This title is completely and utterly misleading, fyi.
Today my teenager momentarily refused to go to school. Out and out refused to get out of bed.
Yes, I reacted strongly. And I reacted like I was dealing with my brother thirty years ago. My teen was actually righteously enraged that I thought he was ‘serious’, which of course, is debatable. (He was refusing to get out of bed. WTF?)
My brother was a ‘delinquent’ of sorts. When you love someone, the words have a different meaning, and empathy is always a part of everything, which makes it all complicated like it is. So even the ‘delinquent’ has to be qualified somehow. I spent a lot of my teen years trying to control or mediate with him, between him and consequence. Throwing away his cigarettes, paying him to stay home, turning the attention to myself so it would relieve the attention on him? Yes. Did any of it work at all? No. The feeling of uselessness is strong. Useless, helpless, fruitless. Those. SO.
The level of panic I had this morning at my teenager was intense. It occurred to me to call the police, friends. For real. Did he go to school? Yes, totally. Ate breakfast with his brother and tolerated a sincere hug from me. I had a chance to explain some of my reactions and a little bit of my history, and apologize for my panic and rage. Not for yelling, but for the level of it.
He was still mortally offended. (I’m sad he felt that way going off to school but basically he was a turd and he got called out, so whatever.) He got out of bed when I told him I was going to disassemble his computer. And I would have sold it for parts. For real. All the way through.
I’m still shaken now, trying to process the panic through my body, the panic that is a fear that things are spiralling, that the tight control I have on my family is unravelling, that they will all be in mortal danger if I don’t hold it all so tightly. The trick is, you have to actually let go of it, and let consequences happen. And that is very hard to face.
( I do not think my kid will end up in a crack den because of today’s activities. My brother did not. He’s a good, mature guy now. But he was kicked out of the house for a good bit of time, into the foster system.)
so there is today’s parenting boys moment. and its still coursing through me, a good 90 minutes later.
love love, me.