Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

How many years will I get for killing him?

I am sitting here in front of my son and I'm shaking I'm so angry with him. I know he's got issues. I know it's hard for him. I know that he is lazy and will do ANYTHING to get out of schoolwork. But this is just beyond the pale. And if he doesn't get his act together in the next TWO HOURS he's going to fail Latin, a subject he should have an A in, but doesn't because he WILL NOT finish his work.

Last school year he missed the last 2 weeks of school because he was in the hospital. His teachers gave him until 31 July to get his work finished. That's TODAY. His Latin teacher is coming to our house at 4 pm to pick up his work and drop off his final, which he has 24 hours to finish. The work includes a poster. A poster on Pericles. OK, not an easy topic. There isn't a lot of reliable information on Pericles, and what there is might or might not be accurate. But hell, this kid has spent HOURS in front of the computer and at the library and can't find a thing. I don't know what he's waiting for. On 3 separate occasions today he announced he'd rather just take the "F" than do the work. I had to literally sit him down in a chair to get him to stop being such an ass.

I finally completely lost it. I went online and did a search for "Pericles biographical information" and guess what? I found a 21 page article in about 2 seconds. An article comprised of a bunch of source information and even cited. An article that was divided into key components like "artistic achievements" and "military approaches". You have to be a fucking moron not to be able to make a poster out of this information. But does he has ANY clue as to how to do it? He does not. He is so frustrated and so wound up in his own psychodrama that he just freezes up with anger. He gets so rigid. He gets so mean. He gets so abusive. And it's a freaking poster that would have taken any normal person 20 minutes to do. It wasn't even HARD, for God's sake. It's just that he gets into this negative space and he can't find his way out of it, and then he starts throwing things around the house and screaming at me. Because, of course, it's always all my fault. Always.

I got into his face, like 3 inches from his nose, and I let him have it but good. I'm so sick of listening to his excuses for why he can't do anything. They are just excuses, and he does them because he knows that people feel sorry for him and allow him to manipulate the situation to suit his whims. Everyone does that. His teachers, his therapist, his friends. I used to. But no more. I WILL NOT allow him to manipulate me to do his work for him. I'll help him, but I will not do it for him to have him pass. He tried really hard to get me to do this project for him. He left it not only until the last minute, but to the last possible second. He had more than a month to do it. I reminded him at least 1000 times in the past month. I had to take his Ipod away yesterday to get him to sit down and do it today. He begged and begged this morning to get his Ipod back, but he's not getting it back anytime soon. I'm too angry. I am SOOOO angry.

How is he going to get along on his own if he thinks that everyone will bend to his will? They won't. His bosses won't. His wife probably won't. Everyoone isn't going to do everything for him. He HAS to learn to do it for himself. But so far, he hasn't learned this lesson. It's my job to make sure he does. It's hard and it's making me insane, but I'm gonna be damned if he finishes high school on promises and manipulation. It is not going to happen on my watch.

Of course, he's going to kill me before he ever gets out of high school if he keeps behaving like this. God help me, he's gonna kill me.

I just said to him, "Don't you think you ought to study for your final?"
"Fine" he says, but makes no move.
"Like NOW" I say.
"Yeah, OK."

I swear it, if I don't blog in the next few days, call the police. I might have died in my bed from frustration and angst.

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Blogger JaniceNW said...

You will get off because it's justifiable homicide. Just make sure the jury consists of parents of teens. Hell, get a grand jury of parents of teens and they won't even indict you.

I know exactly how you feel. It was the same with BPB. He would sleep through alarm, or not do him homework, or skip class. When he decided to quit high school, I was destroyed. He still doesn't have a job. Sigh.

I don't have anything else to say except take some deep braths and DON'T have a heart attack because I would really really miss you.

31/7/07 1:02 PM  
Blogger Robin said...

I'm sorry Margalit. I wish I had something concrete to offer, or that I at least lived close enough to open a bottle of wine and listen to you bitch in person.

31/7/07 2:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trade you an 18 year old boy who thinks that picking his brother up from football is the only job he needs to do all summer.

31/7/07 4:43 PM  
Blogger Poppy Buxom said...

Don't waste your time getting angry. Refuse to argue. Refuse to engage. Mine are Aspies, stubborn beyond belief, and in real need of structure and routines.

We do 1-2-3 Magic. The guy who came up with the system suggests a time out, but I find (my kids being such geeks) that taking away the high-tech toy du jour works much better. This is how it goes:

Them: [Sounds of bickering]
Me: That's a 1. At three the Wii goes into the closet.
Them: [Bickering about who started it and who won't stop bickering.]
Me: That's a 2.
Them: [Silence]

Some people object that 1 2 3 Magic treats your children like dogs. To which I reply: So what?

It's like the armed services. When something needs to be done, a general is not interested in hearing a private's opinion of how to do something better, or why it doesn't need to be done right now. Or how he doesn't want to do it.

Yeah, I know it sounds like I'm sending my kids to military school, but they are as fresh and cheeky and talk-back-y as any other kid. I knew I needed a quick way to lay down the law or I'd end up in a padded cell, and a friend suggested 1 2 3 Magic.

You might want to check it out.

31/7/07 5:12 PM  
Blogger Dave2 said...

Latin? Seriously?

I would refuse to study out of principle! :-)

31/7/07 5:18 PM  
Blogger margalit said...

Poppy, The sad thing is, we've been using 1-2-3 Magic since they were 3 years old. Most of the time, for stuff that I need them to do, it works. But when he gets into his rigid mode, and he flatly refuses to help himself, I can't stand to let him fail because he's being so rigid. It isn't fair to him to get an F because he's put himself into a mindset where the schoolwork is 'stupid' or 'too hard'. He's like an Aspie in that he just cannot transition well at all and he tends to get totally stuck.

I had to get him moving. I knew he could do it if he just motivated himself. I get so upset because it's so hard to watch a kid with a 1 in a million IQ (literally) fail over and over again because he's so stuck. He shouldn't fail. He won't learn anything by failing. He's failed before and it just doesn't do a thing for him except get him MORE depressed and MORE suicidal and MORE convinced that he sucks and life isn't worth living. Which I just can't watch.

He's such a complicated kid. But the bottom line is, he did it, the teacher accepted it, he now has to translate Helen of Troy for his final and he'll pass the class with a B, which is fine with me.

But what is he doing now? Watching Buffy DVDs. Like he doesn't have a care in the world!

31/7/07 5:20 PM  
Blogger Major Bedhead said...

For whatever it's worth, I think you did the right thing. My eldest used to frustrate me like that but I eventually gave up (once he finished high school). Part of me regrets it, but it didn't seem to matter how angry I got, how much I yelled, he would just do what he wanted, which was, and still is, usually nothign.

And please don't keel over in the night. It would suck.

31/7/07 7:45 PM  
Blogger JaniceNW said...

I'm glad he did it. I am so sorry it was such a struggle. I heart you in a firm friendly handshake kinda way.

31/7/07 9:28 PM  
Blogger Em said...

You have my compassion on this one. I've been there - three inches from my son's face - and he has sidestepped his work. There are so many days when I think one of us won't live to see sundown. My thoughts are with you.

31/7/07 9:29 PM  

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