Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Trouble in Paradise

Lest you think my life all sunshine, baby ducks, and perfect pie crusts, I wanted to share what's on my heart with you today.

I've been mulling over sharing this, and I feel that I need to. Not everything in life is for the blog, but I do think this is.

To warn you, perhaps, if you were ignorant about this.

To get your advice and encouragement....

...and to just be real.

It's hard for me to talk about happy things when my heart is heavy.

It's quite easy to 'create' a life online, to only photograph the 'good parts' of the house, to only talk about the 'good parts' of life, and to only show the recipes that turn out great. I could just show you the cute baby ducks, and not talk about or post pictures of the incredible poopy mess they are, or the food paste that they've splattered all over my kitchen walls that I scrubbed off today.

I always thought I could be that type of a blogger. I'm finding out that I can't be.

I have to share my heart.

I'm sure you all remember my sweet nephew Aaron.
In fact, several of you have mentioned how you've not seen him around on the blog lately, and that you've missed him.

There's a bit of a reason he's not been here.

We are having some troubles with him.

He's acting like a stinking brat.
A lot.

I'm not sure how much detail to go into here, and I don't want to just go on and on, so I'm just going to do headlines.

Aaron is fatherless.
He's never known his father.
It was my sister's decision at the time of his birth.

Aaron is bi-racial (but I'm sure you knew that).
We live in a very white community.

My sister is a single mom.

I think that's a lot for a kid to deal with, and overcome emotionally.

Aaron switched schools four times in the five years he went to public school while my sister made her way through life, finally getting a good job and finding a permanent place to live.

Aaron is sharp as a tack, has a great vocabulary and is an all around great kid, but struggled in school tremendously. Every teacher he had wanted him on medication for focus problems. Since I've been homeschooling him, I definitely see their point. We tried medication in third grade, but it changed his personality so, that we stopped it. We decided that we'd rather have an average student with a personality, than a medicated robot with good grades. That was our experience, and I do hope that I haven't offended anyone, or stepped on toes....

Aaron has always been spoiled.
Only child, one of two grandkids....
I lived out my fantasies of being a mother with him, and spoiled him as well.

My sister, being a single, hard working mother, oft times compensated not being there by giving him material things.

She oft times gave in to him and didn't address bad behavior out of tiredness, stress and wanting to have peace.

I was always afraid of the day that would come when we would reap what we've sown.

I touched on it here.

That day seems to have come, my friends.

Aaron has always, and I do mean just about always been great with me.
No trouble whatsoever.
When I sees something I don't like, I try to nip it in the bud.
I treat him with respect, and he in turn has treated me with respect.
By no means do I think I've done everything right, but I try to be consistent.

With his mom....he's horrible.

He's the most disrespectful thing I've ever seen.
It makes my stomach hurt.
It breaks my heart.

He's taken to swearing like a sailor.
At home.
Not here.
He's making up elaborate stories that aren't true.
He's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
I feel frightened that I don't really know him.

We had a situation a few weeks ago.
Let me preface this by saying that Aaron doesn't get unlimited computer time here, and doesn't have a computer at home.
I've always been glad that Aaron hasn't shown a lot of interest in spending hours on the computer, or video games.
If he's on my computer, it's for school, it's closely monitored, and I have Parental Controls on everything to the best of my knowledge.

I bought Aaron an iPod Touch for Christmas.
I disabled the Safari app, so he couldn't freely access the internet wirelessly.

I thought I had it all covered.
I didn't know about 'apps'.
Parents, be warned.

Long story short....something quickened in my heart to check his email.
Oh it wasn't good.
Apparently he was on some adult dating 'app' claiming he was 18 years old, and accessing things that no one should see, let alone 14 year old boys.

I felt that as a family, we handled the situation correctly, and mercy did triumph over judgment. There was a lot of love in the room.

He no longer has the iPod Touch.

I know in my heart he was truly repentant.

But something has changed.
I can't put my finger on it.

I feel like I'm losing him.
He's different.
He's defiant.
His attitude is horrendous.
I feel like I'm mourning the loss of my sweet nephew who's face lit up to see me.
I've lost my buddy.

As his Aunt, I'm trying to find my place in all of this.
I'm committed to him 100%.
I will do anything I can for him.
My sister is a wonderful mother.
She has provided a beautiful home for him.
He has a great support of family and friends.
I'm a control freak, and I just want to fix it.

I don't have children of my own, but I do think I know what it is like to be a mother.
All I can think of right now, is the heartache I probably brought to my very own mother, and didn't even realize it.

I wish I could apologize.

Any words of wisdom, prayers or advice are welcome!
The sun is shining outside, clothes are blowing on the line.
The ducks have doubled in size and mess.
I feel stuck though, until I can wrap my head around how to think and feel about all of this going on.

Please tell me there is hope!


  1. Oh Jayme, there is hope. It just may be awhile before you find it but you will!

    I have a story for you...a nephew by marriage, by 15 was smoking pot two or three times a day, selling pot to make money, sneaking out of the house in the middle of the night to visit his girlfriend. Yeah. It was tough when it all came out. I remember telling his mom, not to worry, (hormones can do bad bad things at that age), I wasn't worried, even with his punky hair cut and poor music tastes, I knew his mom, I knew my in-laws and I knew this kid. Eventually he got his act together. He's married with three beautiful children, has spent many years as a pastor and is now working hard at becoming a state trooper. These days he is an inspiration to me. So....don't give up. Continue to be consistent, continue to love and continue to pray. It will see you through.

