Welcome to my life. It's a whirlwind of kids, chaos, pets, people, family, art, and being home (most of the time; I like to get out here and there). We unschool, so the unexpected is, well, expected...

Saturday, May 09, 2009

what to do now?

After our exhausting week, I'm left wondering what's next for us!

It seems to me that this isn't going to be the last time a kid shows up at our house needing love and help and protection. It's heart breaking, and at the same time heart opening. Chamille seems to attract broken hearted kids, kids with problems, kids that need help. I know why. Chamille is a secret keeper, a person with happiness in her heart, a person that is soft and gentle and kind, a person that will listen and give good advice.

I'm a little of the same, although, I've never really been a secret keeper, Chamille is really showing me how to do that better.

So, lately, I've spent a lot of time online researching the current thoughts on teen behavior. Things that parents are reading and trying to implement because of their troubled teens. It's extremely discouraging! Website after terrible website is giving really bad information to parents with troubled teens.

It's all about control and manipulation, fixing the child, finding ways to get the child to do what you want them to do, and when they don't, punish them, take away their things, their friends, their lives, make them go to counseling, and if all else fails send them away to boot camp or boarding school. Unless of course your child has become a run away, then the advice is to try to be more communicative. It's so infuriating, I want to run down the street yelling loudly "BE NICE TO YOUR KIDS!"

It's really that simple and so hard for parents to grasp! Make your child's life wonderful and sweet and fun and full of joy, be their partner in life, help them get the things they want out of life. If parents could get this from the beginning, and be kind and gentle and loving and open and honest about communicating with their kids then perhaps kids wouldn't need to run. How do parents get to this point with their kids? Why does the burden end on the shoulders of the kids? Parents need to BE different with their kids.

The more I read, the more frustrated I am by this culture of meanness that we live in. As a culture, we are really mean to kids, especially teenagers. These "broken" kids end up at our house and I see beautiful people, where their parents see kids that they may love, but are not measuring up. Why why why? That is such a horrible place for kids to live in the hearts of their parents, to never measure up to perceived expectations. More thoughts on this here from someone else who really "gets" it!

I want to rescue them all, all the broken hearted kids and love them up and show them how special and wonderful they are.

Here is the letter that Chamille wrote to the mother of her friend that ran away after we received this lovely email, which was sent to me and the parent of another kid that had been involved...

Thank you for your thoughtful words and efforts yesterday with ***. I am sure all of you can relate to the struggles of balancing limits and freedoms with our teenagers. *** is very sorry for the turmoil and hurt she caused, I am happy she is home and we are talking. Please share with your kids that as a result of ***'s actions she will be off line (email, text & IM) for a while. I hope during this time we gain a greater understanding and appreciation for each other. Attached are some things that come to mind with what I know of my daughter and some of her strengths and struggles. One of which includes striking a balance between being a unique individual vs. rejecting social norms and average people. I am sharing this with you incase you can relate, I firmly believe we grow from every challenge we are faced with. I also want to return the offer that if any of you need/want someone to talk with I am hear and nothing shocks.
thanks again,
God Bless

(It's long and you may need tissues, I did! The woman's reply follows.)

