Thursday, June 4, 2009


From a couple of the comments on my last post, I felt like I needed to clarify things regarding the youth "ministry" group in our town. I don't know them personally. These kids are not from my town, they COME to our town in order to become a part of this "ministry". I do know that they have all been in trouble with the law and that the ministry was started "to give them a chance to turn their lives over to God." I do believe very strongly in forgiveness and in second chances... and I think that most of these kids are just doing the best they can....

And if DD was a "normal" teen, I'd feel a lot less trepidation about them. But she has FASD, and that makes her very impulsive, with little cause/effect judgment, about as mature as a 10 year old, and she also wants desperately to have friends and fit in. My fear regarding the "ministry" kids is really less about them than it is about DD.

Even if every single kid in that group has changed his/her life, I have no doubt that they have had experiences that I would not like DD to have.

A 16 year old with "normal" judgment could filter out the bad, and dwell on the good. But DD is not like that. If she thinks another kid is "cool", she is going to want to be just like them. If they joke or reminisce about their past(s), she is going to want to be "like them".

And, the very real possibility exists that a number of those kids are not doing this because they want to give their lives to God, they are doing it to get out of going to juvie. DD could and would very easily be misled. Since, as a parent, it is my job to keep her safe, I think that keeping her out of situations like that is my responsibility (and DH's too, if he can do it).

And for those of you who asked, here is why DD did not get a consequence that day:

She does not truly understand DH's illness or that he is sick at all. Since her maturity level is still around 10 year old, everything is "all about her" and she does not have a very good ability to recognize another person's situation/problems.

And on that night, she wouldn't have known that DH was not "with it" that night, all she knew, really, was that "Sometimes Dad says no, but sometimes if I ask him again, he might say yes." So that's what she did. Any kid would do that.

I think the first night, the one that DH didn't remember, where DD lied about her plans, called for a consequence. And the consequence was that she not be able to hand out with her friend that night. (DD lies almost all the time, so a bigger punishment (piled on top of the consequence for tomorrow's lies, and the next day's, etc....) might end up causing consequences to stretch into next year!)

But this time, the only thing DD really did was ask. DH was the one who didn't remember the previous time.

I keep telling myself: She's 16. She's not doing drugs. She's not pregnant. She's not in trouble with the law (yet). So she's doing better than a lot of teens. But part of that is a result of being proactive and knowing how she operates.


Not Very Anonymous Mom said...

You know your family dynamics better than anyone. Well-meaning folks will offer advice, but no one says you have to take it! (Or defend yourself for that matter.)
That's one of the wonderful things about blogging about these difficulties - it can help you to think things through and offer a different perspective through comments. But no matter how much you write about yourself and the family, it's impossible to completely convey everything. It sounds as though you're handling everything very well.

Anonymous said...

You're very brave to share your life the way you do -- warts and all. Many bloggers like to appear as if they have it all together and their family is totally perfect. Their blogs are something like the round-robin brag letters that people send out at Christmas and they're not worth the time it takes to read them.
I like your honesty and I understand (very dimly) about what you're going through with your husband because my husband's brother is bi-polar and his actions cause the family a lot of aggravation and concern. We don't have to live with him, however, so I'm no judge of what you face on a day-to-day basis.
You know your daughter best. I didn't mean my comment to sound judgmental, I was curious about how you planned to deal with your daughter's lying in order to attend a forbidden event. I never went through that with my kids, they're pretty level-headed and they know their dad and I keep close tabs on where they're going and with whom. it's harder if you don't have a partner who not in sync with what's going on.

Grace. said...

Two of my five adopted kids have fetal alcohol effects (FAE). It is truly a different world for them (and for us, while we are rearing them!). My kids appeared to be completely normal, which always made me the "bad" and overly controlling parent. But their FAE led them to be impulsive, to lack caution, and to be susceptible to the suggestions of others. My job as a parent was to protect them, help them learn, and to understand that the adolescence of a teen with FAE lasts a lot longer than age 21!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for explaining the FASD. I had to look it up on wikpedia and was blown away by all the effects alc. has on a fetus. You are very brave to open up like this. Thank you for your blog.