Thursday, April 16, 2009

Random Parenting Conundrums

Issue 1: 17 yr old ds. As I've said before, Skaterboy is a really good kid. No trouble. No drugs. No drinking that I know of, though probably an occasional drink, but nothing that has been an issue. He hangs out with his "band" and plays ear splitting metal on his guitar, but he is very good at it. Our issues with him are complete lack of motivation (other than music). He has failed yet another year of high school. He should be a senior next year but he will be a sophomore. His school sucks. The school district is the worst. And there is real danger there, though the kids really like Skaterboy and he kind of skates above it all.

I have actually encouraged him to drop out and get his GED. The high school thing isn't working and even if he suddenly decided to hunker down and do his work he would graduate just before his 21st birthday. Instead he has a new plan. It's a GOOD plan. I stand behind the plan. He will get his GED this summer and then start community college in the fall. Go for two years and then transfer to an art school to finish his degree. Good. solid. plan. He'll be ahead of the game instead of behind it and hopefully in a different learning environment he will feel some motivation. (pleasepleaseplease) But plans don't enact themselves...

oh. and when dealing with teenagery phone issues, I found pictures on his phone that were sent to him (not totally nude) but down a girl's shirt. He tells me its not his current girlfriend but puzzle pieces start to fall into place and I realize that this relationship he is in now is much more serious than others and on a whole new level. And he is either having sex already or on the verge. Even though he tells me it's not. I buy him a box of condoms and he tells me she is on the pill. I explain he has to use both. I have explained for years why he should wait, but if he hasn't, he hasn't. There's nothing I can do about it.

Issue #2: My darling son The Meatball 6 yrs old. My friend adopted a 5yr old boy from Ethiopia last summer and he has been in Meatball and Jellybean's class this year. Tilahun is the superhero of the class. All I hear all day long is how great Tilahun is and all the things that Tilahun can do. (thrills me to no end!) So, Meatball is talking with his brother about their best friends and then
Meatball: "I'm going to marry Tilahun."
Porkchop: "ummm...Evan and I are best friends but I'm not going to marry him."
Meatball: "No I'm serious. I'm going to marry him and I'm going to be his wife. But, do NOT tell anyone because they will laugh at me."

This was the day after the tragic story of the 11 yr old who hung himself after anti-gay bullying in school. So it hit me pretty hard. Of course this conversation does not mean Meatball is gay. But, there have been some other indicators, as well. who knows? But, it just hurt my heart. IF he is gay, I can't imagine a better environment for him to be in. His school is very liberal when it comes to social issues and diversity, my block has 4 gay couples on it who adore my kids and vice versa (including my next door neighbors who have been together 19 years and we will probably leave the kids with if we died) How could he still be so fearful? It makes me sad.

Issue #3: Porkchop 5 yrs old. I went to that Sensory Issues seminar and it was very informative and helped me understand some of the "quirks" about my kids. But, Porkchop drives me batty because he has to constantly lick things. I know! It's so freaky! And GROSS! I've been trying to get to the motivation, is this an oral sensory issue? or has he inherited OCD from me? or is it Pica? He licks cars, tables, doorknobs you name it. It's all very subtle, he has learned to hide it already. His teachers didn't even notice until I ask them about it, and then they started paying attention and they saw it. It's on my list of things to discuss with his doctor at his next check up. blech!

It's so hard for me because I can't control ANY of it. I love these kids so much but I can't control how the world will react to them and how it can hurt them when they are different. Only the sex thing is really weighing on me, and probably will until he is married. The rest we just try to love and laugh and pray about. Anyone with any insights?


Bridgett said...

Ok, your first two, I have nothing to say except that I'm glad you two are their parents (I mean, I think you'll do right by them). As for your Porkchop and his licking...I'm thinking, just a hunch based on my own family's quirks, that it's more likely OCD than pica. Pica usually involves actually consuming the inedible, and usually is focused on a specific inedible (dirt, clay, chalk, soap, etc). And since he's trying to hide it, too, makes me think it's in his head, not his belly. But I'm not a doctor. Just someone with a lot of OCD relatives and a sister who had pica (little balls of dirt, in her case).

Mamabear said...

So interesting that you wrote this post right now. Last night I could barely fall asleep because I was grieving some parenting issues. Thanks for being so honest about what is going on. I look forward to hearing what comes out of it all!

Denise said...

