Sturm und drang. So throw me a donut.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What do you do when your kid wants out of the relationship?

Since 2000, we (as in the family) have been chasing this dream of a great career with steady work and decent pay. It didn't happen. Ten years of hoping and working hard, and it all went down the toilet with one phrase: I don't think this is working out. Seriously. That's the phrase that ended it all, ended the career, and ended any hope of ever finding a place in that career again. And in the middle of the recession we thanked our lucky stars for unemployment and four retirement funds.

So, we switched careers. Two years of me in college to finish my degree, jobs to pay the bills, and now FINALLY we are back on track with new jobs - a Career that will last. Just as we (as a family) are getting back on our feet and making a new life, our younger son has decided that he is leaving.

Realistically, he can't leave if I say no. But then he'll make all of us pay. It's like I don't know him anymore. He tells me it's about finishing high school with his friends in our former town, that it's about school and finishing that program and being part of that class. But I feel completely betrayed. We have no extra money, no way to insure him properly if he's not living with us, and no money for him to travel more than once a year. Putting the whole family in financial jeopardy seems to be the last thing on his mind.

So I told him no. I told him he has to stay in school here. I told him he has to see a psychologist to work on the anger. And he has to treat the rest of us with respect. Or it will always be no. Right now, I wouldn't send him off to live with anyone because I don't trust him. I don't think he's mature enough to be in charge of his own life. And how do you ask people who are virtual strangers to be his parents until next June?

So then he said he wanted to get his GED so he could finish school and leave as soon as possible. A GED is not the same as a diploma. He's far too smart to wear that millstone around his neck for the rest of his life. But here's what I can't answer: How he feels betrayed by us for moving every few years. How he feels like he has no control over his life because we took that away. How he feels like he doesn't belong anywhere - except for that one school and that one class of kids. And how he spent months planning this and never said a word.

I told him he has to earn this one. He has to earn his way out of this family, because that's what he seems to want right now: To get out of this family so he can get away from the pain. How am I supposed to respect that decision?

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