I dont understand why you're doing all of this, your making all the mistakes a parent could make and you are trying to find someone to blame besides yourself and I'm the blame, I've been through this before, your just like Emilys dad george except he never told me what a horrible person I am to my face.
It really hurt, hearing what you said to me about *** running away, sure I can understand that your in pain about it, but cant you see that aly was in pain too? why else would she have run away?
kids dont just run away for no reason.
I dont do drugs either and I'd very much like you not to believe so, *** probably looked "stoned" to you cause she was CRYING.
because she is SAD. do you get that shes SAD?
do you even CARE?
because it really really seems like you dont care about her happiness at all.
the only reason I helped her was because she was either going to be safe with me or she was gonna go downtown where she'd be away from everyone.
she was SAFE WITH ME!
I was with her almost ALL day!
I only lied cause I wanted her to be able to trust me!
I didnt want her to run away from me too.
I really dont want her to run away, I didnt want her to run away in the first place. I tried really hard to convince her not too.
but I couldnt do that.
I cried for hours for her.
I dont want her to end up having to sell herself out with sex for food, I dont want her to be homeless.
I didnt want her to get raped, I didnt want her to be unsafe.
thats why I was with her, but you dont think I'm safe.
which I dont understand why.
Is it because of the way I look?
do you really think I'm that bad? what have I done to make you think I'm so horrible?
Up until now I dont think I've done anything wrong or to make you think badly of me.
and another thing, you dont get *** at all.
you really dont.
and I really wish you did so you could help her.
she doesnt need to go see special docters, she doesnt need to be changed.
you need to learn to accept her for who she is.
inside and out.
just because she dresses out of the "Norm" whatever the "norm" is, doesnt mean shes going to hate everyone, it doesnt mean shes gonna do drugs and have sex.
*** is one of the most anti drug and sex person I have ever met.
and I respect that about her alot.
*** is very very very smart...
and I wish you could see just how wonderful she is, and how smart she is and how kind and truthful she is, and can be. if only you would accept her, I'm sure she could trust you.
I honestly dont know what I could possibly say to make you believe how good of a person *** really truly is.
I think your too sucked into what your church has to say rather then what your daughter does, and that makes me sad.
I've cried so much for ***.
and another thing.
about what you said to me.
"Did *** tell you she has an abusive home? do you think its fair to help a child from a good home to run away?"
I think that its not fair, but shes obiviously unhappy where she is otherwise she wouldnt be running away from home, right?
nobody would run away from home to go do drugs.
thats just stupid.
and when you said it was tourter for you because of her running away.
do you think it wasnt hard for *** too?
do you think she wasnt in pain too?
I have never seen someone so sad and broken before.
I have never had someone hold onto me like that before.
and cry like she did.
I was only trying to help *** you know?
I just want her to be happy, and I would do almost anything to help her be happy. I really truly would..
I just wish you could understand that I'm not a bad person.
and another thing,
I saw this coming from the start.
I knew you hated me, I always knew it.
I could tell that you did..
most parents do you know?
they always believe alot of stuff thats untrue, like me being a bisexual child molester out to get people...
when I was only 13.
is it even possible for someone that young to do that?
It hurts so much I can barely hold myself together anymore. please think about what I said even though you probably will take everything the wrong way, I'm sorry I lied to you. I know you were worried, but you shouldnt have done what you did.
you should have given her more freedom and trusted that she would do the right thing.
you could search our whole house if you want, you will not find any drugs. I'll even give you pee tests for the rest of my life if I need to.
I dont do drugs, never have and never will.
I could go on and on about alot of things but I think I'm done for now..
I'm sorry.
I dont care how stupid this message sounds and how immature it is or anything, I'm a kid what can you expect?


Camille & Jenny,
First let me say that I do not hate either of you or think Chamille is a 'horrible person' as she says. Additionally I am not looking to blame anyone, Chamelle included, for *** running away. I know that you both care for *** and I trust that your intentions are in the right place. I have thoroughly read both of your emails and they will weigh on my heart. I hope you understand that right now I am unable to engage either of you in a discussion along these lines as my first priority is ***. Regardless of your beliefs I too love ***, appreciate her and know her as only a mother can. I am doing everything I can do to help her.

Shocking! A one paragraph note sent to both my daughter and myself after Chamille poured her heart out and I wrote a nice and detailed, full of good information, yet loving email.


Ronnie said...

Wow. What a tough situation. Chamille's letter is heart-wrenching. I hope her friend gets to see it and see herself and her situation through Chamille's eyes, and I hope your words and Chamille's will indeed weigh heavily on the friend's mother.

Jenny Cyphers said...

Me too Ronnie! Right now, I think she's blocking all this advice and still looking for ways to be "right" and is probably finding plenty of resources to validate that claim! She's extremely hung up on how others will judge her and appearances matter VERY much to this person.

I'm going to keep writing to her even though she's told me that she won't engage in dialog with me. (what a cop out! and I told her so too!)

Sandra Dodd said...

Some of what you wrote might only seem useful when she notes herself doing the stupid things again, though. I'd give it some time.

Happy mother's day, Jenny!