the times ( and yes, there are too many times to count) that I would go through a day of sitting in each of his classes with him to be sure that his behavior was acceptable, after receiving a second notice from a teacher that he was not behaving. First notice, I'd ask him to correct it. Second notice, I'll take care of it. Or, the year (7th grade) when he got his second detention for being late to classes. His teachers would say he was too sociable in the halls. That would be classic Charlie. So, for a few days I'd wait outside each of his classes and walk behind him to his next class. I know, embarrassing, but it worked. Make no mistake, it was embarrassing for me as well. I'd have to take the day off from work, explain and ask permission from the shcool as well as the teachers. That wasn't easy for me.
Actually, last year was the first year that I didn't have to take any matters into my own hands, and his best grades, come to think of it.
I know it sounds like I'm overbearing. However, every single friend that he was getting in trouble with those years are now at the alternative school. I know this, because it's one of my favorite places to sub at. I know each of these kids personally, have since the first grade for most of them, had them spending the nights at my house and I love them. They're not bad kids, they simply didn't have anyone who held them accountable for their actions. There came a time, actually many times, when a child would be in constant trouble, and I would have to tell them when they came over that Charlie could no longer hang out with them until their behavior improved. For some, it did...for some, it didn't. I thank God that Charlie is no longer friends with some of these kids. One nearly died from a knife fight. One will be away for awhile after bringing pot into the high school and punching a cop in the face when he tried to detain him in the hall. So, please don't tell me that I'm an overbearing parent.
After Charlie and I recapped a lot of this, I asked him if he wished I'd been more like his friends moms. He hesitated longer than I'd have liked, little snot. :) But he said that at the time, he'd wished I had been because I'd embarrassed him a lot. But now, looking back...no. Smart kid.