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  1. #1
    Pwnerer Wordbiker's Avatar
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    My son is graduating High School...

    ...and I'm not sure how to feel about it.

    He's almost 19, held back for not being "emotionally ready for the next grade". Even that didn't help as he's always had below average grades, not from lack of intelligence, but from not doing his work and/or seeking excuses rather than just doing what's asked of him.

    In the last school year he transferred to the Adult Education Center for reasons never explained to me. It could be due to all those truancies catching up to him, or due to all the trouble he's been in with the law including a felony and several misdemeanors, or due to his continual drug and alcohol use. I may never know as he lives with my ex wife...and it's not like she'd tell me anything.

    About the only tabs I've been able to keep on him are through watching his grades online, and it blew my mind when he told me he was graduating a couple weeks ago. At that time he had two 'F's, two 'D's and two Incompletes, and not nearly enough hours for a diploma as his attendance was around 50/50. I have no idea what the standards for completion are at the Ed Center, but if he made it, it was by a fluke or a loophole in the system...or maybe they were just sick of having him around.

    The thing puzzling me this last weekend was whether I could attend his graduation without stating what a farce I feel it is, but if so, what gift to give to a kid that has destroyed pretty much everything I've ever given him, and also what gift to give to send the right message to him as well as my younger two children. I'd considered the smartass gift of luggage, of a McDonald's uniform, a squeaking toy (for "just squeaking by"), but in the end I chose a wristwatch which I fully expect to be broken, lost or hocked within weeks.

    Once he graduates, I wonder what will happen with him. He has stated no plans for his future, has no job (and hasn't been looking for one), has no car, no money saved, grades too poor for college, and a maturity level that girls his age aren't interested in him, leaving him to date druggie 15 and 16 year olds. He'll be 19 in August, and once my ex stops receiving child support...I wonder how long she'll allow him to hang around doing nothing to better himself.

    Tonight after work I'll be attending the "graduation ceremony". This should've been a very proud moment for me, but I'm still torn. Do I act the part, keep my mouth shut except to congratulate him on his "achievement", or do I lay it out for him how abysmally prepared he truly is for the life ahead of him and tell him it's time to pull his head out of his ass and get busy? Either way is showing my love for my son. I honestly do hope he gets it together at some point, but being babied just prolongs the inevitable. *sigh*
    Quote Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
    Ski, bike and wish I was gay.

  2. #2
    Senior Member p0cket penguins's Avatar
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    give him a high five and an envelope filled with the pay for one hour of minimum wage.... then show him the costs of car insur, home insur, health insur, rent, cost of food, and other things. Take min wage multiply by 40 hr/week and then tell him that if he wants to do better than that college is key. Do work = Get money
    Felt F3C (road)/Azonic steelhead (park/street/dirt)

  3. #3
    Seņor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    Don't drag him down on the occasion. He'll realize the other things soon enough on his own without your help. Try to leave the door open so that as he encounters difficulties, he won't feel that he can't talk to you. When he comes to you, is the time when he'll be able to accept and possibly act upon the advice you have for him. If you have to hunt him down to give him your 2 cents, he'll only resent it.
    The search for inner peace continues...

  4. #4
    Senior Member p0cket penguins's Avatar
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    yeah thats what we though about my cousin too... dont drag him down just lay it out there and pose the question whether he wants to live like that.... my dad did ... sometimes you just need to shine light on the subject
    Felt F3C (road)/Azonic steelhead (park/street/dirt)

  5. #5
    You Know!? For Kids! jsharr's Avatar
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    Being a father has it highs and lows Word. Do what your heart tells you to do and you will do okay. I will be keeping a good thought for you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by colorider View Post
    Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.

  6. #6
    Hey guyz? Guyz? Wait up!! Siu Blue Wind's Avatar
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    Tell him (no matter how much it hurts) that you are proud of him for making this stepping stone in his life. If he is able to feel proud tonight that is a reward for him. It is an example of how he will feel in the future should he invest more positive energy in other goals.

    Sometimes if a kid knows he won't make it, he won't even try. There are no rewards or any positive at the end. Make sure he has that this evening. This IS a big deal. He could have dropped out.

    Not sure how you feel about this but maybe you can let him know "you need help around the shop" for the summer. He can come and help you do little things...clean up, organize, greet customers....give him a sense of worth and a positive atmosphere to be in. He can see the product of his labor and be proud of that too. With him being in the shop that may propose a type of bonding or something for you two. During slow moments maybe he can open up to you because nobody is around.
    Last edited by Siu Blue Wind; 05-29-08 at 10:26 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Buddha
    We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.
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    Please dont outsmart the censor. That is a very expensive censor and every time one of you guys outsmart it it makes someone at the home office feel bad. We dont wanna do that. So dont cleverly disguise bad words.

