A new day, a new month.
Last month saw loss. Grief. Instability and anger.
My son has been going through the stages of grief at rapid pace, up and down, day to day. Trying to be patient and let him deal with them as they come. This was the worst thing he’s ever had to go through. The first loss. And one so close, one so painful. His grief has been tearing me up because I’m trying to help but there are days I’m not sure if I’m being too easy-going or too tough. I see his dad dealing with it better then he is.
He may be turning 17 in a month, but with his Aspergers he isn’t always able to deal with his emotions the same way someone without it might. Not to mention that he’s also hypersensitive. Something he comes by naturally courtesy of his mother.
I know he fell short with his classes and his finals the last four weeks. I expected nothing more. His father didn’t either. Which makes it complicated because we know that some of his grades are probably not going to be as good as we had hoped, and the two classes he was suffering with the most may possibly result in failing grades(one class it’s been discussed already with the teacher that if it happens he’ll retake it next year). How are you supposed to approach a situation like this when the child’s experienced a hellacious loss within weeks of finals, when they already deal with depression?
I’ll tell you.
You cut them a break. You have to. For their own emotional health and growth and for your own.
Sometimes coming down hard & giving them consequences during really hard times does nothing but compound a situation and possibly propels the child into further depression/anxiety/doubt about their ability and self-worth.
Being a teenager sucks. Add divorce, alienation by peers, bullying, loss, grief, self-doubt, and the never-ending stream of impossibilities set upon the teens of today by the media blasts(social in specific) and it’s complex to try to raise a well-rounded teenager without any issues at all. If you have, I congratulate you, you got lucky. Really lucky, because I’ve yet to come across more than a few without the above.
I grew up in the early-mid 80’s. Or rather I was a teen during those times. My parents divorced when I was 11, my Junior High & HS years were awful off and on. However I found my way, I had my books. I had my writing. I had the theater(secret: I was in plays). Sure, I didn’t always like how I looked but I look back on those pictures and laugh now. I appreciate myself as a teenager now as a 40 something more than I could ever before. I didn’t have facebook, twitter and instagram telling me I was ugly or dressed wrong. I was punk rock. In High School my go to by junior year was a leather jacket and ripped stockings, and knee high black boots. I found solace with the other kids who didn’t feel as if they fit in, but at times we didn’t even always fit in with each other. However it worked. And I forgot my pains.
Sometimes I feel it’s kids like my son, those who straddle that in between, of feeling as if they don’t fit in anywhere and wanting to fit in everywhere that have it the worst. I want people to love him the way that I do, who understand him the way that I do. I want him to find his way eventually. Next fall he’s a junior and while he has friends in school and a couple of kids he texts without outside of, I want him to find out who HE is. He has to.
Because he’s worth it. Because he needs to be someone. He already is someone but he has to believe in himself. And for now the only way to help him in this is to let go a little of my expectations and let him develop his own.