Letting Go…

I don’t know if this is going to make any sense to anybody, but before Teenboy gets his final A-Level results tomorrow and finds out his University fate I have to write it down.

Teenboy has, quite honestly, been spoiled his whole life. I’ve been there and done everything for him as much as I can and when I couldn’t his grandparents have been.

And so now Teenboy’s 18 and looking to either go to university or do…something else, who knows what, he’s looking at as a child who’s had to do nothing for himself. He’s never had to pay his own way, he has no comprehension of budgeting or paying bills and has never had to repay his debts to us.

Every time he has messed up (and there’s been quite a few of these) either me or my parents have stepped in to fix it for him. We don’t even just help him, we actually fix it from start to finish.

I know why we’ve done it, we’ve been trying to make up for his dad’s lack of input in his life. Every single time his father has failed him and let him down we’ve stepped in to fix his father’s fuck ups because it’s heartbreaking to watch your child be disappointed by a useless parent who has promised the world and delivered bugger all.

Quite basically (and I’m embarrassed to admit this) Teenboy is not mature enough or responsible enough to be going to university or even to have a full time job. He has never had to do anything for himself ever. I even got him his latest part-time job. I wrote his CV for him, I emailed it with a covering email and took him to the interview.

It’s got so bad now that his gran controls his finances because he thinks that money is to be spent as soon as you get it. He gets a weekly allowance. If he needs extra he has to put forward a good case to get it.

And now I’ve realised this I’ve had to work out a way to let go.

I can’t continue to keep fixing his life for him. I’ll be there when and if he ever needs me, but I’ve had to over the past few weeks step right back and let him make his mistakes.

Because the only way we learn in life is to make mistakes and hopefully learn from them.

It all came to a head and this realisation came to me when Teenboy and I were completing his student finance application (he couldn’t even do this himself!) and he kicked off cos it was getting a bit too hard and blamed me for him doing it late, blah, blah, blah, etc, etc, etc.

And I realised that night that I had to just let him make these mistakes. That I have to let him go forth and fuck up because when/if he goes to uni he won’t have me there to fix things. Maybe making mistakes will teach him that he has do things on his own and for himself right away and not leave them until the last minute.

Anyway, that’s why I’ve been struggling so much these past few weeks that I couldn’t write. I’ve been blaming myself for Teenboy’s inability to do life and trying to teach myself how to step back and let him go.

I’m ready for him to leave home, I wasn’t (and I don’t know if I am yet) ready to let him take on life on his own without me.

Do all parents of university age teens feel like this? Or is it just me? Did I fuck up?

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About mumtoteens

mum to two teens and a toddler - not a easy mix tbh. The oldest is 18, the middlest is 13 and the baby is 2 and we live a life full of love and chaos. View all posts by mumtoteens

9 responses to “Letting Go…

  • aga sagas

    Hi, I’ve got teens waiting for results tomorrow too so I sympathise! (And about the trying to find time to write)…. and no, you haven’t fucked up. You’ve taught Teenboy how to love another, how to be supportive, how to be there when you’re needed, all lessons that his Dad obviously hasn’t learned or passed on. And yes, they DO want us to do it all for them, because that way they can remain feeling safe and secure and comfy. Of course we have to push them out gently to find their feet, but Uni will do that soon enough so don’t worry! :). His explosion is probably because he realises that time is coming very soon… and my eldest has just graduated, and at 21 is only really independent now, but he looks at his younger siblings with horror and nags me to make them do everything for themselves, conveniently forgetting that he was just that young and immature at 18 himself..they forget very quickly! You are doing a great job, so just let time roll on 😉

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  • Jo Price (@furrows_frenzy)