  7. #7
    Pwnerer Wordbiker's Avatar
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    Believe me, that's what makes me hesitate: I couldn't drag him down any more than he has himself.

    I'll most likely be channeling Sir Laurence Olivier this evening.
    Quote Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
    Ski, bike and wish I was gay.

  8. #8
    Senior Member avmanansala's Avatar
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    It's a milestone for him. Not the milestone you wish it was, but it is what it is.

    Be happy for him, he's still your kid. Give him the gift and a card. Not being there for him will make him bitter and angry and can take years to get over. Later on (several weeks maybe), take him out to dinner and have a frank, honest conversation with him. Treat him as an adult, even if he doesn't behave like one. Whether you decide to continue to support him financially is up to you. I'm sure you love your son, he is your son after all. Offer to get him the help and support he needs to kick the drugs and alcohol problem, that, I'm sure is a big part of it (and I'm sure the divorce played a role, too).
    "Study your math, kids. Key to the Universe." - Gabriel in The Prophecy

  9. #9
    Blasted Weeds Tude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by USAZorro View Post
    Don't drag him down on the occasion. He'll realize the other things soon enough on his own without your help. Try to leave the door open so that as he encounters difficulties, he won't feel that he can't talk to you. When he comes to you, is the time when he'll be able to accept and possibly act upon the advice you have for him. If you have to hunt him down to give him your 2 cents, he'll only resent it.

  10. #10
    Pwnerer Wordbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Siu Blue Wind View Post
    Tell him (no matter how much it hurts) that you are proud of him for making this stepping stone in his life. If he is able to feel proud tonight that is a reward for him. It is an example of how he will feel in the future should he invest more positive energy in other goals.
    In other words, lie to him. Paging Laurence Olivier...
    Quote Originally Posted by Siu Blue Wind View Post
    Sometimes if a kid knows he won't make it, he won't even try. There are no rewards or any positive at the end. Make sure he has that this evening. This IS a big deal. He could have dropped out.
    No, he's only being allowed to live with his Mom to finish school. She's kicked him out twice before. He learned it was easier to appease Mom by attending school at least half the time than to beg from his friends.

    Quote Originally Posted by Siu Blue Wind View Post
    Not sure how you feel about this but maybe you can let him know "you need help around the shop" for the summer. He can come and help you do little things...clean up, organize, greet customers....give him a sense of worth and a positive atmosphere to be in. He can see the product of his labor and be proud of that too. With him being in the shop that may propose a type of bonding or something for you two. During slow moments maybe he can open up to you because nobody is around.
    Oh, hellz no.

    The last thing I'd do to him and the shop owner is to hand him a job. As a manager, I look for a good work ethic, a willingness to learn and some indications of responsibility. Three strikes for him. He hangs out at the shop all the time and I've had to kick him out of the Employees Only area on more than one occasion...yesterday within 10 minutes of telling him the first time. Seriously, if I gave him an inch he'd take a mile.

    I am sorry Siu if that seems harsh. I know what a sweet and nurturing lady you are, and I do appreciate your input. I've just had little to think about other than this issue for a very long time and have already made my decisions.

    No, I won't ruin his fantasies with the truth. I'll show up, tell him I love him and that I'm happy he graduated. As for anything else...I'll just keep my yap shut and listen for the popping sound. Until I hear it, I have to keep him at arm's length just because he's the type to manipulate the situation and take any advantage he can, despite how anyone else might suffer.
    Last edited by Wordbiker; 05-29-08 at 10:24 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
    Ski, bike and wish I was gay.

  11. #11
    somewhere in the ether spoketacular's Avatar
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    Wow. I would imagine you have a great many mixed feelings.

    Probably the best thing you can do is hug him, tell him you love him (and you obviously do from the concern (and frustration) shown in your post), and that's he's a man now. That's about it, other than he can come to you for advice, but he has to pay/make his own way in the world.

    Some people do grow up; others don't. And you shouldn't be so hard on yourself, because sometimes people just turn out the way they do. Divorce has nothing to do with it, I know families where the parents have had a great marriage and the kid is *still* messed up - case in point is my first cousin, who lives in Seattle. Their son is locked up in prison until July - because he and a buddy thought it was a great idea to hold up a pizza delivery guy for $50odd bucks. $50 - that's right - $50.

