Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Difficult Kids: Sometimes it really is the kid, not the parents.

A woman I met talked about her heartache when her son was in Juvenile Hall. I didn’t ask what specifically had brought him to that point, but she said he’d been in and out of trouble since he was 9 years old.

Although the parents and child went for counseling, nothing was turning this child around. She knew she wasn’t a bad person or a terrible parent: they had another son who was polite, a good student, had lots of hobbies and interests. It helped them to know that it wasn’t all their fault.

When their son landed in Juvenile Hall, she went to visit every day at lunchtime. The first few months, she didn’t see any change in him, and maybe it was worse due to his anger and frustration over his situation.

Around 6 months in, she started to notice small changes. He finally understood that there are consequences in society, that his parents truly did want the best for him. He was locked up for over a year, and when he came out, he needed a lot of help. This time, he was ready to listen to parents and teachers, ready to talk with a counselor who could help him.

The family is still recovering from this trauma and have some tough work ahead, but are working as a family to address them.

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