Math test tomorrow so we review tonight.
My teenage son puts my character to the greatest test ever. My patience are challenged beyond anything I have ever encountered. The stress levels I am currently coping with are as high as any I have experienced in my entire life. This is and has been one of the most difficult times of my life.
But let’s be clear. There is no doubt that he is trying. All of his teachers vouch that his attitude at school has changed significantly. He has improved his grades and has worked on his math with my help for almost two months. With a little luck he will get a very respectable mark in math – which will see him into the university entrance program for grade 11.
So why does the stress and worry continue? Perhaps it’s because I worry that he’ll make one mistake that will jeopardize everything. Frankly there are still times when he does things that compromise himself sufficiently to jeopardize everything. Fortunately he has not been caught. Some days things are reasonably good. Other days are horrible. A good part of the stress is not knowing what I’m dealing with from one moment to the next.
It’s a math day again today. My son stayed overnight and most of today at this friend’s house. Now he’s home and it’s time to do math…
The math is done for today & so am I.
My teenage son’s math 10 final exam is on Wednesday. That leaves just 4 more days to get him ready. The biggest task of all may be to convince him that he can do it. To give him enough confidence to at least give it a whole-hearted attempt. That will depend a lot on what happens on Tuesday the day before the exam. If that day goes reasonably well then he will likely do better on the test.
He and I spent about an hour and a half on math today. He worked for some of that time, the rest of it he cried – literally. He was in a bad mood. His confidence was really low. He was down on himself. It was a small miracle that he managed to pull himself together to finish the questions I had set for him. But in the end he did it. He has some real potential in math but at the moment finds it really frustrating. A lot of the time I enjoy teaching him. He catches on fast and makes connections from concept to concept that I sometimes struggle to keep up with. He does a lot of it without having to put pencil to paper – just in his head. He looks at the question for a moment, then turns to me with the answer.
He has no patience with himself and is very unforgiving of his own errors. Fortunately, he is patient with me. He never gets upset when I have to redo a problem or explain something to him because I have messed it up. Thank God for that. Maybe one day he will learn a little more forgiveness of his own errors – a little patience. I’m not at all concerned about whether he chooses math as a career. I just don’t want him to see it as a barrier that is stopping him from going somewhere or doing something he loves.
There is the saying, “Be careful what you wish for.” Maybe with modern technology it should be restated, “Be careful what you blog.” After yesterday’s blog my teenage son had a tantrum that lasted well into the wee hours of the morning. My wife and I are both exhausted today. And wouldn’t you know it? The only one who is now managing to get some sleep is that same teenage son.
I was talking to my wife yesterday about our teenager. I said living with him in the house must be somewhat similar to living in a war zone. We never know when the next attack is coming or how severe it is going to be. Any small indication of an attack causes stress levels to go through the roof, and we attempt anything to try to avoid it. Our son is prone to severe temper tantrums. Some of them last a few minutes while others have lasted a whole day.
I’ve often wondered why people living in war zones don’t just pack up and leave. Maybe it’s because that is not an acceptable option for them at the time. Maybe it is safer where they are at than any other place they can go to. Maybe the stress of the situation has compromised their decision-making skills.
So why are we, my wife and I, putting up with this? Why don’t we just boot him out and carry on with our lives? Well because booting him out is not, at least in our minds, an acceptable option at the moment. There is of course the fear that the stress that will come from booting him out will be far worse than the stress we now endure. And there is the hope that he will eventually grow up. (Just kidding right!) Hopefully he does grow up. If it doesn’t happen, then hopefully we will find the courage to put on those boots.
Two days ago my teenage son and I had an actual conversation. We hadn’t had a conversation for over two years. Sure we talked during those years – him with acid in his voice – me struggling to conceal the acid in my own. I don’t even remember how the conversation started. All of a sudden we were talking. Part way through the conversation he asked me to take him to a movie. We didn’t talk about anything important. We just talked. It was nice, I enjoyed it. Thanks — you know I love you.
Raising a teenager is one of the most difficult things I have ever done. I’ll concede that this teenager may be a little more challenging than some, but I’ve never felt my life so much out of control as I do now. We went to the movie last night. It was a great thing to do. We both had a good time. After the movie we discussed it for awhile then I went to bed. He stayed up all night – went to bed after 5:00 in the morning – then slept until 5:00 this afternoon. Now we’re waiting on him to do some homework. So what are the chances of him getting up for school tomorrow morning? And so it goes.
Finally – Math We finally got back to the math today – my teenage son and I. I hope we have enough time to get him through it. On the bright side the two of us are going to a movie tonight – Prometheus.
Monday: my teenaged son’s friend (see Friend’s Indiscretion?) was texting in class at school and his cell phone was taken away by the teacher. The teacher who seized the phone takes the opportunity to read a few texts and notices discussion about drugs. The school’s zero tolerance to drugs is invoked and before the day is done the friend is expelled… no not suspended – expelled.
Tuesday: it’s our wedding anniversary. When we get back from dinner the expelled friend and another amigo are at our house. Later in the evening the amigo’s mother refuses to come and pick him up… he stays the night. He gets up in the morning and catches the bus to school – on his own. I have it from a fairly reliable source that the amigo is a pretty good student. Where did I go wrong.
Wednesday: I’m still upset because my teenaged son gave me a shove on Monday, still hasn’t done any math and thinks I should be apologizing to him. Oh, did I forget to mention the shove? Well the sh– has come so hot and fast this week I haven’t had a chance to blog, post or even collect my wits.
Thursday: Still no math and we learn that his other friend (see High Risk Friend) has not been at school for many weeks. To further complicate matters we also learn that this friend no longer answers text messages. But I’m not absolutely certain of that because my teenager has not had a phone to text him on since the shove on Monday. My wife and I attend at our son’s counsellor without our son, we’re at out wits end and need some encouragement. We are told that our parenting style is the big problem and here’s how we fix it. Thanks for the help.
Friday: Oh my god. It’s the weekend and now I can’t even go to work and hide for a few hours each day, still no math and I remind myself that it’s all my fault. It’s 8:00 pm and my teenage son is sleeping in his bedroom. If he wakes up maybe he’ll agree to do math. If he does it will likely be sometime between midnight and 3:30 am – for about five minutes. Of course there will be no advanced notice which five minutes he will be willing to do math. Just hang around… I’ll let you know.
So what’s next?