    He's an only child, and has always been wild and difficult to deal with. His parents are affluent - not wealthy, but they don't worry about paying their Mastercard bill. He's obviously got psych problems... my mother talks with my cousin all the time and defends the kid, but I keep telling her "Mom, this is the kind of person that's going to end up killing someone in a stupid crime - and as his parents (as he was some kind of minor when this offense occurred but Wash State locks 'em up anyway) they have a responsibility to get him some help - one last time." I've told her that he needs to be locked up in a private psych ward and see if the proper combination of meds/therapy will make him a functional citizen.

    The crazy thing is, he's doing an extra month because he misbehaved in prison, and when his parents visit him, he has expressed 0 regret for what he was caught doing - and all he does is ask them for "$20 for the prison store." Other than checking him into a private psych treatment lockdown, the best thing they could do for this kid is to make him serve his time and make it as hard as possible.

    My cousin and her husband were heavy users of coke before he was born... and sometimes I wonder if his mental issues aren't somewhat related to that. Anyway, some people just turn out wrong, despite the best advantages in life.

    I'm crossing my fingers that he straightens up - I dated a woman who has two boys - one who was bright, but struggled in high school and briefly dropped out - and a younger one that has moderate cerebral palsy. Her handicapped child is her *easy* child. The older boy finally got into the Navy this past year and the experience is straightening him out. Sometimes, I think what young adults who are directionless need is the structure of something like military service - it beats having them end up in prison.
    You rise, you fall, you down, then you rise again
    What don't kill you make you more strong
    You rise, you fall, you down, then you rise again
    What don't kill you make you more strong

    Trek 2200 / Schwinn Madison / K2 Firebird

  12. #12
    phony collective progress x136's Avatar
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    When his name is called, jeer "Buuuullllll s***********!" from the crowd. When people turn around to glare at you, act innocent and point at the old lady two rows in front of you.

    But seriously, if you don't feel like you can say anything nice, maybe consider not saying anything that would make you feel like you're lying. Perhaps shake his hand afterward, say "congratulations," and leave it at that.

  13. #13
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    ok another story, well sort of two. We were all petty criminals under-18.

    I hate highschool, dropped out and have done quite well with my life. I had no passion for our school system because I had no passion for diversity in education. All the fluff classes I couldn't/wouldn't focus on, I just wanted to study what I wanted to study, school system be damned. Arts, physed, french and a lot of the "other" classes I ignored completely.

    Another friend followed suit, he had the same problems, but he has taken a completely different turn. He is still living with mom, more or less a social invalid and lives online (seriously, his whole social life is online) he is just now getting into work with adequate pay to survive and has no real skill in anything he does. At this point in his life, at 35, he has done virtually nothing meaningful with his life and has been a drain on his family. At one point we are tried to intervene and help him but in the end he didn't want help and wanted to blame his life on...me. He claimed he always felt like he was in competition and that my success was the cause to his failure.

    3rd friend, same situation with school, no passion for anything, ended up continuing on the wrong side of the law, ended up in jail many times, no high school, no real work and imo no real life. Multiple kids, multiple women (no wives) and addicted to various drugs.

    All 3 same beginning all 3 different endings. I tell that story because it might give you some hope. Maybe he just needs to find his niche. Sometimes thats all someone needs. Structured education and learning is not for everyone and in fact hindered me greatly until I left.

    And I suppose to the point of the question, be proud. He made it through, maybe he looks at "schooling" the way I did. I just needed to survive until I could get out and start real life. School was too fake and useless in comparison to what I learned outside of school. He survived the first battle of life

  14. #14
    Pwnerer Wordbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by x136 View Post
    When his name is called, jeer "Buuuullllll s***********!" from the crowd. When people turn around to glare at you, act innocent and point at the old lady two rows in front of you.

    But seriously, if you don't feel like you can say anything nice, maybe consider not saying anything that would make you feel like you're lying. Perhaps shake his hand afterward, say "congratulations," and leave it at that.
    That'd be tough to get away with considering he's graduating with about 6 other Ed Center students. He should be easy to pick out of the pregnant teens and those in orange suits and handcuffs.

    I'm trying to figure out what to write in his card:





    I'm thinking, "Dad".
    Quote Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
    Ski, bike and wish I was gay.

  15. #15
    GATC
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wordbiker View Post
    Believe me, that's what makes me hesitate: I couldn't drag him down any more than he has himself.

    I'll most likely be channeling Sir Laurence Olivier this evening.
    No matter what, it's good for him to have finished it even in spite of himself, and he deserves to be celebrated for that. I mean, even if 'anybody can do it', not everybody does.