    Hugs ~Andrea~

  2. Thanks for sharing your story Jayme.

    I think this is a hiccup. He's testing you. You crossed a line with him and now he has to deal with a new revelation. You aren't his best buddy that allows him to do whatever. You are his best buddy that will do the right thing by him, no matter what. He's not thinking of the latter right now.

    One day he'll come around. Continue to be loving and consistent. Show him you ARE that soft place to land.

    He'll be back. In his own time.


  3. Ok. So I’m a bi-racial kid. I was raised (part time) by my "very,very white mother". My siblings are not "mixed". They are all blonde blue eyed waspy clones of my mother and frankly the side of the tracks I grew up on.
    People can be cruel with out intention, as we grow we hear things and store the "little" comments away. We get angry, defiant; the world in all its "golden" glory has it out for us. Then we go from the "ugly (we are not ugly, just different) duck, to the swan. I used to walk by mirrors and get scared, why? Because on the inside I felt like Jessica Simpson, but on the outside, I was... darker than all around me.
    Look the point of my rant is, dont give-up. My grandma loved me to no end. I was bad, I snuck out, I tried "herbs", and I was promiscuous.
    AND then I grew up, I went to college, I married a guy I met in High School, and had 3 little girls that all look *surprise* "white". Your sweet nephew is a boy, with no dad. Who eventually has to grow up and be a man? That’s hard, he has no one to immolate just what he hears and sees. Hes looking for a path, show him the right one. Show him an outlet for that anger ( anger you might not see) Sports ? Running ? Painting ? all of these things can exert some of the "hormones" out and give him a time to meditate. Unfortunately the only thing is time and love. Love is instant, time is slower. Time will allow him to grow and grow out of this. And Ill warn you now, it may be worse before it gets better. Ill keep you in my prayers and thoughts. {totally inappropriate time but I LOVE LOVE your blog }

    -A darker than you swan :)

  4. Jayme,
    I wish I could hug your neck. Maddie gave us such a hard time her freshman year, only slightly better her sophomore year and now that we are nearing the end of her junior year I can say that I think we are finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel. There were some very dark days in there. Days when I just wanted to hide in bed. Days when I honestly couldn't stand to be in the same room with her. But I never gave up. I never stopped loving her. I learned new ways to deal with her such as natural and logical consequences. I learned that she thrived on my reacting so I stopped reacting. I learned that when she pushed and pushed and I didn't take the bait, that she would give up the fight. I found reasons to praise the few good things I could catch her doing. I cried a lot. I talked to Sweet Hubby and a good friend with similar issues a lot. I remembered that most of the people I know weren't model kids growing up and they all grew into fine adults. That includes me. I'm always here if you want to talk. Jen

  5. Dear Sweet Jayme,
    Thank you so much for being you...for sharing your heart with this community of bloggy sisters and friends.

    You've been carrying around a burden for a while...and when you had the time away I was even praying for you then that even more than your body would get the rest, that your inner most being would also find rest. Now I understand your struggle.

    Wendi P. has insight that I'm sure I don't have because of her circumstances growing up. Think it through...which I'm sure you already have been doing.

    Your last sentence "Please tell me there is hope!" compels me to tell you that my post today was on HOPE. You most definitely have my does Aaron, your sister and Glenco. You are all in this together.

    Love and hugs to you, my friend.

  6. Wow Jayme, this is hard... Our girls are still younger and so far we haven't had any big problems yet. I'm sure they're coming though, Hannah at 12 is starting to grow up and "know it all". I do remember being a teenager and feeling like an adult - very funny to me now. Maybe this is just a part of growing up and you'll just have to be consistent, loving and most importantly, don't give up!

  7. Teenagers are hard, I've raised 5 with 4 of them being boys and only one turned out to be a little rebel, my stepson has issues with his real mom but for the most part, he has overcome the worst. Stay strong and true, don't back down and continue to show respect if he was earned it. This too shall pass.....usually does with alot of prayer, faith and firmness.

  8. Jayme - Thanks for sharing with us. You've received lots of wise and thoughtful advice today. The only thing I'd add is for you to help Aaron find the one thing that he's good at. This may take some time; it did for my kid. I remember the music, tennis & skating lessons I drove her to each week, only to have her show little enthusiasm. She finally found her passion on a horse. Once she realized that she was good at it, no one could take that away. I'm not saying that the rest of her teenage years were a breeze, it's just that she had something healthy and worthwhile, besides school, she could really focus on. It became a project that we could all be a part of. I pray that with the support and love of you and his mom, Aaron will find that one "thing" that brings him contentment and joy, and this stage will be only a memory.

  9. Sent you an e-mail... hope it helps.

    The Blue Ridge Gal

  10. Yes, there's hope! We pretty much went through it all w/ our son. He's a great guy, and all grown up now, but wow... the things we all went through with that boy :) We survived. I think you will as well. Don't give up! Sending prayers to help. -Tammy

  11. The advice given to you is all GREAT!!! Just try to take one day at a time and breathe. Do your best to find the humor in everyday and look for something he enjoys that you and others around him can take interest in. Boys are odd creatures....:)

  12. I have no advice to offer, but I will offer up a prayer for you, all of you. It sounds like many readers left helpful comments, and I believe that being there for him, he will come back - in his own time, as others have said. Your blog sounded very happy-go-lucky, but none of us is without a problem or two. I've enjoyed reading your post - but today, you sound like a real person - one of us out here! Take care!



