I have two boys. When I moved them from the East Coast to the West Coast, J was 11 and K was 8. They are now nearly 17 and 13.
They have struggled. I have struggled. Any parent who thinks they are great and know what they are doing is a liar. Most of the time I am lost. I am convinced I am screwing them up irreparably. I am convinced they have HUGE issues, that I haven’t done things right, and it’s my fault.
My youngest (K), now 13 year old, is insecure, negative, slightly overweight, has no fore site, is socially awkward, has few friends, hates school, (has endured THREE math teachers in the last six months due to his teacher going on maternity leave and not coming back), hates sports, and is a computer game freak. He is disorganized, forgets to hand things in, doesn’t care about school, loses things, his room is trashed, and he loves sweets (too much).
I am worried about him. I am sure he will never find his calling.
Then I read this. I wrote it four years ago about my older son, (J) who is now:
- Nearly 17
- A 4.0 junior in high school
- Motivated, bright, secure, and empathetic.
- He has a path to college and peers who look to him for help.
But, that is now. This was then.
Here comes “The Story Of J” At 13.
Sixth Grade was terrible. He was picked on horribly. And the school isn’t so great about anti bullying. They SAY they are, but I didn’t see that much support. If Jack defended himself, in the school’s eyes he was making it worse. What is that? He had to adjust to two teachers (one for math and science and one for language arts and social studies) instead of one teacher like in 5th grade. He’s very disorganized: Shoves things into his backpack, all crumpled up, and loses things. Does not hand in homework on time, and gets an F but gets A’s on tests. He also walked like a duck, and has size 12.5 feet (really). That didn’t help. He had no peer group he belongs in: he’s not athletic, not brainy (bright), etc. And completely new (no one he knows). He went from being the older son of two to a middle son also. And he went from trying to fill his dad’s shoes with me, (wrongly) to no longer having to do that because he has a stepdad now to adjust to. J’s dad’s a YELLER and very immature. His stepdad is the opposite. J also had to start sharing a room with his brother, and in FL had his own room in a much larger house.
Seventh Grade: Better in some ways. His two leg surgeries for toeing out are over. He has a slight limp and is very flat footed, so still awkward and does not run correctly. Size 12.5 shoe. We’re working on physical exercises for this. And he can start looking for a Jujitsu school which he really wants to try.
He has kids he talks to at school but has never brought one to the house, and never gone to their house. He met some of them at the movies last Friday, I dropped him off. But I’ve never met any of them.
Schoolwork: He’s very disorganized: Shoves things into his backpack, all crumpled up, and loses things. Does not hand in homework on time, and gets an F but gets A’s on tests. We tried various organizational techniques this year and none of them work: he doesn’t care. He’s pretty much a C student and really struggles in Math. Science is best subject but even that has late or missed work.
Back when his dad and I were married: J heard, “you are stupid” “you are dumb” “dummy” “you’re a bad kid” come out of his dad’s mouth and his paternal grandfather’s mouth. So the foundation of this self image is pretty bad.
He is 5-5 and about 150# so needs to lose weight (Doc says around 130 would be fine). So he sees him self as fat, stupid and socially awkward. He relates to older kids and adults far better than his peers.
He loves animals and gets long with them very well. He SAYS he wants to be a vet, but at nearly 13, (his birthday is April8th) he doesn’t make the connection between what he is learning now and being able to do what he wants later. Babies LOVE him. They babble and giggle at him. That’s pretty funny.
He needs to find something he likes/loves that lights a fire under him. And perhaps, the best way is to have him try things. Baseball was a disaster (He ran like a duck in FL when he tried little league). He ended up afraid of the ball. I think jujitsu or swimming? With those big feet! But he needs to choose. He’s not a fan of sports. And needs the exercise.
He’s OCD, Anxiety ridden and has a bit of ADD also (on meds for this). Seeing a shrink, but not making headway (my issue, and looking at that now).
A friend came along. Then two. Then three. By the last quarter of the school year, I told him I would buy him a gaming computer if he got all A’s (except math). And. He. Did. It. At eighth grade graduation, he was more than ready to get the hell out of middle school and start high school.
I could have written most of this RIGHT NOW about K! I am taken aback, melancholy, and HOPEFUL.
It’s call perspective. I need to get it. Daily.