  16. #16
    Squirrelly Member trsidn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by USAZorro View Post
    Don't drag him down on the occasion. He'll realize the other things soon enough on his own without your help. Try to leave the door open so that as he encounters difficulties, he won't feel that he can't talk to you. When he comes to you, is the time when he'll be able to accept and possibly act upon the advice you have for him. If you have to hunt him down to give him your 2 cents, he'll only resent it.
    what he said.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mariah View Post
    Transcendental enumeration.

  17. #17
    Portland Fred banerjek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by USAZorro View Post
    Don't drag him down on the occasion. He'll realize the other things soon enough on his own without your help. Try to leave the door open so that as he encounters difficulties, he won't feel that he can't talk to you. When he comes to you, is the time when he'll be able to accept and possibly act upon the advice you have for him. If you have to hunt him down to give him your 2 cents, he'll only resent it.
    I think this is good advice. However, I don't think that channeling Sir Laurence Olivier is such a great idea or that going out of your way to give him a job or other assistance will help him. Go there, say that it is a good thing that he has completed an important step and that new responsibilities and a long road lies ahead. You can be honest without berating him.

    I wouldn't even congratulate him unless you really feel that is the right thing to do. Nothing degenerates real effort and accomplishment like recognition of crap.

    For whatever reason, this guy is bucking the system and lashing out. He is doing it on purpose and will continue to do so until he comes around on his own. Some people with slow starts turn out just fine. I know at least one guy who was still hanging around home at age 29. Just a few years later, he was pulling well over 100 g's, got a great wife and kids, and really has his act together.

  18. #18
    OnTheRoad or AtTheBeach stonecrd's Avatar
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    Your a parent, you can't live there life for them and they have to make their own choices and live with the consequences. But IMO it is your job to support them and love them no matter what, they must have somewhere they feel safe. It is a challenge, see my daughter thread, but they are your kids no matter what they do.
    The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard and the shallow end is much too large

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  19. #19
    Pwnerer Wordbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stonecrd View Post
    Your a parent, you can't live there life for them and they have to make their own choices and live with the consequences. But IMO it is your job to support them and love them no matter what, they must have somewhere they feel safe. It is a challenge, see my daughter thread, but they are your kids no matter what they do.
    I've always supported my son in anything he's done, the line stops at supporting behavior that will cause him harm. Is it my fault he chooses to do so little?

    Believe me, the last thing I'd do is try to live his life for him. Quite the contrary, I can't wait for him to get out on his own and learn some life lessons. Hanging out with his stoner buddies riding a BMX and living with Mom isn't getting him there. Giving him a job would be even worse: he needs to have his own achievements, not have them handed to him, which is why I'm having such a hard time getting excited about him graduating. He hardly worked for it, just did the bare minimum.
    Quote Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
    Ski, bike and wish I was gay.

  20. #20
    Squirrelly Member trsidn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wordbiker View Post
    He hardly worked for it, just did the bare minimum.
    that's still more than some do.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mariah View Post
    Transcendental enumeration.

  21. #21
    Pwnerer Wordbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trsidn View Post
    that's still more than some do.
    I'm sure that many are less capable too. He has the ability...he's just lazy. Believe me, he starts out with 'A's, ends up with 'F's.

    Or are you saying because there's people lazier than he is, we should just lower the standards? I'm sure that's the way he sees it too.
    Quote Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
    Ski, bike and wish I was gay.

  22. #22
    Squirrelly Member trsidn's Avatar
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    That's often the case. There is only so much you can do.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mariah View Post
    Transcendental enumeration.

  23. #23
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    Somebody has to be the worst HS grad each year, and over all time. Still a HS grad though.

  24. #24
    Seņor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wordbiker View Post
    ... He hardly worked for it, just did the bare minimum.
    I hear what you're saying, but the world is full of quite functional and intelligent people who recognize what the minimum is, and put out just that much. Certainly you expected and hoped for more than that, but it is a positive step.

    I'm not condoning the poor choices he's making, but there are plenty of people who mend their ways after they recognize the path they're on doesn't lead them to where they want to go. On the other hand, my 1/2 brother is 35, quite an intelligent guy, but can't break old, destructive habits, and can't hold a job to save his life. Point is, as long as he's putting forth some positive effort, there remains cause for hope. You don't want to be naive about things, but don't write him off either.
    The search for inner peace continues...

  25. #25
    KombuchaCHIC Shadiyah's Avatar
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    This is a big deal. He's graduating. It's better late than never, and something must have happened in order for him to do this. Adult Education systems don't magically give out diplomas without some bit of work involved. This is a big step for him and can turn out to be a positive experience especially if you are there standing behind him and are proud of him. Life is so complicated and I'm sure there is a lot to what is going on in your son that has caused him to be where he is today. The most you can do for him is to be there, support him and be his friend.

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