Received a letter from Donald’s school yesterday to say that he has been withdrawn from one of his Year 12 subjects due to lack of attendance. He has submitted assignments but has not maintained the required attendance. This happened some months ago also (same subject) and I talked the teacher into taking him back. I thought that he was attending classes now but clearly that wasn’t the case.
I am so cross, as for the sake of sitting through only a handful of classes, he has blown a year’s study. I have done my bit for him in relation to this subject so if he wants to salvage the situation it is now up to him. When I asked him for an explanation, he said he thought that as long as he submitted his work (all past the due dates of course) then he could get away without attending the classes, which he found too boring. Der!!! Like regulations don’t apply to him! I doubt that he will get around to approaching his teacher as he doesn’t really stir himself in these situations, and always has an excuse as to why the teacher was unreasonable and probably wouldn’t listen to him anyway. I hope that he surprises me though.
Three days later. I left this post in draft form as I have had such a busy week. Came home tonight to find another letter from the school, referring to inadequate attendance for another subject – one which he is supposed to enjoy. Daisy also attends this class and I thought that they were both attending together – the one subject for which they were maintaining attendance. Just as well he is at work tonight as I would probably say things that I might regret later.
I am torn on treatment of this issue. One view is to just let him crash and burn. Donald must learn his own lessons and then figure out how to extricate himself from the bog hole in which he finds himself. Another part of me says that this simply is not good enough and he needs to man up and learn some self-discipline and develop some moral fibre and backbone. He is so feckless. I should make him finish the last term of school and attend every day that he should (how I would do that I don’t quite know).
I have tried very hard not to be a helicopter parent, though probably out of frustration at his continual lack of progress over the years, I have helped him out more than I should. That means he hasn’t confronted consequences enough. When we discuss the implications of his actions (or inaction) Donald has a tendency not to accept what I say and to only believe in his own truths, even though they are based on heresay or his own limited experience and un-researched opinion.
As an implication for me (a sole parent) I must support him longer when he repeats school, accepting the resultant financial cost. There has also been the time and input requirement as I have monitored deadlines, edited assignments and encouraged, pushed and cajoled. Now we are facing another year of this process. Ideally, he would have finished Year 12 and would be embarking on a character-forming Gap Year, as he is not ready for any form of post-secondary study.
I am experiencing frustration at the sheer stupidity of it – for the sake of a few hours sitting in class, he has blown a whole year’s worth of study. If I express these opinions of course, then I am imposing my views or expectations on him and making his life miserable. At least I give him something to complain to Daisy about.
Donald has totally embraced Daisy and her needs. His life has been adapted around hers and she seems to fill a basic need that he has to be needed and to be supportive. I know that this is understandable for a young person on the cusp of adulthood but it appears to me that he is subjugating his needs for hers.
It makes me start to ask questions of myself. Has our two-person family unit left a gaping hole in his life and emotional well-being? If Donald had grown up with two parents, would he have had more self-assurance and confidence in himself? Would he have developed more emotional resilience? These are impossible questions for me to answer, but they lurk at me through sleepless nights.