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"It takes a village to raise a man"

"It takes a village to raise a man"

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Casual scribe
JwitsomeR

"It takes a village to raise a man"

Coming up, I always heard the saying, "It takes a village to raise a man," and though this was not my first choice of action in getting through to my son, it was that phrase that led me to this method.

My son is 17 years old and will be 18 in 8 months. He has somehow convinced himself that he needs no one and has a plan to survive at 18. He was so cruel to his mother that she had to remove him from the home with his two younger brothers and we decided he come live with me in a different state. He has spent 6 of his 17 years living with me. Every time he goes to stay with her for school breaks, I always get a phone call from her about something terrible he's done, and a story of how he has ruined a holiday event or family "get-together," or even just the peace in her home.

I feel like I've given him enough lectures to write a novel, yet he doesn't grasp how things actually work. One example is he was struggling in high school and at risk of not graduating on time, so I decided to place him in an alternative school. While we are making a steady pace he barely maintains higher than a 2.0 GPA yet made the comment, "I've considered going to college one day." Besides trying to explain to him getting into college is a lot more difficult than "deciding to go," I don't even know how to explain to him having a below average High School record is eliminates most college and makes it more difficult to make it into.

He has decided at 18 that he wants to be a 911 dispatcher, I've explained to him he must first work on his social skills and he doesn't understand that socializing with his friends, teachers, and family, is a lot different than socializing with the general public. He can't even go into a store or order food without talking low and being socially awkward; and that's not to mention the fact that he has no job experience. A friend of the family let him hold a sign at a local furniture store they ran for side money and doesn't understand until you fill out an I-9, you don't have a "job." I also don't think he understands filling out an application doesn't just lead to a job; not only are you interviewed to evaluate your skills, but you are compared to the other candidates that applied for the job, and the most qualified gets hired. I have also recently found out he has been picking on his 15 year old brother for working at McDonalds, whom, filled out the application, nailed the interview, and recently opened up a checking account.

I also can't seem to get him to understand that when you are a teenager with no job. Your job is cleaning the home. You don't always get rewarded for your contribution to the household. It is the very way you pull your weight.

I know many may feel this method may be unorthodox, cruel, and probably won't agree with it, but I was hoping everyone could share their own opinions, suggestions, experience converting to adulthood, or even accomplishments their teens or teens they know have completed or been working on; because at the end of the day I have 8 months to not only convince my son that he's not ready for 18, but to explain to him that he is actually astronomically behind. He's burned several bridges and doesn't even realize that even though the plan was for him to go back to moms after graduating, that has been taken off the table. His choices are actually narrowing down to the Military or a program like JobCorp. Counseling did little to nothing, and although I'm a firm believer in learning through the Social Comparison Theory, he's invented his own biased way of comparing himself to others.

We will go over the comments together. Thank you all for your time.

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Sophia-RO

Re: "It takes a village to raise a man"

Hello @JwitsomeR , it’s a shame to hear about some of the issues you have been experiencing with your son lately. It sounds like you care a lot about your son and are concerned about his ability to adapt to adulthood. It sounds like you might have discussed your concerns with your son before, and if that is the case, I am wondering what his thoughts are on adulthood and getting a job? Have you discussed the possibility of getting him linked in with a recruitment agency that will help him secure job interviews and hopefully a job?  

Casual scribe
JwitsomeR

Re: "It takes a village to raise a man"

Hi Sophia, and thank you for responding. We have had conversations about everything I could think of; he’s convinced he doesn’t need any help whatsoever. Convinced that he is better than every other teenager on this planet. I’m definitely detecting narcissistic ideology. I’ve begun looking at different programs for “troubled teens.”
Mod
Taylor-RO

Re: "It takes a village to raise a man"

Hi @JwitsomeR,

Thanks for sharing. It sounds like you have tried a lot of different strategies to get your son some support. It can be difficult to engage teenagers but it is still important for them to know there is help available for if/when they need it. Do you feel like your son might come to realise the lessons you have been trying to teach as he matures? Some people get behind and work through life at a slower pace but it does not mean that having a successful future is off the table. What strengths does your son have that you might be able to focus on to get him feeling motivated?
Casual scribe
JwitsomeR

Re: "It takes a village to raise a man"

Honestly, I feel like he won't learn until society starts treating him like he doesn't belong. I feel like once he hits 18 and steps out into the real world he will be devastated when he learns its not as easy as he thought. This academy I put him in for example, I feel, is giving him a false sense of how the real world will be. For example when we did the orientation we were told that children doing their program do not have to achieve as many credits as those at the traditional High School. I selfishly thought, "good, that will make sure we graduate," but by after the first day of school when he told me they earn naps, and snacks for good behavior, I thought to myself, "what ... have I done?"

 

I feel like its not so much what he is good and isn't good at, the problem we are having is the things he is horrible at but thinks he is good at; as a father I feel I'm not allowed to say "you're not that good." so of course I encourage away.   

Before football season I decided it would be my mission to get him on that team so he could meet people and at least see how the game was really played. Leading up to their first practice he would make comments like "look at their record, this team sucks."  He said he'd be the star of the team, talked about how they were lucky to have him (mind you he's never played a competitive sport before). First day of practice came, they got to going over stances, and my poor boy was so horrible he was getting one on one attention almost the whole practice... he dropped out of football the next day. After that I felt we learned a very valuable lesson in being cocky, but nope, he claimed he just didn't want to play for them.

Community Manager
Philippa-RO

Re: "It takes a village to raise a man"

@JwitsomeR  you have my empathy - it can be a difficult thing sometimes as parents to offer support to our children when they think differently to us. 
I know with my own teens at times I dearly want them to learn a lesson I've learnt in my life - to save them the trouble of having to learn it the hard way - but unfortunately they usually need to learn those things for themselves in the same way that I did.


One of the phrases I try to remind myself is "we only know what we know when we know it".
I think of all the times I've been unable to learn a difficult life lesson that someone was trying to teach, only to then have to learn it the hard way for myself.

It is frustrating sometimes, but we each only have one life and we all have our own paths to walk.

I'm wondering - how would it feel to allow your son to make his choices, to be wrong (or right) and to learn his own lessons from that? 

 

I also notice that sometimes with my young people, if they feel embarrassed, they can dig their heels in (something we can all be inclined to do at times) - for example in the situation of the football, is it possible that your son felt embarrassed that he was wrong and pretended not to want to play to cover his feelings of shame?

 

It's so obvious that you love your son very much, that you want him to have a good life and that you put a lot of effort into helping him access the support he needs.
It's such a positive thing that you're behind him every step of the way - hopefully if things do go wrong, he'll know he can turn to you.