  14. Oh Jayme,
    I just knew something was wrong when you'd been away for so long. You've gotten great advice today and there is little that I can add except to say that kids thrive on discipline even if they don't know it. Keep him busy and make sure he isn't taking drugs. It can change a personality like you wouldn't believe!



  15. My two cents worth is pretty much what everyone else has already the storm, stay the his rock....and love him with all your heart! He'll find the way!

    Hugs and prayers,


  16. Hi Jayme,

    As I make my journey through Holy week, I will keep you, Aaron and your family in my prayers.

    Teens today are up against so much today. Drugs, alcohol addiction, inappropriate web sites etc.

    It is good that you and your sister have offered him a stable, wholesome, and loving environment. He is very Blessed!

    How about friends his own age? Does Aaron have any buddies to hang with? A youth group at church?
    Does he get enough sleep? Exersize? A chance to let off some steam? Like biking, running or shooting some hoops?

    Have a Blessed Easter!!!

  17. Where there is breath, there is hope. I second all the advice and suggestions already posted. I would only add that if it is possible to engage him in honest conversation, ask him about his future. At his age, next summer is eons away, so start small. Ask him what he would like to do on his summer break this year. Then after he opens up a little, ask him if he has any idea where he sees himself after graduation from high school. Does he aspire to college, has he thought about a career in the military ...a trade school, anything? The key is to stretch his forward imagination. Even if you seem to be doing all the talking, he will be hearing and thinking. You will be planting the seed in his mind that today is fleeting and the possibilities for tomorrow are what's exciting.

    He might feel like he has some hurdles with no father in his life and growing up bi-racial in a white community ...but if he opens his eyes, he will see that he is very blessed as well. He has a mother who chose to give him life and then to build him a life along with her (obviously) very supportive sister!

    God bless you all. There is always hope.

  18. You have done the right thing. Kids need rules and I know that it may not seem like it now, but they also like rules. By being consistent and letting him know that there are consequences associated with behavior that you don't condone, you are guiding him on the path to being a responsible adult. That's what you do for teenagers that are no longer children, but not adults either. It lets them know you love them and want the very best for them and everyone around them. He is going to be fine (because he IS loved) and your family will be fine too. Have a good night.

  19. Yes, all of the above. He is angry. He is different. He wants some answers no doubt.
    But the first thing I would do is get him a physical.
    My grand son was the nastiest kid ever.......we loved him but couldn't understand why he was such a daughter was ready to take him to a shrink, the school was telling her that there was something really wrong with him.
    I said.....get him a physical.......and she did....come to find out his tonsils and adenoids were so big, he never got any real REM he just couldn't cope. The only thing that made sense to him was staring at the computer screen.
    They took his tonsils out....the doctor told her and my son in law that they would be getting a brand new kid. They were skeptical, at best.
    But it was the truth.
    It was the most unbelievable change I have ever seen.
    So first, make sure that there isn't something you are all missing.
    Then, just love him, but stop trying to be his friend. Parents and parent figures can't be me on this one.
    He needs a parent. He probably has friends.

  20. There is always hope.
    He's young enough that his path can be switched...
    Fourteen is a horrible age, for them, and for those who love them.
    My daughter's 14th year is the one and only year that we spent angry.
    She's 33 now, and still feels bad about that one year.
    It'll be tough, and changes must sound like one tough cookie though...and if you all team up, with his future as your goal, you'll win. do you convince him of all this when he's running on hormones and angst?
    Prayers help, and prayer works.
    Many, I feel, will be sending some your way.

  21. He's a 14-year old teenage boy - that's what they do!

    Breathe. He'll be fine. He will grow out of it.

    He's normal.

    By no means does this give him any right to disrespect his mother but clearly, she made the bed she now has to sleep in (no offense).

    She's the ONLY one that can rectify his attitude towards her.

    Your job is to support her.

    I know you can do that!


  22. I love you, chicken lady. And I'm going to pray for Aaron and for you. I'm so sorry that you're in knots about all of this, although I can see why. It's scary stuff and I just don't know what I would do. He's blessed to have you in his life. You are totally a Mama.

  23. Jayme,
    I have a son that is 22 and a daughter that is 27. I was a VERY tough love mom. I'm certain there was a time they both hated me. BUT, they knew I never stopped loving them. They knew I would listen and be there for matter. what.
    my best advice is consistency.
    My son will graduate from college on May 8. My daughter is an attorney in D.C. Both successful, despite coming from a "broken family." (Their Dad & I split when they were 2 & 7, but he was around a lot.), both of my children are VERY close with me.
    They know I pray for them.
    Adolecents will test the limits, but I also believe they want to know what that limit is. For them, it is true security. Hang in there. Love him, be real, let him know when his behavior is not acceptable.
    Hug you, Cheryl

  24. p.s. I always joke that my blog is the life I wish I had!

  25. I have a 15 year old daughter. She is the best girl I know and has always had an unusually tender way about her- until the last year or so. There's lots of attitude and talking down to me as if I were a peer.

