Everyday is an Adventure. Embrace it

Posts tagged ‘teenager’

Should he stay or should he go?

In May of this year, one of my dreams was realized. My oldest son graduated High School with Honors. It was a fabulous feat and I was so proud of him.

Nicky's crooked cap

Nicky’s crooked cap

Being a successful graduate may seem like nothing today, but I came from a family where I was the only person in the household that actually graduated High School. So, hopefully you can see where this was a proud moment for me 🙂  Nicky, true to himself all the way, was near the front of the line as the soon to be graduates walked down the path to the commencement ceremony. In true Nicky fashion, his cap sat ever so precariously atop his head…tilted. Now, just to make a point, you should know that many of the seniors decorated the top of their cap so they would stand out, make a statement, or be easily recognized by family. Some kids were wearing sunglasses, loud shoes or boots, neon clothing on their legs, rainbow-colored hair, etc. Nicky, bless his heart, stood out without trying (just as he always has). He couldn’t really be blamed for the crooked cap. We paid the ridiculous fee of $50 for the tissue thin cap and gown that he would “own” after the event. The gown survived the ceremony with only 1 rip in it, but the cap didn’t even make it 5 minutes before the lining unravelled and lost its shape.

My Boy :)

My Boy 🙂

My youngest son had a performance at the commencement ceremony with his choral ensemble group. His group was projected on the large screen that hung over the stadium. I dare say he was the most handsome boy in a tux present, but then again, I am a bit bias.

My beautiful boy with long hair)

My beautiful boy with long hair)

Our middle child was present to support his friends. He was somewhere in the massive audience of attendance. A couple of the boy’s sisters showed up to support him and we snapped a few memorable group pictures.

Family Shot

Family Shot

So, he did it! He graduated and I had all these grandeur ideas about life for him …and selfishly for myself.  Personally, I had already turned his bedroom into an office and was hoping he would seek the independence that most kids his age so desire. That freedom that comes when you live on your own and supper consist of ramen noodles, peanut butter sandwiches and bringing laundry home to mom on the weekends. I could so live with that!! You know, those days when you first discovered coffee & that the magic stay awake power it possesses to help you write that paper due at the last-minute? I was willing to help him out as he helped himself too! These were my expectations.

I had dreams of him getting a job (or at least helping around the house), going to college (which he is doing now), moving out (after accomplishing goal #1 – getting a job), and beginning his wonderful new life. Reality sat in after several weeks had passed and the only goal he had accomplished was beating several new missions in his video games with his friends on-line. The prodding began gently: “Nicky honey, have you been putting in applications for employment?” He would say, “Yeah, but no one will hire me until I’m 18 mom! Hey, what’s for supper?”  I would allow a week to pass. I asked nicely for several weeks and then frustration sat in. My husband began to bring him paper applications from every place he saw a “now hiring” sign. No progress. Soon, my gentle prodding turned into motherly nagging…daily. I reminded him school would start soon and that he was not going to get through life living for free. He said “Mom, I’m not 18. I’m not even legally able to give blood without your consent. Don’t worry. I’ll get a job after school starts.” I waited….and waited…and am still waiting. School did start. He had that life changing 18th birthday and now, he still resides at home…currently unemployed. He is doing well in school as far as I can tell though and I pray daily that he will seek employment soon. Some work experience is better than none, even if he only works 4 hours a week!

On a positive note, he has mowed part of the lawn a few times since school ended and did the dishes for about a week. Occasionally he’ll offer to help fold laundry. He is doing well in school as far as I can tell and I’m very proud of that! I pray daily that he will seek employment soon.

Don’t think me cruel, I want the best for him and obviously my nagging has gotten nowhere. I think he will be a very accomplished young man at some point in his life and hope I am alive to see it. I love him dearly and hope to post an update soon with something very uplifting and encouraging about his progress!

If anyone has any advice, I’d love to hear it!! Please, please, oh PLEASE leave advice in the comments section. I promise to try all reasonable advice given and report back!

Yours truly,

Chrissy

Holidays, ODD & family visits

This article is part 11 of a series. If you have not read part 1, part2, part 3, and part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7, part 8, part 9 , part 10 – I urge you to do so if you are searching for help on this subject. If you’ve read along with me already, I want to welcome you into the next weeks of our journey and Knight’s recovery.

In the last article I shared Knight’s journey up to week 26. He was not doing the best with authority figures (especially in school) but I didn’t mention his grades yet. Before he came to live with us, he was a low C to high F student. He had failed many of his classes in the other schools he’d attended. Now, he was doing better. The average grades he was bringing in were high B’s. Occasionally his grades would slip to low C’s or high D’s if he got lazy about turning in his work. We would issue reminders about his grades, offered him weekly updates on his progress and coax him into catching-up. By the end of his courses though, he would finish with a low A or high B. He really was doing better in this new environment.

