Last year, we took my cousin to live with us as a Foster kid. The first few months were trying and that’s putting it mildly. Having 3 boys under the age of 5, we had no clue what we had signed up for. We were at our wits’ end and I was seriously doubting our humanitarian but rash decision. Some of you may have read my rants about the problems and issues that I was facing. On a few occasions, I must confess, the thought of throwing in the towel crossed my mind. The toll it was taking on my mental state, my family and my blood pressure, didn’t seem like a fair trade-off.
He came to us with baggage we thought we would be able to unpack. Emotional wounds that had not yet scarred given his young age.
In my last teenager blog about him, I vowed to work harder at reining in my emotions and be more open and patient. (Probably the hardest thing to do). I chose to pick my battles and instead of being a vigilante seeking out his slip-ups and meting out justice, I looked for whatever good points I could find, no matter how minute, and brought them to the surface. “You did a good job listening, I really appreciate it.” Instead of, “Jeez, you finally listened?” Trust me, my natural tendency is to do the latter so imagine what it took for me to make that adjustment. I practiced counting to ten, took deep breaths before I said anything and mentally put things into perspective before dealing with a situation. “How bad is it really?” “Was he made aware of the consequences of his action” Were some questions I would ask.
Our Foster son is finally showing signs of buying into our efforts at rehabilitating him. Yesterday, while helping me in the basement, we spilled some garbage on the floor. To my amazement, he went upstairs, got the broom and cleaned it up. No biggie you say? Well this is as big as it gets. This was something he previously would NEVER DO. Never think to do. He seems to a bit more connected to us as a family. My blood pressure has noticed the small changes too and has since fallen. So too has my stress and agitation.
Don’t get me wrong, he has not turned into a wonder kid. He still continues to be a work in progress. Lots of work. Texting while ignoring everyone and everything, laziness in regards to home and school are among the ongoing issues but I am learning to accept the little devils as substitution for the gigantic demons. Not a bad trade-off if you ask me.
Some of you may still say, “Go easy on the boy, it’s just the way teenagers are. I have a son/daughter who is even worse.” Sorry, I don’t buy it. Teenagers are just the way we let them be, plain and simple.
Please read my related blogs.
- That’s just how teenagers are (caramieandtheboyz.wordpress.com)
- Stolen, misplaced, phantom shoes
- Foster Parenting
- 1-2-3 Texting…