    It got to where I could barely stand being around her some days. I have since heard from many older mothers that they once felt that way about their wonderful adult children.

    Here's what I'm trying to do:
    make my correction calm and without anything that will be remembered as disdain,

    pray for her using scriptures that speak about children, obedience, training, love, patience,etc,

    making sure my husband and I are on the same page with discipline and back each other up,

    after an episode or punishment, I try to switch gears for a break (have some fun or just do a different activity that relieves some tension.) If she doesn't want to take part, I try to continue on with a good attitude, having fun so it will either entice or at least show the kind of person I'm trying to be as an example.

    I am verbal about my own struggles to be good to people, say I'm sorry quickly and pray about it in front of her.

    And last, I remember how good it felt that my grandparents always thought the best of me even in mistakes. I want to be that kind of mom. Who says, "This isn't you. You are a kind person. Act like it."

    I just don't want to let her attitude cloud the entire family's day. It is exhausting emotionally some days. Hang in there as another loving woman in his life.

  26. You have so much good advice here! People who have weathered the same storm you are in. It can be done. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Hang in there, my friend!

  27. Oh, Jayme. My heart goes out to all of you. This is so tough! My husband is a pastor and I can't tell you how many times good young boys have been drawn into such things. The world and Satan is so insidious, seeking whom he can devour. But thankfully, Christ can always do what seems impossible to us as humans!

    I won't tell you that there are easy answers or solutions. It's just a day by day thing. Lots of prayer. Lots of love. Lots of time spent pouring yourself into a child, teen, young adult. Keep him talking. Opening up. Discussing his feelings. Once they stop talking and shutting down communication, it gets really tough and you know you are loosing ground.

    I know that isn't much help, but I certainly will pray for you and Aaron and his mother. May God graciously move on this boy's heart and soften it for His glory and making him a vessel committed to Christ all his days!

  28. There is some wonderful advice here. My girls are wonderful adults. I was consistent with my daughters. They knew where the lines were drawn and I stuck to them. The rules were reasonable. I was a stay at home Mom.

    I would always listen and if they wanted something changed I would asked them to convince me. Sometimes they did. Not very often. Usually, somewhere along in their trying to convince me they saw their reasons and their argument fall apart and saw that my decision was for their benefit.

    One of my rules was I never tolerated disrespect. (I would leave the room... if he isn't respectful no audience will slow him down.) Always listen, but only when he speaks to you in a normal tone of voice and with respect.

    I remember telling one of my daughters that I didn't make up the rules to make my life easy. The rules were for her sake. I was always trying to get them to reason things out... to figure out the outcome and consequences of their decisions and actions instead of just telling them stuff and saying no.

    I gave them responsibility. ex: they had 4-H animals to care for and show at fairs and they did the work. I let them make decisions they were capable of making. ex: If they wanted purple hair. OK. (convince me) That is something that can be undone. But no tattoos. When they were 18 they could make their own rules, but for now mine were in force. I let little things go by, but stuck firm on the important things. I tried never to make a problem where one didn't have to exist. ex: If they didn't want to eat their dinner. Fine. But, no throwing the food and yelling.

    I remember playing dumb and asking them to explain things to me so they would have to think about both sides of the situation or idea.

    Children want what they want and need to learn how their actions impact the people around them and themselves. They need to care. I hope he cares. It would be great if some of the things that worked for me would help you.

    Him being hateful to his mother bothers me. You wouldn't let a dog bite his owner. Why allow a child to behave that way? That needs to stop. There is a situation in my husbands side of the family something like this. I don't know the answers. I wish you and your family all the best.

  29. I'm calling you later today. Not that I have any wisdom, just experience slogging thru with my olders and bracing for the slogging with the youngers.

    You've had lots of good advice, but let me just warn you....tough love and firm limits and consistency are all well and good, but they don't work with all kids. I know this from experience.

    Aaron is a unique being, as we all are, and I think there is no 'right' way that applies to all teens except HONESTY. I lose it with my teens (just did so the other night as a matter of fact) because though I want to model 'correct' behavior, I also want them to see how their actions and attitudes affect others. Relationship is key for me, not correct behavior. As long as you have relationship, there's always hope. Don't be so 'tough' that it breaks that key.

    So much on my heart about this...I'll call you. Tell Aaron I super-duper love him, would love to spend more time hangin' out with him, that he's NORMAL, and yet SPECIAL, and it's all going to be ok so long as honesty is part of the process. I could see from the moment I saw him that he has great things ahead of him, and while he will need to grow in maturity (as we continue to do thru our lives), he already possesses the unique gifts the world will need. But he'll never reach his full stature and really love himself and his gifts if he chooses to make poor decisions. Such a huge part of growing up (which many, many adults have yet to learn) is empathy...putting yourself in other's shoes. In his heart he doesn't want to hurt his mama, regardless of what comes out of his mouth. But teenage feelings and emotions are in the driver's seat....I know how he feels.

    By the way, today my two teen girls are going to the beaches of Florida today (separately with different groups) wearing itty bitty bikinis. My older is going with a group of beauty queens and jocks who are known to be the party crowd. My brain has jumped to that story a few years ago about the girl on her senior trip who disappeared (Natalie???) and they've never found her body.

