The “Talk” wasn’t enough…
When the Talk wasn’t enough to keep my teenage son out of trouble
Let me start by saying the first few months of 2017 were not the best months for my family and I. I was fresh out of a job by choice as I made a decision to resigned from the job I held for the last 30 years (you can read my post to learn more) and now this! If you know me personally, you know that I have two handsome young men. My older child just graduated college and my youngest, oh, my youngest… In 2017 my youngest was 15 years old; a social creature by nature, makes friends easily and loved by all for his personality and free spirit. Having gone to the same school since preschool, he kept a tight knit group of friends, the same kids who I grew to love, appreciate and welcome into my home. And I am assuming that their families felt the same way about my son as they too welcomed him into their homes, allowing him to spend weekends with them and their extended families. There lies one of the problems.
I didn’t have a clue
My son is very smart some what lazy when it comes to school although he earned good grades enough to pass, I don’t know maybe he used his charm with the teachers 🙂 as the reports cards often had the comment that said “a pleasure to have in class” checked off. Somehow my husband and I knew that our youngest would be the cause of our worries and gray hair. We just didn’t think it would be this soon.
When my kids were old enough to comprehend certain subjects, we started giving them the “TALK” you know the one, that we hear so often from professionals that us parents need to have with our children. Don’t do drugs, don’t drink until you are legal, no sex until you are married, don’t do this, don’t do that, etc. From the time my son was probably in 4th grade until now, it was my morning ritual when it was just him and I in the car, to remind him of the “TALK”. Almost always I got the same reply “I know mom” and “I won’t mess up” because, we know that they know it all or at least they think they do. Thinking that my son would heed the warnings of the “TALK”, I gave my son too much freedom. Big Mistake!
One afternoon after my son came home from spending the night at a friend’s house, he started pacing and when I asked him what was going on he said, my friends are coming over, so I am thinking that they are coming over to hang out, which was not unusual; however, it was a Sunday night. Apparently they were not coming over to hang out but to pick up a T-shirt that was in my son’s backup from when he spend the night the previous night. You see how it just doesn’t make sense? I thought it was odd that they would come all the way to my house which is 30 minutes away from their home to pick up a lousy t-shirt that they could have very well gotten it from my son the following day at school. Call it Mother’s intuition or Divine Intervention…. I told my husband that I felt that something was up and that our son was not telling the truth. His friends showed up in an Uber ride, hang around outside with my son went to my son’s room and left with my son’s backpack. They were all acting peculiar. I guess they were probably wondering if their plan was going to work and were nervous of the what if. When they left, I confronted my son and asked him why did they take his backpack and told him that I need the truth, that I can tell something was up. I think my son was surprised that I would ask such a question but I think he was also relieved that he got caught because I can tell that he wanted to talk but not to me, he said that he will talk but to his dad. I later learned that the reason he didn’t want to give me details was because he knew that it would break my heart.
“Okay, but let me talk to dad first”
While my son and my husband were in the garage, went outside to call my sister as I was beside myself not knowing what I was about to find out. After a little while, I walked into the garage to find both my son crying and my husband tearing up telling him how he broke our hearts and trust. I had been fooled into thinking that he was playing nice when he was away at his friends’ house when in fact he was partaking in bad behavior. Some of you readers might not think it is a big deal to smoke weed(pot) or underage drinking but to my husband and I, it is a very big deal especially at that age.
My heart broke in pieces
When I saw my husband crying, I realized that my son had not just broken my heart but he broke my husband’s heart as well, you see my husband has always had our kids best interest. He told them of his own bad behavior when he was their age and he told them so that they don’t do the same. My son told us a lot but it was worst watching him acting a certain way in the videos that they had taken of themselves. It wasn’t my son, not my little boy, acting stupid, high and drunk at 15 years old. I was blindsided by it all. My heart was broken into little pieces. This strong will little boy who always had something to say had caved in to Peer Pressure. That night my husband and I did a lot of crying and praying to God for guidance.
Picking up the pieces
The next morning, we put a plan into place to help get our son back on track:
- We changed schools the very next day, I wanted him to have no contact with his friends
- We deleted his contacts from his cell phone (he had not memorized any of his friends phone numbers; therefore, he was not going to be able to get a hold of any of his friends and neither were they
- We drug tested on a regular basis
- We installed a tracking app on his phone to keep track of his whereabouts (probably parents are against this type of app, but it is a good way to know where your child is at all times)
- We started sessions with Teen Counseling Service in Miami, whom after meeting with my son & I said that at this age, it is normal for teenagers to want to experiment and that most likely that is all it was
- We enrolled him in an after school/summer program where he made new friends and received mentoring from a Master in martial arts that my husband has known and studied with for many years. He also happens to be a School Resource Police Officer (yes, I wanted my son scared straight) but with love, understanding and compassion, which is exactly what my son received from this martial arts school.
Current Status 🙂
My son is a happy teenager once again, he is doing great in school, has made new friends. Although, I am sure he will change his mind a million times before he actually graduates High School, he currently wants to study Economics as he wants to be an entrepreneur when he grows up. The possibilities are endless for him and he knows that we will always be on his side to keep him on the straight and narrow. My husband hates my way of thinking but he will be my baby whether he is 16 or 60.
Sitting here in front of my husband’s computer thinking of how to end this post, all I can think of is “how lucky my son is to have caring parents” I didn’t have that luxury. So in closing; before you react, think back to when you were a teenager and did something wrong, how would you have wanted your parents to react? If you were one of the lucky ones that had loving and supporting parents, wouldn’t you want the same for your teenager? If your teenager gets into trouble, be understanding, supportive, do what you have to do to remove the problem from their life. Don’t give up on your teenager, being a teenager is hard enough and having to go through it alone can be detrimental.
I won’t offer suggestions on prevention; however, I hope our journey can provide ideas on how to move forward.