    Hardest thing to do in bringing up children – imo: knowing when to rescue them and when to let them fall and learn from their mistakes. Trouble is we parents are all learning too and don’t have the answers at the start. I do not think you are alone by any means.
    It’s easy to look back with hindsight and to see what has happened and punish ourselves. At least you have the insight to see what has happened and can change things to let him learn from his mistakes now….if that is what you decide to do. As the previous comment says you have taught him the most important thing…. about love. Also by writing this honest and open blog you are doing a huge favour to thousands of other parents who are about to, or are going through the same thing. I shall be tweeting it widely.
    I have three teens (19, 17 and 14). I have veered towards the more hardline approach – budgets, making them pay off debts, letting them make mistakes….although have not got it right a lot of the time. I also should add that I have not had to compensate for a useless other parent, and in your situation would probably have done the same as you. Whilst doing this I have felt (and been made to feel by other parents and my kids) that I am too harsh and should soften up a little. (Should clarify by harsh we are not talking military bootcamp here…..just a bit of emptying the dishwasher and doing their own ironing type thing)
    It has been a tough path to follow but last week my 19 year old moved to Estonia to live independently and work as a professional ballet dancer and I know that she will manage on her 580 Euro a month wage. I also know that she knows I love her (and miss her) deeply.
    I hope Teenboys results were what he hoped for and University goes well for him. He will have a ball!!

    Like

    • mumtoteens

      We can’t always get it right Jo, but it sounds like you’re doing a fab job with your teens. You must be so proud of your ballerina!
      Thank you for reading my blog and for replying to me. I appreciate every single piece of support and advice I get on here. Cos I am really just muddling through this parenting lark 🙂

      Like

  • BattyMatty

    No, it’s not just you 😉

    Like

  • Lourdes

    Omg, I was laying in bed looking for someone who’s going through the same thing I’m dealing with. My teenager is into technology. He is a good kid no drugs nothing. But if I were to diagnose his behavior I would say he is addicted to the Internet. I decided to take the Internet away to show him that life out there is different than his virtual world. Don’t take me wrong I know what he does on the Internet. It’s all computer software, programming, music etc. my problem is he is almost 18 and no job no signs of wanting to do anything, granted he is doing well in school independent study. No social life unless the friends on internet.
    I don’t know what I’m doing wrong but after we took Internet out he became upset… Long story. I’m just worry as a mom.
    I read other comments and realized I have no problems!!!!! Compared to other of course.
    I just want him to show responsibility. Ugh teens!
    Ps. How are you doing with your teen now?
    Letting him learn from his mistakes that’s what I need to learn and stick into my head!!!!

    Like

    • mumtoteens

      Hi Lourdes
      You’re definitely not alone. I think most mums of teenage boys have issues with them.
      I know you’re not happy with the amount of time he spend on the computer to the detriment of everything else, but it’s teenagers like him that are going to rule the world.
      I had a friend when I was a teen who spent all his time in the dark in his bedroom on his computer. He’s now mega-rich and helps code, programme and/or design some of the biggest computer and console games out there (I’d have to ask teenboy for the names of them cos I have no idea, I just know he’s v v impressed that I know someone who worked on these games).
      I’ve been looking at the job market recently and the best jobs out there seem to be for people who know computers inside out.
      I’d be tempted to let him spend time on his computer, maybe even actively encourage it, and maybe even try to get him to show you what he’s programming, playing on. Get interested (as much as you can, so much of it so boring!).
      And don’t give up on him. With encouragement and love from a great mum like you he’ll grow up soon enough. And hopefully all that time in front of his computer will be rewarded with a amazing job.
      Teenagers are bloody hard work though, aren’t they?

      Like

      • Lourdes

        Oh wow thank you so much for your reply!
        I really needed to hear something positive. Your words were perfect.
        Thank you!
        That’s what he says to me most of the time. He says I don’t understand that he has a future with the computer. That I just don’t get it.
        I decided to let him do what he needs to do. My priority is letting him finish school. Yesterday I asked him if he could show me what he is talking about. He seems willing to show me. So I guess I’ll take your advice and will try to get more involve and encourage him.
        Thank you for helping me.
        I’ll visit soon to let you know how we r doing.
        Right now I can sleep a lot better than yesterday.
        🙂

        Like

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