gotta love fas-or perhaps not

Do you remember those good kids I have been writing about? The three I could parent another half dozen just like them?
Well the little angels have been scamming on their school work. My nearly eighteen year old daughter had enough sense to kick herself in high gear and complete her writing assignments. (one of which was quite good-not her normal) Both boys however decided it was in their best interest to not only not do their work ,but to blame me for calling them on it. I have now served peanut butter three times in the last twenty-four hours. My thirteen year old is finally over his mad and talking to me. He is also doing the work he was supposed to have finished a week ago. my seventeen year old son is refusing to do anything. Both boys missed karate last night. If their work isn’t caught up by Sunday at bedtime they will be missing their Halloween party.Not only will they miss the party (neither boy cares enough for this to be a big carrot) they will be doing manual labor the entire time they would have been having fun. (cleaning baseboards and mucking out the fridge does happen to be a big stick).
All of the kids have work I check daily. The teens have assignments that are do weekly as well. At the beginning of the week I sit down with them and make sure they understand what they are to be doing. I help them break down the tasks into daily increments and check back when the week is up. This is the first year my thirteen year old has had any independent work. He has a syllabus that breaks his assignments down daily. All he has to do is follow it. I also check with him weekly. unfortunately I forgot to check the kids’ work
This Monday. Something about being in court with youngest distracted me.
It isn’t their inability to work independently that concerns me;although that is a concern with the older two. It is the lack of remorse and misplaced anger that is the concern. I am used to grudge holding for imajined slights. It has been a couple of years since my seventeen year old has flat out refused to do his school. His brother is simply copying him. In years past all three would still be staring blankly at me. This year my daughter took responsibility for her lack of action and did her work.
It is after eight at night and my seventeen year old son has yet to give me two paragraphs. He just stares at me. He talks to me only when forced to. He has spent the entire day staring at a piece of paper. This is of course my fault.
In case you think I am hard on my kids,they have always been allowed to tell me they are having a brain glitch day. They can ask for help. They are encouraged to say “I don’t understand”. They can ask for a break,or to come back to something later. They are not allowed to lie to me and say they have done their work. They are not allowed to just stare at me when I ask them a question. I am thankful they no longer silently cry and let the snot run into their mouths. It took me years to break that one.
In case you think this is normal teen behavior,it isn’t. This is getting stuck and having a difficult time moving forward. If they are to be independent they have to learn how to recognize when they have stuborned onto something and let it go. You can’t give your boss the blank stare or glare at him if he has corrected you. You cannot refuse to correct your mistakes of follow directions at work. Employers don’t like that for some reason.
When they were younger, this was the norm. Up until last year,I would see this a few times a year. This is the first time in a year’s time they have pulled this.
They are checking to see if I am paying attention to them. They are wondering, do I care enough to help them through. Am I going to be consistent? Do I really care? Do I really believe they are capable of doing their school work;or do I think they are too “dumb”.
In truth,I have not been giving them firm enough boundaries. I am going to go back to checking daily on their “independent ” work. I will not leave them alone in the house if I can at all help it. I will parent them a few years younger than they are.
This has been our problem since day one. The kids thrive under firm boundaries and close supervision. If that is eased up at all,they start to flounder. Each year I try and give them a bit more freedom. Sometimes they can handle a bit more. Sometimes they regress. It is a dance.
I think the hardest thing is to see who they could have been if birth mom had stayed sober. On their “on” days they are so sharp. On their “FAS” days,they are not.
It is difficult some days to know where they are. Some days they are age appropriate. some days they are several years younger. Some days they are back and forth between the two.
I could still parent another half dozen just like them though. They are in their hearts,good kids.
If they would just do their blasted school work……

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About lenell

Wife to a very patient man and mom to 8 interesting kids via birth,marriage and adoption. Grandma to nearly 5,nearly perfect grandchildren.
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