    Yeah, I know all about scared. I know being out of control. I know out of control love that drives me to insanity. But I cling to this quote I came across:

    "As a parent (or Auntie), it is my job to let my hope for my kids outweigh my fear."

    Falling into that hope, while still being completely scared for my kids has been my comfort. I do my best and then trust in the good deposits I've put in them over the years, I hope that my imperfect love covers my multitude of sins against them, and smile and cry and shake my fists....then do it all over again. 'Tis the very stuff of life. Embrace it all. Love you.

  30. Jayme, our kids are grown but there were lots of sleepless nights along the way. Aaron has to work through all of the anger he has inside him, find his way and then he will come back to you all, the sweet spirited loving kid that you devoted so much time to raising. Keep on keepin' on. He needs lots of love and lots of guidance, he just doesn't know it! We're here for you girl, bounce some stuff off us and we'll tell you it has happened in our families too! Stay strong and notice that despite everything,the sun came up this morning too...

  31. I raised a boy with ADD who struggled a lot with school and relationships. I could not stand his behavior during his teen years, but never tolerated disrespect. It is such a struggle for them, they make lots of mistakes, but it's important to choose your battles carefully. Mine is now - amazingly - in the Marines. He still struggles with his daily choices, but he is incredibly respectful and a joy to be around. Aaron's mom definitely needs to lay down some rules and boundaries....maybe a counselor for them?

  32. Jayme,

    I'm sorry you feel frustrated, disappointed and hurt in AAron's behavior. I believe there is a reason God makes children so cute. It's so we don't eat our young. It's also why I smile when I read new mother blogs with conflicts everyday. There is a point in EVERY parents life when this moment happens. When you suddenly realize they make their own choices and some of them are going to be reckless and just plan stupid. All we can do is pray that we have given them the tools they need to make it through adolescence, be there to pick them up when they fall, remind them of who they are, where they come from when they forget - and they will. Aaron is not a bad kid. He is a normal teenager. Remember when you were and take comfort in that because you turned out fine. I'm not sure what you found on the internet but consider this, it may be today's version of finding a playboy tucked under a mattress. What would your mother have found if she read your diary as a teen? I think the only "perfect teens" are the ones who haven't gotten caught at doing anything. Breath deep, keep putting one foot in front of the other, set clear boundaries, show and demand respect. You will both get through this.
    Keep your chin up and be thankful you don't have a niece!

  33. Jayme,

    I'm sorry you feel frustrated, disappointed and hurt in AAron's behavior. I believe there is a reason God makes children so cute. It's so we don't eat our young. It's also why I smile when I read new mother blogs with conflicts everyday. There is a point in EVERY parents life when this moment happens. When you suddenly realize they make their own choices and some of them are going to be reckless and just plan stupid. All we can do is pray that we have given them the tools they need to make it through adolescence, be there to pick them up when they fall, remind them of who they are, where they come from when they forget - and they will. Aaron is not a bad kid. He is a normal teenager. Remember when you were and take comfort in that because you turned out fine. I'm not sure what you found on the internet but consider this, it may be today's version of finding a playboy tucked under a mattress. What would your mother have found if she read your diary as a teen? I think the only "perfect teens" are the ones who haven't gotten caught at doing anything. Breath deep, keep putting one foot in front of the other, set clear boundaries, show and demand respect. You will both get through this.
    Keep your chin up and be thankful you don't have a niece!

  34. Hi. I found your blog through Callie's. It was the chickens that made me want to come and see? :)

    My heart aches for you and this situation. There are no easy answers of course. Yes, it's easy to blog only the positive things in life, but know that there is a huge blogging community to love and support you through the difficult things too.

    I homeschooled too and there was a point with my son, where he started to struggle with his manhood. He became less respectful of me, which isn't right, and fortunately I had a husband to step in, but I realized it was part of defining who he was. The bottom line was that we insisted on respectful behavior in spite of his feelings. There were consequences if he was disrespectful. We worked our way through it, slowly and painfully.

    It is probably harder for Aaron because he is fatherless. He doesn't have a role model and is struggling to define himself on his own. That means testing limits, and proving he is independent of his mom. The problem for kids is that it's so scary to be without limits, and for a single mom, those limits are almost impossible to set.

    I absolutely agree with you about the medication, Or rather not medication.

    And I think I've rattled on too long! I'm just a 1st time visitor and stranger to your blog! Please accept my apology and a big cyber hug from me to you.

  35. I came here looking for your address so I could send you a postcard (email me, however, I need to tell you that you are not alone. Teenage boys are tough to raise...ours is 18. First, you need to have him tested by professionals for his school issues. Sounds like he may have some processing disorder, which is not a really big deal, but can make a difference in the way he learns. Part of his issue may be pure frustration. His problem with his mother may be that he expects her to know what is going on inside of him and is upset and disappointed because she is not reacting the way he wants her to. He probably can't pinpoint his issue himself. Hang in there and do not give up on him...he sounds like a really good kid.
    ♥, Susan

  36. Please don't give up hope. We have two teenage daughters and when my oldest turned 14 it was like a switch flipped. Things changed. He's a full fledged teenager now and they are different. You have to deal with them different. We had to adjust to ours and it takes alot of talking to them respectfully (like you would an adult) and not talking to them (if you know what I mean. I know when I've pushed too much for info.. She clams up) It helped me too to remember how I was as a teenager. My husband says that we have to always remember that. They are trying to figure things out. The more we expect them to be perfect the more they will rebel. He might act like he doesn't need you (like our daughter) but they do and still need your hugs and concern. Its just different now. They are not a child anymore. You have to treat more like an adult but with more concequences (ie: priveldges taken away)

    Also books on teens have helped us too!

