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Raising young adults

Living in a house with 2 teenagers, who have 2 dozen friends the same age, is like herding cats.  Raising young adults is not for the feint of heart either.  I keep saying “raising teenagers” and someone much older and wiser than me reminded me of the fact that they are becoming young adults.  I have been suffering from a slight case of WPOR as the parent of said young adults.  WPOR stands for Warped Perception of Reality.   In my day dreams I imagined my young adults turning 18 years old, graduating from high school, going to college and moving out of my house.  That would leave Katy and I with peace and tranquility that we treasure.

I do not get to spend much time in my WPOR induced stupor.  Every day seems to be an adventure.  There are times that we attempt to look into the future and determine which child is more likely to be successful than the other.  They say that as parents we are not supposed to have favorites.  Hindsight is always 20/20 and to this day all my predictions have been blown out of the water.

Approximately one year ago we moved from Johns Island to West Ashley.  When we moved to Johns Island it was to be in a better neighborhood and for me to be much closer to Kiawah.  The 90 minute commute each day was getting old and costing me a fortune in gas.  What I did not realize is that the schools in Charleston county, especially on Johns Island suck.  We wound up having to enroll our teenagers in online curriculum through the state and that did not work out very well.  I suppose that the older the child gets the more they require socialization with other teenagers.  My teenagers let me know this in many different ways.

Recently I have decided that Katy and I have missed our calling as Foster parents.  We typically have 4 to 15 teenagers at our house.  I guess you could say that the socialization of our teenagers has improved quite a bit.  The only problem with that socialization is that their choices for friends sometimes leaves things to be desired.  I do not believe that any of these kids are bad. I believe that all of them, including my kids, are good kids at heart.  What we have learned is that most of these teenagers come from broken homes.  My son told Katy the other day that we are the exception to the rule.  He said that most of his friends live in homes where the mom and dad are either divorced or getting divorced.

Just recently we wound up dealing with a teenager whose parents keep kicking her out of the house.  This young person is 16 years of age and is in a very ugly situation.  I attempted to be a responsible parent and reached out to the mother of this teenager.  We had long talks and I made suggestions to her in which way she could go with dealing with their issues in their home with their daughter.  Whether or not those suggestions fell on deaf ears or not remains to be seen.  At first the parents of this young person were ok with their daughter living with us and did not say a word.  They knew our address and phone number and at any time they could have driven over here to retrieve their child.

For the life of me I do not understand how any parent could “disown” their child.  That is what my adoptive parents did to me and my sister at different stages of our life.  These parents have no problems with slamming the door on the young person’s face and tell them they are not welcome and they are filth.  On several occasions the mother dropped the young person off at a gas station and left her standing there with the clothes on her back.  I never knew that this was an option for parents.  I thought that parents were responsible for the well being of their offspring no matter what.  I also thought that parents were supposed to love and support their children no matter how many bad decisions the young person makes.  I thought that is what parenting is all about.  Helping the young person to learn from their mistakes and make better life decisions.

Yesterday the step father gets on the phone with me and proceeds to give me the riot act for being disrespectful to his wife and for sticking my nose into their business.  What gave us the right to give his daughter a place to stay.  We allowed his daughter to stay with us because she is a friend of our daughters and we did not want her to be living on the streets of Charleston.  The parents knew where she was the entire time and knew they could come get her.  At no time did they lift a finger to come get her.  After my brief encounter with the angry step father I advised him to come get his daughter and I had her pack her stuff and go outside to wait for him to arrive.

As of today the young adult has gone back home and her grand mother is coming down from North Carolina to take her back with her.  Hopefully things will settle down for this young lady and she will be able to go to school there and get life back on track. We want her to be in a safe place that is devoid of hateful and angry remarks.  We want her to be in a safe place where she does not have to worry about her step father provoking physical confrontations between the wife and daughter in the front yard.  With this obstacles out of the way maybe she can start to make the appropriate adjustments with some of her life choices and make better decisions as to whom she should spend time with.

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