Saturday, June 4, 2011

Bad kids = Bad parents?

Hello. My name is Dawn and I have a bad kid.  Now- before all the haters start judging my parenting skills- this bad kid of mine is now 20 years old and  he didn't start out bad. Born to a scared 17 year old girl, and the baby daddy wanted nothing to do with us- yeah- not the most auspicious  beginning.  But I had an amazingly supportive family who doted on him and he was raised in a wonderful home with loving people all around him. So what the fuck happened??

Not that there weren't speed bumps along the way. I mean- 17 years old, a mom, going to night school to get my high school diploma, missing out on the last year of high school with my friends and having to grow up in a hurry- well I was almost set up for failure. And there were no MTV shows for me to get on to glorify being a unwed teen mom. I made my bed (insert sarcastic tone) and I owned up to it and did the best job I knew how to do. Include aforementioned supportive family and I was damn lucky.  A brief relationship with a much older man who turned out to be an abusive bastard was also one of those bumps. Again- my amazing parents were there for both of us- and nobody could say this kid wasn't loved.

My oldest child is an amazing artist, a talented writer and an aspiring musician. He is smart. Scary smart. Even as a young kid he used to amaze me with his genius.  what he lacks is ANY common sense. As kids grow- it is our jobs as parents to instill some common sense in them- age appropriately of course- and as they grow they start coming to common sense conclusions on their own right? Well, not in my son's case.  Even as a toddler- he was never one of those kids that would do something (i.e. put his hand on an open oven door and burn himself) and as a parent I could say "Well- he will never do that again"  He has always insisted that everything be HIS way. And if it wasn't he would do his damnedest to make it happen- most often ending in him being in trouble. 

Luckily I learned VERY early on in raising him that I would have to be extra vigilant- and always try to be at least one step ahead of him to avoid him getting hurt.  I wasn't always able to be though- hence the stitches received because he and some friends at the age of 8 decided to break glass bottles in an alley behind our house, the broken arm from jumping off a fence while supposedly at the library studying in 6th grade and countless other small mishaps over the years.

But physical trauma aside- his insistence that EVERYONE is out to get him astounds me- he truly is convinced that he does nothing wrong and everyone else is wrong and stupid.  He has been this way since being caught stealing treats from the kindergarten treat jar- and then telling the teacher I didn't feed him. He has a serious lying problem. He will lie about anything and everything and do it while looking you dead in the eye.  And where most people have "tells" when they are lying- he has none.

Some people are just born with no sense of remorse, and it shows up very early. Sociopaths are born that way--it's not the parents' fault. This does not mean I think that we as parents are blameless. I believe strong, consistent parenting is very critical to a child's mental and social development- but some kids just can't be reached..and I fear mine is one of them.


We have sought several different counseling methods over the years. His lying spills over into that- and he convinces himself it is the truth. We have had male counselors, female counselors, counselors who wanted to chase the evil from him (that was fucking weird and not at all what we expected) family counseling, individual counseling and have not found ANY answers. I truly believe he has either Bipolar disorder or Oppositional Defiance Disorder- but have yet to find a therapist who will go down that road and help us- or send us somewhere that can.

The last 3 years has been nothing but heartache, stress and misery where he is concerned because he thinks he is the wronged party all the time. He self medicates with alcohol and drugs and stole and totaled my brand new Trailblazer- luckily not hurting himself or anyone else but causing him to rack up almost 7 grand worth of fines and fees and ultimately ended up with him spending three months in jail.

You would think that jail time would straighten him up. Nope.  He recently asked to move home because he needed our help and support. Of course we said yes- he is my kid- I will do anything for him. Since being home he has done nothing but party, "borrow" money, have people over to my house at all hours (after being told REPEATEDLY not to) he is not a good influence on my very impressionable  almost 13 year old daughter or my autistic son.

His dad (step dad- but we have never called him that) and I have told him over and over he will not be allowed to live here if he keeps it up. I'm sorry he says- as if that fixes anything. He has recently been acting in a manner that has us thinking he is approaching a major breakdown..fueled again by alcohol and drugs- and it's terrifying to watch and be helpless to stop it.

I am researching involuntary commitment of some sort- but the state of Michigan SUCKS for finding mental health help. Especially now that he is 20 years old. We went through this shot at 16,17, and 18 too and couldn't find the proper help. He was taken to the hospital by the police in a massive drunken rage and the hospital allowed a 16 year old kid to WALK THE FUCK OUT OF THE HOSPITAL.  Yes folks- walked out- not one person tried to stop him. And I had just walked away from him to have a cigarette because I couldn't take the hateful venom he was spewing at me. I even asked if he should be restrained- and they said Oh no- he is being very cooperative. I felt like a character in one of those movies where nobody believes you when you tell them something bad is going to happen.

The way you parent your child obviously plays the biggest role in how they will "turn out" but at some point, a kid chooses his own path. And while there are bad parents out there- I truly do not put myself or my husband in that category. Society  will judge us as parents, even though we believe that mental illness plays a much larger role in his chronic bad behavior.  

Parenting is a never ending education. Throw in an autistic child and now things really get fun.  I am NOT perfect, and if the perfect mommy is out there reading this- please email me so I can get some helpful hints. 

I don't know are some people just bad people naturally, in spite of their parents’ best efforts?