Facing Reality…

As kak as it may be.
Thank you all so much for your comments and prayers and concern around my last post. I said in the comment section that I would expand on the situation- as much to get it out of my own head as to let you all know what’s going on- so here goes.
When my darling Damien started school back in 1998, I had these soft focus visions of an all round athlete (even though I already knew he wasn’t much on ball skills or running), a dux scholar, an “A” student, a prefect, colours in sport, colours in academics, a doctor, a lawyer, a marine biologist… you know what I mean? I know it’s a cliché, but if you’re a parent you will understand what I am saying.
We dream for our children. We dream big.
We imagine them making a fortune and living in luxury and having successful careers in their preferred line of work and loving what they do and marrying a gorgeous woman (or man) and having happy healthy children…
When Damien started school I knew very quickly that we were in some serious trouble.
He had done school readiness testing, and against the woman’s advice I had started him in grade one. She actually said to me that she thought Damien had ADD, and I lost my temper with her and told her (an OT) that she just didn’t know how to handle my highly intelligent and spirited child and clearly didn’t know what she was talking about.
Ahem… right.
The poor kid battled his backside off from day one.
By the time Damien finished primary school (grade 1 through 7) he had run the gamut of doctors, shrinks, neurologists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, physical therapists, extra classes, re-doing grade one and almost failing grade six before I put him in a small private school which catered for above average intelligence kids who couldn’t cope in a mainstream school (mostly ADHDers).
When he started high school we attempted a mainstream art school, but I shoulda known better. In grade 9 we switched to his current school- also small and catering for ADHDers.
I knew at the end of grade 7 already, and started making peace with the possibility, that Damien would not finish school at all, let alone be an “A” student. I knew he would probably have to go to a private school if only for the small classes… and so I also knew his schooling would cost more than my rent until he was finished.
But I also decided long ago with Damien that a “pick your battles” strategy would work better than anything else and that if it came to it and school was a total disaster, I would take him out and let him start working.
Well. School isn’t really a total disaster right now. He likes his school and he has a lot of friends and his teachers think he’s fantastic- but when it comes to studying and revision he’s just not pulling finger. His class work and portfolio work is great. “As” and “Bs”. But that’s only 25% of his final mark, and right now he’s failing because he’s not working hard enough.
I can also only do so much.
When I attempt to help him with revision his attitude makes me want to hit him because he insists he can do it himself. He’s obnoxious and argumentative and his tone of voice is totally antagonistic. But if I leave him to do it alone he simply doesn’t.
It’s lose-lose.
Catch 22.
A rock and a hard place.
After mulling it over for several days and reading all your comments and ideas, I came to a decision.
My Glugs and I sat him down in the living room and stated that he’s failing this year and he knows it. He nodded his head yes.
I then said that I had decided he had two options. Either he could stay on next year and try and get his grade 10 qualification since it’s a minimal high school and he MAY be able to find work with it. If he passes grade 10, he can perhaps stay on and get his grade 11 and matric, if he works for it. Or he could leave at the end of this year and start working.
It’s a shitty thing to say, but it comes down to money right now.
He has the best doctors. He’s on medication and it’s carefully monitored to make sure its working as it should. He goes to a small private school specially catering for ADHDers and LD kids. But he’s not doing his part.
His school fees are astronomical and I will not continue to pay them if he’s not working.
He likes school, so this “threat” was a big one…
I’m hoping he took me seriously when I said I would take him out and make him start working (which is a whole ‘nother kettle of bananas and a post on its own).
Hold thumbs bunnies… there’s still a long road ahead.

23 thoughts on “Facing Reality…

  1. This is all so familiar to me… except with 3 kids and no father support there is no pvt school

  2. Is there an alternative learning environment available for him? It’s what I plan on doing for my daughter, whether she ends up inheriting my ADD or not. It just…instills a happiness at learning.

