Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Wisdom Where You Don’t Expect It

I have to admit, this blog post is a little more serious than normal for me. I have been struggling with my role in Alex’s life as his full time step-mom.  I have a tendency to be a mouthy broad and if I don’t like something I will tell you… at least to my kids and family. I try to keep that under control with others Smile

So, I’ve been working on Alex in several different areas and finding myself getting more and more frustrated.  I can see I’m making no progress and if anything, I’m pushing him away. Without going into great detail, I’ll just say we are butting heads and I’m sick and tired of hearing my own voice.

The last few Sundays, while we’ve been at church, I’ve taken time to do some serious praying about this. I have prayed for wisdom and patience. Selfish.. not a word about Alex, right?  So, this Sunday I really humbled myself and asked God again for wisdom and patience and to help me deal with this boy without breaking his spirit. I also prayed for Alex to have self-confidence, self-worth and love for himself. Things he is seriously lacking and it shows in his personal/social life. It breaks my heart that this boy doesn’t have much of a social life at all. He’s truly never learned to be a good friend. I blame his mom for that, as I do everything else negative with him. It’s what I do.

Sunday afternoon it all came to a head. I lost my ever loving mind. I had been working with the boy on his sugar consumption because he has a serious sweet tooth. After several muffins, a cupcake and juice I told him he didn’t need anymore sugar that day. Less than an hour later, he’s grabbing cookies and one more muffin. I seriously lost it. I took the cookies away from him, tore into him about not listening and how sugar is bad for him and he can’t concentrate .. blah blah blah.

Later, Nick and I had a little “discussion” about it. He told me, very sweetly, that I was maybe a bit unreasonable. I, of course, was defensive.  I won’t go into detail but I was feeling sorry for myself and that the whole house was against me.

Later, after I calmed down, I realized how crazy that boy probably thinks I am.  I had justified my behavior by telling myself I was treating Alex no differently than I did JD when he was a teenager. However, it finally dawned on me that JD grew up with me and KNEW how crazy I could be and overlooked it. Alex didn’t know that. 

So, yesterday, JD called me and I spilled my guts to him. I said I just don’t know how to give him self-confidence… how do you do that?  (JD is 27 years old and teaches/coaches middle school kids) He said to me… Mom, the only way to do that is for a man in his life to show him love, compassion and to do it unconditionally. He hasn’t grown up with his dad around much and he needs that. He went on to confirm what Nick had already said to me…”Let Nick be the bad guy, you just love him and show him patience” 

He told me that three years ago when he started teaching, he was going to be the hard ass, and take no crap from those kids. He saw early on how that pushed them away from him. Now he shows them love, understanding and patience and they are blooming under his care.

I could go on and on here, but my point is that JD, my precious son that I had when I was 18 years old, has grown into a wise man and is helping me. When I prayed to God for wisdom, I had no idea it would come to me in that form. I’m so proud of the young man my son is and how he has grown and matured in spite of not growing up with a man in the house.

If you’re still reading this, just know I’m a proud momma today, but a bit more humbled. I am going to try desperately to give this 15 year old the love and security he has missed out on the last several years. We only have a short time to change his way of thinking. He has to succeed. He’s going to be a man and the leader of a family one day.


Anonymous said...

You do know that when you pray for things like wisdome and patience, what you are given is OPPORTUNITY to be wise and patient. What a Catch 22 this God of ours has us in!
Sounds like the new path is a good one. I hope that everyone finds their place in the relationship and that is flourishes. After all, spring is just around the corner.
lynn s/w

Anonymous said...

sorry for the typos!

Renee said...

Wow, parenting is so hard; step-parenting is so much harder! Like you, I've grown up right along with my kids and there were days I just didn't think we'd all make it through without someone begin smothered in their sleep. Now I look at the people my children have become and am amazed at how they turned out! I have a step-son (son 21) that I just never seemed to get that strong bond with - he had so many other (closer) family in his life and I always felt I was on egg shells. I gave him the same love. structure and foundation I gave my own children...it's up to him to use it or not.

Frustrating...yes...but in the end you know you've given him all that you can.

Jane said...

It's obvious how much you care about him. I'm sure he knows it too. Just keep loving him, and somehow all the kinks will be worked out. He's lucky to have you and someday he'll tell you that himself. Good luck.

USMCWIFE said...

Wow, very powerful. I have never been a step mother so I can imagine it is tough. Teenagers are tough to begin with and when you throw in dysfunction it just complicates matters. I agree with your son. You have raised one incredible son, now you are going to do it again, I know you can because you want too..

Peppermint Ph.D. said...

How wonderful that wise thoughts will come from our children some day?? Isn't that what life and families are all about...working together on the hard stuff...giving 60% when someone else is only feeling 40% and taking turns being the givers and takers.

As a stepchild I agree with your oldest son. Let Nick be the bad guy...you just love Alex and be as patient as you can. While he is a product of his mother, he is also a product of Nick...look for the Nick in him and nurture it...I think your love for each other will grow. :)

Hang in there! :)

Mindee@ourfrontdoor said...

Thanks for this glimpse into step-parenting Paula. I can't begin to offer advice, but it sounds like you're getting some wise words and of course, prayer is the root of wisdom.

I do know that kids can't feel confident unless they feel secure and they can't feel secure unless they know they have unconditional love and support.

Good luck. Teenagers are maddening under the best of circumstances!