    Love your blog... too by the way...


  37. Sounds like a 14 year old to me. Remember he is finding his way too. But no you do not have to put up with disrespectful behavior - and you taught him that the wrong choices do have consequences with the ITOUCH. I have come to believe that these years are the hardest - it was easy when they were little - discipline is cut and dry and staying consistent was so much easier. But now as they get older you have this person in front of you that is trying to find himself, that knows so instinctively right now how to push buttons, AND - this has been such a revelation for me lately - can see all the FLAWS in YOU. You are no longer the all knowing, all protective Mom, Dad, Aunt. Adults have flaws too! AND so does the world - there are problems - we think of teens as being self-centered but they do notice what is going on out there. They will be out there on there own! Those teens can hone right in on them; they try to hide their own fears and insecurities by bringing up or out your own - they will NEVER be like you in their opinion! And they do have to learn that there are consequences - they have to be allowed to make those wrong decisions - they have to experience consequences for their actions because at some point they are flying solo. It is a shock isn't it , to realize that your relationship with that child is changing - that you will also have to see them in a different light! All of the other good stuff, the closeness, the sweetness, is still there. It has just been pushed to the side while he is changing, but it still counts and will come out. Don't try to force it ( oh I have tried! It's like smacking my head against the wall!) stay consistent like you have been, and realize that this too shall pass! And respect what he is going through - you don't have to tolerate bad behavior, but just respect him too as a child moving into adulthood. While some basics stay the same, it is so different today then when we were kids. That is not an excuse or rationalization - just a fact. It does get better, stay open, be there for when he wants to talk. It will all come around.

  38. Dont give in to the feeling of guilt here, you have made the right decision. Reassure your sister as well that it is her responsibility to be the parent and not the friend when it comes to this kind of behavior. You and her need to keep verbally reminding that you love and care for him deeply and that you are sorry he doesnt understand at this time your reasons for doing this. It was not to make him angry or upset but that his wrong behavior was what caused this consequence and that in life every choice comes with a consequence if it is not a good one. He obviously knew he was doing wrong or he wouldn't have lied about the age. Discuss why he would choose to do something of this nature knowing it was wrong...curiosity is a given for that age but it doesnt excuse the wrong behavior done and assure him you are open to help him through this about how he feels about the whole situation. Trust is something earned not given and when that gets broken mending it can be difficult. Both his mother and you should voice your concerns about why and how you two feel about the situation as a whole and the attitude afterward he know has taken on. Reassure the doing whats right about the situation and how much he is loved and that no matter how angry or upset he is about any obstacle in his life, you will always be there for him but by all means dont return the ipod out of guilt or you will reassure the well if cop the attitude for this amount of time there will be no consequence for my wrong beyond this point. Hope this helps...Just a suggestion from me to you. GOOD LUCK AND BE STRONG...In My Prayers

  39. "When children are small they step on your toes...when they are older they step on your heart."
    My mother told me this when I was facing my first teenage son. I sure wish when I gave birth to mine they had come with a "How to raise" booklet with them but it wasn't there. I didn't win mother of the year either so I don't feel qualified to give out any advice but I will say that those teen years were some of the hardest I went through with my own children.
    Here's some hope for you and your sister though. My children did some horrible things, some illegal things, and one even stole an airplane, flew it and crashed it.
    I didn't make it easy for them to have gotten away with this. I didn't give my kids cars or let them drive until they could pay for their own insurance. They griped and complained but I stuck to my guns. If they had been more respectful and not so defiant then I probably would have been like any other parent but it was good for them to have to pay for that insurance and hearing their salesman explain that the price would go up greatly if they had an accident. My kids were great drivers.
    Some times the worse thing we can do is smooth over their boo boos and not let them suffer the consequences for their own bad decisions. What are the consequences for his behavior?
    My children grew up finally, my oldest son had ADD and we didn't put him on medication. He went into the army and that helped him greatly. He's now raising 4 children and is very good at it. He works in Budapest and we laugh together at those hard times.
    My daughter was ADHD. She hurt me greatly but now has her on little heart breaker that just turned 13. She calls me now for advice, goes for counseling, and has her own business, makes sure all the employees are where they should be, home schools the kids, and I'm very proud of how she turned out. There were times when I thought this time would have never come about but they did.
    My youngest has ADD. We tried medication but we stopped it. I homeschooled which was horrible because he was very rebellious towards me. He finally found his niche and he's now 22 and still lives with us, goes to work every day, helps his father and I around the house, and is a very good son.
    It took prayer, patience, discipline, and turtle shell:)(so all that hateful stuff will roll off your back) OH...and one more Look at what love really is not all that stuff people or the kids say love is. Mine would say "If you really love me you'd buy me a car." If you really loved me you'd give me .."give me" was always involved with their views of love.
    I'll be praying for you, your sister, and Aaron. I predict that he will become a successful young man.