Jumping forward to weeks 28 & 29, Knight completed 2 weeks without getting into trouble at school. I was extremely happy for him and attempted to shower him in praise. He was continuing his attempt to join the football team, but we didn’t have his paperwork complete at that point. He was pretty much benched to the side lines. His coach carried continued discipline into each practice and game if he’d been disciplined at school.  Football was good for him and in a few more weeks,  he would be cleared to officially join the team.

Knight was still hanging out with his friends and going to church regularly. He had attended Church camps, outings, retreats, and other special events  (which were all incredibly expensive). He would often speak about the Lord after these events and about how God was touching his heart. His friends were also encouraging him to stop cursing and doing the vulgar things which he had grown accustomed to in his previous life. Let’s face it, our kids will act one way around us and then another way around their friends. It happens. It’s just the way teenagers are. I was not blind to this. I was happy however that the friends he had picked were good enough to also issue him gentle reminders when he got out of hand in these areas.

Skipping ahead to week 32, this was the last week of the first semester for him in his new school. He had made it 4 weeks without acting out at school, but continued to tell me everyday that 2 of his teachers “hated him” and “had it out for him”. He was doing well in those classes though. On the last day of school, we all received a surprise visit from his mother. She drove in from out-of-state and said she wanted to take him for the Christmas break. He wasn’t ready to go just yet. She was traveling to another state also to pick up her daughter and agreed to swing by in a few days and pick him up on her way back through.

Knight left with her 2 days later, early in week 33. We allowed him to open some of his Christmas presents early since he would not be with us until after the New Year. We were all sad to see him go. Both of my boys kind of moped around while he was gone. They really did miss him. It was a realization for me that they truly had accepted him as part of our family now. Maybe they had done so much earlier than I realized? I don’t know. I couldn’t tell through all the arguments, disagreements, complaints from one boy to the next about each other. I was seeing obvious evidence of this now though.

Knight called often while he was away. He would give me an update on how he was doing (if he was being good to his mother and sister), and would tell me if he successfully avoided an outburst of anger. He also called to say that he missed us. By the end of the first week, he called to ask when he could come “home”. I reassured him he was not being punished and that his mother would be bringing him back soon – because school would start back soon. He said he wanted to be home by New Year’s Day so he could celebrate with us. I cried after our conversation. I’m not sure why I cried though. Maybe because I missed him too?

On the last day in week 34, Knight returned home. It was New Year’s Eve! He would get to be with us for New Year’s Day after all 🙂 A few days after Knight came home, Knight’s father received a call from Knight’s grandmother. Knight stayed at her house while he spent time with his mother and family. She remarked about the significant change in Knight. Actually, she was amazed that he was not the same boy at all! She said, “I’m not sure what you are doing with him, but keep it up. He was the most respectful child! He was a pleasure to have and he’s practically unrecognizable. You’re doing a good job. I’m proud of that boy!”

Even though this was not told to me, I found encouragement in her words. We were doing something right if others could identify a significant difference in him. I was happy for Knight and especially happy to have our family all back together again. 🙂

Birthday & A New School – ODD

This article is part 9 of a series. If you have not read part 1, part2, part 3, and part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7 , and part 8 – I urge you to do so if you are searching for help on this subject. If you’ve read along with me already, I want to welcome you into the next weeks of our journey and Knight’s recovery.

In Part 9 we enter into weeks 14 & 15. Knight had a birthday, turned 15 years old,  and started a new school. He enjoyed his birthday and was super happy to get more clothes. [I’ve never known a boy to love clothes & shoes as much as he does. Hahahahaha!  🙂 ] He received gifts from his mother, aunts, grandmother, father and the boys & I. He picked his cake at the store and we had a little party for him. He liked it as far as I could tell.

Starting a new school was nerve-racking, yet exciting for Knight. He had been granted an opportunity to re-invent himself. Unfortunately, old habits are hard to break. Even though his home life behavior was improving, he soon fell into the same ole’ troublesome issues at his new school. I warned him again that their was a zero tolerance policy bad or defiant behaviors at the school we enrolled him in. He did well. He chose his classes wisely, made up some missed credits, and immediately began making friends. He also wanted to play football. I took him for his physical and he passed with flying colors.

He was the first one up each mornings. He would get dressed & then make himself breakfast. Then he would wake up his brothers. As his brothers were getting ready for school, Knight would be finishing his cereal and putting his bowl in the sink.

He was the first one in the car to go to school and he was the first out of the car when we arrived. He was excited. He was flourishing! I was so proud of him 🙂

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