(((Hugs))) Our oldest did something similar in school.....he is VERY smart, but chose not to perform when it came to school...tests he excels at, but actual school work forget about it. He got his GED the Spring before his senior year of high school. Then we moved cross country & he stayed home for a year getting adjusted & deciding what he was going to DO with his life. He started community college at the same time that he would have started if he had finished high school. He started dating a much older woman & two weeks before Fall finals she convinced him to run off with her to another state. It was a very rough time for me, but during that time I realized that I needed to let him learn from his own choices.
He eventually moved back to where we live, had a baby girl with the girlfriend & then got married. He never went back to school, but he is an adult & this is the road he has chosen for himself. He works full time & supports his own family, he struggles, but he is happy & as a mother his happiness is my greatest concern. Your Skaterboy is quickly approaching the age where he is going to have to be the one to decide what he is going to do with his life & take responsibility for where those choices lead.

As far as Meatball, I would recommend just reassuring him that your family will always love him no matter what. Several of my boys have expressed similar feelings at a young age & had different mannerisms from their peers, but to my knowledge none of them actually are gay. I think there is a phase before puberty when some boys naturally prefer other boys & as long as they are not pressured to declare their sexual identity before they even know what a sexual identity is they will eventually be fine whether they end up gay or straight. I have seen some of my sons friends end up very confused when their family or peers forced them to declare themselves as GAY in elementary or middle school & then they start to like girls in high school.

No ideas on Porkchop, that would drive me batty...fortunately I haven't had one do anything like that. *knock wood*

cat said...

Oh Gosh, I have no advice. Especially not regarding teenagers or gay issues - but I like your attitude. Positive! A lesson for me to learn.

Anonymous said...

I have no words of wisdom, but just wanted to say hello, rather than read and run..

Paula said...

We are having some teen sex worries here, too. I don't know for sure what is happening, although I have talked to him about it, but as their relationship progresses I become more concerned. As you said, we can tell him not to, but if he chooses to do it we can't really stop him.

I hope Skaterboy follows the GED/community college plan!

I wouldn't worry about Meatball just yet.

And I'd think that if Porkchop can hide the licking, he can probably learn to stop it. Keep us posted as to what the dr. says.

PastorMac's Ann said...

Gosh Cakes, lots on your plate in the worrying dept. I wish that I had more help to offer you.

Can you suggest to Porkchop that when he feels like he needs to lick something that he do something else instead - like tap his palm or something discreet and more acceptable than licking? Doesn't get rid of the behavior but does replace it with something more acceptable. My 2nd son felt like he needed to hit himself (on the side of the head) whenever he did something wrong. He told him to snap his fingers instead. This is similar to something we did with my oldest daughter. She had trouble with the compulsion to "pop her jaw" which was actually harmful to her. Our Dr. told her to put a rubberband on her wrist and every time she felt like she needed to pop her jaw she was to pop herself with the rubberband. It did work for her and she was able to stop. Just a thought.

With a house full of kids and we definitely have some with issues, I can understand the worry thing. Will be keeping you in prayer and would love it if you might do likewise?

This parenting thing - certainly not for sissies.

gem said...

Firstly, good the see you back!
Skaterboy: i am sure you are on the right track with all of it. he is a good kid and it will come right, which is not to minimize your concerns because they are completely valid and we all know that things can go wrong for good kids too. But as I say, I'm certain you are on the right track.
Meatball: Who's to say. Of course he may be gay. But as a previous commentator said, equally it may just be a phase. Kids at his age are not really sexual yet and so it is probably just his way of communicating his respect for his friend. If he is, it probably will be a harder road for him to travel for a few years. Teens can be cruel, as indeed can society. But he is secure and will be fine in the end.
Porkchop: Again, he will probably grow out of it. all the previous advice re more accepyable comforting mechanism sounds good to me
Good luck with it all!

Coral said...

I think that P and M are fine, we all know how many kids want to 'marry' someone of the same sex. They grow out of it, and licking too. P will not go on his first date and lick door knobs, promise!
SB - You have had your chat with him, it is now up to him to be sensible. You have to take a step back and allow him to.

That is what parenting is about, bringing up children to be sensible and enjoy their lives. (I read recently that until kids are 20 they do not understand consequences - so if you can keep him safe until then, he will be totally awesome - not that he isn't now)! BTW, great educational plan SB! He sounds like he has a high IQ to me. Those kids have no patience with the usual education system.

My children are now in their twenties, and as long as they are happy, I am happy.

(You wrote this on the day I became a granny)!