  40. oh Sweet Jayme-
    I know this pains your heart, but don't let it rule it. He is a teenage boy. That is not excusing the behavior, but don't take it all to heart. He is finding independence. You have to remember teenagers think with the wrong part of the brain. It doesn't fully develop until they are like 25. Well for boys it is probably more like 50! You have done a tremendous job with Aaron. One day he will appreciate it even more. My own son pushed me away (sob) for the last few years. He is 17. Just this week he actually "talks" with me. I couldn't even yawn without annoying my daughter. She admitted that the other day and said "I don't know why it bothered me so much." She is almost 23. See they are getting there!
    Love them through it and remember they have their own brains to make their own decisions even though they may not always be the right ones.
    Big Hugs

  41. Jayme, you've received wonderful encouragement here. I just want to add something would benefit from "Love & Logic" books/audio tapes. They are awesome. ((((((hug)))))))

  42. Jayme, Came by to say hi and thank you for stopping by. I can feel your pain. My middle daughter had/has attention deficit. School was quite a struggle for her. We and I say we because it takes a complete family to get these children though school did it without drugs. That is until there was a complete meltdown in the early high school years. I have some hard stories that I like to just put behind me. But she is a grown Christian woman now with 4 boys of her own. She is also my daughter that owns chickens and ducks. You will all come through this just have faith. I don't know if you follow my blog or not but I am having a blog anniversary give away through tomorrow evening. It is not a lot but there are a couple of my crafts in the mix. Chin up and have a good weekend its just around the corner!

  43. He is going to be fine with all his loving family to support him. I'm not saying he won't screw up a time or two, but, the most important thing you can do for him, is to not bail him out. Don't make excuses for his behavior. Make him responsible and take the consequences. If things don't turn around in a few months, take him to a family therapist who will help him and the family know what's going on and why he's acting out. Yes, we've all got family problems, and I tend to keep it quiet. I am impressed by your openess and let me know if you need any more help. My husband's a Ph.D. in psychology and I know he'll know someone in your area if you decide you need therapy. Just hang in there.

  44. to throw in some reading material, I'll add a book title, or 2 by John Rosemond. He's the no-nonsense pscyhologist that went back to writing about what 'grandma' would say about parenting. I realize that books are not instantaneously absorbed, but I have one chapter in particular marked in this one (I have 2 small boys & previously taught in all boys treatment facilities)
    In 'Raising a Non-Violent Child' Rosemond describes 15 behaviors never to allow. They are simple and obvious and his reasoning is clear. Another book, I've never read but have heard good things about is 'Teen Proofing'. I'm just not personally there yet. but will read. Rosemond can sometimes leave folks with a feeling like 'he makes it sound like its so simple, but it's not'. He really removes alot of allowance for emotion, removes the option to be a friend. But I truly have respect for the models he had as a child. His mother was single during most of his growing up years. he has a No-nonsense approach I like, but tempered with tough-love.
    This is not the extent of my reading on boys, but I'll stop there. also, reading & my experience are not up to speed as a parent of a 14 yo child of my own. I simply think you might gain some insight by considering boy specific books as well as Rosemond's material. I've met him, and he's the real deal. Another book on the market with more 'statistics' than some say Rosemond's books are lacking, is 'Nurture Shock'. I haven't read, but think it will be similar with more realistic uncomplicated thinking about parenting, any child of any race, special need or sex.
    Standing in your corner hoping & praying for success for your nephew

  45. First, yes, there is hope. There is always hope. We have to believe that in all things and stress it to all our children whether they are ours by birth or by love or by working so hard. The teen years can be joy, heartache, monstous, horrific, and wonderful. all in the same child and all in the same darn day! Love him with all your heart and strength, and that includes the tough love too. Work like hell to give him the tools he needs and that may include dr visits, I speak from experience here. sometimes they need to see the dr and perhaps be put on the little blue pills for a while, but always always monitored and checked on regularly by the dr!
    I'm praying for you, for Aaron, for his momma and for all those who touch him in anyway, that it will be positive to him.

  46. First let me say I LOOOOVEE your blog! I am SO glad I found you!

    Then I will say that I used to work with teens in ministry. 14 is the right age for all of this rebellion and questioning to happen. It will probably continue. You WANT a child who questions authority. You WANT a child who explores his own mind. They will make mistakes. They may even hate you a little for being too hard or uncool or not understanding. My kids are not there yet, but in my experience with teens, a child who has a firm foundation will come back, like the Prodigal son. Stay with him--emotionally. Keep setting the limits and knowing he will push them. These next few years may be difficult, but it sounds like he has a great foundation and really strong bonds. In the end, those will win out.

    One more thing: I used to know some people from Crown Point. What a small world! I'll be following you.

  47. Oh honey! I'm catching up over here and I wish that I had a sister like yourself to walk me through these teen years, because they certainly are taxing! Didn't you know that teens are just BITTERSWEET, sometimes they are bitter and sometimes they are sweet! I cannot imagine that with the love and support you all have for him that he cannot get on the right path. It is when people give up on them that they are in real trouble. Tell him that. We can also see through your (blog) eyes that boy has many good qualities. We cannot always control where we come from but we can certainly control who we become!

    I have a teen girl and a preteen and life isn't always rosy here either but love overcomes and persistance will see you all through it. Some times I just don't even know who they are when they "unknowingly" take a particular tone with me. I tell them to come back when they are back because they are trying to find themselves afterall. Boy is this one long comment! Hugs to you girl, god bless you!

