The theme of “Parenting Teenagers is REALLY Hard” has been done here at the Herd pretty consistently lately. That’s because parenting teenagers is REALLY hard, and, well, this place here helps me process everything. Thanks for hanging in there with us.
I’ve had this layer of sadness hanging over me today, sadness and anxiety. We had a meeting at the high school yesterday with Big Man, all his teachers, and his guidance counselor. Yes, it’s reached that point. We want to help him. We need to help him. He needed to hear it from more than his parents. It was an hour of hearing what a good, well-liked student he is, but a student who doesn’t do homework. He’s an intelligent but dumb teenage boy. Does that make sense?
We were given stacks of missing assignments in every class but one. Deadlines were extended, concessions made. Every teacher wants to help him reach his potential. But he has a huge hole to dig himself out of. HUGE! (Did you just hear Trump in your head? I did). I looked at that stack this morning, and was overwhelmed for him. He spent three hours doing homework last night, because goodness knows he has to keep up with his current work, tests, and quizzes, as well as hammer down the long list of missing assignments.
We had to look at everything, all the work needing to be completed, what the deadlines are, when tests are coming up, and develop a plan of attack. This kid will essentially have no life outside of academia for the next couple of months. Do I feel bad for him? Yes, but at the same time, he put himself here.
I think he’s learned a valuable lesson he will carry with him the rest of his life. The lesson is this: even when you think it isn’t necessary, you still have to do the work. That applies to school, to work, to life in general. Do. The. Work. You can’t slide by on being a good test-taker, the fact you easily retain information you hear in the classroom, nor the fact you’re charming and people like you. Do the work.
He heard a lot of good things yesterday too. It wasn’t all doom and gloom. He knows we and his teachers aren’t out to get him, that we’re all here to support him and help him be successful. It’s been a really rough couple of months, but again, I’m kind of glad we’ve gone through this now, when he’s home under our roof and radar, when we can take action on his behalf, reach out to his teachers and support staff, rather than years from now when he’s in college and we have no hope of knowing until it’s entirely too late he needs help.
That sadness – I think it comes from being overwhelmed, from having to teach your precious sixteen year old a very tough lesson, from knowing he’s capable of entirely more than he’s been showing. Add to that, he has an appointment with a specialist this afternoon for yet another medical issue, and me just being tired, makes for an emotional momma. We’ll get there. We’ll get through. Life lessons are tough on everyone.