  3. Oh dear, that is rough. It’s always hard seeing loved ones fuck up their lives and not being able to do anything about it. Having them deal with the consequences of their own bad choices. I bet it’s like that for God too actually. It does sound like he will make the right choices though and also his talent in art will ensure he will always be able to make a living. Sending you love. (even though your wear crocs)

  4. louisa: i so hope so, really and truly.

    sleepyjane: 🙂

    gill: 😀

    the jackson files: ta sweetie…

    ruby: hell i hope things will ease off a tad… i’m buggered!

    blue sunflower: ta!

    meherenow: wow… well i think you’s awesum too!

    e.m.c.t.: 😀

    msbehavn: lol… i think i’m a scaredy cat! thats why i take the easy way out and make the decisions myself!

    jeanette: me too…

    sweets: 😀
    you rock too tjomma!

    tamara: i’m trying doll, and i have a LOT of help!

    becauseican: ta!

    michelle hix: thank you michelle.

    g.v: i’m so hoping the knucklehead can find something he loves.

    donn coppens: thank you so much… thats high praise dude.

    add tracy: i’m exhausted too… and i’ve only done this once! thank you sweetie…

    faerie: ;P

  5. Finally another parent that accepts that their child(ren) will and do have difficult choices thrown into their laps instead of the parent bearing it all.

  6. I don’t envy you here Angel. I am suffering the ramifications of my youngest taking me up on the offer to quit school. God only knows if he will land on his feet in the world or on his ear in prison. Cody who did finish school and went on to college has a much saner life, but Angel, a lot of that (with Cody) for me was grace. When I gave him choices, he inevitably chose the worst one, so I quit giving him choices that would affect the rest of his life. By the time Levi hit that age, I’ll admit, I was too tired to fight. I can’t say I made a mistake, because I couldn’t do it any more, so I know how you feel. Thankfully you have given him amazing tools and more love, tolerance and patience than most of us could even imagine.

    Fingers crossed that he will choose for his life.

    Loving you

  7. In the movie Lions For Lambs, Robert Redford plays a Prof who is explaining adulthood to his prized student. I don’t remember the exact phrasing but it was something about how Adult choices start happening before we even know it and all of a sudden you’re on your own.

    Damien is so lucky to have a Lioness like you watching over him but he is on the cusp of that transition. I applaud your effort to give him a chance to walk across the rope while you’re still holding a safety net underneath..but he still has to decide whether to walk across or climb back down the ladder.

    There is no point in throwing money at the sitch if he doesn’t care but he does need to understand how important Education is..
    it will affect his entire life in so many ways.

    Unfortunately most of us need to discover these things from the proverbial School of Hard Knocks.
    Stick to your guns you’re on the right track.

  8. Hi Angel.Ifeel as if I was reading somthing I had posted. The same story down to a T. To cut a long story short, I took him out of school and started the job searching. after many little side jobs he finally landed somthing he really loved. He has been in the same job now for six years.

  9. The title of this post is so appropriate. It is time for him to face reality. Through so many years the pain and strife was yours when he went through the tough times. It seems it is now time for it to be his. Being an adult will not come easy for him I am afraid. He will quickly realize that mama was preparing him for the real world…the world that is not so nice all the time. He will love you for it. And as it becomes reality to him that he is truly responsible for his own life, he will gain some control hopefully and feel good about that. He’ll make good choices and bad choices and learn more lessons. But it is time. And you’ve given him all the tools to do his best. Now it is up to him. Maybe you hear my personal experiences in this…ha ha. I wish you and him and the Glugs all the best. The three of you make such a wonderful loving family!

  10. Sterke, Angel. It sounds like it’s been rough and will be for awhile, but you seem to be handling it incredibly well.

  11. Yet again you amaze me with your handling of a situation.You did exactly the right thing giving him options neither of which are the easy way out.

    Without sounding patronising – WELL DONE YOU!

    who’s awsome? You’s awsome!!!

  12. I’m so proud of you Angel! This was a really hard thing to do……but you did it, and now you guys just have to stick to it. I think if he really loves his school that much, he’ll listen, and try his best….if not, well, then he has to learn. Gosh, it’s so hard……lots of hugs and strongs and prayers still coming your way……..the hardest part is still to come me thinks.

  13. Hectic. Hopefully he’ll make the right decision whatever that may be. Thinking of you.

  14. Geez angel, being a parent isn’t for sissies is it??!! I really think you have taken the best approach, sometimes tough love is necessary (speaking from experience here!) Hope it works out for all of you.

  15. that should scare the snot out of him, and make him pull himself together.

    thinking of you guys, and hoping it all comes right….

    ps: dude, i dont want to comment as either google/blogger or openID – please can you give ppl like me the name/URL option.

    kthanksbabaai now.

  16. Wow! This must be really hard on you angel…*huggs*

    I think you’re taking a very sensible approach to it though. Hopefully he’ll get motivated enough to put in some hard work and this could all still have a happy ending.

Comments are closed.