Friday, March 4, 2011

Where do I go from here?

Once again I have started ignoring this place of mine.  For reasons I stated in an earlier post, I have so much to say, but don't feel like this is my outlet for such topics.

Well, today bloggers...I am stepping out of my comfort zone and this post is going to be personal...and I mean really personal!

I guess in a way I need other people, strangers to my situation, to tell me what I am doing right, where can I improve and where I can go from here.

I apologize in advance if this post is confusing and all over the place.  It's hard to put into words when my emotions and thoughts are also 'all over the place'.

In January of this year my 15 year old stepson came to live with us full time.  In a word I would describe him as 'troubled'.  His life has not been easy and for a 15 year old he has endured more things than most adults.  At the age of 9 his father was in a car accident, in a coma for 3 months, and a paraplegic.  Shortly after his father was released from rehab (where he had to learn to speak, write, even to hold a pencil or utensils) his parents divorced. 

His mom is currently going through (another) divorce and contacted us back in the fall stating that the situation at her house was not ideal and that things were totally out of control as far as my stepson was concerned.  He was defiant, rebellious, unruly and totally unmanageable.

We agreed to take over full custody which would require transferring him out of his current school district and into a new one.  We had high hopes at the time that we were going to be the ones to 'change his life forever'.  Our first step was getting him into the best school we failure!  Our state has a "school of choice" option, but if the student has any type of disciplinary record at his current school they will not accept him as a student.  After what seemed like dozens of phone calls we realized our only option was the public school where we live.  Not an ideal choice....but, the only choice we had.

He has been in public school for 5 weeks and instead of taking 'steps forward' we have taken a gazillion steps back.  He is now even more rebellious, unruly, and unmanageable than I could have ever imagined.  He is skipping school (7 absences and 11 tardies in less than 20 days of school), not passing any of his classes (13%-25% with a letter grade of E), failed his home drug test for marijuana (and drug paraphenelia was found at his moms house) and refuses to follow any of our rules.  He is blatantly lying and more defiant than ever.

We are constantly talking to him about his behavior and our expectations.  We have even grounded him, taken away cell phone, tv, guitar...anything worth any value to him.  He simply continues to laugh in our's not working.  After being caught skipping school again yesterday I knew I needed more extreme measures.  I contacted the school and requested that both the counselor and principle get involved.  I even requested approval to have an adult escort him to/from school and to each and every class throughout the day.  I also contacted a private school in our area and have set up a meeting with them to see about transferring him.  I have contacted a local group that works with 'potential' drop out students for counseling and will speak more with them today.  I also contacted a local military school.  The military school would require him to live on the military base for 6 months (no outside contact) and then for 12 months after that he would have a mentor.  Unfortunately, the military school requires him to be 16 years of age before admission.  We won't be eligible for enrollement until the session that begins January 2012.

After speaking with him for almost 2 hours last night in another 'family meeting'....I still have my doubts.  I'm not sure about anything at this point.  We took him to get his hair cut last night and have taken away his current wardrobe (he is into the "goth" look with long hair, all black clothes, black fingernails, etc).  But doesn't feel like enough!  Nothing we do or have done feels like enough!

What else can we do?  I don't consider myself a failure....but this parenting thing is making me question everything I am.

I'm so tired...I'm mentally at my wits end!  I'm questioning everything in my life.  Is this really what I signed up for when I married my husband?  If given the chance would I take it all back?  If I left my husband would my life be easier?  Would I feel this way if he was "my" son and not my stepson?  How much more can I take before I simply give up (on everything and everyone)?

This is the lowest I have ever been.  I don't have much fight left in me....


KT said...

I don't have kids, nor was I a rebellious kid in high school, so I'm not sure I am going to have the best ideas.

Maybe he needs a hobby or activity to focus on?

My other suggestion is therapy. He may be acting out because he has been through so much in such a short period of time.

Good luck.

Kate_Edwards said...

This just SUCKS. I can't image being in your position. The damage has been done to this kid and you being the good person you are, you're trying to help but getting no where. Does Big Don have any ideas/input. Does he ever talk to him alone?

Dawn Hawkins said...

I just happened by your blog, and I want to encourage you if I can. He is fifteen and has no idea who is yet. He probably feels unwanted and any attention is good even for bad behaviour. He has been though more than one divorce which must have had a negative impact on his life.

I am not sure that there are right or wrong solutions, but what happens will take time. He will have to learn to trust you and his Dad and I guess he will do that by pushing you to the limit.

You must have a big heart to want the best for him, whatever happens with him don't give up on yourself, you haven't failed you have done a kind and generous thing and the mountain is just a bit higher than you thought, that is all.

Wishing you all the best.

Dawn Hawkins said...

Sorry I have thinking of you while I did my ironing and I just had to add anther comment. two pieces of advice that I was given when my boys were teenagers. You probably know all this already.

1) make a list of all the good things that you like about their character and personality. Then tell tell them often and one thing at at time. It is really hard at first and you will probably get a negative response but it is a long term thing. An example would be I really admire the way that you are so outgoing.( or kind to children or whatever)

2) Spend as much time listening to him as you do talking. Never mind if you don't agree just make sure that you really hear what he says

Hope that that doesn't Sound preachy but I really struggled for ideas when mine were that age.