  48. Wow Jayme, you have really touched my heart today. My son (27) put us through hell for many years, but is now doing great. We has given us a beautiful bi-racial grandson who is the light of our lives. Just hang in there, pray and follow your instincts. It's not easy.

    On a little lighter note, I actually think aliens come down and suck the brains out of teenagers!


  49. Jayme~I have not read all the comments that you have received regarding Aaron but wow you sure have a great support group on your blog. We all do really care about you, your life and Aaron's issues.

    Both my children went through really hard/bad times as teenagers. They do not have the same background as Aaron but they were TEENAGERS! Very hard times. Some kids breeze through but most need to be rebellious and act-out in some way.

    He will land on his feet and lead a good like. I just feel it in my bones as I did with my children who are both now leading healthy, happy and productive lives. You have given Aaron a wonderful part of yourself and that is your love and concern for him. Try to keep the lines of communication open.

    This is a hard time for all. I send lots of love and support to you all.

    Sweet thoughts from a blog friend...Cory Dogwood

  50. With out reading through all of the comments I just want you to know that this is teenager stuff. You all have laid the foundation now you just have to let Aaron spread his wings and fly. I am not saying to just completely let him do what he wants to but just know that he's not the first kid to "flip". It may take a while (years even) but he will come around Jayme. Easier said than done but just hang on.

  51. Dearest Jayme,

    First know that there are so many prayers being lifted up for you, Aaron and his mom, that the angels are doing double time! Nothing, I repeat, nothing is more powerful than prayer and when two or more are gathered together in His name...Watch Out!!!! Great things happen!!!

    What a blessing you are! His life is so rich because you are in it...all the way!! Don't back down!! You are the one person in his life who has been consistant. He knows where he stands with you and when he tests you he just wants to be reassured that you will be the same loving aunt that he has always been able to count on. He knows the rules and he knows how much you love him. That's very comforting to him.

    There is some kind of hormonal imbalance that attacks children between the ages of 13 - 16! My daughter was so horrible at 15! I was amazed!!!! But I never gave up, never changed the rules, never stopped praying. I cried a lot, prayed a lot and wanted to give in...a lot!!!! Seemed like it would have been easier. But I always told my kids that I'm not here to make you happy. My job is to make you a productive member of society and teach you God's ways. I have to answer to Him, not them!!

    Fast forward 6 years. My daugher is a junior in college, a beautiful, thoughtful young lady and while she does some things that I'd rather not know about!!! she is a wonderful person and I'm so glad that I stuck to my guns. 3 months ago my son was afflicted with the hormone virus and some days I wonder where he came from!!!! This was my easy, care-free, never a problem child. I thought I was free and clear, but here we go again!!!

    Will you pray for me too??!!!

    This has been an amazing post. You have brought so many people together who share the same burden and it's so comforting to know that we're not alone. Thank you for that!

    Blessings to you and let Aaron know that we are all praying and to think about that before he does something he knows is wrong!!

    Please help your sister be strong and support her as she needs to take a major tough love approach. Disrespectfullness is NOT an option. Write out the rules, go over them with him and stick to it. If you write it you can refer back to it and remember what you said!!! I tend to forget, especially when my kids are drilling me into the ground!!!!

    Happy note: I too love that chicken coop. I covet that chicken coop!! And, I love the title of this post!!!!

    Happy Easter!

  52. Jayme, I'm coming in late on this one...been busier than a chicken with my head cut off...OOPS! Cover Helen's ears, QUICK! I will say that I can understand your plight completely. When my oldest son DISCOVERED access to horrible places, it changed him too. He was not a perfect kid but not a bad one either. This whole teenage hormone thing is looking for an excuse to rebel and girly pics make it an easier road to travel. They start finding ways to justify their FEELINGS and that alone is a one-way street. I believe in no-nonsense discipline in these circumstances and hubby and I followed though trying to remove every negative influence we could no avail. Sometimes life comes built in with excuses to justify our emotions but the bottom line is that we don't lead our life with those emotions-only screw it up. We have to live our life focusing on the facts and only letting the valuable emotions come into play like gratitude and kindness and feelings of loyalty and responsibility. It is a hard lesson for any of us to learn much less trying to reason with a 14 yr old who is basically bones and hormones. Now my oldest is 19 and is still justifying his emotions..but my 14 yo is a bit different. Being truly remorseful and repenting does NOT breed more rebellion. So he is still caught up in justifying his emotions...and that is gonna be a hard nut to crack. It is especially important that he only spends time with good role models and there must be some fun but upstanding boys for him to socialize with and if there isn't then he shouldn't be socializing at all. I am getting long here, I know...I just hate it like heck for you, your sis and Aaron. Until he masters his emotions he will rebel but when those emotions are exhausted he will return to better reasoning! Yes, there is hope, I promise you! There has been too much love invested in this young man for it too come out any other way but good! HUGS!

  53. Jayme, I'm way past your "sell by" date here so I'll just recommend a book. "Do Hard Things" by Alex & Brett Harris. When you start schooling again (or if you already have)...try reading this together. We're doing it as a family...we each read this week's chapter on our own and then talk about it together.
    Praying for you,


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