Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Progress

It's been a while since I updated on teen progress. And seeing how we had a really great break through last week, I gotta share. Because sometimes it's just plain overwhelming to look at where our children still need to be and where they ARE NOW and not get a mite bit, well, freaked out.

Yep, it's not easy to know a number age is 15, 16, 17, 18 but maturity wise they are 5, 7, 11, 13 and that means all of those ages, each one of the 4 teens and sometimes all in ONE DAY! OIY.

So when we see progress I grab on to that like a drowning woman as it lifts my head above the waters to know we are getting somewhere on the crazy ride we call our lives:)

You see now that our adoption of Paisley has been finalized she is started to "get" the commitment this means.

Just this past week as she slipped in to old behaviors and I called her on it, I was shocked and delighted to see her make an IMMEDIATE change. Have never seen her do this before, not without pouting, shutting down, sometimes refusing to eat, all kinds of behaviors until she concedes to behaving as we want her to.

Because certain behaviors are not acceptable any where and we are not helping her by tolerating these behaviors. Nor is she learning she will, indeed, have people (and GOD) that have rules, expectations of her in her life. And that she will not go far with crap behaviors.

It was just STINKIN' exciting to see her "about face" and know what progress this is for her. HUGE, I tell ya. She wants to be a part of the family, she just doesn't always know HOW to be a part. So we guide and teach her:) Because we just love this girl.  She's one of our "team."

Which made me think of the other kids as well and this comment left on a previous post by Dawn--Dumb question, how are you going to "make" Chase go to school? I am truly curious because I can see one of mine doing that and I don't know how on earth I would get them there!!

Okay, now first, I believe you meant Chance. Not Chase. I *would* say that's okay but Chance HATES being called Chase, and when it happens says to me "Why you give us names that sound alike MOM?"  To which I totally blame Chloe. Yep, I throw her "under the bus" and take no responsibility. Terrible example I know. (Don't call MOM)

So now we have the right kid. Chance. Who is 5 ft 10 1/2 to my 5 ft 5. So no bodily force to get him to school.  So here's how we get him to school-- seriously--

The teens at best are about 13, 14 in maturity. So they understand police, being arrested is BAD, they also understand a bit about "Dad and mom work so that's how we have a house, food, cars, etc."

We have told them the truth-- if they do not go to school WE get in trouble and can be fined/arrested. The biggest thing that gets through to them is that DAD or I will be unable to work if we are in jail and that means NO INCOME  which directly relates to their stomachs, as in we have to pay bills, buy groceries, etc from our paychecks.  

 Because they want to continue to eat or not want anything to happen to "their family" they will not bring this kind of issue to our home/family over not liking school. Quite simple really when you break it down in way they can catch on/relate to.

It's part of them learning the whole "bill paying, life skills, budgeting, not wanting to put out money on unnecessary things" that they are starting to pay more attention to. Because the teens have expressed concern/fears about that very thing. How will they manage? How do they rent apartment? How do they get to work? How do they pay bills?

All things 12-13-14 year olds are thinking about and paying more attention to "How things work in life" more so than say-- Kat, or Phoebe, who at age 9 don't really think that far ahead.

Just a simple "Use your debit card to buy groceries" is learning to the teens. They know now that the money used is money we have earned through working and it's not just coming from some giant money pit in outer space:)

Things that Camden, sometimes even  Kat have grasped, but news to the teens.
And don't get me started on budgeting, bills, or how Chance has a plan to live with no electricity and bathe in a stream to save on his bills as an adult.

It's one of the reasons I "tease them" on purpose and say "You have to live with us till you are 30. No dating till 25. " At first they said "Really?" And I said "Yep." For 2 reasons.

1.They didn't get  humor at first.  (And needed to learn when people are kidding)

2.They also believed they had a lot of time to learn things if they were living with us till they are 30. Reducing the amount of stress they placed on THEMSELVES about being independent.

Now they are maturing and they know better. They even tell me so. Which is okay, really, because I doubt more than 1 will still be with us when they are 30 but if they are, that's fine too. Because, yes, that's what family means.

It's gonna take longer to get them graduated. Jobs. Apartments. Life skills. And when they are stressing and feeling pressured then it's awful frustrating for them. It's anger, it's pushing the rules, wanting to be on their own. But not with the skills of a typical 18 year old.

We ran into this about a month ago with Chase. He was angry. Wanted to do what he wanted and our rules were still in force and expected to be followed no matter his number age. He was going to "walk".  Be on his own. His anger boiled over-- he punched a hole in our wall:( Yes, yes, he did. (It's fixed now MOM)

And as mad as that made US, we did understand what he wanted to do.  Be independent. Make a go of it. But we also know, he's not really ready.

Once he had exerted this anger and it culminated in the police being involved twice-- once when he went to them and wanted them to force us to give him his "paperwork" and they told him he needed to "follow our rules, buck up and get back home with us."  

And then the very next night, the hole-in-the-wall-of-my-new-house incident, when we called them. And the police informed him we could indeed, have him spend time in jail if we charged him (we did not MOM) but that he had little to no choices right now since he--

Had no car
Had no money
Had no job
Had nowhere else to go
Could NOT live on the streets or trespass on other people's property

He WAS-NOT-HAPPY, and quite frankly, neither were WE. We did tell him this is it. He can not and will not think he can willfully disobey our rules, walk off, punch holes in the walls, and think we will tolerate this.

Because as much as we have a deep concern that he would not be able to support himself, we also have to temper that with "there's 6 younger kids watching what you get away with." 

Yes, we do. So there has to be an understanding on his part as to where the limit is and he found out.

Now he has settled down and he's fine with being with us, following the rules and getting his last year of high school completed, then looking to whatever future plans he wants for himself. WITH our help for as long as he is doing his part within our family.  That's him over there, doing his dish night turn:)

And even if he chooses wrongly and goes off on his own, we will STILL love him and be here for him. He gets it now. More PROGRESS. Thrilled to see it, even if it took a hole in my wall to get here. 

  Well, okay, I REALLY could have done without the hole. But still darned exciting to see forward movement on the "life and times" of our teens:) 

2 comments:

Jennie said...

The older kiddos(the 3 C's and Paisley) are still on a learning curve. I like the fact that you have impressed upon them that money doesn't grow on trees, so to speak. They can attend a community college to acquire a 2-year degree and a trade. I think you had posted previously that Chance would like to be a chef. If they excel in a community college setting, they can advance to a 4-year degree. The sky's the limit in this great land of opportunity. I know as I've walked that path before - came to this country and worked harder than my peers in order to prove that I am just as capable. Now I lead a very comfortable life and am giving back to the community. We serve an awesome God!

Rebecca said...

Good for you! I admire your courage to be strong parents. He will thank you for that one day. I love these posts!