Stupid Kids

Where's my support group?

Support groups exist for everything. You have a disease? There's a group for it. Overweight? Yup, there's a group. Sleep disorder? Yes indeed, there's a group. But there is no group for people with stupid children. Your only recourse is to find someone with children as dumb as your own and commiserate. This presents a problem because parents hide the stupidity of their offspring. They perpetuate the myth that children can be seen and not heard, that teens are controllable, that by 25 they are completely on their own. These are fallacies. Even if your kids are reasonably good, you know they've done wrong. Unfortunately, I had to fend for myself when my first husband left us, and again when my second husband died. All of my friends had perfect children. I did not. My kids made one bad choice after another, to the point where I got ill every time I got called into school, every time the house phone rang, and every time the police came to my door. I did all the right things. I sang to them, read to them, paid attention to every word they said. There were times I wished they would stop telling me everything so I could have 10 minutes peace. At Christmas time I would give them $20 dollars and take them to the local shops. They had a list of 10 people to buy for and $2 a piece to spend. They always came back with the most amazing, thoughtful things. So what happened? Shit happened.

For some unfathomable reason, they just couldn't make smart decisions in their lives. Drugs played a part in the lives of both my sons. The oldest got hooked on heroin. Got arrested for having stolen credit cards and did jail time. Today he's a straight arrow. He got himself off drugs, no rehab. He has a family. He's on solid ground. When he was in school, he was always in the mix, getting into trouble. I thought that would kill me until I found out about the drugs. My younger son was a terrific kid. He was popular, smart, and did what he was told for the most part. Then his father died and all hell broke loose. Constant trouble in school, drugs, girls, lying—it was devastating. He is 23 and still fighting an addiction to crack. He has a son who lives with his maternal grandparents because mom is an alcoholic. This son did jail time as well. It has been the never-ending battle just to keep my sons alive, let alone out of trouble. My younger son is in rehab at this moment, and I am 65 with little patience left. I worry every day about my grandson, too.

My daughter developed an eating disorder—binge eating. She went to rehab and seems to have it under control. But she has a mood disorder, and she makes unfortunate decisions where work is involved and in her social life as well. They have all stolen large amounts of money from me, torn my heart apart, and depressed me to immeasurable depths I didn't know existed. There should be a support group for people with stupid children. It might have helped me hold on to my sanity a little better. It was hard working with parents of perfect children. Maybe you think all of these problems made me not love them. It may have made me love them more. I have been an integral part of the healing process with them, but I wouldn't wish the torment on my worst enemy. I can't waste time wondering what I did wrong. Shit happens to everyone when kids make dangerous stupid choices.

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Stupid Kids
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